Effective Communication

It is a critical aspect of a leadership role that you communicate effectively. There is an old saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Communication can be what defines a poor leader from an exceptional one. Working at effective communication is a key to good leadership. Some leaders this comes naturally, however it can be a strategy that can be acquired and improved.

Good communication helps eliminate misunderstandings and can encourage a healthy and peaceful environment. Efficient communication will assist in producing the end results required.

When your communication is understood the process of carrying out tasks and projects will be made easier.

Helps to Communicate Effectively

These are general proposals and the word “people” is used throughout. For different environments and settings this could be changed to team, congregation etc and adapted accordingly. Your heart condition effects much of what you do and how you communicate.

1. Open Meeting

It is easier to communicate your passion and how you feel via open meetings. In this kind of forum, people will not only hear what you are saying, they will also see and feel it. This approach is one of the best approaches to communicate effectively with people.

2. Emails

In official settings, communication via email remains potent. It enables you to communicate key aspects of your message. See my blog on “Suggested email communication”.

3. One to Onecommunication

Experts have been able to show that some people understand better when you  talk to them on a one-to-one basis. This is more effective in person and not via telephone or email. Eye contact with them assists in the message being received and understood.

4. Use Presentations

There are those that grasp messages more easily when pictures and sounds are involved. Using presentations like Microsoft Power Point to communicate with people will give them the opportunity to refer back to it, also it can make understanding of your point easier for them to grasp.

5. Communication via Training

Training should be tailored towards communicating certain information to people, and allow them to learn new skills.

6. Use Simple Words

The truth is that everybody cannot be on same page when it comes to vocabulary. Therefore, to be effective in your communications with people, use words that can be easily understood. When ambiguous words are used, you can be misunderstood with undesirable results and/or waste time having to explain yourself.

7. Listen to People

Communication many times is to be a two way operation. Don’t just talk because you are the leader without listening to anyone else. Encourage them to open up so you can be well guided when communicating in the future with them. Be prepared to listen and evaluate and possibly change if  advantageous. You have two ears and one mouth – so be prepared to listen as well as speak.

8. Use Body Language

Your body language will pass your message faster and better. Master the art of using body language when communicating with people. People even though not trained read and sense body language which has an impact on their reactions. Standing, sitting, using smiles, body contact such as handshakes, and hugs in the appropriate times, and eye contact.

9. Use The Appropriate Tone of Voice

One word can mean a different thing when said in a different tone of voice. Make sure you use the appropriate tone of voice to communicate your message to people so that you won’t be misunderstood and discourage, demotivate people or cause them to shut down completely out of fear.

10. Avoid Unnecessary Repetition

If you want your people to take you serious, never sound like a broken record and don’t beat a dead horse. Tell your people what you want them to know or do and ask them if they are clear about it. If they are not, only then do you repeat what you have said.

11. Create a Receptive Atmosphere

To effectively communicate with your people, you must create a receptive atmosphere. Avoid a tense environment at all costs because when you communicate in an overly intense manner, the message you are trying to share might not be well understood or retained.

12. Be Humorous

Using friendly jokes not cynicism or sarcasm when communicating with people will help pass your message along in a more relaxed way. This method of communication has been proven to be a highly effective way of reducing tension. When the atmosphere is unfriendly and intense, being humorous assists.

13.  Be Articulate

Communication is indeed a skill that can be learned especially if you want to lead any group of people. Being articulate  when you communicate to people makes it easier for them to understand your message.

14. Encourage Feedback

Don’t just talk and walk away. Allow room for feedback if not immediately at a later time, and express appreciation for their thoughts even if you don’t agree. Remember disagreement doesn’t have to mean disunion.

15. Be Appreciative

Be courteous and express appreciation and encouragement.

When communication is hampered, it can sidetrack the entire effort.

There is a need to work hard at communication and in some instances demonstrate grace.

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Forgiving Yourself of the Past

Beating yourself up about what happened days, weeks, months or even years ago? As much as we would like to, we cannot go in the past and erase those mistakes. However, we can make a decision to learn from them and start forgiving ourselves. One of the most important factors to realise is that you’re human; you will make mistakes. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to live with the guilt’s of your past.
God desires for you to be free from guilt, free from depression, free from the past. The scripture declares, 2 Corinthians 5:17 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] the old has gone, the new is here!
When God forgives us, He makes a very important promise to us that we must also make when we forgive others. God says, Hebrews 8:12 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 10:17 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 17 Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.
When we ask for forgiveness in genuine repentance He forgives. God can do forgive-yourselfsomething we are incapable of doing He Chooses to remember our sins no more. He doesn’t forget which is all we can do, and in fact we can’t choose to forget either. So when we go back to Him and mention our sins that have been forgiven He says I don’t know what you are talking about. Cleansed and washed from our sin. The word is Justified in other words just if I’d never sinned.

More Than Conquerors

Romans 8:31 New International Version (NIV) More Than Conquerors31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
When we walk in His light and obedience there is nothing that man can do against us. We are more than conquerors, not losers, not those that scrape by, we are winners.

Our Future

Tragically, too many people, including many of God’s own children, declare the wrong things in their lives and then seem surprised when these wrong things manifest for them. As human beings, created with free will, there are only two positions to take concerning what we come into agreement with: what God has said about us, or the lies that the devil has said and continues to say regarding who we are, and what path our lives should take. We either speak life, which is to come into agreement with what God has spoken concerning us, which is Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Adjust your thinking and believe who you are, and what Gods says about you. 

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Suggested E-mail Protocol & Etiquette

E-mail Essentials.

  • E-mail can be an essential means to communicate.
  • Effective use of e-mail requires clear guidelines and expectations.
  • Some email content does not require a response. Those that do require a response and you can’t respond in a timely manner acknowledge the email as this assists in good relations.
  • Unknown e-mails must be responded to with great caution, but preferably deleted.
  • It is not beyond the realms of possibility for your email content to be read, as email is not necessarily private, particularly on someone else’s computer or device.
  • A spell check before sending an e-mail is advisable.

What is Your Message.

  • Use good judgment as to when to use an e-mail, as motives and attitudes can be misunderstood in a written format.
  • Use an understood descriptive subject title.
  • Does the e-mail require an attachment for further detail?
  • Be clear and concise in your writing.
  • The type of e-mail message you send can end up being a reflection of your character.
  • Be soft on people and if necessary hard on issues…there is a difference.

Some email Etiquette.carousel-1

  • An opportunity to Build Relationship.
  • Being polite must always apply and assists in establishing and maintaining good relationships.
  • Don’t e-mail or respond when angry or upset.
  • Don’t send an urgent e-mail and expect everyone to act on it immediately.
  • Don’t forward an e-mail without the permission of the author.

Is this message appropriate to the group?

  • Should every member of the group receive this e-mail?
  • You do not always need to respond to group emails when informative, and a response not requested or clearly required.
  • Forward e-mails to groups when you have interacted.
  • When sending a group email to a group or numbers of people who do not know each other place the email addresses in the BC (Blind Copy) area so as not to divulge email addresses to others who don’t need access to them or pass them on resulting in spam.

Basic managing your email.

  • E-mail should be viewed and responded to within 24 hours.
  • If in business set email to auto-reply if the you cannot respond within 24 hours.
  • If you are not able to respond to a personal email in a timely manner, acknowledge its receipt quickly indicating a response will follow. If someone has taken the time to find it necessary to send an email it is demotivating and discourteous not to respond or acknowledge it.
  • CC only when you wish to inform others and you don’t expect them to respond.

Spammer’s favourite tricks

  • Check e-mail address.
  • Often has a false subject line.
  • Their email address is not consistent with the alleged source of the e-mail.
  • Intended enticing subject headers.
  • Dubious content.
  • If ever in doubt delete and then remove from the delete box.

Top email etiquette tips

  • Identify yourself at the beginning of the e-mail, if it is not already clear.
  • Keep the message simple and clear.
  • Be careful with humour and sarcasm as it can backfire being misunderstood.
  • Don’t use your email to let off steam or flame a conversation. Far better to have a verbal conversation and if possible face to face.
  • Copy emails with care.
  • Reply to all with care.
  • Be cautious sending attachments.
  • Edit your e-mail before you send.
  • Always delete spam immediately, and if possible have a facility in place to monitor and control it.
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Healing, Death, Where is God in this?

Why am I or they not healed? Why did they die?

At the start of this blog let me say if you are looking for the answer here I am sorry to disappoint you, but I will share my thoughts when in this situation.

I have seen people not changed when prayed for, and some instantly and partially healed. I have seen people close to death healed, and I have also experienced friends and family die. Is there a scriptural reason for this and are we failing?

It is natural and normal for us as Christians to pray when in these situations and ask for God to bring a positive change in the circumstances.

I have seen people pray daily, set up message groups, got churches praying, anointed with oil and laying on of hands by the elders. Fasting and declaring God’s word over in faith for full healing. Yet the result prayed for didn’t happen. Please understand in no way am I saying any of these practices are wrong or ineffective.

Here are a few of my thoughts below.

I don’t know the answer as to why God didn’t answer the prayers as we would have desired, but I accept the outcome.

In some cases of death, I wonder why was it better for them to be in heaven rather than stay here with us on earth continuing in some cases in their ministry… but I’m not God. I’ve had to trust that in God’s sovereignty that all had been done that God needed them to do, albeit more in some instances would have been done if man around them had been obedient.

Strength can be gained from Isaiah 55:8-9 8 HCSB “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9“For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts……”

So this means I can stop asking ‘why?’ and find contentment that in same instances I will not know the answer this side of heaven. It’s OK for me to say: “I don’t know why”

Jesus didn’t heal his own earthly father Joseph.

It is believed by some scholars that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, died whilst Jesus was healingbetween the age of 12-30. How he died and the circumstances surrounding his death we do not know. This means: We conclude from this Jesus (God on earth) did not heal his earthly father OR raise him from the dead. He allowed him, to go home to heaven. He allowed his mother to be a widow.

Interesting then that Jesus and the heavenly father saw this as acceptable for Jesus earthly dad to die.

Jesus is the healer, not me

I have prayed for and seen healings, also on more than one occasion seen creative miracles. I have experienced healing miracles in my own life, and also prayed on many occasions and not seen a positive change.

My desire and heart is to see people healed; and, as can be read in the gospels, with immediate effect. The reality is that I don’t see this happen on most occasions, and this can contribute to a belief in wrong theology – that of a theology of works…

“If only I had prayed more, if I had fasted more, If I had put oil on them at a certain time, if I had asked a person with a healing ministry to pray for them…”

Instead of taking this route, I choose to believe that God is good, and that it is not about how or what I do, but what He has done through the cross. If I start to analyse and believe I could have done more; or I was a hindrance by lack of response or certain action, then I miss what healing has always been about.

Gods word clearly states: Isaiah 53:5 5 HCSB But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. – It’s about the finished work on the cross. The bible does not say by HIS wounds (and what you do and the amount of effort you put in) we are healed. The emphasis is on HIS WOUNDS, not man’s works.

Therefore, I rest and continue to pray in line with the truth of His Word believing for breakthrough in healing; not getting stressed or burdened by not seeing the answer; or responding to super spiritual pressure by those with good intentions.

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Are Emotions Controlling You?

Emotions play a big part in our life. They are at work 24 hours a day in our work, rest, play, family, job, and how we love others. It is vital that we recognise our emotions and don’t allow them to control us as this not only effects us but those around us.

Do you allow emotions to control your life and as a consequence your actions and the consequences of them? What do you do when you feel a surge of emotion that is having a negative impact on you and those around you?

What happens when your emotions start speaking negative thoughts to you, maybe about your family and friends?

Many of us in some way or another allow our emotions to control us. We have a difficult time in allowing God to take control even though we know this is the right path to take. Why do you think that is? Why does God allow that to happen?

It is because on this earth we are imperfect and we allow sin to rule and its because we are not heeding a still small voice that if we listen will guide us in a straight path.

God wants us to give him our imperfections and He will make things right in His way. God wants our feelings to create the positive and not the negative.

Its fine to have feelings but it is how we express them that is important. How we handle our feelings and emotions and express ourselves can make or break relationships. It would be wrong to be devoid of emotions, but are they in line with the written word of God and what God is saying to us. We are to listen to Him whilst we have the emotion, or how He has spoken to us relative to that situation maybe in times past.

Some days we just feel yuky as my grandson would express himself, and yEmotionsuky is how we then treat people around us

Are we allowing our emotions to control who God wants us to be. We have inside of us great potential, just waiting to express itself. Have we submitted the bitter, resentment, hurt, disappointment, rejection to God or have we determined even subconsciously to operate selfishly and dictate how we will handle our situation’s. How can we cut off and move away from the selfish me?

We can free ourselves of the negative emotions that persistently upset the apple cart in our life. We may need help from a wise reliable friend to bring wisdom for us to heed, thus enabling us to move away from a lifestyle where our emotions dictate our daily life and potentially feed untruths that influence us.

Sadly there are those who haven’t allowed God to take full control of every aspect of their life. You see there isn’t a natural life and a spiritual life two separate areas. It is to recognise that we must be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.

The Message Bible says I Corinthians 2:12 says The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

So if we listen to God He lets us in on what He has planned we don’t have to rely on the uncertainty, but have a knowledge that He knows what has happened and is happening and in full control and so we can rest in that certainty.

Do you understand and appreciate what you have in God, and what He has made available to us?

We can have an increased awareness in our personality by giving our past hurts and pains to God, and we don’t have to get all religious about it.

When you realise the potential within you and recognise who God says you are. You are released from what man says or thinks and embark in a life drawing on resources He has left at our disposal.

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“I will build my church”

Jesus told Peter that He was going to build His Church Matthew 16:18 (NIV) And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. This followed Peter’s revelation from heaven. Then Jesus gave him the keys.

Like Peter we can have a revelation from Heaven and understand we have the keys but then finding that God deals drastically with us to clear out prejudices, preconceived ideas, and hindrances to bring us to a place of usability to promote the revelation. At times it can surprise and even shock us what God does with us. It may even cause us to be the subject of criticism or persecution. Are we prepared to press in with an obedience despite what we feel and see that may cause us discomfort. Are we prepared to only do the fathers will and not stick to traditions and maybe man made ideas that are not inline with His purposes. Do we cooperate in the building of His church and not traditions, or mans egos shrouded  by a lie of clouding the truth behind it.

Peters statement in Acts 11:17 (NIV) So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”  He had already said something to the civic leaders in Acts 3:19-20 (NIV) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Its different when you are with a person who should know better and from whom you expect understanding and cooperation. When God is moving what is a person to do? Get in Gods way? Get out of Gods way? or cooperate? If we are to see His Glory manifest there is only the way of cooperation.

When God moves He shakes that which can be shaken, and disturbs notions and ideas that are not in His plan. When we listen to His voice through His written word and His prophetic voice we are to take hold and pray diligently His purposes into being. When we pray through in line with HIS PURPOSES it strikes like a lightening bolt and brings a devastating impact to opposition and sets in motion HIS PLAN. I have expechurchrienced this on a number of occasion in seeing healings, closing of businesses down, removal of men in opposition etc. Its the only way if we really are His and want His will to be done. We pray the Lords prayer into being Matthew 6:10 (NIV) your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

There are two centers of Gods operation 1) Individuals 2) Group

1 Individuals – It is still true that Gods methods are people. He chooses people but needs their cooperation.

2 Group – Repentance into life. Acts 11:18 (NIV) When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” The Church in Antioch However when Peter went to Caesarea he met with opposition from a group Acts 11:2 (NIV) So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him. Peter was a man who feared God, prayed, loved, practiced charity. If God had not been satisfied with him he wouldn’t have sent Peter into that situation. The purpose of God is to have a people who listen to His voice and walk in obedience despite feelings, emotions and opposition. For as we do so we will see His mighty plans unfolded in reality, impacting ourselves and on a wider plain.

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The Valley Experience

The “Valley of Beracah means The Valley of Praise or Blessing. How can we know how to turn our valleys of struggles into valleys of Praises and Blessings? It is considered that the Vallay of Beracah is the same valley as the Valley of Jehoshaphat? in Joel 3:2,12 “I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial or what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land”. Joel mentions this incident in 2 Chronicles and calls it the “Valley of Jehoshaphat”. This Valley it appears is where the last battle of Armageddon is going to take place Rev.16:16. Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. What occurred here in this incident must have been important to God, for God to say that the last battle of human history will take place in the “Valley of Jehoshaphat.”

Valley’s are an important aspect in our lives. It’s not realistic to expect that we will go through our lives without any struggles or adversities. God is going to permit us into the valley experience because there are some foundations and lessons that don’t become learnt in our lives until we go through a valley, however God comes through for us.

We can’t expect a triumph on every occasion in our life without a trial, You can’t have a testimony without a test and often you can’t have a victory until you’ve gone through a battle! It’s like the Andre Crouch song “Through it All” a line in the song says “If I never had a problem I wouldn’t know that God could solve them and I’d never know what faith in God could do. But through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus and I’ve learned to trust in God, Through it all I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”

2 Chronicles. 20 Vs.1-3 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites[a]came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom,[b] from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.

This passage shows us the predicament that Jehoshaphat was facing, he had three Nations that came against him and the Nation of Judah for battle. But that’s sometimes the way valleys are. You are getting on with living your life and all of the sudden it hits you with a great force. These things seem to just happen and you find yourself entering the Valley. This is part of the Christian life and there will be battles of varying types.

Beracah-Valley2 Chronicles. 20 Vs.3-5  Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard

This shows us what Jehoshaphat did and it gives us a an indication what we should do when a battle emerges. Jehoshaphat was afraid. Its part of of the Christian life, and we must learn how to handle fear. When Jehoshaphat was afraid he sought the Lord. When we encounter issues (the valleys) we are to seek Him for His guidance and direction. He didn’t rush out to battle in his own strength, he knew this situation was impossible to face in his own. Zechariah.4:6 says “it’s not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts”. If we want God to move supernaturally in our lives then we have to be willing to seek Him and on occasions wait on His direction and then move in obedience.

A valley experience isn’t a place to roll over and play dead, neither is it a place to stick your head in the sand and adopt the ostrich syndrome. It is a place of Action. Psalm 23 states that David said “though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death”. Take note he didn’t camp there as he kept moving forward through the Valley. When we get in the valley keep focused and obedient to what He says.

Jehoshaphat didn’t go into this battle the way military leaders would go about it. He knew the battle he was facing wasn’t just a natural battle. Firstly it was a spiritual battle as these nations weren’t just coming against him, they were coming against God. Therefore it was a battle to be won initially in the spiritual realm. We see in 2 Samuel. 17:45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

David knew this, and that’s how he could face Goliath. So Jehoshaphat called a fast, prayed, and waited for God’s direction.

In battle they would send in the front the singers and musicians to lead the way with Thanksgiving and Praise. It’s not logical to do what Jehoshaphat did, but this is what God led them to do. Look at 2 Chronicles 20 vs.20-23  Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: 

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 

The singers were placed at the front of the army and led the way into battle with thanksgiving praise and worship. It sounds foolish but when He instructs irrespective of the appearance or mans opinion it cant fail. God supernaturally intervened and caused the enemy to turn on each other and destroy each other.

If we want the product of what man can produce, then do it mans way. If we want what God can do, then His way will bring His results.

These are foundations that God wants to develop in our lives, so that we will know how to turn our valleys into places of Blessing and Praise, seeing great victories. Romans 8 v31 If God be for us who can be against us. 1 John 4 v4 …. because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

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Power of Words

Our words carry so much meaning – sometimes even meaning what we don’t fully understand, maybe haven’t given much thought behind them or even cliches. At times do we say things or use phrases that we’ve heard others use before, or do we even understand the theory of what we are expressing, but we don’t participate in its demonstration or outworking. If we are listening to the Holy Spirit He will pull us up when we persistently exaggerate, make false statement, glib words, or quote theory in our words but in reality there is no outworking of them. Let me elaborate on my opening statements not as a criticism but I trust as an aid to help us to be aware:-

Things we say and do

  • I love you – Do you really demonstrate genuine love, or is it just a nice expression. Are you missing or ignoring ways of displaying this.
  • I will pray for you – Do you?
  • Exaggerate – Intentional exaggeration of a known fact is a lie.
  • I care – Do your actions display this statement. If it is the truth does it have implications for you and are you addressing it?
  • Inquire – Is it out of a sense of duty with no empathy, understanding or effort to appreciate the sittuation?
  • Are we people of our wordLink to a blog

wordsHow are you using your words? Are you aware of what you say to others, or do words just fall out of our mouth without taking ownership of them? You may have heard the children’s chant, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? What you say can be said glibly but the hearer takes it as fact and maybe has an expectancy believing what you have said is truth, and maybe with an action.

Sadly often in the church today truth and theory is presented as fact being in operation. It is important that there is a need of taking stock and accepting it is work in progress and a need for effort, discipline, and teaching, which will result when it is appropriated in us functioning how He wants us to be. To live in delusion doesn’t cause us to grow, neither does it take us to the place where He wants us to be and function.

Let us not play act, acting out a sense of duty saying what we believe is the right thing to say, but being genuine and honest in our life style. I believe that this will bring change in our own lives, and impact those around us to greater effect.

Ephesians 4:15 (NIV) 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Please accept this is not a rant, but my endeavoring to “speak the truth in love

 

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Is Church Today as God Intended?

Over the last eighteen months I have been unwell and as a consequence on a regular basis I have been unable to attend a set gathering of Christians coming together at a set time each week. As a consequence of not attending a gathering it caused me to reflect and ask God the question “Is church today as God intended?” the response I received was “Don’t blame me if it isn’t”

Before I am shot down in flames or burned at the stake let me say this is a generalised comment and I understand that not all gatherings of people are the same, and there are settings where the Holy Spirit has free reign, but I observe that in general church today has become predictable.

You may go to a building, where you are issued with some form of welcome or communication leaflet, you sit in a chair, and set off on a predictable pre-organised routine, you sing a few songs, someone delivers maybe a polished message that was advertised the week before, at the conclusion have a coffee that is described as fellowship, and go home until the following week having little or no contact with anyone you saw that day. You may possibly attend a midweek group that has an issued agenda to be followed by the group leader.

I believe there is a disconnect between the church today and what God intended it to be.

When you read the New Testament, you see the Holy Spirit changed many things so that this gathering of people who call themselves Christians had this supernatural element about them.

It was the Holy Spirit, which came down after Jesus ascended to heaven, that empowered Christians thousands of years ago. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, people began speaking in different languages, people were being healed, and believers had a supernatural love for one another.

The fire that came down from heaven, that rush of wind, however, seems to have disappeared.

imagesDo you really see this supernatural power at work when the believers gather together for what we call church or in their daily lives? Isn’t it the same Holy Spirit that’s available to us today? Why is it so different now in many instances from when it was sent? Is it allowed to operate in the way God sent it?

In some instances there has been a shut down on the Holy Spirit moving as there has been a wacky element and even a fabrication of a Holy Spirit leading. Rather than deal with that in a loving instructional way and still continue to make room for the Holy Spirit to operate, there has been a shut down on the Holy Spirit to ensure there are no demonstrations that are likely to cause offense or be out of order.

The church today is neither super nor natural. So much is predictable and to be expected.

When Jesus said they would be endued with power (the Holy Spirit), it really did come upon them and they were powerful individuals (Jesus’ disciples) Why is it that in the church so many people are weak or defeated, or we get so insecure because we look at ourselves rather than God? It doesn’t make sense that we should be like that, and means we are not living in our inheritance.

Though Christians believe in an almighty and all powerful God who places His spirit in believers, the response so often among His people today is: Welcome to church. Here’s your bulletin. Enjoy your time with us. Come back next week.”

Is that all God intended for us in our lives?

While pondering whether Christians really believe the Holy Spirit exists today and can work powerfully, let me say what would the church look like today if we really stopped taking control of it and let the Holy Spirit lead? I fully understand and appreciate that organisation is important particularly in large settings, however are we willing to be open to the Holy Spirit to have free reign and change the pre-arranged events, or let Him in on any organisation. Do we ask Him to attend and make Him welcome in our gatherings and expect the supernatural along with the gifts of the spirit to be manifest.

Let me take it a step further do we expect and allow the Holy spirit to be in our life style. Do we listen for His direction, His wisdom in our daily lives and routine. Do we talk and listen to Him. Do we have a relationship with Him. “OOOOH steady on” I may hear some say that’s going too far and getting spooky. No not at all as we are to be naturally spiritual, and spiritually natural. Not one thing at home and some thing else in a different setting. It really is a great way to live as God intended it to be. So many issues, pressures, attitudes would never occur if we only kept in communion with the Holy Spirit.

I believe this is exactly what the world needs to see. We are called to be influencers. I could give you illustrations of times in my life when never having specifically said any thing yet people around have noticed changes in atmosphere, obstacles in situations tumbling. Why because the Holy Spirit dwells within us and leads us.

Oh my friend lets allow Him to lead and direct. You say “I cant in my church”. You can be in your daily walk and life style. Only take responsibility for that which He gives you. Don’t dwell and be negative about that which isn’t your responsibility, and move in all that He sets before you.

To sum up the church is not about buildings, facilities, the latest technology or the trendiest programs, and I am not against them providing it is Holy Spirit led. It’s about His people. You see people matter to God. We are His Church, and when us the church live the way God designed it to function, we will see a manifestation of God’s power and glory in His church and our daily lives.

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Why save sex for marriage?

When God creates something, He creates it with purpose and  design. The Genesis account of creation makes it clear that God’s creation is  “good” Genesis 1:31 In  the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But mankind has a  history of distorting what God has made, whether out of ignorance or just plain  stubbornness. The golden calf of the Israelites, for example. Gold is beautiful  to look at, but God clearly did not want His people worshiping it.

Sex (and yes, sex was God’s idea) is no different. God  created it, and therefore it is reasonable to expect that it is good. But when  man distorts it by ignoring God’s specific standards, it becomes harmful and  destructive. So the question we’ve asked ‘why save sex for marriage’ is really a  question of understanding God’s purpose and design for sex. We can choose to do  things God’s way, and experience the beauty of His plan, or we can choose to do  things our way, and experience harm and destruction  Proverbs 16:25. There is a way that seems right  to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

So, let’s talk first about why God created sex. One  reason is obvious: procreation. When God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and  multiply” Genesis 1:28, God blessed them and said to the????????????????????????????????????????????????????????m, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the  earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and  over every living creature that moves on the ground.” they probably  thought that He wanted them to have sex. But God also wanted them to develop  intimacy with one another, and He knew that sex would help them do that, in a  way that nothing else could.

God also knew that because sex is so powerful in creating  intimacy that there must be some constraints on how it was to be used, so He  specifically relegated sex to the area of marriage. The kind of intimacy that  God desires between a married couple cannot occur between one person and several  others; it can only be experienced between one man and one woman. Hence God has  specifically said, “Do not commit adultery” Exodus 20:14 You shall not commit adultery. and “Flee  sexual immorality” 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man  commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own  body. That is, do not have sex with someone who is not your spouse.  Obedience requires that sex be reserved for your spouse.

So far we have two basic reasons to save sex for marriage:

(1) God tells us to, and

(2) God’s purpose and design for sex cannot be fully  achieved any other way.

Many, though, have argued that non-marriage sex is not all  that harmful. Let’s look carefully at the potential consequences for this  particular area of disobedience.

Sex outside of marriage causes damage

The physical consequences are becoming increasingly obvious  and increasingly dangerous in today’s society. AIDS and other Sexually  Transmitted Diseases are frightening realities. “Safe sex” would be more  accurately described as “reduced risk sex.” The only truly safe sex is  abstinence. There is also a very real risk that children could be born — and  possibly grow up without two parents. Your actions affect your life, your  partner’s life, and the lives of your family.

Sex outside of marriage damages the relationship between  the persons involved. Trust is the main issue here. If two people do not cherish  sex enough to wait for a marriage commitment, how can they trust one another for  fidelity? Conversely, a man and woman build trust and respect for one another  when they both survive the struggles of self-control – each will have the  confidence that the other respects them, and cherishes their intimacy.

Also, if a person has not carried sexual purity into  marriage, his or her marriage relationship is affected by the past. If a man or  woman has previously had sex with someone else, their marital intimacy has  already been affected. One or both spouses will have to deal with real or  perceived comparisons with “former lovers” and feeling that intimacy was not  important enough for the other person to wait for it. But if both have waited  for their wedding night, the intimacy has already begun with a solid foundation.

Why save sex for marriage?

(1) God commands us to,

(2) God’s purpose and design for sex can only be achieved  within marriage, and

(3) the physical and relational consequences of sex outside  of marriage are painfully real.

“But we’re in love!” some might say. Maybe so, but  if you believe in God’s definition of love, he must realise that love is patient  and kind; it does not seek to please itself, nor does it delight in evil, but is  always hopeful 1 Corinthians 13 1 If  I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a  clanging cymbal. 2If I  have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if  I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess  to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love  is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5It is not rude, it is  not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight  in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It  always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love  never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are  tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and  we prophesy in part, 10but  when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a  child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I  put childish ways behind me. 12Now  we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now  I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And  now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

True love would be patient in waiting for the proper time  for sex.

It would be kind to future spouses by not pre-harming  marital intimacy. True love would be unselfish in placing God’s desires and the  needs of others above itself. It would not delight in the evil of disobedience,  nor would it force another to disobey God. Love could never be a reason for  premarital sex; rather, it should be one of the greatest reasons to avoid premarital sex.

“But we’re going to be married anyway”

But we’re going to be married anyway is another  common excuse. Along with being presumptuous, this stance will almost certainly  leave one question unanswered: If you give in to moral temptation before  marriage, what’s to stop you from giving in to moral temptation once married?

“What if it’s too late? What if I’ve already lost my  sexual purity?”

Good question! Certainly a person cannot reverse the past,  but there are a number of steps you should take to keep from further damaging  your intimacy with God and others.
First, acknowledge your actions as sin. For those who have accepted Christ’s  payment of the penalty for their sins, He asks only that they confess – agree  with God that they are sinful.

Second, maintain purity from this moment  forward. Jesus told the woman caught in sexual sin to “go and sin no more” John 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn  you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” You cannot change what’s been done, but you can keep yourself and others from  any further damage by avoiding situations which might cause you to compromise  your commitment to sexual purity. Paul advised Timothy to run away from  temptation 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of  youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who  call on the Lord out of a pure heart. and Joseph is famous for running  from moral danger Genesis 39:7-12 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of  Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” 8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern  himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my  care. 9 No one is greater  in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you,  because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin  against God?” 10 And  though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or  even be with her. 11One day he went into the house to  attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside.12 She caught him by his  cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran  out of the house.

Third, be honest with anyone who is a “potential spouse” –  don’t wait till your wedding night to discuss your sexual past. Some intimacy  problems may be averted if you address them early on.

Sex is a good thing. It must be, if God created it! The  only way to keep it a “good thing” is to follow God’s guidelines. God will  reward you if you choose to honour Him, and save sex for its proper time and  place – your marriage.

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What is Praise & Worship & is there a difference?

What is Praise and Worship?

In many of our churches throughout the world there are many different “Praise and Worship styles”. There are churches and gatherings of Christians or even individuals in their home who have a great reverence for God and they kneel but not lifting their hands. In other settings of praise and worship there is lifting of hands, but never very much kneeling. Others have dancing; waving of flags and in some cases not much knowledge of why they are doing it and no more that a church karaoke session.

There are those who feel that your praise and worship is a personal thing and that people express their praise and worship each in a different way and please don’t interfere in my way of doing it. Banning of various instruments for use in corporate worship and forbidden musical styles has been known to be done, swinging to the other extreme of permitting any type of so called music from whatever source at all. Then there are individuals who state that praise and worship has nothing to do with a church gathering but is your life style and I don’t need to gather with other Christians. There are some persons who may not say it but in their demeanor and thought demonstrate that ‘praise-and-worship’ is some sort of hyphenated word describing the warm-up at the start of a service. There are leaders who have rigid song lists and flashing disco lights and the Holy Spirit doesn’t get a look in or consideration.

Is there a balance in all this, or a right way or wrong way to do this? How does God feel about the praise and worship being expressed to Him? Is praise and worship just singing songs to God? What is “praise” and “worship” and are they different? My heart is to see a people who are lost in God in the acts and lifestyle of praise and worship and be led by the Holy Spirit making room for His direction.

joy_praise_555404626I believe that praise and worship are to be based on the word of God and not some modernistic idea of wanting to be cool, although that could still be scriptural in some cases. It is important that a “Praise and Worship” leader (whatever your terminology is for the person who leads) must know the difference in praise and worship and not just be instrumentally or vocally good, but fundamentally have a heart and knowledge of how to praise and worship God and a sensitivity to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Is there a difference between “Praise” and “Worship”?

Praise

Praise and worship can bring a new dimension to the way we honour the Lord. We are commanded in the Bible to “Praise the Lord” and these too numerous to mention here. Angels and the heavenly hosts are commanded to praise the Lord (Psalm 89:5; 103:20; 148:2). All inhabitants of the earth are instructed to praise the Lord (Psalm 138:4; Romans 15:11). We can praise Him with singing (Isaiah 12:5; Psalm 9:11), with shouting (Psalm 33:1; 98:4), with the dance (Psalm 150:4), and with musical instruments (1 Chronicles 13:8; Psalm 108:2; 150:3-5).

Praise is when we recall and reflect of all God had done for us. It is closely linked with thanksgiving as we offer Him our appreciation for all His works that He has done for us. Praise does not require anything of us it is just acknowledging the acts of another. God has done amazing things for us and He is worthy of our praise (Psalm 18:3).

Praising God is giving Him the recognition He deserves. We can define what we mean by praising God by considering the end result. The end result of praising God is to exalt Him and His name.

There are various ways we can praise God often being in song. We can praise God in dance, prayer, proclamations, studying God’s Word, and the list goes on. Singing praises to God was common occurrence in biblical times. The main purpose of the Psalms is to praise God—shown by the many songs on praise.

No matter what methodology we use to praise God, we must be sure to raise up His name above all else. “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4). Putting other people or things before God is easy to do, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, we cans praise God with all of our being.

Worship

Worship comes from a different position than our praise as it comes from within our spirit. Worship should only be given to God and none other. Worship involves the losing of oneself in the act of worshiping God (Luke 4:8). Praise can be part of worship but worship goes beyond praise. Praise is easy but worship requires a cost. It requires us to humbly surrender ourselves to God to give the reigns of our life over to Him and adore Him for who He is and not just what He has done. Worship is a lifestyle not an occasional activity that we do when we get an emotion in a meeting. Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

Worship is not the slow song that we sing, although this often helps to focus where our heart is towards Him and can aid us in the act of worship. Worship is not the amount you give financially, or the amount you volunteer. These can be acts or expressions of our worship, but they do not identify what true worship really is. There are many definitions of the word worship. One in particular encapsulates the priority we should give to worship as a discipline: Worship is to honour with extravagant love and extreme submission (Webster’s Dictionary,1828).

Worship, is defined by the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities. Worship is a matter of the heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. Therefore, if your lifestyle does not express the beauty of holiness through an extravagant or exaggerated love for God, and you do not live in extreme or excessive submission to God, then why not make worship a non-negotiable priority in your life.

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Who’s eyes do you see through?

Who’s eyes do you see through? Do you look at what is available to the natural eye or through Gods eyes. The natural eye can so often be tainted by our preconceived ideas, opinions or consequential judgement which changes our perception of what we think we see. Looking through Gods eyes and the eye of faith sees the reality.

I am disabled and have a form of spina bifida now resulting in degenerating vertebra along with disintegrated and collapsed discs. To all outward appearances I look like any able bodied person so when I totter and even fall I have been judged as drunk. On occasions when in my mobility scooter I have stood up, and you are aware of the questioning stares, and can see they are thinking why is he in a scooter. You see no one sees the disability, the extreme pain which goes on for hours in the day and causes sleep deprivation just due to having the consequence having put the effort to stand or walk a short way. No one sees the side effects of medication. I don’t present this to seek sympathy but to highlight its not what we see with the natural eye that always gives a full orbed picture.

When a disabled man suffering with paralysis for 38 years lay helpless at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” and immediately, the man was healed, took up his bed and walked. (John 5:8–9)

give-me-your-eyesNo one would say these kind of words unless they saw something others don’t. God does not see the way mankind does. However it is important that we must see the way God sees. The scripture says that ” ….  But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) How do you do that? Walk close with Him, ask, listen, believe what He says.

The prophet Balaam saw what God saw when God’s Spirit fell on him. As he looked down from the mountain at the camp of the Israelites, he said, “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! Like valleys that stretch out, like gardens by the riverside, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters.” (Numbers 24:5–6)

Balaam would not have said this if he has seen Israel through the natural eye, but he saw it in his minds eye as God saw it. The Israelites were not in a good state, suffering with discontentment, constantly murmuring and complaining in the wilderness. However when God looked at them, He saw them like flourishing gardens planted by the rivers, fruitful and prosperous. What a difference.

Gods eyes see the reality, the potential, the finished product. When you see situations through God’s eyes, you will find that they will change because when you see as He sees, you  then cooperate with Him  to work out His good pleasure.

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Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is a skill and self discipline you can learn, and by doing so can increase efficiency, obviate misunderstandings, and make difficult situations more tolerable. What you communicate and the method you use can have a major influence on the recipients response and ultimate outcome.

Having been in hospital on eight occasions within the last eleven months and experienced in other situations poor communication it has caused me to reflect on this subject and hence write this blog. I have had excellent treatment in the hospital by the staff but on a number of occasions it would have been helpful for the staff to have been kept informed by their colleagues and adequate information given to my self. In some of the situations it would have increased their efficiency and assisted me in my understanding of my condition and prognosis.

Here are some suggestions to assist you in how to communicate.

  • Make it clear what you’re wishing to communicate. The purpose could be to inform, to obtain information or initiate action.
  • Consider the other party and what they need, or would be helpful for them to know. Always ensure that they have all the information they need to know. Having done that ensure they understand what you wished them to know. This is to be applied in personal and work situations giving necessary and helpful information to keep them informed.
  • Speak clearly and not in jargon they would not understand.
  • Communication is often two way so listen carefully to the others comments.  On occasions it is necessary to listen without passing judgment.
  • Respond to communications of varying types even if you are communicateunable to help. This keeps good open relationships and the other party aware of your status in their communication. If it is an informative communication in this instance a response would not be necessary.

  • Do what you say you’ll do. see my blog “Are we people of our word ….”

  • When there are issues, work them out with the source, not with others unless they are advisers or mediators.

  • Always be respectful in your communication irrespective of whether you like the person.

  • When you are the recipient of assistance or support, express appreciation.

  • Be careful to focus on the issues, and not people, unless they are the issue in which case treat them respectfully and keep them informed in a courteous manner.

  • When there are differences in views or ideas, ensure you understand them from the other person’s perspective, and be open to change and constructive discussion.

  • Be honest, direct, and sincere as routine.

  • Always use humour in good taste and not at a persons expense.

  • When there is a disagreement or dispute try to resolve face to face and not via letter or email, as the content can easily be misconstrued as displaying an attitude that was not intended.
  • When we communicate remember that people Remember 20% of what they are told, 40% of what they read, 60% of WHAT THEY SEE.

Communication skills are the key to developing and retaining friendships and to building a strong support network. They also help you take care of your own needs, while being respectful of the needs of others. We are not born with good communication skills; and like many other skills we learn in life, effective communication is a skill we can learn. It is learnt through observing those that do it well, trial and error and repeated practice!

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Where Is God When We Suffer?

Updated 12th January 2016

In the last twenty six months I have experienced a number of debilitating ailments for varying conditions including contracting C.difficile, also had nine operations along with sixteen stays in hospital, having recently undertaken my second heart operation in three months. I have also undergone a colonoscopy, endoscopy, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan, Xray, blood tests, back injections; it causes you to not doubt His word, but question how do I apply it and come through. This is not a cry for sympathy as I don’t require that, but a sharing of how I see we handle painful areas of our life.

Maybe you’re searching for God’s strength midst hurting in a situation, mental illness or chronic physical pain? Do you find yourself asking why God allows suffering in this world? Do people claim you must not have enough faith or there must be sin in your life, its a generational curse, question you as to what God is teaching you? Whilst it can not be denied these are in some instances factors that are known to influence and in certain cases be hindrances in us obtaining our healing, or change in circumstances. Let us be discerning in how we speak to people suffering remembering that God never inflicts sickness He only allows it. It is very easy inadvertently or intentionally condemn someone rather than lift and encourage them to believe and go through their painful sickness or situation.

Maybe your role as a good friend is to be a support in various ways that you are able, perhaps praying, being an encourager, keeping in contact, visiting etc: those who may be feeling vulnerable in their time of need. We know that God has said, Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”. God also uses people to be those who “I will never leave you” people as we can be His hands and His voice to those who are in need.

He will never leave us nor forsake us as that is His promise. Remember our feelings do not tell us the truth unless they align with His word. When they don’t align its us that need to change as His word is unchanging and sure.

There are some questions we do not have the answers to, and we along with others have not been given the spirit of presumption. You may ask then why doesn’t God heal all your ailments when you have experienced healing in a certain area like myself, or intervene in our painful situation and my answer is, “I don’t know”. So we continue to take Him at His word knowing that He died on the cross not only taking our sins but also our sickness and rest in an assurance that He is in control, and continue to pray in line with His word, believing that He is able to fulfill all of His promises. NailsIsaiah 53:5  “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” 

Isaiah 43:1-3a,4b “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.O Israel, the one who formed you says,“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour…you are precious to me. You are honoured, and I love you.” 

There are times when we are encouraged and see Gods hand of intervention. When going in for the sixth operation I was told that I was half way up a long motorway to recovery and would require several more operations. An MRI was to be arranged to plan the next step and possibly a temporary stoma. I came out of the operation to be told an amazing change had taken place and that I would not require any further operations and was discharged six weeks latter – That’s what God can do. Thank you Jesus!)

Faith is not denying reality. It’s not pretending the sickness or problem doesn’t exist. Faith is not saying, “I have no pain” when you have. It’s not saying, “I don’t have symptoms” when you do. That’s not faith; it’s sham! Faith is facing reality without being disheartened by knowing God is bigger than the issue.

There are those that “Deny issues. Just have a positive confession. Name it and claim it.” That kind of thinking did not come from Jesus. That’s sham, and sham is not a good theologian.

Faith is facing reality without being discouraged by it. You are aware that God can change issues. You can build on faith, but you can’t build on fantasy. You can build a business on faith, but not on fantasy. You can build a life on faith, but not on fantasy.

We acknowledge reality but apply faith. We recognise that He is in control and rest knowing it will be well. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIVWe fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen [the problem] is temporary, but what is unseen [God’s power] is eternal”. So we control our thoughts and bring them in line with His word and live by faith and reality. This takes the pressure off yourself from moving into sham and professing unreality. My reality is I have heart symptoms after my second heart operation that could indicate it has not been a success again, it could also mean its work in progress and healing is taking place. Where I am at in my journey at this time is to endeavour to come to a place of peace and rest knowing I committed myself into His hands and safe keeping and continue to ask for healing to be accomplished, knowing that is His heart for me.

I have found that keeping communication with Jesus is vital, its called prayer. Spending time not only praying but listening to what He has to say. Our attitude and conscious thinking of our situation can influence how you feel. Keeping focused on what God has said and pull yourself up when you start becoming negative. I know that is not easy when pain and frustration appear to overwhelm but make that our goal.

A YouTube video of Israel Houghton singing his composition Every Prayer is encouraging.

Bless you my friend keep focused and remember His is faithful and you are loved. Hebrews 13:8 The Message For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”

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Listen for full instructions

My two year old granddaughter was helping my wife empty the dishwasher. Eager to help she caught hold of as many items as possible and stretched up to the kitchen surface to push them on until they were out of reach. Having achieved her goal she gladly took the next instruction literally when my wife asked her to put a plate into the dishwasher. She caught hold of the plate and threw it into the dishwasher and proceeded to close the door on it.

The amusing incident caused me to think, is that how we listen to God? We pray and ask Dishwasher copyfor  instructions, and having heard we rush forward and implement the instruction in our eagerness to just get on with it. We adopt the attitude that’s it lets go now we have the answer, this is it. If we were to stay a little longer and give God time and have a two way conversation we would get the full detail of how to proceed in the correct way. This way we will see the complete and full expedition of what God wants us to do. Maybe then there will be less frustration and blaming of God for getting it wrong.

Let’s load our dishwashers correctly and be fulfilled in a clean and effective process!

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Past, Present, and Future

Forgiving Yourself of the Past

Beating yourself up about what happened days, weeks, months or even years ago? As much as we would like to, we cannot go in the past and correct those mistakes. However, we can make a decision to learn from them and start forgiving ourselves. One of the most important factors to realise is that you’re human; you will make mistakes. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to live with the guilt’s of your past.
God desires for you to be free from guilt, free from depression, free from the past. The scripture declares, 2 Corinthians 5:17 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] the old has gone, the new is here!
When God forgives us, He makes a very important promise to us that we must also make when we forgive others. God says, Hebrews 8:12 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 10:17 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 17 Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.
When we ask for forgiveness in genuine repentance He forgives. God can do something we are incapable of doing He Chooses to remember our sins no more. He doesn’t forget which is all we can do and in fact we can’t choose to forget either. So when we go back to Him and mention our sins that have been forgiven He says I don’t know what you are talking about. Cleansed and washed from our sin. The word is Justified in other words just if I’d never sinned.

More Than Conquerors
PastPresentFuture
Romans 8:31 New International Version (NIV) More Than Conquerors 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
When we walk in His light and obedience there is nothing that man can do against us. We are more than conquerors, not losers, not those that scrape by, we are winners.

Our Future

Tragically, too many people, including many of God’s own children, declare the wrong things in their lives and then seem surprised when these wrong things manifest for them. As human beings, created with free will, there are only two positions to take concerning what we come into agreement with: what God has said about us, or the lies that the devil has said and continues to say regarding who we are, and what path our lives should take. We either speak life, which is to come into agreement with what God has spoken concerning us, which is Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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Better or Bitter?

The world is full of injustices. Perhaps an inheritance did not materialise. Lies were told about you that had an adverse effect on your circumstances. Promise made that you worked towards and were broken costing you money, and had a detrimental effect on your future. A broken marriage or a business you’d worked hard to build failed, leaving you in financial ruin. A child made choices that grieve you deeply. An accident or serious illness occurred leaving a change in your future plans. Money you loaned that has never been repaid. Even incidents involving the church and the people there may have affected you.bitter-or-better-free-photo-from-creationswap-by-stewart-dowdall

How we respond to life’s injustices can be with bitterness which will only poison your soul. Choosing to let go of bitterness and trust God to help you move on, is the only answer that will enable you to cope.

 

How do you handle bitterness or disappointment?

By choosing not to be bitter, your life can get better. Here’s how you can go from bitter to better:

  • Be honest with God and Yourself. Share your thoughts and feelings about the injustices, loss, hurt you have suffered. God does care, and will not be angry by any negative thoughts or feelings you express with how you are feeling.
  • Tell God about your bitterness or hurts. Ask God to forgive you for bitter responses, and ask Him for His grace to enable you to let go of them. God loves you deeply and unconditionally, and that He is the one who can help you through to a right way of thinking. He is the one you can trust and depend on as He will not let you down.
  • Don’t try to change the past. Accept that it is in the past and it is over and gone. You do not have the ability to change the past. Refuse to give the thoughts dwelling time but change your thoughts and focus on something positive. It is part of YOU renewing your mind.
  • Forgive those who have hurt you. Ask God to help you recall those you need to forgive. (Don’t go grave digging be realistic) Release any thoughts of retaliation. Instead of using your energy to nurse resentment, use it to think of creative solutions to the problem and ways to improve your relationship with the people who hurt you. Choose to forgive them and ask for God’s help. Don’t think I will wait until I feel like it as it then may never happen. Respond from obedience, and not negative emotion and hurt. Pray for the people who have hurt you irrespective whether the situation is resolved or not. In fact the person could be dead or the situation not possible to discuss, and ask God to give you grace to respond in a right way with them when you encounter them.
  • Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made. If you need to forgive yourself, ask God to help you see how he sees you, and embrace his love. Confess any sins you haven’t yet confessed to God, repent of them, and accept his forgiveness, knowing that once you do you are truly forgiven and don’t need to fear that those sins will stand between you and God.
  • Be patient. When God changes us it’s a process that moves at His speed not ours. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you move forward, free from bitterness. Stay close to God moving at his pace, as He walks beside you.
  • Expect a better not a bitter future. Recall God’s promises to help you, and take the time to celebrate and thank him whenever you see evidence of his restorative work in your life. Initially, you had to choose to forgive each person simply as an act of your will; despite at times feelings didn’t align with your decision to forgive. Right feelings will come after your decision as God helps you through a process. You will find that no longer does the negative emotion control you or your thoughts as you have come into a place of peace and rest.
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Do we take Him for granted?

The other day our electricity supply was cut off whilst a team of men removed trees which had grown into the overhead supply cables. Despite me being aware of no electricity supply I went several times to do things to realise I couldn’t because of no electricity. It caused me to contemplate the thought like the electricity supply do I take God for granted.

One of the famous statements of Electricity_Pylon_Divergence_-_geograph.org.uk_-_82180Jesus was when he went back to Nazareth his home town and was treated by his own people with disbelief and suspicion. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…?” They felt uneasy with him. Why is he behaving differently from us, they must have asked themselves.

That’s when Jesus said: “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.” (Mk 6,3-4) Yes, he was like them, except that he also was, and is, not only a prophet, but also in fact, the son of God.

It can be so easy to take things for granted. It may in our opinion seem to be common, ordinary, of little value. We fail to realise that it is precisely in the little things that we can sow the seeds of the true character of our person.

Not taking care of the little things probably means we will most likely fail also in taking care of the big things. Taking care of the little things prepares us for the big things. The little things are like prophets. They can be a display of how we may behave when faced with big things. “He who is faithful in little is faithful also in much.” (Lk 16,10)

It is so important that we are careful that we do not take Jesus for granted. We can take him for granted because we subconsiously only consider He will be interested and involved in the big things, in a special event or crisis, and the like. We fail to recognise that he is precisely in the little things of our life, in fact, he is in all things.

We may need to make adjustments in the way we view things. Our ordinary duties and chores of everyday should be a recognition that’s where we can meet Jesus and really develop our love for him. We should rectify our tendency to be excited only in the big things. So often testimonies are only looked upon as being significant if we in our thinking consider it to be a major event. Jesus does not categorise neither grade our testimony, as it is only by His grace that we are forgiven and saved. He is interested in where we are going not where He has rescued us from.

Lets keep Him central in our daily lives and not lose focus that he is for us and wants to be involved in every aspect of our daily lives.

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Filming – Crossing the Line – Reverse Cut

Particular in church filming I see the occurrence of crossing the line which produces an unnatural viewing, and can be disorientating for the viewer. The following is a small extract from the material I used in my training school. Trust this may help.

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Crossing the Line (Reverse Cut)

Crossing the line is a very important concept in video and film production. It refers to an imaginary line which cuts through the middle of the scene, from side to side with respect to the camera. Crossing the line changes the viewer’s perspective in such as way that it causes disorientation and confusion. For this reason, crossing the line is something to be avoided.

In this example the camera is located to the subject’s left. The imaginary line is shown in red.

The resulting shot shows the subject walking from right to left, establishing the viewer’s position and orientation relative to her.

editing-reverse-cuts1line-01

“Crossing the line” means shooting consecutive shots from opposite sides of the line.

In this example the camera has crossed the line. As you can see in the resulting shot, the view of the subject is reversed and she appears to be walking from left to right.

When cut immediately after the preceding shot, the effect is quite confusing.

Because of the sudden reversal of viewpoint and action, this is known as a reverse cut.

editing-reverse-cuts2line-02

To prevent reverse cuts, set up the scene so you can shoot it all from one side. If you are using multiple cameras, position them on the same side.

In some cases crossing the line is unavoidable, or at least desirable enough to be worth the awkward transition. In this case you can minimize confusion by using a shot taken on the line itself to go between the shots, as illustrated below. This “buffer” shot guides the viewer to the new position so they know where they are. Although it’s still not perfect, it’s not such a severe jolt.

line-01line-03line-02

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Sports & Multi-Camera Action

In live-action situations such as sports coverage, crossing the line is often necessary to obtain the best views. Sometimes this isn’t a problem, especially if it’s a view the audience is used to, but sometimes it can be very confusing (for example, a team suddenly seems to be playing in the wrong direction). This can be alleviated by either a graphic key saying something like “Reverse Angle”, or a word from the commentator such as “Let’s see that replay from a different angle”.

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The 180° Rule

The rule of line-crossing is sometimes called the 180° rule. This refers to keeping the camera position within a field of 180°.

editing-reverse-cuts-180

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Practising and Making Room for the Presence of God

Over the years I have often heard the expression of how someone enjoyed “The Presence of God”. This doesn’t have to be one off experiences that you encounter whilst attending a meeting but you can live knowing and experiencing this in your daily life.

I was going to blog on this but decided to refer to my previous articles on my website as they address’s this subject.

Here are a couple of links to my website:-

Extract fromExperiencing the Presence of God

We are not seeking more of God to experience an experience. That isn’t the answer, we are not seeking the presence of God so we can have some kind of wonderful ethereal feeling, we are seeking after Him because we love Him. We are going to him because of what he has done for us. We want to be in his presence because we are so much in love. And it is as a consequence that we are then in his presence because we are allowing Him to fashion our character. He can then fellowship with us spirit to spirit.

Extract from “Bringing back the ark” – Making room for Him

Dimensions of the Ark 54.5″ x 33″ x 33″

Making room for the presence or increased presence of God will requirepractice sacrifice.

We can not find an alternative method in endeavouring to produce the presence of God.

We can not use carts. i.e. Someone else’s experience, fabricating, copying.  Many books on revival have been written, there are principles we can learn, but we can not use them as text books.

So how do we live in His presence? This will mean no compromise, a dying to self.

There isn’t a formula.

There isn’t a technique.

For us to live constantly in the presence of God demands our death.

Luke 14:27 Jesus said “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” If anyone was seen in bible times carrying a cross then it could be safely assumed that the person was about to die.

What is dying to one self? Paul said Philippians. 1:21″For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  &  Philippians. 3:7 “For whatever things were to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”  It is letting go of selfish attitudes and ambition, and totally abandoning yourself to Gods will and purpose.

There is no mistaking the presence of God. Have you ever been in a meeting a home and sensed the acute presence of God.  Well God desires us more than we desire him.

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True Love

Everyone knows that the church is a place where love ought to be manifested, and many people have come to church hoping to find a demonstration of love, only to discover an encyclopaedia on theology.

If you have read through this passage, Romans 12:9-21, (NIV) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

You can see here the theme is clearly given in the very first sentence: “Love must be sincere.” Our English word sincere comes from the Latin sincerus, which means “without wax.” It stems from a practice of the early Roman merchants who set their earthen and porcelain jars out for sale. If a crack appeared in one, they would fill it with wax the same colour as the jar, so a buyer would not be aware that it was cracked. But astute buyers learned to hold these jars out in the sun, and if the jar was cracked, the wax would melt and the crack would be revealed. So the honest merchants would test their wares this way and mark them sincerus, without wax. The word literally reflects what the Greek says here, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” The Revised Standard Version translates it, “Let love be genuine.” Phillips says, “Let us have no imitation Christian love.”

All this indicates clearly that the primary character of the early Christian community was that it was a place where love was demonstrated, so much so that people began to imitate it. You can see this emphasis in the New Testament. Every writer in the New Testament stresses the need for love. In  1Timothy 1:5 (NIV) Paul writes to his young son in the faith and says, The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Peter says 1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Paul reminds us here, and in other places, that this love must be a genuine deep love, not phony, not hypocritical.

In those early days of the church it was easy to imitate love if you didn’t really have it because it was so widely valued and so visibly manifested. So people fell into the habit,Gods Love as they do today, of pretending they loved, using loving terms and gestures, saying the right things but really not feeling it in their hearts. This, of course, is hypocrisy, and this is what this passage warns against. Don’t let your love be hypocritical, don’t put it on. We are living in an age in which this is the very spirit of the times, to project an image, to pretend you are something that you are not. All the world holds that up before us, through the media of television and radio etc. We actually are encouraged to be something we are not.

No one seems to see how phony this is. But in the church it should not be tolerated. That we should be in any sense phony in our love is a violation of all that the Lord came to do. Sham love, of course, comes from the flesh. It comes from that pretender that is down inside all of us that wants to be thought well of even though we really are not worthy of it. We can easily succumb to this desire, but true love as we have been seeing, comes from the Holy Spirit. In Romans 5:5 (NIV), Paul says,  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. True love is manifested by learning from the Word of God how you should behave in a certain situation, and then, depending on the Spirit of God to give you the strength to do it, moving out and doing that very thing. That is the way you love, by acting in obedience to what the Word tells you by the power of the Holy Spirit within you.

Hypocritical love rejects the person because they don’t behave according to an acceptable standard. You find many churches that do this. In fact, this is one of the things in the church that has turned off more people than anything else. People come and hear the great words of the New Testament about love and peace and joy, and expect to find them exhibited, but instead they find all the world’s attitudes, rejection and prejudice, and even contempt and disdain for people. The church cuts them off and sets them aside, not wanting to have anything to do with them because they don’t meet a certain standard of performance. That is what this word warns us against. It is hypocrisy to reject people because you don’t like their behaviour. But you can go to the other extreme in this too. It is also hypocritical to condone sin because you accept the person. Christians can realise that it is wrong to cut people off and have nothing to do with them because they are not behaving rightly, but some Christians accept these people and say nothing about their evil or sin, and even defend it on occasions. People want to defend or overlook sins, as though they were right, simply because they want to accept the person. “Hate what is evil [loathe it]” but “cling to what is good.” We are to reject sin but accept the sinner.

Let us take a look at our standards and ensure they align with the word of God, and not to a structure made and implemented by man.

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“Sorry you feel that way”

Having attended in my career a number of management courses relevant to customer service, handling of complaints, body language etc, I was taught when handling a complaint to say to the complainant “Sorry you feel that way”. This was an attempt to disarm them and give the impression you had apologised for the content of their complaint. In fact it is a masquerade of an apology and all you are saying is “I am sorry you have a feeling that has caused you to complain” which is not related in any way to the actual content of the complaint.

SorryRecently whilst watching “Strictly Come Dancing” I was concerned at a particular program that contained too many innuendos and inappropriate comments. I emailed the BBC and received the following response “Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. We understand you feel the programme has become too sexualised and now contains too many innuendos and inappropriate comments. It’s never the judges’ intention to cause any offence with their light-hearted and cheeky comments and we’re sorry if you feel this is the case. We genuinely hope you continue to watch the series with your family and enjoy future performances. That said, we realise you feel strongly on this matter, so we’d like to assure you that we’ve registered your feelings on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily. It ensures that your points and all other comments we receive, are made available across the BBC. Thanks again for taking the time to share your views with us.”

I felt this was a response that meant very little by the comment inserted “we’re sorry if you feel this is the case”. A couple of days latter I was sent a survey to enquire how my complaint had been dealt with which no doubt will be a part of their quality control procedures, but in my opinion meaningless when the initial handling was also meaningless.

I believe its time we as Christians are not afraid to stand up and be counted. We don’t have to be rude, however there is a necessity to say it as it is and be trueful. In our society we have started to placate the minorities and listen only to those that shout the loudest and cause a disturbance. I have books on body language, positive and negative strokes, stress, relationships etc, as probably many of you have too, or attended business courses in handling disputes, but it amazes me that we as society have chosen to ignore the oldest book that gives us all the answers for life. In no way do I denigrate all the courses and books on the afore hand subjects but that is only man’s opinion albeit some of it helpful.

Its time for us to live according to His instructions and direction, whilst also in our work life understanding that we are under the authority of our management. I have carried out instructions that I thought was foolish, but drawn the line if it violated honesty, integrity and my conscience. I would respectfully advice my management why I couldn’t do as they requested and on three occasions have left companies as a consequence of their requirement for me to undertake dishonest practice. On each occasion God has looked after me and I have moved immediately into a better job and with a pay increase.

The Bible clearly lays down principles for life and we should no be afraid to adhere to them and allow those around us know the reasons why.  Not only do we have the Bible as the best text book ever but we have available to us the Holy Spirit for guidance. Many times in my business life I have asked the Holy Spirit for help and even done what naturally would appear to be crazy, but to find that His guidance was the best answer for that situation.

Let us not allow the worlds standards taint Godly standards, and be prepared to be a people that operate by His word and Spirit. It will take self-discipline and a determination to keep a listening ear to His voice and Biblical way of living. 2 Timothy 1 : 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Feel free to make your comments below.

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Friend?

So often we can use the word friend loosely and describe an acquaintance as a friend, but what is a friend and what are the ramifications of being a true friend?

The time is approaching Jesus’ death, and he is with His disciples. He calls the disciples ‘friends’ and I believe here He gives a definition of friendship. He does this by showing two distinct differences. He says  He does not call them servants and the reason He gives for this is “servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning”. In other words there is a relationship of authority but there is not a relationship of intimacy between a master and a servant.

 John 15:11 – 15 (MSG)Friend

11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

Jesus says that He has called them friends and He gave the reason. He has shared with them everything that He has learned from the Father.

  • With someone who is a friend you can be open and transparent. You don’t hold back. You allow them to see you as you as you really are. This is what Jesus did with his disciples whom he called friends.
  • We’re not Jesus and we have to be real and honest. There are probably areas we wish to hide about ourselves. Jesus has accepted us just as we are and if we have trusted in His offer of forgiveness than we can be free to open our lives to others and show them whom we really are too.No we don’t have to put all our washing out on the line for all to see but there are times when sharing with a friend is an important step to our freedom and maturity.
  • We live in an a time of Facebook and Twitter “friends” and social media. People are connected constantly. In the midst of all this, I would say that this in the main is only sharing what we are prepared for all to see. This is not true friendship, ask yourself do I have and permit true friends? Remember the best friend you have is Jesus and you can share everything with Him and he always has a listening ear. We can also hear His response if we are hearers of His spoken and written word. Jesus offers His friendship to us and frees us to do the same with others.

 A  true friend is someone who wants what is best for you. Seek to have those kinds of friends and seek to be that kind of friend to others too.

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Walk the walk before you talk the talk

“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

You are God’s representative in this earth. When you follow the Word of God and allow Him to work in your life, you are letting your light shine. When you are good to people and show them kindness, even when they don’t deserve it, you are shining your light. When you smile and keep a good attitude, even when things don’t go your way, you are setting an example so that people will glorify God in heaven. Your life style and demeanour is watched and observed by those around you.

Notice this scripture says, “they will see your good works…” People aren’’t impressed by our knowledge or what we say, people are drawn to God by our good works, our life style. Ask the Lwalk-the-talkord to show you ways to share His goodness with others. Look for opportunities to let your light shine everywhere you go – at home, at work, in the supermarket, at the gym. There’s always an opportunity to be an example of God’s goodness. As you do, it will bring honour and glory to God; and when you honour Him, He always honours you. He will continue to pour out His abundant blessing in every area of your life.

I was having work done on my home and the workman asked if I minded him having a radio on whilst he was working. We talked about different kinds of music and he proceeded to tell me about a workmate he was working with. He said he was a born again Christian and had Christian music on and he didn’t enjoy it so asked him to turn it off. His work colleague then launched into preaching at him. The workman told me his described Christian colleague was a heavy smoker and drinker, and one day didn’t turn up for work as he had run off with another women. It would have been far better that the work colleague had made no attempt to witness to him as his life clearly did not marry up with his words, and was not a Christ like example. I could give a number of personal experiences I have had which were not God glorifying and caused me to be embarrassed. No we don’t have to be perfect before we speak, but in most instances we know when our life is not an example of our words, so better not to say anything when we are not living an example of what we are stating.

Let us live the life and not just speak a theory, as this will have an influence in our environment and can bring change. When our words marry up with our life style then people are prepared to listen and it gives credibility to what we say.

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Givers and Takers

Givers TakersAre you a giver or a taker and how do you connect with others, either in a group or just one on one? The answer depends on you. Even if connecting with others is something you are not good at today, you can learn how to do it and improve as you work at it. Learning how to add value to others is the main key. When people see you really care, some of their scepticism of you lessens. Someone is wanting us to do something, either at home or at the work place. Having a good attitude and learning how to connect with others is a giant step in making your life easier and happier. No matter what we do in life, we will always be involved with people, We can learn how to better relate to those around us so we will be more effective in all areas of our lives.

Watch your actions. Your actions speak so loud that your words are not even heard. What we say accounts for only 7 percent of what we believe, The way we say it accounts for 38 percent and what others see accounts for 55 percent. Wow, more than 90 percent of the impression we convey has nothing to do with what we actually say. So if you think communication is all about words you are so wrong. Whether it is your spouse or a co-worker, people watch our actions more than what we say. Learn awareness of your actions, and how it is impacting on those around you, and it will help you in connecting with others. This is not easy, but nothing is ever going to happen unless you change the way you are doing things and start watching your actions. Little by little you will observe others reacting in a positive way.

Relating well with people requires being a giver. In life you will meet givers and takers, you may even be a taker but you can change. Who would you rather be around, a giver or taker? The givers I am sure, they just seem kinder and nicer to be around. I am sure those givers were not born that way, each person has to learn giving, The Bible says, Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Being a giver requires energy, and effort, and that’s not always easy, especially in a stressful lifestyle. However, being a taker can drain us more and literally makes us feel “dead” inside. Being a giver brings life to our inner man, like watering a plant so that it will grow, but being a taker is like sucking the water and all the nutrients out of the soil leaving both the plant and the soil dry and lifeless totally useless.

A taker can become isolated because those who have been involved with them no longer wish to be associated, or feel the pressure of the taker presenting their demands or needs. It can in some instances be demonstrated by a taker as a form of emotional blackmail which can alienate those around.

So decide to be a giver! Give love, grace, gratitude, compassion, finance, time and you will live in the overflow, for these are all giving modes. When you give out of your heart you are expecting nothing in return. It then becomes a gift and it fills and renews. Give without ties and an expectancy of something at some stage in return. You will see that life can and will be better if you learn to give more.

When you do receive express appreciation and encourage the giver. Teach your children how to have right attitudes to giving, sharing, and receiving and they will grow up as mature adults that have friends, and are a blessing to those they associate with.

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Who do you depend on?

“Who do you depend on?”, should be transformed to “are you willing to stand on your own, but knowing also that you may have to rely on others to achieve bigger things?”  You might be let-down, and you might be disappointed. These obstacles are part of a way in character building, and they eventually may help you grow and develop into the only person you need to become: yourself, the one God intended you to be. Learn that there is only One that you can depend on and you will learn to cope with, disappointment and frustration. I heard it said “be yourself, all the others have been taken”.

Don’t fall into the trap of having an expectancy of people, as your disappointment when let down can turn into frustration and eventually bitterness. So often we can have an expectancy particularly of Christians and those closest to us. Drop your expectancy as you have no rights to it.

I am still in a process of learning to always trust in Him and know that He is in control. There is a difference between knowledge of the fact, and living constantly in the peace and reality of the fact.

Psalms 62:5 I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. GNBleaning

Dependence on God and God alone, it’s not something people do naturally. Our first thought is to turn to a friend, relative, or our minister/pastor/leader, when what we really should be doing is turning to God. Only God knows what we need and only God can do for us what is best. People have limited knowledge, and understanding and therefore operate under those parameters. People also have their own struggles in life to deal with. When we continually turn to others with our problems, we become people and not God dependent. In fact we can be just piling our problems onto the load they are already carrying.

It is right and good to help each other out. We are instructed in Galatians to do so.

“Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 GNB

But unfortunately the tendency is for us to become dependent on each other, running to each other about every little difficulty or irritation in our lives. We do not encourage or lighten the load for each other when we do this. Instead we can be dragging others down with our complaints and difficulties. God wants to be the one we come to. He promises to help us and give us rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and become like me, for I am gentle and without pride, and you will have rest for your souls; For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard.”

It is a wonderful thing when believers will pray for one another. But this also can become a source of misplaced dependence. We don’t need to run to each other with every little petty problem. Many of those are best left between the you and God.

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Don’t put all your trust and dependence on people, including leaders of the church. No human can fulfill that kind of responsibility. Only God can. He has always been and will continue to always be here for us. He knows all and will do for us what is best. No person can do such things.

“Don’t put your trust in human leaders; no human being can save you. When they die, they return to the dust; on that day all their plans come to an end. Happy are those who have the God of Jacob to help them and who depend on the LORD their God, the Creator of heaven, earth, and sea, and all that is in them. He always keeps his promises;” Psalms 146:3-6 GNB

Consider your daily relationship with God. Is it only on the basis of  I only communicate when I need Him, or do you have a trust and daily commune with Him? When we have that trust and daily communication with Him we know and can rest in the truth of these scriptures:-

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 GNB

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.Jeremiah 29:11 GNB

The Lord your God, is in the midst of you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; He will be silently planning for you in His love and will rejoice over you with singing” Zephaniah: 3:17

So it is Him and Him alone that we should depend upon and place our constant trust. When we have that relationship with Him we also have the mind of Christ which guides, and reassures us.

for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.1 Corinthians 2:16

Keep secure and trusting in Him.

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Revenge – Forgiveness

Revenge

More than half of the UK population claim to be contemplating revenge and social networks are the preferred platform for getting even.

The rise in popularity of Twitter and Facebook has made it easier and quicker to settle scores and seven in 10 (69%) people polled said online tools are responsible for people’s thirst for payback.

More than half (52%) said they were currently thinking about getting their own back on someone while almost four in 10 (38%) confessed they had already sought revenge out of anger, jealousy or spite.
Work colleagues are the most popular target, followed by friends and bosses.

Adultery is the transgression most deserving of revenge according to a third of Brits, followed by lying (19%) and stealing (9%).

Research also found that more than one in 10 (13%) believe people in the public eye deserve abuse on social networks if they are perceived to have done something wrong.

Half of the 2,000 people polled to mark the launch of Hell on Wheels, a new Western TV series from TCM charting the vengeful exploits of a band of outcasts in post-civil war America, said they believed most revenge now takes place on Facebook.

The ease of typing a quick message over confronting someone face to face was seen to be the primary reason, with 57% saying it was easier to take revenge online than in person.

Professor Frank Webster, head of sociology at City University in London, said: “While certainly alarming, these findings are by no means surprising. “We have long known that there’s a lot of anger bottled up inside people.

Exasperated with workmates, frustrated by politicians, infuriated by bankers, envious of shallow celebrities… we all have moments when the blood boils.

He added: “Getting back at those who’ve crossed us and wreaking revenge is so much easier and instantaneous when it involves a Twitter jibe or a Facebook slur”.

We can even do it anonymously, with little fear of consequences. If, as this survey suggests, online technologies are making revenge more acceptable nowadays, then the consequences of an increasingly networked world may be chilling.

“Do we want to live in a society where immediate insult, personal ridicule and hate speech finds ready expression and even approval?”

(Article above from http://news.sky.com/home/strange-news/article/16232034)

What Doctors are saying on Forgiveness:

Forgiveness is a popular discussion among doctors.  Thousands of doctors and physicians have concluded that many of the unexplained ailments of the body and the incurable diseases are caused by psychological means.  And the reason why doctors are focusing on forgiveness

And the reason why doctors are focusing on forgiveness, is because they have found that when a person chose not to forgive, their un-forgiveness causes resentment, anger, and bitterness within the body;  and these characteristics causes the body to go into a Stress Mode. And after a period of time, diminishes the body’s wall of defence, therefore, causing the body to attract all sorts of ailments and diseases with no power to fight it off.  Studies after studies are showing that those with incurable diseases, after choosing to forgive, produces dramatic improvement as opposed to those who choose not too.

The Peace that Forgiveness brings:

It’s a great and marvellous feeling to be forgiven.  It is the exceedingly wonderful enjoyment that only you can understand once you have experienced it. Forgiveness Having the power to forgive others is also one of the most liberating experiences of all times.  Forgiveness frees your heart from the agonizing and unbearable pains of past hurts, giving you wonderful peace and comfort.  Once you understand the power of forgiveness, you are going to wish you had done it long time ago.

For if you forgive men for their transgressions Your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then Your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (The words of Jesus) Matthew 6: 14-15

Harbouring any unforgiveness or unconfessed sins will definitely hinder prayers. Unforgiveness can be detrimental to our physical and spiritual well-being. As confirmed by the medical profession it can manifest itself as depression, anger, hatred resentment and physical ailments, all of which rob us of peace, joy, health, and power. Forgiveness and repentance bring spiritual renewal, and a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Start by making a list of all the people and situations that have ever caused you hurt, pain, rejection, fear, loneliness, resentment, anger, jealousy, guilt, shame, dishonour. Don’t forget to put your own name and God’s at the top of the list.

You may think that God would bring about adverse situations in your life as a result of some sin that you had committed. Please be assured that God would never do this, although there can be self induced consequences of sin. However, because you hold this thought about God in your mind and heart, there is the necessity to forgive Him. Sometimes you have to forgive God for having given you the parents you were assigned.

Quite often the person you must forgive may already be dead. These people are often the most difficult to forgive, but are most important. There may be people or situations in your life which you may feel are impossible to forgive, or ones that you simply refuse to forgive, or ones that you say you just cannot forgive since they have caused you such deep pain. Tell God this, confess your difficulty, then pray the prayer below out of obedience to Him and His Word. Watch a miracle happen!

Unforgiveness is a doorway for satan to come in and take control of your life, and even the lives of family members.

Never let your unforgiveness rob your children or their children of the ‘abundant life’! Remember the sins of the fathers are passed down to the 3rd and 4th generations. Numbers 14: 18

Forgiveness Prayer

Father, I lift to You all the people and situations, that have been making me feel so unloved, so alone, so guilty, and causing me so much pain, and for those who have been demanding too much from me and I forgive them for hurting me, rejecting me, never being present for me.

I forgive them for making me feel shamed, resentful, jealous, and angry. (Keep naming all the things you are led to pray. God will lead you.) I also ask, Father, that You forgive them for doing these things to me and I ask that You forgive me for holding a judgement against all of them.

Father, I know You don’t need forgiving, but I forgive You for allowing me to be in these situations where I received so much pain. I also forgive myself for separating myself from Your love and forgiveness in all my life situations. I ask now that You fill me with Your love for these people, and for myself, and for the Lord Jesus Christ, who I believe is Your Son, Who died for me, was resurrected for me, and lives today for me. Please fill me with Jesus’ love, peace, power, joy, forgiveness, and new life in Him. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ.

Thank you Lord for setting my captive spirit free!

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Speaking the truth.

Truth is authenticity. God wants people to be truthful about how they are feeling, what they are saying, and at times what they are thinking.

“Yes I’m fine Praise God, life is wonderful” but the truth is, that is not how you feel. Living a false life does not permit you to grow in God as you do not do anything about your situation. No you don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve and express all your feelings to everyone but there are times when being open is essential. You can still be truthful without being false. Yes I can hear someone saying but we must be positive, that is true but we can not evade reality either. Whilst there is a truth in what we express “Yes I’m fine Praise God, life is wonderful” we are not acknowledging our true condition and actively addressing it with Gods help and maybe support from another. You know in your heart if that expression is the living truth of what is going on in your life or is it a cliche, maybe a lie?

“I will do that for you”, and you have no intention of doing  it, or is it you are in-disciplined in remembering your word. Our word should always be the truth and a disciplined life to ensure we honour our word.

There are situations where it is necessary for you to speak the truth in to a situation or do you remain quite as this is less hassle and confrontational. To express your thoughts in every situation is not correct but there are times when you know you should speak up and others to remain silent. It is responding fully in obedience as God prompts you.

TruthNeither are there grades of truth or lies. There is not such a thing as a white lie, as what we say is either true or untrue.

For us to operate on the same basis as it was said of God in (Numbers 23:19) is a standard I believe God wishes us to live by.  God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind. Does he speak and not do what he says? Does he promise and not come through?

God is truthful about who He is and what people need to do in order to lead a better life. God wants people to speak the truth from their hearts (Psalm 15:2) “Walk straight, act right, tell the truth”. God wants you to be truthful from the inner parts of your heart (Psalm 51:6) “You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born. What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life”. Walking in truth brings liberty and freedom.

Let us be a people who speak the truth and say what we mean, mean what we say, and do what we say.

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Honoraria for Pastors and Visiting Ministries

This is a subject that so often is not discussed because of embarrassment; however it has at times been the cause of blessing and sadly also personal financial cost to visiting ministries. I do believe that I am in a position to open up this subject having been a Pastors Kid, Elder, and a Trustee in a church.

If churches always heeded Scripture, pastors and ministries constantly would be able to devote themselves to their office. The apostles, burdened by administrative tasks, “summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables…. Pick out from among you seven men … whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:2-4)”

Likewise, adequate financial support enables pastors and ministries to focus on their ministry without worrying about supporting themselves and their families. God commends (and commands) this practice in the Church. Paul wrote, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching. For the Bible says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The labourer deserves his wages.’ (1 Timothy 5:17-18)” In Galatians 6:6, he said, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.”
As a pastors child we lived as a family well below the average standard of those who attended the church. To take one instance when I was first married I was ill for sometime as I began to experience eating habits and food that had never crossed my lips before. Was this right; was this the way to treat a man of God and his family? In no way do I criticise those who were responsible as at the time I believe they were sincere. This was many years ago and perhaps things have changed in most situations and in some cases gone to the extreme.

Guidelines for visiting speakers Honoraria.

If they are travelling a distance enquire their cost and send finance to cover their travel.

  • If a collection or returning to an airport, train station etc is required pick them up in comfortable clean transport with a courteous driver.
  • Enquire courteously and not to cause embarrassment all their out of pocket expenses for travel and the duration whilst they are with you.

Arrange comfortable quite accommodation where they have available a quite area for preparation.

  • On their arrival give them space to relax and prepare.
  • Enquire if they have any needs or requirements for their stay and occasion.
  • Treat them with respect and allow them time after and between events to relax. Keep a watch and protect them for unnecessary intrusion.

Have a generous fixed minimum that you pay visiting speakers. Taking into account the duration they are with you and the number of times they have spoken.

  • Take up an offering after they have spoken, specifically for them
  • If the offering exceeds your minimum amount give them the total offering. The offering was specifically for that visiting, ministry and is why people have given their gift.
  • Those responsible should be open to God for His direction as He may tell you to increase your gift.
  • Before the pastor or ministry leaves give them the total of the honoraria plus the total reimbursement of their out of pocket expenses.

Would you expect a boss to instruct an employee to use his own vehicle and related costs to go on a journey and be told neither will you receive any remuneration? That would be absurd to expect that wouldn’t it? Pastors and ministries should not be treated similarly but blessed. There are consequences of blessing. The first section of Deuteronomy 28 gives us clear instruction on how to walk in the blessings of God and what they are :-

Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.

And these blessings will come upon you and overtake you because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Verses 3 to 14 continue to list the blessings. Take these verses, modify them to today’s terms (i.e. cattle increases refers to increases in your investments etc), and see if you have the full blessings of God.

Be faithful and generous towards God’s servants, they are not your servants.

This blog is my own personal opinion and experience, and I am open for comments and correction.

 

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Are we people of our word, and does it matter?

How often have you heard someone say they will be there or I will do something and you expect it to happen. You have remembered, but the one who spoke the word failed to do what they had stated. How do you view that situation, how did it make you feel, what does it cause you to think of that person, and does it effect your relationship with them? Yes there are so many consequences that can occur because you failed to do what you stated. I believe it is a lie not to undertake what we committed to do, and we should be careful to be people of our word.

I went to watch my three year old grandson in his first play. It started by one of the organisers stating we have had to substitute the narrator in the play with an adult as the child who was performing that part has failed to turn up. There could have been a very genuine reason for the failure to be there on the night but the consequence of no communication made it far more difficult for the organisers, and it would have been the courteous and right thing to do to communicate the fact that they were not going to fulfil their commitment for whatever the reason. In this case the parents responsibility.

Oh I forgot, then the answer is to find a method of reminding you what you have agreed to do, or was it a case of just making a comment that you never had any intention at all? Maybe you state what you would like to do but something else takes priority, in other words your words are cheap. Was it a case of unwise statement that was your intention at the time but you changed your mind. Your failure to undertake what you had arranged or stated can have major ramifications on someones life, therefore it is with sensible, careful, thought, and in certain cases prayer we should say anything that is likely to impact someones life.

Keeping WordThere are occasions when we are unable to undertake what was our genuine statement of intention, then in that case go back to the person and apologise for not being able to do as promised before the expected occurrence. Sometimes we do forget what we said we would do, then when we are made aware or remember apologise. There maybe cases you need to put it right with the individual or if given publicly corrected publicly.

For people who lived during the time of the Old Testament, oaths were a major part of culture and life. Oaths took such an important role that we can find many instances in which God swears by an oath of himself! One of these occasions is found in Genesis 22, when God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac as a burnt offering. Faithfully, Abraham obeys God and prepares to sacrifice Isaac. During the final moments of what looked to be Isaac’s life, God steps back into the situation and saves Isaac from being killed. God then rewards Abraham for his complete obedience by giving him an oath.

“The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and not withheld your son, I will surely bless you and your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” Genesis 22:15-17

Whenever God gave this oath to Abraham, Abraham didn’t reply by further questioning God in order to provide certain details of the agreement, nor did Abraham make God sign a contract or require a cheap promise; Abraham simply trusted that God would be true, and he was! In fact, God has been and forever will be faithful in his promises. God’s faithfulness sets the example of how we as Christ followers should respond in being true to our word. James 5:12 is an almost exact quotation of what Jesus said about this topic in Matthew 5:33-37. In Matthew 5, Jesus addresses those who are familiar with the Old Testament acceptance of oaths; but Jesus forbids us to swear by oaths at all!

“Again you have heard that it was said long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven…. or by earth… Simply let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No’, no; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. “ Matthew 5:33-37

Through Matthew 5, we see that Jesus teaches us to not even go as far as making an oath, but to instead simply be people of our word. He calls us to do the things we’ve promised to do, period.

Imagine what your life would look like if we lived this principle out in every sense of Christ’s teaching. Imagine what our relationships with our spouses and our families would look like if we continually put action to our words of promise. Imagine how our relationships at work would be strengthened if people could place trust into what we have taken responsibility for. I would imagine that we would find much more harmony in life, and our relationships with people and with God would increase in a dramatically positive way.

No matter how difficult the situation or how bad we don’t want to do what we have promised (or do what we promised not to), we are called to be faithful as God was faithful in his oath to Abraham, obedient in every way!

Oh you may say that is a bit heavy it puts pressure on our life, no it is being honest and true to our word, and obedient to the word of God.

Perhaps it requires a life style change, getting some form of diary to remind you, using your mobile to give you a memory jog etc: Ensuring we phrase what we say truthfully rather that make a definitive statement to do something when we know it is only a probability, then state it as a probability. Perhaps we need to be accurate in our intentions by saying “I will try to”, and if it is important get back to the person and update them if you were unable to undertake what you were genuinely intending to try to do.

Let us make an effort to speak the truth and be people of our word!

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Are there justifications for a Christian to strike?

Industrial action comes about because industrial relations have turned sour. Unions resort to industrial action simply because negotiations have taken an unsatisfactory turn or have reached an unsatisfactory end. A strike then is a fairly brutal method of trying to influence the negotiations. It’s at the business end of the spectrum. Essentially it’s coercion. When we strike, we’re trying to force an employer’s hand. It’s the withdrawal of our labour until a grievance is settled. That’s an aggressive strategy and it’s one that a Christian ought to be reluctant to employ too readily. I’m not saying that it’s never right, though I am saying that it should make us cautious. Consider these words in 1 Peter 2

18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

We’re meant to be submissive employees who, because of our faith, are prepared to stomach being wrongly treated. That does not mean we sit down and take the wrong treatment, and say or do nothing about it. So, in general, Christians should be reluctant to strike.

strike

So what approach should employees take when they have a legitimate grievance with their employers? Negotiation. But we need to urge our union representatives to stay at the table and keep the discussion going. They need to make our case to try to persuade the employers of the rightness and reasonableness of our position. I’m not naive. I understand that employers (having been one) may not always listen, they may not be objective in their deliberations and it may make no difference whatsoever. But we do need to be convinced that our union reps have exhausted all forms of communication before resorting to striking.

I’m not saying that Christians should never strike. There may be circumstances where that’s the right thing to do. The reason that I don’t think that loyalty to our employers is absolute is because there are situations where we need to be loyal to a greater cause. And that greater cause is justice and righteousness. There’s something godly about sticking up for the poor and the exploited. Even if we may be willing to work for an employer who treats the staff unfairly there will be times when we feel it’s appropriate to join in solidarity with our fellow workers and oppose the perpetuation of injustice.

Historically employers have exploited the work force. Their selfish greed for profits and the ready availability of a replacement unskilled workforce has enabled them to act unjustly. If they wanted to they could simply dismiss the rebellious workforce and replace it with others. Unions arose to make sure that the ‘little people’ had a voice. And that’s a good thing.

It is not in every sittuation that people are being exploited or victimised. In my opinion they are going to have to work for longer for a smaller pension. Is that the best? No, of course not. But we have a massive deficit and the Government is trying to balance the books. Public sector pay is therefore one area that has come under the microscope.

Given that opposing injustice and exploitation are legitimate reasons for Christians to strike, we need to ask our union representatives why they think we’re taking industrial action. I would suggest, in the current economic climate, it’s worth asking whether the strike has more to do with the employment situation or the political situation. It’ll be hard to separate the two at times, especially with public sector jobs. But strikes have sometimes been used to challenge a democratically elected Government and not to protect individuals against exploitation. So we mustn’t be naive about the possibility of an orchestrated union agenda intended to undermine the current Government’s approach to the country’s financial deficit. (I am not taking a political stance here for any party) We may well feel that the depth and rate of the cut in public spending is too deep and too fast. Would we be saying that with a strike?

Whilst the intention of industrial action is always to effect or try to influence the employer, it often ends up being misdirected towards third parties. When the employer is the Government, it’s the general public that tend to bear the brunt. When it’s the educators who withdraw their labour, it’s the kids who miss out. And so it’s worth asking what the effect of the strike will be on people and how you’d explain and justify why you’re choosing not to do what you are employed to do. Also am I just striking because my union has instigated a strike, and if so do I understand and agree with the reason.  It would be interesting for people to have to justify why they’re going on strike and the implications of their actions. If they don’t feel that they can do that, then it’s worth asking whether it’s justified!

You need to be convinced that you’re striking for reasons of injustice. If you are then go ahead and strike and make sure you can justify your reasons to yourself, employer and third parties who are effected. If you’re not convinced there’s possibly no value in belonging to a union. A consideration could be made to look for one that’s less militant in its’ approach to industrial action.

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Selfishness

Do your thoughts ever consider the craziness of our world? There are people scrambling for power. Wealth is paraded, and in contrast, millions live in heart-wrenching poverty! Justice is perverted by terrorists and slippery politicians.

SelfishnessI have observed over the last period of time thousands of complaints about a delay in a TV programme starting, complaints and demonstrations concerning implemented austerity measures. People who only look at the personal implications of restriction and inconvenience, rather than the whole picture as in the case of a TV programme which was an unavoidable technical issue, or in austerity measures an only way out of paying an owed debt irrespective of the cause.

Where does all this stem from? Why are some people so selfish and uncaring? Will things ever change for the better?

The basic cause for this situation can be summed up in one word: Selfishness. The selfish human heart, that lives only for itself has been an issue throughout creation. God’s plan was that everything He has created would be a blessing to others. But His plan met with opposition in Heaven when Lucifer allowed the desire to be above everyone else (Isaiah 14:14) 13-14You said to yourself,
“I’ll climb to heaven. I’ll set my throne over the stars of God. I’ll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I’ll climb to the top of the clouds. I’ll take over as King of the Universe!” .

God gave a warning in the tenth commandment against having an attitude of covetousness, self-seeking, looking out just for yourself, and the desire for selfish gain (Exodus 20:17).  17 “No lusting after your neighbour’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbour’s”.

For us to understand the devastating effects of covetousness we need only compare the two main players in the struggle between good and evil.

A. Lucifer (later known as Satan) said, (Isaiah 14:13-14).I’ll set my throne over the stars of God...I’ll take over as King of the Universe!” .

B. Christ, (Philippians 2:6-7). “When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human”.  When reading the bible a clear picture of what heaven values most is presented. In (John 13:3-17) “. . . So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron Jesus washed His disciples feet to demonstrate His plan for people to serve one another with dignity . . .” Giving of ones self, finance, time to benefit others is a fundamental in God’s kingdom. God gave and and sent His son, what an amazing sacrifice. Not only did God give us Salvation, but He showered us with other blessings and gifts and allowed us to to manage and use them in compassionate ways.We are God’s Managers so let us use what has been given generously to us, generously give to others. (Mathew 10:8) “Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously”

In the management of His gifts let it not only be at our convenience but also being led by His Spirit and responding to His voice even when it demands sacrifice.

Let us by His Grace and with His help bring influence and consequential effect to His World.

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How do we cope with difference?

It doesn’t matter if it’s in a family, friendship, at church or work, disagreements and differences of opinion will happen. Each person has a unique way of viewing the world, so conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, differences of opinion often foster open communication and change.Difference

Over the years I have found that the way I handle difference has changed. At one time I would have fought verbally for my point of view to be heard and endeavour to change the hearers view. I have come to realise that unless the difference is one of heresy I will not concern myself with the difference unless I have direct responsibility. Does the difference matter, as some difference means variety and is of no consequence. It may be you just need to accept things as they are. However if you consider the difference is of consequence it would be wrong to discuss and advertise your view with others without approaching the individual or situation. So your opinion is not one for the notice board, as to gossip your view is ungodly, destructive and counterproductive. After all what do I base the rightness of my opinion? As far as heresy is concerned I base it on the solid word of God. Does the situation or difference align with God’s word? If not and I consider it right to do so then I will involve myself in a gracious manner not with verbal boxing gloves, or if you have the privilege of a platform use it as a one way boxing ring.

So how can we handle difference when it is necessary to discuss it?

1) Firstly pray.

2) Speak face to face. Tone of voice, facial expression and other nonverbal cues are lost in an email or letter.

3) Consider the other person’s point of view and be prepared to change. You could be wrong!

4) Clarify the difference. Confusion can be a breeding ground for miscommunication, so take time on the front end to work through the difference.

5) Find common ground and go from there.

6) If you are wrong apologise.

7) Compromise is acceptable in certain situations.

8) Understand that there is a great potential to learn from each other’s mistakes. Consider this experience whatever the outcome a learning one that will serve you well down the road.

9) If you agree to disagree remember that difference doesn’t mean disunity.

Message. Ephesians 4:3 I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline— not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

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Hello world! (inc Facebook Security)

Welcome!

I have resisted creating a blog for some time but now decided why not air my views and allow those who wish to read and comment do so.

So this is my first blog and what is it today that has crossed my mind.

FacebookFacebook what is it really for? It is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. It has over 800 million active users.  Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile

“Facebook”, I dont understand why people have a need to make me aware that they are eating at “So and So Cafe”, or “on holiday for two weeks” how does that influence, or effect my life, is it of interest to your friends? Perhaps it’s to let you know that their home is unattended and if you wish you could go along and gain entry! Many of the trivial comments make me gasp in amazement at why on earth would I want to know that. I saw a recent post which read “I have just been to poo”, did I really want to know that and no its not funny either.

Then there is the hidden areas of facebook that secretly disclose information about you and your friends unless you turn off that specific area. Unless you know where to turn these areas off it silently continues to make you vulnerable. So now you want to know “WELL WHERE ARE THEY THEN?”. I’ll tell you latter but shush don’t let anyone know.

I have so many invites to subscribe in facebook to a cause, area of interest or app. Despite the fact that it may interest me I refuse to make myself vulnerable in allowing that area to have access to my personal data and a list of my friends. Would me friends want them to know their links with me? Why do they need this information, unless its for their benefit I can see no relevance to me joining. So friends please don’t be offended as I shall reject everyone’s invite to these areas.

After reading this you are probably saying well why do you continue with facebook. I do believe that once you have implemented the relevant safeguards and use it with discretion it is a means of general communication with friends, and maybe those you have lost contact with over the years. However it is vital that it is used wisly to avoid exposing yourself and friends to what potentially could be the unscrupulous individual accessing personal detail and information. If your content is of  a personal nature use the personal message area of facebook or better still keep your personal information away from facebook and use an email.

UPDATE 26/02/13

Here are some safeguards you can implement in facebook:-

While on FB, look at your URL address (the very top of your screen). If you see “http:” instead of “https:” then you do not have a secure session & can be hacked. On the top right hand side select * > Account Settings > Security > Secure Browsing. Check box (Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) when possible), click Save changes.

You may have already taken Facebook’s tour of the new settings. If you haven’t, you should then consider these 3 recommendations to take control of your profile.

Find this privacy near the upper right hand corner, click on it and select “See more settings” at the bottom of the menu that pops up.

menu

You’ll see this screen:

privacy settings

1. Use “friends” as a default.
Under “Who can see my stuff?” you’ll see “Who can see my future posts?” Unless you have a good reason, go with “Friends”. This will save you from having to backtrack and change the settings on something you didn’t want to get out. Of course, your friends can still share what you put out — as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi learned — so keep in mind that anything you put on Facebook could end up on the front of a newspaper. Also consider using “Friends” as the setting for “Who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided? and “Who can look up your timeline by name?”

Facebook is going to be making more and more of your information easily accessible. While it’s smart to consider that anything you post on Facebook could easily made public, you may want to restrict what information strangers can easily browse through.

2.  Do not let other search engines link to your profile.
Unless you use your Facebook profile as a professional tool, you probably don’t want it to be one of the first things people find when they search your name. So we recommend selecting “off” for “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?”

3. Turn off “tag review”.
Next click  on Timeline and Tagging on the left menu.

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 6.31.43 PM

You’ll see this screen:

tag

Most people want to allow friends to post on your wall but if protecting your images is your priority, you may want to make it available only for you. Either way, it’s a good idea to select “friends” for “Who can see what others post on your timeline?” This will prevent strangers or even potential mates or employers happening to catch your page right as a friend posted some hilariously sick image on your timeline.

We recommend you turn on “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” This won’t stop your friends from tagging you in something embarrassing but it will stop it from showing up on your wall if they do.

We definitely recommend you enable “Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?” This so called tag review will keep you from being in ridiculous tagged pictures or posts that show up in search results.

If you don’t want to be tagged much or don’t like the idea of photo recognition, you may want to select “No one” for “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?”

That’s a good start. Next time, we’ll walk through Facebook’s security settings.

I am not wishing to over react or scare monger but we do need to be wise in disclosing unnecessary detail about our selves and our friends so better to be wise than vulnerable so trust this helps.

This is an excellent facility to check your Facebook security and aid you in steps to take to make changes:- F-Secure Safe Profile

You may find this Your Tube link of interest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAXYiBdgY-g

 

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