The True Value

Realize The  Value of the Tree.

 

I’m 44. I’ve been a Christian since November 1985 – coming up 31 years.

Currently I don’t go to church every week. I’d like to, but it’s not always easy. When I do go, I’m not well known or easily recognised these days. I sit and pray, listen to the Word being taught and worship with all my heart. Sometimes when I worship I even join in the songs.

I’ve met one of the pastors once or twice personally, but I’m not known by them – or them by me. I simply go when I can to be around other Christians.

I usually get raised eyebrows when I “confess” my current non-member status of a local church. I’ve applied for jobs where I’ve been rejected because I don’t have a “current” pastor and the last Pastor I had is not in “ministry” any more so apparently he’s not a good enough reference. I’ve been self-employed most of the last 20 years, but organisations want the reference of my last employer or manager.

Eventually it always comes down to one thing when I tell people I write a Christian Blog and I’m working on a book.

“What makes you think you’re qualified to write or talk about God in your current ‘spiritual condition’?”

There is much in my life I don’t share with everyone. There’s a good reason for that. It’s none of their business.

What I do share s what Jesus in my life means.

I didn’t become a Christian so I would avoid Hell – and yes, I do believe there’s a literal Hell. I didn’t become a Christian because I wanted a comfortable life. Or a good job. Or no problems.

Or a million other reasons than people who don’t really know Jesus think I became a Christian for.

I asked Jesus into my heart at the age of 13 because I knew I was terribly broken, and He could fix me. The break was something missing. I recognised I needed a relationship with God to be whole. And no matter what I did on this earth it would never be enough to earn that relationship.

I realised the value of the Cross.

I read an article about a man who described himself as a “secular follower of Jesus” a few days ago. He said how he was better for living by following Jesus’s example. He befriended prostitutes, the homeless, the broken. He made time for veterans begging on street corners in his city. He refused to judge people by their skin colour or religious background. He simply went about doing “good”.

And missed the point completely.

 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:40-43

The thief on the cross next to Jesus didn’t go out and make friends with the poor. He never even compensated the people he’d stolen from. All he did was accept Jesus as Lord. He realised Jesus’s Kingdom was not of this world, but rather was a place beyond and above this mortal coil. He didn’t go and embrace the LGBTQ (and any other letter they want to add) community.

All he did was realise the value of the tree Jesus was hanging on.

I’m looking forward to meeting that guy. I’m longing to know his name. But I know his story. His story is my story. He realised he was broken and the only was to find the relationship He realised in his dying moments he needed was to embrace the one hanging next to him. Jesus.

Somewhere in the last 150 years we’ve lost sight of the Cross.

How did it happen? How has the central message of Christianity become so sidelined by false issues?

We’ve become so politically correct in the way we treat one another we’re afraid to say anything for fear we’ll offend someone.

A few years ago I worked in property maintenance for a while. I loved the job, but the best part was the friendship with my boss, Duncan. We used some tools manufactured for American companies although we were based in England, and the safety instructions were amazing. All the instructions were in cartoon form – no words. There was a cartoon of a man chopping his fingers off by putting them into the rotating blades of a lawnmower.

Now I may not be the sharpest tool in the work-shed academically, but I don’t need instructions, cartoon or otherwise, to tell me if you have a razor sharp blade rotating at 300rpm underneath a solid steel plate which wraps around it and holds it close to the ground that it’s probably not the best idea in the world to flip it over and put my fingers into the path of the blade.

What does that have to do with Jesus?

It’s an example of how we’ve become so obsessed with coddling people. The manufacturer of the mower was sued by a man who cut his fingers off by putting his hand in the path of the blades while it was running. 75 years ago he’d have been called an idiot for doing such a daft thing. But 20 years ago, he won the case.

Because of a side issue.

The real issue was his foolishness to put his hand into a moving lawnmower. The case made it about the manufacturer not putting adequately visible warning signs to keep fingers clear of the moving blades.

Our real issue is we are inherently sinful and consequently separated from God – He even gave us an instruction manual we call “The Bible” outlining what the real issue is and how to circumvent the consequences.

The sheep mentality of the 21st Century has spent all it’s timebc346-sheep screaming about women’s rights (which would be advocated in a truly Christian society), whether Bush was a good President, whether Obama was a good President, why the Republicans chose Donald, whether Hillary should be wearing a pantsuit, what went wrong with Brad and Angelina, can Justin Bieber sing, is the Hulk stronger than Thor and most importantly, will there be another “Harry Potter” book.

Incredibly, the fact that Islam is a false religion that leads people away from relationship with God and back into slavery of religious duty has become a dirty statement for Christians to make. What God says about sexuality – which He designed in the first place – has been decried as outdated and anyone who dares mention out loud that the Bible says God never changes, that He is the one constant, is now called a heretic. We’ve had 30 years of “famous” preachers who have become household names. Those who have stuck to the Biblical teaching are ridiculed and those who bow to the tide of public opinion instead of the declared, known Will of God on the topic are lauded as the “real” christians because they don’t “judge” people for their choice.

What they actually do is become sightless guides, leading people into a pit.

Now we’re not called to judge people, but we are called to recognise them by the fruit they bear as to whether they are from God. Jesus spent His time talking to prostitutes, tax-collectors, adulterers and Samaritans. But it didn’t mean He was making use of the prostitute’s services, swindling the people out of their money, cheating on people’s spouses or abandoning God. It meant He saw in each of those people a fertile soil for the seed of His Word to grow in and lead them away from the actions that pulled them away from God.

That’s what the Cross was about. Rebuilding relationship with a Loving God who created us specifically in His own image so we could have a relationship with Him.

The “progressive” message is insidious in it’s phrasing. It starts with a measure of Truth: Jesus wouldn’t reject this person because he/she is gay/queer/trans/Muslim/etc. I completely agree – He wouldn’t. He would offer them unconditional Love. What He wouldn’t do is leave them in the place He found them – which is what the “progressives” want us to do.

Take the woman brought to Him from the very act of adultery. Probably at least partly naked. Terrified because this mob wants to kill her. Thrown to the ground in front of this man known for His Holiness, His righteousness. The Law is clear…

So this Rabbi turns away from her a little, crouches down and begins to write in the sand.

Everyone looks at Him. What wisdom is He writing? Why has he crouched there?

How tender. How merciful. A moment before all eyes were on her – and her nakedness. Now everyone’s attention is on Him. She has a chance to cover herself. She has an opportunity to restore some dignity.

He stands and turns back to her. What is most significant now is what Jesus doesn’t say.

He doesn’t say “Where is the one she was with?”

He doesn’t tell them “The Law says do it!”

He turns the accusation back on the accusers.

However, when they persisted in questioning Him, He straightened up and said, “He who is without [any] sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:7 (Amplified)

And they walk away.

Then He turns to the woman.

Again, Jesus doesn’t ask who she was with. Or if it was a man or a woman. Or for the details of what they did. He knows what they did was sin – that’s all that matters to Him.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

John 8:10-11  (Amplified)

The “progressive” attitude omits His last sentence. “From now on sin no more.” But that’s the key to the real issue. Sin separated mankind from God. Trusting Jesus, giving our life to Him and really nailing our past to the Tree with Him, is what restores that relationship. Sin no more.

Every time Jesus talks to someone crippled because of sin He tells them to stop that sin. In one case he even warns something worse may come. (John 5:14)

Forgiveness without repentance. It’s the “progressive” gospel, but it’s a lie. Unconditional acceptance is not the message of Jesus. There’s one condition: repent. Repentance means realising the significance of the Cross. It means accepting Jesus and the price He paid for us and as a mark of that acceptance, turning away from our past life. An outward manifestation of this Salvation is Regeneration – a change in behaviour, speech, even associations.

But the lie of the “progressive” movement is that you’re saved and forgiven. It’s a lie of omission. To be forgiven we must repent. To show we are saved we must demonstrate the regeneration inside us.

For the geeks out there, imagine Dr Who goes through his regeneration and is still exactly who he was before. He looks the same, he talks the same. He is the same. Now for fans who like David Tennant (or Tom Baker if you’re my age) that might be a good thing, but the story doesn’t change. There’s no difference. It’s as though the regeneration never happened.

I never imagined I’d quote Dr Who in an article here.

But it’s a brilliant analogy. Each regeneration of the Doctor changes his character. Tom Baker’s Doctor was nothing like William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton or John Pertwee before him, and Peter Davison bore no resemblance to Tom Baker and so on. The character changed when the regeneration happened.

So our character should change – be restored actually – to what Jesus intended it to be when He designed us and gave us the Gifts we carry. I’m still quick tempered now, like I was before I committed my life to Christ, but what I get angry about has changed. Mostly. Like everyone I’m a work in progress. As Andrew Wommack is fond of saying in his sermons, I may not have arrived – but at least I’ve left! Praise God!

Go to the Cross.

Right now. Go there in your heart.

Look at it. Really see what Jesus did.

I have no words better than Isaac Watts, so I’ll leave with this thought:

 

 

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

More to Come…

Ever feel like you left something Unfinished?

This blog has been like that for me the last few weeks. My ISP has let me down horribly and my connection speed was faster when I had dial-up 20 years ago.

I spent last weekend at a little reserve called Jongensgat near Stilbaai in South Africa. It’s about 4 hours drive from my home and it’s the most amazing place to go to reconnect with life and people who are important.

It has no cell reception.jongensgat-sea-1

No television.

No internet.

Cooking is done over a fire in a poitjie (kind of like a small cauldron) and takes 2-3 hours.

Everything is slow, intimate. Just the way it should be. There’s no

img_20160924_180927

interruptions from whatsapp or email. No inane television forcing you to tune in and

zone out mentally.

You get to reawaken from a slumber you don’t even realise you’re trapped in.

Basically you get to wake up and realise what the important stuff in your life is that is unfinished.

And 4 days there isn’t close to enough.

We left under a dark cloud. For those married guys reading this, some free advice: Be open and honest with your spouse at all times. This includes if you have a close friend of the opposite gender – even if he mother is your age (perhaps especially) – and you write her a note, avoid the greeting “Hi Beautiful”. If your wife finds this (and she will) it will cause an issue you may not have intended. What appears to a “Y” chromosome to be a friendly greeting to a friend carries VERY different connotations to your wife. Just don’t do it.

Thankfully, the location means we had nothing to do but talk through the issue and reach a resolution. I understood why it hurt her, she (I think) understood that it wasn’t intended as anything more than a face-value “hello”.

But I won’t be doing it again.

Four days. We arrived at 2am. I don’t recommend this. The sun will wake you around 6am. There is no escape to this.

But we had four days of watching Cape Robins hopping across the deck outside our door, rock dassies running helter-skelter around the cliffs and grass, and tortoises meandering about the area. The only sound is the crashing of the ocean, literally a stone’s throw from your door (if you have a good arm).

Peace. A chance to hear God again away from the bustle of everyday life.

I love this place. No distractions except what you bring – so pack selectively. A couple of good books, my laptop and a few selected DVDs to play on it.

And most importantly, an open heart to pray and hear God.

Four days.

In that time, my wife and I rediscovered part of why we love one another that in everyday life gets buried – we enjoy each other’s company. I had a chance to simply sit with God knowing I wouldn’t be interrupted by email, telephones, cell calls, messages or anything else.

And I was able to pray for an outcome to some issues we’ve been facing.

We’ve come home, and some of those issues which were so huge when we left are almost resolved. Job offers out of nowhere. Opportunities to move forward. Answers to uninterrupted prayer which had the chance to be truly prayerful and focussed on listening.

We spend too much time giving Go a laundry-list of demands and not enough time listening. Our prayer goes unfinished.

Take the time to go somewhere. Or just turn off the electronics for a day. Reconnect and finish that most important thing: the next step of your relationship. Intimacy.

Don’t quit, finish the task.

Let your spouse know they are the most important human relationship you have.

Let yourself remember the most important relationship you have is with Jesus.

Finish it.

I Will Give You Rest

We all get tired. Even Jesus needed to recharge from time to time.

There’s no sin in taking time out. Part of being human is we need to stop and recover from time to time physically, emotionally and Spiritually.

The key is to allow ourselves the time to do so.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been on a forced physical rest. I got sick. Not something that happens a lot, but when it happens, it hits hard. I had a viral infection that left me unable to walk in a straight line. Labyrinthitis. It’s a disorder of the inner ear and it left me unable to stand, read, write, walk, watch TV. Basically all I could do was sleep. Not something I’m historically good at.

So for most of the last 2 weeks I’ve slept and listened to sermons on mp3.

I’ve rested in a way I’ve not done for longer than I can remember.

Physically I’m not 100%, but I’m going back to work anyway. I can see straight, and the world is no longer doing circuits around my head when I sit up, lie down or do any form of exercise… like blinking. Hopefully my decision is the right one.

But I’m very aware I need more.

I have a hunger to go into the mountains and sit by a river, watching the eagles fish. Maybe catch a glimpse of one of the wild leopards that live in the area. otters-bend-jan-05-pic-22Perhaps watch the weavers build their hanging nests over the water. Just surround myself with Creation and let it revitalise me.

Jesus used to go to the mountains to be alone with God. He went after feeding the 5000 to be with His Father and mourn John the Baptist’s murder. He knew how important it is to preserve this frail shell we walk about in. To go where we can quiet our mind away from the storms of life.

There’s a place not far from my home called Jongensgat where I used to go with my wife. 2 wooden cottages on a reserve with tortoises, buck, dassies and a multitude of birds. But the best part is there’s no cellphone reception, no TV in the houses, nothing except what you take with you. It’s a great place to just go and be. We spend our entire existence doing and forget we are human beings.

It’s a place to rest. Peaceful, tranquil. Choose your adjective. Amazing. Clear nights give unrivalled display of the Milky Way looking out South where the next land is Antarctica. It puts a real perspective on what I am, and how much I must mean to God that in all that around me, I still matter to Him.

I get to recharge there.

It’s not the only place I feel able to relax, but it’s the only one I know of with no internet, cellphone etc.

steve-jobs-terminatorIt’s vital for us to remember we are not indestructible. We need to rest. I learned that in the last two weeks. It’s easy to forget sometimes.

Every part of our life needs time to recuperate. If Jesus needed to take time out away from the buzz of life, how much more do we?

Modern life decries any need for rest as laziness or weakness, yet God initiated the Sabbath for a reason. We can only work so long before we break down. God designed us to work six days, then rest for one. Jesus rested when he needed it, He wasn’t afraid to take time out to recuperate.

So why should we be?

It’s not weakness to stop after working to rest. It’s a basic human need. Like eating or drinking. Nobody expects us to function without food or drink, but rest seems to be a different story. Taking down-time has been slowly whittled away as a right, and more and more we are expected to take pay in lieu of leave, but money can’t buy rest.

Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

“I will give you rest”. Such a seemingly innocuous statement, yet such a powerful image.942dd-p1010010 Consider psalm 23 “He makes me lie down in green pastures”. Through the whole Bible, too many times to quote, the image of resting in God’s presence comes through again and again.

Perhaps that is why the World rails against rest. It’s a place where we can connect with God on an intimate level. Consider the way technology has invaded our every part. Everything goes through the tablet, smartphone or laptop these days. It’s almost unheard of for someone not to have a TV any more.

My wife and I don’t watch TV, just a few select videos and movies of our own choice. We avoid news broadcasts, because frankly they’re depressing and there’s the advantage of not having adverts thrown in. It means we have absolute control over what comes into our home – and we can watch what we find helps us recharge.

Take the time to switch off your phone tonight. Talk to your family. Play a board game with your kids. Buy a board game to play with your kids…

Switch off, tune in to God.

And let Him give you rest.

A World at War

Fierce

What General Weygand called the battle of France is over. I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can spitfirestand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

So said Winston Churchill on 18th June 1940 as Hitler prepared to try to destroy England.

“Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation.”

Almost 80 years later and the battle is somewhat different. England, Europe and most of the West is now a “post-Christian” society. The strange rattle in assorted London cemeteries and mausoleums is likely the interred who fought, led and died in that Battle of Britain turning in their graves.

The battle in 2016 is no less fierce than the one in 1940. It is more insidious. The tide of other faiths streaming into the West led to a need for “tolerance” that the countries they were leaving did not and do not reciprocate. Calls for sharia courts to be established in England were even heard from Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury, just a couple of years ago.

What’s happened? Where are the people seeking to preserve Christian civilisation now?

Churchill lived at a time where Faith was an integral part of what it meant to be British. Strong role models through his youth and service, he called the nation to prayer during the war. Somehow I can’t imagine May doing that. Or Trump. Or Corbyn. Or any of the “leaders” dumped on an unsuspecting public today.

96953-calvaryencausticFaith is not considered important today. People who lived lives of honour and Faith in the past were respected and revered as leaders. Today they are considered weak at best, and the accomplishments men and women of Faith achieved in history are often sidelined, at least the part their Faith played in their resolve. Wilberforce is remembered as the man who abolished the Slave Trade in the British Empire, but outside a few who saw “Amazing Grace” with Ioan Gryffod, most people have no idea Christ played such an important part in that fight. “Chariots of Fire” is remembered for the soundtrack – awesome though it is – and Harold Abrahams’ achievement, but the sacrifice of Eric Liddell and the battle he fought for the principle of his Faith to not race on Sunday because it was a day for God is barely remembered. This for a man who ended up dying overseas as a Missionary.

The battle is fiercest where it seems quiet. Like a river seems tranquil where it is deepest, it often hides dangerous and powerful currents underneath. The devil has done an amazing propaganda job. He has convinced most of the West he doesn’t exist. Those of us who still believe in a literal Hell and Heaven seem to be in the minority, and are usually lampooned for saying so. For the record:

Yes, I believe in a literal Heaven and Hell.

No, I don’t believe “everyone goes to heaven” (see Luke 13)

No, I don’t care if that makes people think me a fool. Rather men think that than God.

Jesus was a fierce man. We lose sight today in the Reformation and Renaissance paintings, cherubic Jesus as a baby, spotless and freshly pressed white robes as an adult. Where is the force that started a stampede in the Temple? The warrior who set His eyes on Jerusalem?

Where is the army of the Church?

Sleeping.

Wake up. One word used to describe Jesus is “δύναμις” “dunamis”. The root of the word Dynamite. Explosive, forceful and unstoppable power. Hardly “meek and mild”. Meekness and weakness are not synonyms, in fact to be truly meek requires great strength of character. Humility is portrayed as self flagellation, which is actually a form of inverted pride and drives us away from God. Declare yourself to be what God says you are: no more and no less. Be exactly who He says you are, and don’t doubt it.

No matter the colour of skin or cast of features. No matter the gender. Remember the first to declare the Gospel of the Resurrection were women – Jesus chose a reformed hooker to tell Peter. Women had no legal standing in law then. Their testimony was ignored as unreliable. So Jesus turned things on their head and had His Resurrection declared by Mary first.

Fierce intention.

Planned aggression.

War engaged.

Standing Up

Being a Witness for Christ isn’t always easy.

In fact, in today’s climate it can be downright precarious.

The biggest issue right now is understanding the idea of “persecution”.

Huffington Post recently ran an article titled “8 Countries Where Religious Freedom Is Actually Under Attack”, the understanding being that persecution does not happen in the West, especially America, because nobody holds a gun/sword/knife to anyone’s throat/head and tries to force them to deny their faith or die.

And if that is all you understand persecution to be then they are right.

But 2 Timothy 3:12 says:

Indeed, all who delight in pursuing righteousness and are determined to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be hunted and persecuted [because of their faith]

(Amplified)

So we are faced with the need to redefine persecution. No, maybe decapitation and baking a cake are not physically the same. I’m not saying they are. But where is the line? What makes someone a sufferer of persecution?

Any action which forces someone to adhere to a rule that contravenes their belief in Christ can be deemed persecution. I admit, the clerk who refused to issue the marriage license was not my favourite person, but it was a valid stand she took. When she accepted the job, same-sex “marriage” was not an issue. The terms changed after she began working there. She was not the only person, surely, who could issue the license. So why was she forced to violate her beliefs for the sake of someone else’s or lose her job? Similarly, the couple who declined to provide a cake did so because of their beliefs. By standing by their faith over the hypocrisy of the World that tried to force them to provide their service to someone standing in opposition to their sincerely held beliefs, they have lost their business and reputation.

How is that different to the Romans forcing a sacrifice to Mars or Venus 2000 years ago? They lost their means of putting food on the table, paying for their homes, cars and any other obligations they may have had.

Because they stood up for what they believe in. They weighed the possible outcome – loss of their material goods – against what Christ said “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV). They chose to follow this command rather than compromise.

Western Persecution is insidious in nature. It convinces people that if there are actual demons they’re all in the Middle East or Africa. More often it presents itself as “reason”. “Logic” dictates that the resurrection couldn’t be true. And logically it’s crazy to think. But consider for a moment that at least 120 people saw Jesus after the crucifixion. The sightings were noted by non-Christian sources such as Pliny and Josephus. The disciples were prepared to die for the sake of not shutting up about it. In fact, of the Apostles (including Paul), 11 out of 12 were executed for talking about it. Only John died of old age, but wait: he lost everything financially that he had and died in exile. He was no longer a fisherman with a boat. Talking about Jesus and refusing to compromise cost him his business first.

Sound familiar?

Things never start at maximum throttle. Any movement trying to derail Christianity will first have to undermine the idea of Christianity. So a Just God becomes a “Loving God”, which He is, but then the idea gets warped. We end up with “How can a ‘loving God’ condemn people to Hell?” and rather than point out the system of Free Choice He set up in the Bible it gets capitulated into “He wouldn’t” and POW there goes the need for repentance. Everyone suddenly gets a “Get Out of Hell Free” card and so there’s no fear of the coming wrath and judgement. It’s been going on so long now that we can’t grasp the idea that there can be a coming Judgement. Next, trivialise the ideas. Armageddon and Judgement Day are suddenly movie titles with Bruce Willis and Arnie, and Satan looks a lot like Gabriel Byrne.

We are living in the situation where we see people expecting Salvation without sacrifice, Christianity without Christ, Forgiveness without repentance and heaven without hell, just like William Booth predicted. What began as a minor blip is now the substantive belief system of the majority. Alarmingly, many evangelicals are stuck in it as well. It may be what makes Trump’s cohorts so dangerous. They at least recognise there’s something wrong. (No clue how to fix it, but it’s a start!)

So what do we do?

Firstly, we must look at ourselves. Examine our own life and get any plank out of our eyes. It’s not easy, but if we are going to be Ambassadors of Christ it is absolutely essential.

Secondly, quit compromising. True, not everyone who disagrees with us is persecuting us, but equally true, it doesn’t mean none of them are. If standing for Christ will risk everything it might just be the right thing to do.

Finally, brace for impact. We need to anchor deep to weather the storm coming. So many Christians I’ve met have fallen silent at best and away from God completely in some cases because they have never built ready to weather a storm. The storm itself cannot kill us. It cannot take what is most precious, but we can surrender it. It is vital we don’t quit when things get tough. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesian 6:13)

Stand firm and be a Witness of Jesus Christ.

Keep Calm and…

Carry on Learning

23rd August saw the 17th anniversary of my dad’s death. I don’t usually keep track of the day, for several reasons – not least of which is that the event was a major part of the trigger that launched me towards depression and four [failed] suicide attempts.

Keeping calm isn’t my strongest suit. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have a short temper. But I do consider myself to be a lifelong learner.

We essentially have two options in life. Growth or death. There is nothing else.

For over a year after my dad died I actively sought death. Instead of allowing myself to grow, I sank into a black pit of depression.

Just a few weeks before dad was diagnosed we had gone to a conference in Devon, just for the day. It was around the time of the Columbine shootings.I remember as one of the teachers had to return to his church in Littleton. We listened, worshipped and prayed. We went and had lunch, then the afternoon and evening sessions. Great teaching and amazing worship. Then a call for someone with cancer to go and receive healing. Nobody moved.

I didn’t know at the time, but my dad was already taking massive doses of painkillers for headaches. And I mean MASSIVE doses. A box of Nurofen a day.

A month later he collapsed with a massive brain tumour. He lived just 3 months more.

We both learned a lot from the experience. One important thing I learned was that not every minister gets it. At my dad’s bedside the day he went Home, the vicar came to pray with us and for him. He asked Jesus to take dad to himself and give comfort to those left behind. He said we can’t know God’s plan.

Dad had fought this sickness. Even then, he was fighting. I told him if he wanted to go that we’d be ok, even though I wasn’t sure. John, the vicar, was a decent guy. He wanted to do the right thing. But my dad was 56, just 12 years older than I am now, and far short of three score and ten. God limited man’s days to 120 years after the flood. 70 or 80 was an observation by Moses, not a decree of longevity by God. There were prophetic promises spoken over dad just a few weeks earlier that went unfulfilled because of his death. God’s Word does not return void, but we can curtail it’s effect.

When Jesus went to Nazareth in His ministry, the Bible says He could do very little in His hometown because of their lack of faith. He was not honoured because they thought they knew Him.

They didn’t.

They knew their concept of Jesus. Son of the carpenter. Brother of James and son of Mary. His earthly siblings were still living there. They couldn’t see the forest because their own trees obscured it.

I love to look at nature. The complexity of a flower and the intricate design of a pollinating Beeinsect like a bee or a butterfly. I try to not allow my own concept to prevent me seeing the glorious design God has put in place. Bees are truly incredible creatures. There is so much we owe this humble insect, yet most people seem terrified of them. Most people don’t get that if a bee stings you, it dies. Stinging is not on a bee’s “to do” list every morning.

The bee flies because it has no concept of aerodynamics. I’d never get into an aircraft that looked like a bee because at school I studied aerodynamics. I don’t know how a bee flies. It shouldn’t.

But a bee doesn’t know it shouldn’t, so it does. Simple faith.

I sit on chairs in the faith that they will hold me. I’m a big guy, 220lbs, and there have been times that faith has been misplaced. But generally chairs hold me. Otherwise I’d stand all the time.

I learn.

We do what we know we are. Proverbs 23:7 says “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” The context is of a selfish rich man paying lip-service to giving, but the concept holds true to all of us. We cannot behave in a way other than how we perceive ourselves to be. If we are not committed to growth, we will perish. It’s that simple.

Growth is not just the concept of new ideas, but to be prepared to stand fast on ones that have stood for thousands of years despite current societal and political trends. It’s hard when the World labels us “backward” or “x-phobic” (whatever the “x” of the moment is). But I’m more concerned about opposing God than man. We all should be.

God doesn’t change. No “shadow of turning” as the hymn puts it. “Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not; As thou hast been, thou for ever wilt be” (Great is thy Faithfulness).

We forget because remembering puts us in a quandary. There is no genetic reason for most behaviour. Including homosexuality, but not limited to it. Nature vs Nurture would seem to suggest heavily that Nurture – or errors in it – plays a role, a significant one, in our development.

I was accused often of being gay at school because I wasn’t a sportsman I was a musician, and outside school my main hobby was ballet. At six feet tall and about 190lbs I was the least likely dancer you could meet, but a dancer I was. I loved it. It was a “safe” place for me. I got the chance to express something through dance I couldn’t anywhere else, even in music. But I never doubted my sexuality. Very definitely NOT gay! I learned that respect for women Marilyn Monroe spoke of in one movie, a girl can walk through a backstage area nearly naked and not be molested, but put the same girl fully dressed in an office and she’ll be harassed was the sentiment. I forget which movie it was, I seem to remember a billionaire pretending to be a normal guy to woo her in it. I just remember the idea and thought about it a lot. Several of the girls at dancing were also at the sister-school to the boys school I went to and the comments the boys made were usually disgusting about them fully dressed. I can honestly say I never even thought that and I’d seen WAY more than they had over the years. The ladies were people to me, not objects.

I also learned young that looks change in a second. It’s folly to base a life on appearances. What taught me was the story of Simon Weston, the young officer badly burned in the Falklands War in 1982. He became a hero and a celebrity after his injuries on the HMS Sir Galahad scarred him physically, but the strength of who he was came through.

Learning is not optional.

Actually, I suppose it is. We can walk around ignorant if we choose to. Dad used to say “You can lead a horse to water, shove it’s head under the surface and waggle it’s tongue up and down. It drinks or it drowns!” He never literally tried it, but as a teacher he saw it with kids in his care, and the colleagues he worked with. The older, more experienced ones retired as the younger, inflexible and arrogant became the bosses and learning was replaced with memorising for testing.

The burden of working with the short sighted system pushed him into retirement.

We try to carry more than we should much of the time. We forget or ignore Jesus’s 8e422-unequal2byokeinvitation to take up His yoke and let Him give us rest, so we end up laughably unevenly burdened.

The result is burnout on a massive scale.

I know many people, formerly solid foundation (seemingly) based Christians who have walked away after a rough time hits them.

Broken marriages, depression, rejection by churches that should know better. They contribute to the destruction of the lives of the men and women, and the children they bring up.

Sadly, it’s too often the case. The psychological persecution is more effective than threat of a sword or a gun. A better example for the enemy’s camp is to turn one away from God, because that’s what people remember, not the thousands who stay, but the one sheep that wanders off.

But if we remain open to correction and growth, we can withstand anything.

It's [Not] Complicated…

Complicated and Confused

The biggest issue I hear when I tell people I’m a Christian is “Isn’t it terribly complicated? I mean, there’s all those things you can’t do.”

The hardest thing about my Faith in my experience is explaining how simple it actually is. Most people seem to think Christianity is either irrelevant – which is ok because they have a clear idea of what they’re rejecting – or similar to the Gordian Knot in it’s complexity.

In point of fact, Christianity is a very simple system. It goes something like this:

  • God is a just God.
  • He gave Adam one “don’t” instruction and told him the consequences of breaking it.
  • Adam broke it.
  • Rather than wipe out all His creation and start over, God chose to take His own punishment on behalf of Adam’s descendants.
  • He gives us the choice to accept His gift or reject it.
  • Acceptance makes us right with Him for eternity
  • Rejection means we face His judgement.

The issue most people today have is trying to deal with the thought that a Loving God will send people to Hell.

Mostly this is avoided by simply not believing in Hell. It makes it easy because people stop seeing consequences to their actions. The death penalty is no longer an effective deterrent to criminals in part because they have no concept of what lies beyond. Consider how in the USA the number of mass shootings end with suicide by the gunman. There’s no fear of an eternal consequence for their actions.

3909d-william2bbooth

William Booth spoke of the

consequences we face today at the turn of the 19th Century.

He was largely dismissed at the time as people couldn’t imagine a world where his predictions could happen.

Within 2 decades the First World War broke out and Western society changed forever. Just 21 years later in 1939 the Second World War took out the second consecutive generation of young men on a global scale and the change was effectively complete. By the late 1950s and early 60s the concept of Hell was all but dropped by most preachers. Many wouldn’t touch it because of the experiences so many had had during the War, either by bombings or on the battlefields of Europe and the Far East. Korea and Vietnam didn’t help, and the concept of “Hell on Earth” became popular and having been through it, Heaven would surely be the reward for everyone.

Now Christianity is straightforward, but not that simple.

Christianity is such a straightforward offer that it requires special talent to misunderstand it. Unfortunately, there is much of this talent available.

God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He is undoubtedly a God of order. You can’t look at the way the planets rotate or how perfectly a honey-bee is able to draw the nectar from a flower and truly doubt the perfection of His design. Such design can only be achieved through order.

Yet somehow Christianity has been relegated to a “get out of Hell free” card in some transcendental monopoly game. So often there is little, if any, sign of Power in Faith. I’m not talking about political power, but real life changing power as the Disciples showed.

Over the last 2000 years there have been times of growth and times of stagnation in the Christian Faith. Every time of growth has corresponded with a return by a significant group to the simple, basic Truths of the Faith that have been central since Jesus’s time.

Capitec, a small bank in South Africa, advertises with the tag-line “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.” It’s true. The theory is sound. The simpler things are, the better they work.

Compare the simplicity of Christianity with the legalism of Islam. Eat anything because it’s what comes out of our mouth that shows us to be clean or unclean. Pray without ceasing, facing any direction you want and don’t worry if you didn’t bathe first – just talk to Me. Don’t rely on your own efforts to be “good enough” to get to Heaven, just rely on Jesus to be good enough and let Him bring you in.

I have several friends who are Muslim. We don’t often discuss religion as with some it has caused offence in the past. These days I lean more to living Christianity around them and let them ask why I’m doing what I do. It’s difficult, but I’ve always struggled with the people I’m closest to in terms of “evangelising”. I’m not a natural evangelist. On the few occasions we have spoken the differences between our faiths is stark. During Ramadan I spoke to one friend about fasting. She asked how fasting differed for Christians from the Muslim fast. I explained that when I fast I fast for a few days at a time. During that time I will eat nothing and drink only water and tea. She asked me what time each day I stopped. I explained that I didn’t. Fasting is total abstinence from food 24 hours a day while I fast.

She nearly fell off her chair. Not being able to eat at sundown was beyond her comprehension. She asked how long I have to fast for, what the “requirements” were. Again, it was obvious that my response was a surprise. I know people who have fasted for three weeks or more in that way, and some who fast just a day or two.

The freedom from a legalistic requirement on how and when to fast or pray is integral to the concept of Relationship in Christianity. If Alexander Graham Bell had been around in First Century Jerusalem, I’m 100% certain Jesus would have likened prayer to a personal call to God from His children – and He was just waiting for it to ring. The Bible was the call to us, kind of like an answerphone message, begging us to call Him back.

My mum tends to phone me around 8:30pm most nights. If I can’t answer for some reason she leaves a message and if its not too late I call her back. But I can call her or vice-versa at any time during the day. Imagine if I could only call or receive a call at a specific time from a phone plugged in to a particular socket. That wouldn’t be relationship, it would be ritual.

Jesus is all about relationship. His purpose was to restore Relationship with the Father by His sacrifice. The breaking of the legalistic requirements of the Law by completing it was the method. The point of the Law was to show mankind that we could not make it to God ourselves, but rather to point to Him as the one we needed to receive salvation. Any religion that then takes us back to following a set of rules instead of the freedom of Grace confuses and complicates our existence.

There are rituals in Christianity. The most obvious is Communion, but while it is important, the point is not transubstantiation of the sacraments, but rather the symbolic being part of Jesus and Him being part of us. The ritual isn’t supposed to replace the relationship, but remind us of the reason – Relationship.

Simple, clear and plain.

It’s really not that complicated.

Jesus the Comic…

Joke

Rowan Atkinson did a sketch years ago where he tried to lampoon Christianity. If you’re a religious-type person, he probably succeeded. In it he plays the part of a minister of indeterminate origin somewhat haphazardly speaking at a service. At the end he tells the audience to come back for the evening service (or the following week depending on the recording) when his sermon will be “Christ the Comic, Jesus the Comedian”.

If you’ve read any of my older posts (please do), you’ll be aware that I don’t exactly fit the mould of “Preacher”.

Thankfully.

One of my favourite teachers, Andrew Wommack, said some years ago that he would be upset if people could not only tell he was a preacher, but what type of preacher when they first met him. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the mid 90s and am able to say from what I saw, he was the most normal, down to earth guy I’ve met – with the possible exception of Dave Duell, who I met the same week. Neither of them put on airs and graces or expected to be treated differently because they were “the Speaker” at the conference. I got the distinct impression chatting to them that they would have been upset if they had been afforded different treatment.

I sincerely hope I come across that way when people meet me.

I’m not even-tempered, I don’t genuflect at an altar, I get downright upset far too often in fact. Basically I’m a work-in-progress for God.

I’ve not reached perfection, and I don’t expect to this side of the grave, but I’ve begun the journey. I hope my actions reflect the Christ I serve, and my words are guided by Him rather than my own ego.

I’m not a “religious” person.

Neither was Jesus.

Jesus was outrageous. Everywhere He went there was chaos behind Him. Literally when He visited the Temple.

Twice.

He shattered the pre-conceived notions people had been beaten with ever time He opened His mouth to speak. He sat and ate with sinners, tax-collectors and prostitutes. The fishermen He travelled with were not what you’d expect the first bishops to look like. I doubt any of them wore purple robes or crowns. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” may have been off on many things, but when Indie finds Spielberg’s concept of the resting place of the Holy Grail he at least has the historical integrity to show the cup of a carpenter as being a simple, unassuming and ordinary item. Kind of like Tupperware. The table at the Last Supper would not have had gold cups and silver plates.

Jesus was a King like no other before Him.

He was also real.

He had a sense of humour. Some of it I recognised myself growing up, and some of it got pointed out by reading “Beautiful Outlaw”, John Eldredge’s incredible book about the humanity of Jesus.

Oops. I’m sure some people just clicked away. Yep. Jesus was human as well as God. People forget that. Mary had to teach Him to walk, talk and use the toilet. Although possibly not in that order. He had to learn to write. Joseph had to teach Him to use carpenter’s tools.

In all ways, Jesus was as human as you and me. More so. He was human the way Adam was created.

I’m told blood-line genetics is largely determined by the father. A woman cannot produce a “Y” chromosome, so a man is required for procreation. If you have a son, ladies, it’s because somewhere around nine months before birth your egg (or his biological mother’s egg if he’s adopted) was in contact with a man. Sperm are either male or female, but eggs are always female apparently. Please let me know if a geneticist is reading this and I’m wrong – I’m just repeating what I was told in biology about 3 decades ago.

So Jesus had a Father, God, and a mother, Mary. Adam’s Father was also God.

He got His personality from His Father largely. God is no respecter of persons and I’d never accuse the Gospel of being politically correct.

Jesus called sin sin. He never held back at the people piling religious guff onto the poor, widows, orphans, or anyone else they considered “beneath” them (which was everybody).

But Jesus had a sense of humour. Like His Father.

Anyone who can read the Bible and not conclude God has a sebb54a-weak-thingsnse of humour is reading it wrong. Take Balaam. Balaam was a prophet, a man with a hotline to God. When he refused to answer said hotline, God uses a donkey to prophesy to Balaam. It’s the only recorded time God ever spoke out of His ass…

Consider Caleb. 85 years old. “Give me the mountain country”. Hebron had the fortified cities where the giants lived. Now imagine your grandfather at the age of 85 storming Omaha beach in Normandy. That’s Caleb.

Abraham was 100 years old. Sarah was 90. Isaac means “laughter”. I guess Abraham got the joke!

He meets Moses in a bush that’s burning but not burning up. Exodus says Moses’s response is ““I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”  So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”” (Exodus 3:3-4) Mike Yaconelli says this is the English translation of the Hebrew word “AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!”

“You feed them” says Jesus. The disciples look out over 5000 men and their families. Possibly 20,000 people there since they only counted the men. The most steadfast disciple would flinch, so Jesus turns to a boy with a packed lunch…

He takes a stroll to meet the boys… in a storm… over the surface of the sea…

He talks to a Samarian woman about her live-in boyfriend and sets her off into town telling everyone “Come and see a man who told me about my whole life”. I can imagine the men of the town getting nervous – and the woman, freed from her past, laughing.

Then there are the cultural “in” jokes we can miss today. He alludes to the Pharisees being shepherds. Shepherds were not highly thought of. They smelled of sheep and had a rough way about them. More Clint Eastwood than Mr Rogers. Imagine you go to church on Sunday and find the guest speaker is Dirty Harry. The general population would have been very amused. (The Pharisees less so!)

He uses a Samaritan as an example of how to behave in a Godly way.

He was born in Bethlehem but grew up and was known as a man from Nazareth. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46 emphasis mine)

The disciples don’t know which way is up a lot of the time until Jesus explains the parables.

Then look at the disciples. The 12 guys Jesus picks to start a movement to reclaim the whole of mankind from Satan’s grip after Jesus goes back to heaven.

Peter: aka Simon. Mr Swordsman himself. Passionate, clumsy, abrupt, and generally opens his mouth for the express purpose of changing feet. This is the guy anointed and appointed to be the leader of the 12.

He picks the first person to show Himself to after the Resurrection. Mary, a reformed prostitute. More, a woman. In First Century times, you didn’t make a woman your ambassador. But Jesus did. She’s the first one to declare “He is risen”.

The Gospel is good news. When the Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost, the people of Jerusalem thought the disciples had been drinking. Probably not belligerent drunks looking for a fight, but happy drunks. During the “Toronto Blessing” era in the 90s the church I was part of was marked by one thing more than any other: Laughter.

Jesus liked a party. He cracked jokes – usually at the expense of religious-types. He feasted and celebrated Life.

And we remember Him with dry bread and the world’s smallest sip of wine/juice.

I guess there’s a joke in there as well!

 

Contacts

I’ve had some problems with email filters recently and have just found there were a lot of emails filtered out as spam which were contact forms from this site.

Apologies, but if this is for you, please send your mail again to david@eagleswingministries.org DIRECTLY rather than use the form for now.

This applies to any contact from the last 3 months!

Thanks

DavidAbout David

Stubborn and Pig Headed…

Stubborn

 

I’m not known for keeping my temper. Mostly.

I don’t usually act on my baser impulses physically, but I do tend to not run from a confrontation either.

One of my qualities is that I tend to not change my mind easily once I’ve made a choice. This can be both a Blessing and a curse, depending on the choice I’ve made.

Margaret Thatcher once said “The lady’s not for turning”. I forget what it was in reference to, but it stuck. I didn’t agree with her political views very often, but I had a great deal of respect for the dogged way she would stick to her guns once she’d made a choice.

There’s something very different in the way things happen today than 30 years ago. I’ve written before about the way heroes are portrayed in movies now, particularly in some of the major blockbusters of the last few years.

The best example is definitely Aragorn in “Lord of the Rings”. He is confident in battle, but as far as accepting the throne of Gondor and taking his place as King it seems like he has to be coerced into it by Elrond. He doubts his own strength and second-guesses his way through the trilogy up until the final battle. Compare this with the Aragorn of the Tolkien books and he is barely recognisable. Tolkien wrote him as a man set on a mission to claim his throne and restore the realm of men, standing fast against Mordor.

Again in “Lord of the Rings”, the four young hobbits start out like children in the movie, wandering into the local ale house and afraid to speak to Rosie behind the bar or stand up to anyone about anything. Then they go off to war. Frodo and Sam walk alone into Mordor to destroy the Ring of Power, Pippin and Merry become a Guard of the Citadel of Gondor and an Esquire of Rohan respectively. They face dangers and battles, becoming warriors in their own right. Tolkien’s ending far better fits the change they undergo on the journey than Peter Jackman’s interpretation. Tolkiein has them return to find the Shire under an iron rule, Bag End having been taken over and the house-sitters of Frodo’s appointment murdered. But the four hardened hobbits with armour and swords are more than a match for the usurpers and drive them out of the Shire. Compare that with the movies where, having faced Sauron, Saruman and the nine Wraiths and defeated them all the four return and are instantly back into the way things were, except Sam finally has the courage to talk to Rosie. Quite a difference.

Doubt and uncertainty has become virtuous in this modern age.

The thing is, the world is still looking for decisive leadership. That’s part of the lure Donald Trump has – he appears decisive and sure of himself. The problem is that there have been so few people prepared to take a firm stand that his hate and fear-based bluster comes across to the uninitiated as confidence. Much like the Germany of the 1920s and 30s, America is lost in doubt and internal conflict. Despite unemployment being relatively low and an expanding economy, Trump has managed to convince an alarmingly large number of people that America needs to “recover”. I’m not sure what from, but it needs to.

Donald said so.

One member of the old guard (who frankly should know better), Clint Eastwood, spoke this week about the pandering to politically correct parties by “leaders” of recent years. Since this is a Christian space I won’t quote him verbatim, but I will say at least he was emphatic – and this is a man who genuinely knows about leadership. My disappointment is that despite Trump’s shortcomings Eastwood says he will still be voting Republican in November. My lament over this is that he seems to be unable to see that the Republican ideals he has believed in for so long are actually being eroded by the man picked to represent them.

I don’t really care which party wins any election. As a Brit, I’ve voted exclusively for the candidate I felt embodied most of what I believe in as an MP for my area, and similarly for the party I felt least unsuitable to lead in General Elections. This has meant some hard choices from time to time. I was relieved at the last election that since I no longer live in the UK I’m not registered to vote there so I didn’t have to choose which lunatic was given the keys to the asylum – much like America has to do in November.

I’ve been vocal about Trump, but that does not mean I support Hillary. Frankly I believe Bernie Sanders might be the best President America never got (possibly second to Al Gore), but I don’t believe either of the current major nominees should be elected based on their actions over the last few years.

Then again, I live in South Africa now. The less said about unsuitable presidential material in power, the better…

Bluster has replaced conviction on a global scale. It’s scary how nobody seems to have noticed.

Conviction is a very different beast.

Look to Jesus as our example.

In Luke 4, He returns from 40 days being tempted by Satan without sin and goes to the synagogue. Here He takes the scroll of Isaiah and reads:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[k]

Luke 4:18-19 NKJV

In 1990 I heard Tony Campolo tell this and he said Jesus basically was saying “I’m IT Baby!” to the people.

That passage declared Jesus to be the Messiah.

The people responded by trying to throw Jesus off a cliff, but Jesus simply turns and walks through the crowd seeking His death.

That’s authority.

In the last weeks of His life and ministry, Jesus turns towards Jerusalem and the Cross. He sets His face hard and moves purposefully towards the Battle. Genuine decisiveness. He cuts off all other possibilities except the path to the Crucifixion.

The path to service.

Jesus was single-minded. Peter could not dissuade Him, and when he protests Jesus recognises the influence of His enemy over Peter and rebukes him (the enemy) immediately. (Matthew 16:23) Something of note is that Peter had a teachable heart. His rebuke of the idea that Jesus should die is rebuffed in a very hard way, yet there is no record of Peter feeling dismayed or offended by this. The Gospels are not afraid to show the feelings of the disciples, particularly Peter, in other places so we should note that Jesus’s words are not a source of offence for him. Rather they allow him to grow.

Peter was hard-headed as well. Stubborn in a way most of us actually should dare to be. He walked on water, he declared Jesus to be the Christ even before the Cross and his own single-minded focus on the things of God allowed him to preach in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, heal the cripple at the Temple and raise Dorcas from death.

Stubborn Faith doesn’t quit.

Single Minded

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8 NKJV

If a double-minded man shouldn’t expect to receive anything from God, the inference is that a single-minded man who doesn’t doubt can confidently expect to receive whatever he asks for.

Consider Daniel, Joseph, Moses and all the great leaders of Faith. The single thing we see in them is that when their faith was tested they stood fast on it and God came through.

Every

Single

Time

Joseph kept the vision he was given as a youth in mind and saw it fulfilled when, many years later, he is made second in power only to Pharaoh. Daniel goes through the lion’s den, Moses oversees the Red-Sea Pedestrians (thanks Monty Python!) and 40 years in the desert. Caleb keeps God’s promise in mind and wins his mountain at the age of 85 after 45 years of walking in the desert and capturing the rest of the Holy Land for Israel before he asks for his own inheritance.

Single-minded, stubborn men won great victories by being single-minded and stubborn in their devotion to God and remembrance of His promises to them.

So yes, I’m stubborn and pig-headed.

I suggest we all should be…