Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: California

Loving a Lymie – Viewpoint from a non-Lyme sufferer

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Loving a Lymie – Viewpoint from a non-Lyme sufferer

First of all this article is not a complaint, I love my wife and I am doing this to increase awareness of something that has been difficult to overcome. I write this in the spirit of honesty and to try to increase awareness of Lyme as a whole. I urge you if you know someone who suffers from Lyme or want to increase awareness of this disease then please share this article and the articles that are linked to this one.

Who am I?

You don’t know me, chances are we have never met and had it not been for this blog article I doubt you would ever have read any words I have written. Normally I write articles of a devotional type length about different parts of the bible but this has been on my heart because this is my daily life because of the woman I love. If you want an introduction to me then check out my “about” or “testimony” page if at all interested in the person writing the article. (I do warn you, I am rather beige!)

My wife wrote a beautiful blog of the same name at the following link (Keeper ministries) and I am not going to repeat much of what she said, she is a much more powerful written and oral communicator than I am as I tend to write with my heart on my sleeve and let my passion go before allowing my common sense and ability to tidy up the verbiage. You probably do know my wife, a beautiful dynamic lady who despite what this incredible but terrible illness has done to her still manages to keep her head held high with a decent amount of dignity.

To give you an introduction I married my wife on a beautiful sunny day in California in 2005 and the lady I married was an outgoing wonderful friendly person who is the strongest person I ever met (she still is all of these things and more) but over the last few years my wife has been cut down with an illness that whilst we are still diagnosing the full extent of what she has we are fairly sure that it is Lyme or at the very least a co-infection of Lyme that has literally zapped the life out of my good lady. Obviously this is a labor of love and an exercise in knowledge sharing and any comment that would be posted below I would be happy to reply as they come in.

What is the point of this?

The point of the article is to try and get some dialogue going, whether that be on the comments part here or on the various Facebook pages or social media pages that Lyme sufferers go to for support. You see, whilst I have seen the effects first hand I have no idea what you are going through. I can’t feel the pain and despite the facts that I can see the results of the pain I can only sympathize as opposed to empathize because really I do not have a clue. Honestly, I wish I could give my wife a “pain vacation” because she could really do with a day off.

Why is this happening?

Who knows? Only God can really answer that one. I trust Him even although I do not understand and I know that God can do miraculous healing and rather selfishly it is what I ask most for in my prayer life mainly because my wife has been through so much and it truly has opened my eyes to a world where you cannot diagnostically see the effects of the illness but you understand that it has taken so much from the victim and the first thing I noticed when checking out who was affected by this illness is that it is not discriminatory, it does not choose based on ethnicity, obesity, skin pigmentation or any other factor. It could quite literally happen to anyone and why it happened to my dear Chelsea I have no idea. Maybe I prayed too hard for an opportunity to show my love, who knows?

Where and when did this happen?

We have no idea, it could have been a tick, it could have been anytime, all I know is my wife has been sick for years and have progressively been getting worst and I could give you a phone book of doctors that have passed her off to the next guy because they couldn’t diagnose her. Chelsea felt like she was being passed on and passed over, I was getting frustrated because I wanted some kind of answer as to what was going on with her and I wanted to start a road to trying to get her better or if that was not possible get us on the road to getting the symptoms to a manageable level.

I also wanted (for my wife’s sake) some validation that she was ill because I was starting to feel like very few people were attempting to understand that she was actually sick! It is difficult to cancel things at the last minute like bible studies, parties we were meant to attend or even something as simple as having folks over for dinner becomes that more challenging if the paid is too much to bear.

How do I feel?

Honestly? I am a mixture of emotions and if I was being selfish and could have all of my prayers answered I would want her to be well and I would wish for us not to have all of these crazy medical bills and I wish we could carry on with our hopes and dreams. My wife has such a talent for music and whilst I am amazed at what she has managed to accomplish before collapsing in an exhausted heap I wish she had the ability to enjoy what she loves. Myself I have always desired to be teaching the Word of God and I wish I could get back to that but I am fortunate in that I have a good job (3 actually) I still have my wife and we have been blessed with a beautiful daughter who is wonderful and truly is the other love of my life.

Do I need to do more?

Of course! My wife does what she can however I do not like asking her because she still homeschools and does other stuff that most other Lyme sufferers would not even attempt. We have no defined roles and if I want to be leader of my home I have had to learn that I can do that as well by being in front of the washing machine, sink, cooker, vacuum cleaner or whatever people would say are not “men’s jobs” in a chauvinistic manner, truth be told it is a team effort and I do what I can but I also admit I get lazy sometimes. I am not perfect and if you have advice, life hacks, shortcuts or anything that could make our lives not as complicated then I would be grateful if you would share. Whether that be planning meals so we don’t have to eat out or just ways to get a more fluid process then I would be grateful.

She doesn’t like to ask me to do things and I am learning slowly when things are getting too much for her. Don’t get me wrong I often get it wrong and I am grateful for the patience she shows me. This is not a short term scenario and I know what I signed up for, I promised on my wedding day that I was going to love her “in sickness and in health” and I often joke with her “when do we get the healthy part?” and it truly is a test of love because the girl I fell in love with was vibrant, outgoing and such a servant. She won me over without a word and has shown me such an example of Jesus that it turned my life around.

Isn’t Lyme covered by most doctors and insurances?

Actually no, most are reading from out of date statistics and often times if your insurance plan covers anything at all they will usually only cover antibiotics for a certain time and whilst that works in some cases it does not work in all. Lyme doctors often have to go out of network and personally my wife and I travel three hours to see a Lyme specialist who is about 200 miles away from where we live and that is a fortunate situation as we have someone who will see us in the same state as often times people have a way worse commute than we do. I have found that most Lyme doctors are out of the insurance networks and because of this it can be a very costly exercise to go and visit these specialists. You can’t put a cost on healthcare and I would gladly empty everything I own to have my wife treated.

How long will this go on?

You are in it for the long haul and I truly am, if I have to be a full time carer for my wife I am prepared to do so should things go south. It is not always roses in the garden and sometimes there has to be some hard graft put in but my number one priority is my wife and then my child. I am called to serve them first and foremost and then afterwards do whatever externally I am called to do. We see the following said about love in 1st Corinthians 13 (Our family chapter)

1st Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

It is a high calling to bear all things, believes all things, hopes and endures all things. Problem is, I am not Superman and I fail more often than I succeed (just ask my wife) but the main part is that I am willing and my desire is to have this article spread in order to try and advance the cause of Lyme and maybe make some contacts who are in the same boat as me.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

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WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

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WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

Those crazy Canadians

If you ever get the chance or opportunity to go see the band “The City Harmonic” then I would advise that you please do, they are much more than four “Weird Canadians” (Their words and not mine) from Hamilton, a place that is as well known for its steel industry as it is it’s football team (Tigercats) and based on the testimony I heard last night this formed a big part of the history  of why they were touring North America with their “We Are” tour, and in the latest leg of this tour when last night they visited my home town in Exeter, CA.

Back to the Great Commission

There are not many bands that come through here (Small population of just over 10,000) so we have to give much kudos to Michael Guzman of the Church of God, Exeter for being able to make Exeter one of the stops on this great tour and for the band for making the tickets so affordable. On a personal level this confirmed so many things that God has been speaking to me that we should as Christians be working together for the glory of God and fulfilling Matthew 28 and going out and making preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ the number one priority. Michael was keen from the start that this be Exeter’s event and not a Church of God event and all of the relevant publicity spoke of “Churches together” and I find this great and I will explain the reasons why below.

Unified evangelism

The Gospel of Jesus should be brought forward in a unit as opposed to a pincer movement! I know that is Army terminology but there is an element of truth in the fact that there is “strength in numbers”. If that means further ecumenicalism then I would have to say to those who are scared of working with those outside of their particular flavor of Christianity the words of Christ himself when the disciples warned of someone who was doing the work of Christ in Jesus name but was not part of their particular group…

Luke 9:49 (ESV) John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

Reinvent the wheel?

People have issues in doing joint projects due to minor differences in theology. Here is tge thing, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, many churches will be doing similar things. Let us look at it from a non-Christian point of view; a non-Christian does not understand the subtle differences between Baptist theologies or they couldn’t pick a Lutheran out of a lineup or a Calvinist from a Catholic and all they know is that it is “Christian” in religion and in definition and they will not care what branch of Christianity that this viewpoint belongs to and will often times use something a denominational leader says as something to beat the whole of Christianity over.

Cheap as chips?

Let’s use an analogy that is a little fun but gets the point across well. Let us replace the denomination name with flavors of chips. So rather than stating I am a Baptist or Presbyterian, we will state I am Salt and Vinegar or I am Barbeque, which by definition are all potato chips but again they are different flavors. (A good question to ask would the “cult of potato chips be Cheetos or Funyins eaters?) Would we split over a chip flavor as easily as we split over a preferred order of service on a Sunday or in the case of Seventh Day Adventist the day of the week that you prefer to go to church?

Align with those on the same mission

At this point I would have to state that it is important to align ourselves with people who are on the same mission as us and not “join forces for the sake of joining forces if the ones you seek to align with are not on the same mission as you” and I have to confess that I am a big fan of the Apostle Paul, a man who started off his journey persecuting Christians to the point of death as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, then he had a blinding light and was brought to task by his Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) and then spent much of his written work appealing for unity in the body. A favorite writing of mine is as follows…

1st Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

You could say the same truth lies at the door of the modern Western church as it did when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. Bear with me for a second and you will see where I am going with this, replace the word “Paul”  or “Apollos” with your brand of church for example “I am a Methodist” or “I follow Calvin” and you will see how relevant this is to the modern day believer, we are instructed to be of the “same mind and judgment” and let us do that, let us preach the gospel straight from the pages of the word and let the Holy Spirit impact the lives of the people we touch. Let the revival start with me, with you the reader. Let us strengthen our homes, let us be like Joshua and let there not be a decision “As for me and my house WE WILL serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)

Families on and in mission

Here is where the gloves come off and we need to read the truth that we need to be families ON mission and families IN mission. Please know that we are not perfect and we will fail, we will sin, we will fall and we will fail but we will love! John 13:35 states that this “is how we will be identified as his disciples, by our love for one another” This could be as simple as having people over, this could be mentoring people in the word, this could just be as simple as doing your job to the best of your ability and being a Christian in the workplace in every transaction you do. There will be times where the mission of Christ is strong and there are times that you have to focus more on the family but we should be “working at it all to the Lord heartily and not to a human master” (Colossians 3:23) We have to use the skills that God has blessed us with and use it all to the glory of God. My wife is a gifted musician and leads our house in worship on a Sunday evening and I love that she has the heart to do so, I know that I am stronger when I am doing what I am called to do by the Lord, I have the gifts of encouragement, teaching and mentoring.

What about the concert?

Getting back to the concert, it was beautiful to see the great local choir made up from many local churches, great to hear of the pastors and leaders who met together to coordinate to help move the needle for Jesus in our small community and was great to see the three pastors who came up and prayed over the community that this not just be a concert but actually be a small part of an ongoing movement to spark revival in the City of Exeter and beyond. And that is my heart, like these Canadians I come from a “Steel town” in that beautiful land called Scotland and my first job was an apprentice welder in a place very close to the original Hamilton in Scotland. I recognized the place that they came from and the heart that they had to get the churches and the people of God together and get all of us Christians pointing in the same way as regards to evangelizing our local area. When Jesus stated the great commission and gave us the task to “go out unto the world and preach the gospel” there was no caveat that stated “only if they have the same eschatology or hermeneutics”. The music was wonderful and most definitely a joyful noise to our Lord. The words were impactful and certainly pierced any remaining hardness in my heart and swept away any inhibitions that I had about being on mission in my small town. I genuinely felt God speaking to me and it was a true oasis in the desert as it was a break from real life and a good opportunity to have that mountaintop experience and realign priorities that may have got messed up otherwise. The question I have is why are we not on that mountaintop more? Let us get back on point with what God is trying to do in our lives and be that blessing to others and let the Lord replenish us from that stream of endless living water.

What flavor of Christ are you?

I find it such a shame that we lead into conversations about our faith by stating our particular branch of Christianity (and example would be I am a Presbyterian) before we identify ourselves as Christians and because we have become so entrenched in our differences we do not even think that the church across the road may be willing to pull our resources and do a community outreach. We have to start thinking in terms of changed hearts as opposed trying to get people in the doors on a Sunday. These are words of lamentation and I am working through my own issues and my own baggage that I have self-loaded in this area.

Quantity or quality?

Personally if I was a pastor, I would rather have 40 committed, connected family like believers in my church than 400 folks who barely knew each other and do not operate in any small groups, individual ministry or mentoring in order to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” because that 40 who are reaching out and being missional, teaching the converts and then sending them out to witness to others will be much more efficient in the work of the ministry in the area where God has planted them. I love small groups, so much so that I have one in my house on a Sunday evening, we go between 3 and 17 dependent on what night it is. We follow the example of our Messiah Jesus who had a small group of 12 disciples which he invested in, he mentored for three years and sent them out to change the world, as his disciples we should do likewise.

Closing benediction

My prayer is that you read this and get excited to partner with me to change my small town; I would still like to partner with you if you live in a different town. My priority is revival in three places…

My home – I want to be like Joshua, my house will serve the Lord
My neighborhood – I want to be a light to my neighborhood and preach the gospel to whomever God sends my way
My town – Exeter is a lovely place but imagine Exeter on fire for Jesus? Wow what a thought and I want to be a good and faithful servant to the mission the Lord has given me.

Exeter is where I live now and I would go so far as to say it is my home town, Scotland will always be where I grew up but the Lord has given me Exeter as a mission field. I have no idea why I landed here except through God’s will but I know there are people who share my desire to make a change in my city.

One thing I know is that my Christian brothers and sisters in Exeter is that we are more similar than we are different, it is right that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters regardless of where they congregate on a Sunday, we all have the same Savior and WE ARE ONE. WE ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF JESUS and WE ARE EXETER.

I pray this was a blessing, an exhortation and I have no desire to lead a movement, simply be a motivator or facilitator in moving the needle towards helping my town find Jesus Christ. If you find this a blessing, like, share or comment on this article or feel free to publicize this on whatever social media platforms you use. I love you all and want to see my small city on fore for Jesus.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

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The Law, The Legalists and The Ungodly

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This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of First Timothy.

The Law is good but use it lawfully

Leaders have to be careful about who they allow to do the ministry of God in our assemblies. But more on that should the LORD tarry long enough for me to do Chapter 2. Paul continues his thought in verse 8.

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Paul is keen to advise that the law that God gave is still a good law, it was created by a perfect God and was and is and is to come God’s perfect standard. There is nothing wrong with the law itself, the law is purposed with exposing the wrongdoing of the heart and shining a light on the personal sin of the sinner.

Paul writes to the Galatian church in chapter 3…

Galatians 3:11 (ESV) Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

And also…

Galatians 3:24 (ESV) So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,

Legalism or loving conviction?

The law was designed to convict the heart of the wrongdoing person, it was never meant as a club to beat someone with in a legalistic fashion. We are commanded to use the law lawfully. Yes, by all means hold your brother accountable in a loving way if he has fallen into error and correct doctrine and apostasy, but don’t use it as a substitute for walking by faith or use it to keep showing us righteousness.

Personally, if I was on the receiving end of such legalism and law clubbing, I would lose confidence in my faith very quickly and begin to question if the salvation that was done by Jesus on the cross was in fact enough for me to be saved. I know that it is but the standards set by God in the law were there to point to the one who would live a life according to what the Father said the law was.

I said this was a continuation in thought as when we looked at “sound doctrine” I touched on “sinful actions” and here again we see that the two are conjoined. If we do not have our doctrine straight it is far easier to fall into actions that will be problematic.

Really we have to have balance; I am not stating that we should not have standards, or that Gods standards are not correct, we have to live a good life according to biblical standards but this does not make us justified before God, save us from our sin or get us to heaven.

Who are the ungodly?

Paul then gives quite a list of types of people that would fall into this category. I will be contrary to many commentators and not spend much time on the list. The lost is somewhat self-explanatory. Many folks have used this passage for their own ends to prove a point against whatever sin they were preaching against that week.

Paul’s list is as follows…

1) Those who strike their fathers and mothers
2) For murderers
3) The sexually immoral
4) Men who practice homosexuality, 
5) Enslavers
6) Liars
7) Perjurers
8) Whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine

Paul lists the top 7 sins that folks were practicing in that area and in that time. He also leaves the last category for folks who do things that are contrary to a life lived in sound doctrine.

Paul is wise in doing so as people will try to use guidelines like this as a means to justify their wicked actions. (Well, what I am doing is not on Paul’s bad list) and this would be a mistake as we are approaching this with the wrong heart and trying to avoid repercussions as opposed to willingly serving and keeping ourselves clear of these things to glorify God.

Loving legalism

We have to be careful to not be in love with our own legalism as if the actions we do will justify us as much as the grace of God. It is important to not do these things and not be tainted by the world, but we can turn our actions into a semi-false doctrine of its own by claiming that it in some way will give us holiness.

Stay where you are planted

Paul lists what was going on in Ephesus and lists common behaviors and lists why it is important that Timothy remains where God has planted him regardless of the difficulty in his current mission. It does remind me of when Jesus spoke on the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13…

Matthew 13:1 (ESV) That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

You can judge for yourself what type of ground Ephesus was, it certainly was not fertile soil, there was some growth but there was also a lot of the culture influencing the church and even today that is an area of concern in many churches. (I would be interested if you would state what seed you think the Ephesian church is in the comments and why)

It is easy when things get difficult to try to seek an easier place to serve the LORD. I write this as a man who is currently in a foreign country. I was born in Scotland and live in California in the USA. The only “service” I do for the LORD is a small bible study where I open up my house to allow folks to discuss the bible on a Sunday evening. (Obviously I write this blog and I am a father and husband)

I have found it harder than I would back home to have opportunities to serve as people simply don’t know me and coming from a missions church background where it was all hands on deck, I miss being in the thick of serving regularly. It would be easy to go somewhere else, but the truth is I haven’t been called elsewhere yet. (If it ever happens at all) Leaving would be contrary to God’s plan for this part of my life and I may miss out or delay valuable lessons God has for me.

Legalism versus the gospel of glory

We spoke on legalism and the replacement of real righteousness, legalism or works based faith cannot bring you one centimeter closer to God, but the “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” can. Paul saw himself as a keeper of the flame, a guardian if you will of that true gospel that it be preserved, not perverted and kept the true word of God. He wanted the truth to remain the truth, untainted by error, what a mission!.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Double the volume in Dundee, Scotland

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Double the volume in Dundee, Scotland

In today’s Scottish newspaper the Daily Record we read about the Scottish university “The University of Dundee” introducing a “2 Pint glass” in order to reduce waiting times at the University bar. Let’s look at this further.

Ephesians 5:11 (ESV) Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read the warning to “not get drunk with wine” because that is “debauchery” and I would tend to agree with this.

Where are you coming from?

If you have read my ” testimony ” page you will understand where I am coming from on this one. I have had in my past a very unhealthy attitude towards alcohol and as embarrassing as it is to admit one’s faults on such a public setting, I was and remain to this day a recovering alcoholic.

My “wild day’s” were between the ages of 18-26 and I did untold damage to my internal organs with my copious consumption of alcoholic beverages. Please do not think that because I write this article from California, USA that I have no concept of what the drinking culture is like in the UK (or more specifically Scotland).

The reason I write that is that you may dismiss the article after seeing the ethos of what this website is about and skimming the headline as some “out of touch temperate bible thumper” with an axe to grind over the “demon drink”. That is not the case.

Please drink responsibly

My issue was not one of supply and demand but one of greed and lack of moderation. If I had the money then I was out on the town. If I had the opportunity to shovel a two pint tumbler down my gullet I would be dead now, no questions asked.

The problem in Scotland is that there are two camps of drinkers. Let’s look at them both:

Responsible imbibers

A rare breed I assure you, the ones who take one or two beers and do not damage themselves or others. Usually are folks who are into home brewing and craft beers. This is not really the crowd this news are aiming for. This crowd usually don’t drink their liver to oblivion and usually remember the nights,  the tastes of the beers and would not thank you for basing volume over quality.

Binge drinkers

That’s the category I fell into (sometimes literally) where I would drink 12-14 UK pints a night, lose hours, nights and in some case have very few recollections of the night outs that I had.

The crowd I hung around with, we were all the same, drinking alcohol was just another way to show off and be a pre version of “YOLO”. I ran with rugby fans, football (soccer) and NFL fans and a large part of what we did was done in bars.

I was the crowd this is aimed at and I did lament when when I did this that the largest glass I could get was a pint (568ml) but I know that if I was drinking a 2 Pint glass my night would be over in an a few hours.

For this crowd, quantity over price price is king, you have places like Weatherspoons and the Pound Pint bar in Manchester England is the crowd they are going after.

Poor Students

It is a student bar, it I was known for cheap beer, up and coming bands and a clientele mainly of medical students who will have less beer money than your average adult in Dundee. Certainly drinking in there would be less expensive than drinking on the Perth Road or the City Centre. (Even although I am a Glaswegian, I support one one of the city clubs called Dundee United)

Having been there, all I can say is it is a bar, beer is bought, beer is consumed, sometimes there is music, sometimes not, people drink a lot and sometimes make bad decisions there. The language you here is much the same as any other bar in the city. Really I am not singling the University for criticism for selling beer, I just question if this is a good idea for the well being of their students.

Sober for a decade,  what are my thoughts on alcohol?

I am very much a live and let live person and as long as you are not doing it to get drunk or buzzed then I have no issue with you having a beer.

Do I do it? I don’t as I have had an issue prior. As I don’t drink alcohol I will not hang about in bars anymore because let’s face it, drunk people are annoying when you are sober!

Although I have chosen abstinence,  I would never preach that it it’s the only way to go, I still get tempted at things like family parties or formal occasions but have learned that it is best for all concerned if I do not.

One of the reasons I don’t is that I never know if I was going to cause others to stumble, you never know what someone’s weaknesses are and we absinthe told in the book of Romans to not stumble our weaker brother.

Other addictions, but I have the odd beer.

People with a personality that is weak to addiction in one area are more likely to stumble in others. If you have had issues with drugs then I would choose alcohol very carefully (if at all)

I say that as i have seen folks switch one addiction for another, really there is no sense in this as they are no better off than they would have been if they had stayed on the drugs. (Perhaps more legal in the eyes of the law)

Everyone needs a crutch

I would agree with that! We were not built to handle the stresses of this life alone. We were also not meant to use artificial stimulants like drugs or alcohol.

You see, we were created to love one another and to worship God. Check out our “Creation” and “Gospel” sections If you don’t know what i mean.

You have hope and life has meaning!  JESUS CHRIST died for your sins and wants you to spend eternity in heaven, you have a choice, choose God or not.

I don’t agree with that!

Then please comment below and let your feelings be known. Also if you agree or disagree, feel free to share this link, I am keen to get feedback from all walks of people.

I pray this article was a blessing, please share, like and comment below as the LORD leads you.
TGBTG
TTE

Will Christians ever run out of people to share the gospel with?

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Will Christians ever run out of people to share the gospel with?

Matthew 28:16 (ESV) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Those of you who follow me on social media will be aware that my wife, my child and I took a short vacation to the central coast of California recently. I love going to the beach and visiting at the ocean as it has certain refreshing qualities that allow me to forget problems and issues that come by on a day to day basis. It is also good for us as a family to make good and happy memories with each other.

Often times, I vacation in Cambria and Morro Bay in California and this time was no different. I have history there as my wife and I honeymooned there and I have many happy memories in that small part of the Pacific coast. What was different is that this time I had the opportunity to visit with a friend of mine who pastors the Calvary Chapel in Cambria. What may be surprising is that the message was not the message I will tell today, but something that came to me on an early Saturday evening as I am making sandcastles with my daughter.

The beach is a curious place, regardless of when you visit it is never going be exactly the same, the creator God who fashioned the universe simply by saying it, the one who measured the heavens with the span of his hand sent a tiny (by his standards) wave to shape and reshape the shoreline of the beach.

Can we count the sands of the beach? Or the salt in the water that comes and moves the particles to and fro, refreshing them, cleansing them and placing them where God desires them to be at that appointed time? The answer is obviously no, but God knows the number.

We are like those particles, our lives have meaning and when we do what we are meant to and connect with our creator God then we fulfil what God has for us. Christians have one task in this world and often times we don’t do that well, sometimes we get caught in a sideshow. Sometimes we do the “holy things” and get involved in arguments that we believe are for God, sometimes they are sometimes they are not.

An example of this is from my own personal archives, I have been guilty in the past of posting on social media about an issue that will generate discussion; I justify it to myself as I am “getting people talking” but really I am generating discussion to flex my intellectual and theological reasoning muscles. Whilst it is good to share the gospel, doing so in such a prideful way is by far not the best way to introduce Jesus to them. These discussions can degenerate very quickly and are often a deterrent to people looking to search out God.

One job, you only have one job!

Revelation 12:11 (ESV) And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Our job is to share the love of Jesus Christ by sharing with those that the LORD has given us opportunity to speak to. I make a big thing of learning the names of the checkout people at my local supermarket, building a relationship with them, cracking jokes, putting them at ease, wearing Christian T-shirts and always looking for a way to talk about Jesus in a way that will be receptive.

I am also called to host a bible study with my wife in our home, this world is hurting so bad and my wife felt a calling on our heart to talk about pain and suffering using biblical characters as examples, it is such a blessing to serve and to share with people. I have a great love for the people in the city that I now call my home and my desire is to introduce as many of them as I can to Jesus Christ.

I apologize if this sounds like a commercial for myself, it truly is not. The unfortunate reality is that many Christians (me included) do not take most of the opportunities that God places before them and if we as Christians were to do so, we could literally be the difference in people’s lives.

Personally, I cannot be saved for anyone else! All I can do is be the vessel used to carry the living water to the participant. The Holy Spirit will prick the heart of those hearing it and people have the same choice that Adam and Eve have, they can choose to follow God’s plan or choose to not follow God’s plan.

This world is not my home; I am just a passing through!

Here is the deal, this world is temporary! Once we pass from this life it is too late to talk about our “eternal future”. As much as I love my new home in my adopted country, if the LORD was to move me on, I would be personally sad but I would comply as the LORD has a plan for my life.

I take great solace and inspiration from the prophet Jeremiah, who was 40 years in ministry and no one listened to him. If that was me I would be very discouraged and questioning my mission left, right and center. Jeremiah did not, he just kept right on to the end of the road, he knew that God was using him and his life, he did not know why but he knew he was being used by God.

We have to be compliant like Jeremiah, we can’t want to do the work of God and move God along, God will do things in his time. When you are following God’s will obedience is key, we don’t always see the big picture so we don’t always see why God moves in the ways that he does.

What about the title?

Matthew 9:35 (ESV) And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

The answer is obviously no. As Jesus said, the harvest is plenty but people are not doing the work. When I think about the city that the LORD has placed me in or some 11,000 souls. I know that I cannot save one of them, but the LORD will put me in touch with many of them as I go around my daily life.

Pray for me (and one another)

My prayer for me is personal boldness, order in my life so that in season and out of season I will reflect the LORD in all that I do, take the opportunities that I am given to represent Jesus, give testimony on how he has changed my life and I pray for wisdom to say what needs to be said and not say what does not need to be said.

Folks, we need to get out there and engage the culture positively for Jesus Christ. I am reminded of a song I used to sing as a high school student back in Scotland…

“Be bold; be strong, for the LORD our God is with you”

God will always open doors for us, we have to stay on mission and always be ready to give a defense for the faith that we have in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:15) Sharing Jesus and allowing someone to make the choice to go to heaven is showing great love. I certainly do not hate anyone enough to condemn them to an eternity separated from God.

I pray this was a blessing and please share, like or comment below
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day seven – My parents

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Thanksgiving week – Day seven – My parents

This is the seventh and final article in what I am thankful for, this one is dedicated to my parents.

In 1977 on the 12th day of the 12th month I was born in a hospital in Scotland in the UK. But the truth of the matter is that I shouldn’t be here. I was born a preemie baby and massively under weight. Nowadays that wouldn’t be a problem but in 1977 this was a big deal.

My parents were not Christian at that point, however they had folks in from the local Presbyterian,  Brethren & Catholic churches and my grandfather had folks come in from his church (Apostolic)

How is this relevant?

Well that baby you read about is a fully grown man who is still alive and writing to you today. God saved and preserved my life that day and despite the fact I should not be here, my parents learned a valuable lesson on the power of prayer.

Fast forward a few years

About thirty to be precise, and Mom and Dad begin to miss their son who went to love in the USA. They begin to go to the church we attended in Glasgow, Scotland. 
Dad gets saved and then Mom does, I attended Dads baptism four years ago. The change in Dad is unbelievable and a true example of Jesus saving grace.

From then on in we had another thing in common. Jesus Christ!  Dad is very much a changed person to where he was previously. 

Dad would be the first to admit that he made mistakes as a dad, but now that I am a father I also realize how much he sacrificed and how many balls he juggled in order to be a parent.

Dad & Mom, I love you and appreciate you more than you know. My prayer is I take the good parenting you did with me and do likewise with my daughter.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day six – Calvary Chapel’s in my area

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Thanksgiving week – Day six – Calvary Chapel’s in my area

Firstly, I should begin with how thankful I am that you are reading this, this series was started a few days later than I was hoping but I had committed to a week of blogs and content. (The days were switched round of course)

Secondly, if you like what you read then please share any articles, pages or the links to any content that you may find useful to your newsgroups.

Why Calvary Chapel? 

Well to be honest with you, it is what I like. Plain and simple. I have done the denomination deal when I was exploring Christianity when I was younger. I attended Charismatic,  Presbyterian, Baptist,  Episcopalian and Brethren at some.point in my life. In this experiment I would have to say I liked the lively worship of the charismatic church but needed more word focused studies.

I left the church for many years (see my testimony page for more information) and when I was dating my wife, she suggested we attend the local Calvary Chapel in Glasgow, Scotland.

Church should be like life, in balance, different people find different levels of balance and although I recommend Calvary chapels,  I would not take you away from a church that is healthy that you are plugged into.

Are all Calvary Chapel churches the same?

Very much not, Calvary Chapel churches tend to reflect their pastor in many was, they all adhere to the Word of God,  they all share the same distinctives,  they all have a lead pastor, but I have never been in two that are identical.

Here’s to you

Here is a shout out to those Calvary Chapel churches in my area, you have all been a positive influence in my walk and you have all encouraged me.

Vision CC of Porterville – attended between 2007-2014 large church in Porterville,  California. These guys have a huge heart for lost in the area God has placed them. They reach out many times a year to the local apartments with food, Christmas presents and dinners for thanksgiving. Last year they did a service in the courtyard of the apartments.

They also have active women and mens ministries to help equip.the saints for the work of the ministry. Here’s to you – Pastor Ryan, Kurt and Bob.

They meet at the Veterans Memorial Building on West Olive Street at 10 am every Sunday.

Calvary Chapel Tulare – awesome church in Tulare, smaller in numbers than Porterville but a real community church where everyone is family.

They have an awesome youth and childrens ministry, a great seniors ministry at a local rehab hospital,  the men meet on a Wednesday for coffee, exhortation and koinonia.

Recently they have had a pastor change so here’s to you Pastor Jake (who departed) and Pastor John.

They meet on O Street in Tulare every Sunday at 10 am and Thursday at 7 pm.

Calvary Chapel Visalia

The biggest Calvary Chapel in the area and has been around for about as long as I have been born. I know these guys from men’s events, bible studies, services I have attended, VBS I have sent my kid to and quality time spent with the Pastors here, both verbal and even shared meals with them.

These guys have so many programs it would would be impossible to talk about them in one article.  Here’s to you Pastor Bob & Mike.

They meet on a Sunday, Avenue 264, Visalia at 8.30 am and 10.30 am and Wednesday night at 6.30pm

Calvary Chapel Hanford

This is one I have been in closer contact from this year on. The pastors there Geno, Gene and Jacob are awesome, such an encouragement.

They also meet Sunday and Wednesday.

The reason I talk about Calvary Chapel today is that I was an atheist who really didn’t live a Christian life prior to being brought into a Calvary Chapel where I heard the bible being taught verse by verse and precept upon precept. It changed my life and I pray that it will change yours too.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day four – my extended family

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Thanksgiving week – Day four – my extended family

Psalm 107:1 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

As you may have noticed, the last few days I have been posting reasons that I am thankful on this thanksgiving week. On Monday I posted about my daughter, on Tuesday I posted about my wife, yesterday I posted about my faith in Jesus Christ. Today I wish to be thankful for extended family.

Thanksgiving is a time to get round the table and have fun and fellowship with those who you love, in my case what normally happens is that we all converge on a member of my eternal family’s house, (We all live within 20 miles of each other so it is easy to do so) spend several hours together, eat a lot, watch a little football and have fun as a family.

The external family I am speaking of is my wife’s brothers, their families and her mother. This year the shindig is at the Mother in laws house, but we are having some family sickness so we may or may not be there. This is sad to say the least. I am hoping that this is not the case and we are able to do so, but I have a nephew with a low immune system who is very susceptible to getting infections and in his case it would require a visit to the hospital, so you can understand my concern.

I am grateful to them as they have emancipated me into the family with much love and kindness. I am grateful to the LORD for the love and support they provide, especially to my wife.

Getting used to the concept of an extended family

My wife has always did the “big family” thing, my parents, not so much, they did celebrate New Year’s by socializing with other folks and we did visit relations from time to time, but in Scotland we so not celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas was usually done with just my parents (I don’t think I have ever celebrated a Christmas meal with my brother and his family) so it was a bit of a culture change coming over here.

As extended families go, I certainly have been blessed, there are quite the mix of people, different humours, different temperaments, in my case a different culture, but deep down they are good people, we tick each other off sometimes but deep down there is love there. I know that in most instances that I would back them up and they would have my back also.

Memories

I have only been a part of that family for a short time, married 9 years to my wife but there are just some things that you do, I have memories of rescuing folks from things that have happened and being rescued myself. I have accounted these times as a blessing to the LORD the times I have been able to help and serve and also the times that we had that I have been served.

Thanksgiving

As stated before, in my country we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and I was asked earlier this week “What do we call Thanksgiving in Scotland?” I answered as best I could so my reply was “Thursday”.

I am of course being flippant, but despite knowing very little about the day itself and why we celebrate it, I am thankful for the ability to come together (whether it is just with my wife and daughter or if it done with the extended family) I will count it as reason to praise him.

Misery lacks company

I hope that if you don’t have a place to go this thanksgiving that someone reaches out to you, my hope is that everyone is surrounded by family and friends and folks that love them. If you know someone who is going to be alone and you have enough to share (let’s face it, many of us have more than enough) then pull an extra seat at your table for that person.

James talks about this in his epistle…

James 1:27 (ESV) Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Get those who have no-one and show them the love of Jesus. Be that example of Christ’s love, which is more powerful to someone who is alone than the best orated and smoothly delivered sermon.

Actions like that back up what you are preaching is also what you are living. This is intentional Christianity, not just meeting a need but bringing Christ front and center in your service.

Be thankful in the small things

Don’t focus on the bickering, the fights or whatever will steal your joy from that day. Focus on the laughing, the sounds of the kids chasing each other and the positive memories. Also be thankful for the LORD, who created the harvest. This is the day that the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

This article is a series on being thankful. LORD willing I hope to do one every day this week. Other blogs in this series include:

Day one – My daughter
Day two – My wife
Day three – My faith

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day two – thankful for my Keeper of His Home

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Thanksgiving week – Day two – thankful for my Keeper of His Home

 

Proverbs 31:10 (ESV)  An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

 

As you may have guessed I am grateful to my wife, I call her “Keeper of His Home” as my wife is an author and this is the title of her first book.

Sent by God

Really I don’t know what I have done to deserve such a woman as this, I certainly have been blessed by the LORD.  Of course I say this in the most positive sense.

Yesterday I spoke of my thankfulness of my daughter, my wife has blessed me with such a beautiful blessing after God opened her womb to give us our greatest gift.

In the last ten years, I have been blessed more than I could type in ten volumes of an encyclopedia. She showed me what a real relationship with Jesus was. Paul talks about the wife’s role in the family in the letter to the Ephesians.

In the family

Ephesians 5:22 (ESV)  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

I have learned so much from this “Keeper of His home” in her own way she has allowed me to be in my role in the home, it is difficult sometimes when you have two people of differing cultures as well as the “head if the home” who has less years as a Christian.

I have relied on my wife’s counsel many times and she, whilst submitting has participated fully in the running of our home.

She is a fantastic wife,  mother and I love spending time with her both on a “hot date” or “family time”.

Forgiving when it’s not fair

Matthew 18:22 (ESV)  Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

My wife is tremendously forgiving,  I mean I am a really tough guy to love with and she is faithful, loving and an encouragement.

Lets be real here! Do I tick her off? Probably,  however she knows that what we have is much more than whatever got us sidetracked.  Do I love her like Christ loves the church? I try but I am flawed. Can you tell I am thankful for her.

This article is a series on being thankful. LORD willing I hope to do one every day this week.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

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Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:38 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

The idea of this article is perhaps to shed a little balance and take away emotion from something that is obviously a highly charged issue.  I will gladly share my bias here, I am a Conservative Christian blogger (duh, if you are here you will most certainly know that) who actually has a “dog in this fight” to use a British term. I have friends who are in the process of establishing a church in the very city that I am blogging about.

I have relative safety from this in the fact that I am blogging about this from the safety of my own home in Central California and have no ties to the City of Houston or any of its entities. As it stands at the moment my local authority has not requested any teaching that I have done or any pastors that I have been associated with.

Persecution?

This heading is rightly a question as I am a little unsure as I have heard many provocative remarks regarding whether this is “persecution” or not. The fact is that an elected official is using power that she has in order to air personal grievances. I am of course meaning the Mayor of Houston and her crusade to request copies of sermons (or as it was later requested “public speeches”)

This was done to find out if any of the pastors had taught a biblical perspective on issues of a LGBT nature, the mayor Annise Parker (which a lot has been made out of the fact that she is a lesbian, however I deem that irrelevant) has made it a personal goal to single out five pastors for “special treatment”.

I don’t necessarily call it persecution as I don’t see that I see in many other countries where biblical teachers are being dragged through the streets and tortured for even professing the name of Christ. These guys have freedoms that pastors in former communist and current Muslim countries would dream of, they have financial backing, many get paid to pastor and they can meet out in the open safe in the knowledge that the next convert may or may not be a Judas and sent them to their death.

So in the truest sense of the word it is not persecution.

Do as the verse says

We are told in the above verse that “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” give her the sermons, give her as much literature as she wants and needs, don’t send her bibles! listen folks. I follow a BIG GOD who has told me that this in Isaiah 55 (That the word shall not return empty) Here is the full discourse for balance.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Here is the crux of what i wish to say, I believe that there is some reason behind why she is asking to have these sermons, in her mind she is doing her own bidding, however I would not count out that God may be orchestrating something bigger. God has done this before remember,  one of the greatest evangelists was the Apostle Paul, who up until his conversion just shy of Damascus in Acts 9, was the Pharisee Saul who tortured and killed Christians.  (In fact he was on his way to do likewise when he was converted)

If Jesus can come face to face with a murderer and a man responsible for a lot of the first century persecution,  he certainly can work this situation to the glory of God using the ones who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

Final thoughts

We are told (again by Jesus) in the book of Matthew

Matthew 28:19 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So my prayer to the pastors is to let them have the sermons. (Most are available on the church websites) and be available to counsel those who have questions. Embrace those who breathe evil against you are no show them the love of Christ.

I pray for the government officials that they find the knowledge of the one true messiah. His name is Jesus Christ and he is the LORD.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is through him and him only that you can have eternal life.

God bless and I pray that this was a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE