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In the land of the Midnight Sun

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” – Revelation 21:23

Alasie stood on the edge of the forest and marvelled at the heights of the mountain, the forest encircled it and stretched around it and created the Outer Wilds. Surrounding the tops of the mountain was what the people in old world called “northern lights”, but the colours of this were colours that did not exist in the old world. The lights also had music in them, as they danced around the mountain.

Standing at Alasies’ side was Astrid. These two were good friends. Women from different ages of the old world, but who both were saved by the High King in Jerusalem. They became Christians at different times of the world, but they are now standing together in the new Kingdom. Alasie was Inuit (Eskimo), and Astrid was Norse. Women of God, women of the land of Tundra, Ice, and Snow, both in this world and the old world, the world created by the King. They were both sent by the High King to scout new lands on the new earth, far from the New Jerusalem. The mountain that stooped over them was the beginning of a new land to explore. A tower that arched over the world, and the ethereal lights wrapping around it like ribbons. In the land of the midnight sun they stood, the land where there was no need for a sun or a moon, because the light of the world was not a star, but a person. That person being the King of kings and the Lord of lords. High King Jesus, whose name and person is above all things, and is the one who sent these women to do His will in the new heaven and earth, His servants whom He became their eternal light both in the old world and the new.

Now before them they had a long journey. But not a dangerous one. They were safe. The beasts of the outer wilds in this forest were not evil, not cursed by sin. The forest had no malice over them. They explored in peace. Because the Lord of peace was with them and had ordained no more evil for His new world.

***

Jerusalem is a city that will one day be lit by the very glory and light of the Lord Himself. Jesus will dwell in that city. There will be no need for night and no need for a sun for the day, because the Lord Jesus is its light. The story I mentioned above, takes place in that new world and Kingdom. Imagine what it’s going to be like? A time where even the stars themselves will not outshine the Lord of glory.

I love Alaska, Sweden, and Canada, lands that are full of snow, ice, cold winters and warm springs. Forests that stretch as far as the eye can see. I do pray that one day, the Lord Jesus will send me to serve Him in one of these places. I would love to live there too.

I grew up a very warm person by nature, my parents would dress me in all sorts of clothes and cover me in blankets, when I use to throw them off and run around in a nappy. They couldn’t understand it. But one day they did. They saw how I thrived in the cold. My body has always been very warm. And that is why I love winter, because I feel most happy in those cold days. The Lord has placed me in one of the hotter places in the world. That being Durban. This I believe is to teach me to have a grateful heart, and not to complain. Even though I grew up in the Midlands and love the country side, the Lord Jesus is addressing my heart and teaching me to be content in Him wherever He takes me.

I do still pray that He does take me somewhere cold one day though!

***

When I read Revelation 21:23, I was reminded of the lands I love so much. Alaska and Norway are both known for being lands of the Midnight sun. Places where the sun is up all the way till midnight during the April and September months. Then they plunge into darkness for the rest of the months, where the sun does not appear for a very long time. I’d love to experience that one day! To have an appreciation for all that God has made. But this phenomenon reminds me of what the New Jerusalem with its King will be like, a city that is not in need of a light. Because its light is the Lamb, that being Jesus.

God speaks to Israel of the same future event in Isaiah 60:19 saying “No longer will the sun be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on your night; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendour.” I love this prophecy for future Israel and God’s people, and we know it is true and it will happen because God has put it in His Word.

In this short blog today, I want to remind you of one main point. There is no darkness that can defeat the light. Jesus is that Light, as He has told us in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Are you walking in darkness today friend? Is your heart and mind full of darkness? That darkness being your own sin. Then friend look to Jesus, because He is the light. The only true light for this world. He is calling you today friend, listen to His voice – “The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil…” – “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of light…” – “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should remain in darkness…” These are His Word friend. Do you hear His voice? Come out of the darkness, and into the Light.

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – John 9:5

“Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.” – John 3:20-21

My prayer is that today the Lord Jesus will draw you to Himself friend. And may you respond to His call. Hear the Words of the High King. I look forward to one day being with you in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

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What are our emotions, and how do we control them?

Have you ever loved someone before? Have you ever been sad, happy, grieved, worried, anxious, grumpy, angry, scared, or nervous before? Have you ever wondered how and why you might feel more happy or sad at times than others, and have you ever felt like you can’t control those emotions? Have you ever been heart broken one day, and suddenly that night you feel better, and then the next morning you wake up and those emotions flood your mind again? Well, if that is you. Then this blog post is for you to know what God says about our emotions, and how we can control them.

I do want to say this, before we start. Emotions are not sinful and evil in of themselves, but they can lead you to do, say, and think things that are wrong and sometimes sinful. We are very much able to deceive ourselves when we give into emotions and feelings that are misplaced. God made our emotions and feelings to help us, and not to be used for evil. To be human is to posses emotions, but to be a fool is to be controlled by them. This will be seen as we look at the Bible. Friends, I pray this would be of help to you. I have prayed for those who would read this blog. May the God of peace, wisdom, and understanding, grant you the right knowledge you need – so that you may know Him better and trust Him through all things. Including times of extreme emotional pain.

A glimpse into my heart and emotions on one day…

I want to share with you a story, about a time I fought a very tough emotional battle. I’m sharing this story so that you know that I can relate to what it’s like to do battle with one’s own thoughts, emotions, and motives.

There once was a certain person I use to have feelings for. I really did like her. She never knew that I had feelings for her, I never really admitted them. Sometimes I’d go for walks and picture moments where I would admit my feelings, and I’d imagine how she’d react. Id picture how she’d react if she said she also felt the same way, and then I’d picture how’d I’d respond if she said she didn’t feel the same way about me. I remember telling myself to stop doing that – thinking about her too much. Because these scenarios did not exist, and I was in danger of creating feelings that should not be there, or be real, because I did not know her well enough nor did I know if she felt the same way. But it was very hard not to think about her…

After a good long while of fighting off my thoughts about her, I would see her. Then all those thoughts and feelings would come back again and I would have to go through the whole process all over again. Let me tell you, it’s one of the harder things in life when you like someone, but you know that the timing or the context or situation doesn’t lean towards it being wise admitting your feelings. Especially when the two of you are only mere friends or acquaintances at the time, and saying such things might be out of the blue or random. And telling her might scare her away, or ruin the friendship.

In my discipleship and counseling with young adults, I have always told the guys that once your feelings are admitted to a girl you can never take it back. Your relationship with her, from that day forward, will never be the same because whether she likes you back or not, she will always know that at some point in history you liked her more than just a friend. And that can either be a good or bad thing. And girls have good memories, and they can recall every detail about things that happened a very long time ago. Especially things that mean a lot to them, or are emotionally upsetting. I don’t say that to mean anything rude or as if I am slating girls, in fact if anything you represent who God is by having a very good memory. God knows and remembers everything, and you do that in a finite way. That is part of you, a lady, being made in His image. It all comes down to how you use that gift of memory… image bearer…

Now, back to the story.

There came a day where something happened. And I knew in my heart that I’d never be able to tell this person now how I felt. It would only bring damage if I told them. But man… did it hurt.

Something happened that day that hasn’t happened before. And it was on that day that I went to war, not with another person, but with myself. And even though it was a battle that lasted just one day, I felt like I had fought that battle for a full week.

I closed by bedroom door and I lay there on my bed, and I felt my heart fill with pain. My heart felt like it was pulsing, but not as it naturally does, but pulsing with pain. It was horrible. I was bitter, jealous, angry, and sad because I would never be able to admit my feelings ever after what happened. It was the strangest feeling. I could feel what was going on in my heart, but my mind had not yet been affected, and so I could read and see what was going on (it sounds strange I know, but I’ll explain this later). So after about an hour of just laying there and staring at the fan and feeling that way, I immediately slipped into my training in Biblical counseling (a form of counseling, that pastors learn at seminary, where you are taught to counsel from God’s Word). My mind went into defense mode, if I can call it that, and I began the process of counseling myself. We learnt this skill at Seminary, because if we can’t counsel ourselves first when bad things happen, how then can we counsel others? So my training took over, and I did everything I knew to do in this kind of a situation (I’ll explain helpful ways of how I did this, later in the blog). In this kind of situation, your pain and emotions can lead to all kinds of things that can cause you to forget about God, even hate and resent Him for a bit, and what He says in His Word.

I began with prayer, I asked God to help me discern my heart and motives and to give me His wisdom (James 1:5, and 3:17-18) to decipher all the problems and deal with them quickly and efficiently. I went to verses I knew helped in this situation, and I reminded myself of what those verses promise in these kinds of situations. My heart did not like hearing God’s Word, but I pressed the attack and stood my ground.

I began to feel the pain in my heart seep into my mind, and when that happened I began to doubt God and His goodness, asking questions like; how can He not see my pain and how can he not care that I like this person so much? Why can’t he open a door for me to speak with her? Why can’t He just cause her to look at me a like me too? I started to doubt that He could ever give me the right girl. I started to question God. But as that began to happen I knew I was in danger, because if that fully gripped me I would slip into a very bad place.

But I kept this verse in my head, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” – 1 John 3:20. It wasn’t that I repeated and chanted this verse over and over, but I just kept it there. Every time doubt came I reminded myself that God is far bigger than my emotions and my doubts and my sin. God is greater than what I am feeling, God is greater than me, He’s greater than my pain, my context, my life. He has given me so much good, and has uplifted me in many ways. He has loved me, and told this to me many times. He has spoken to me through His Word, He has never left me or forsaken me. I immediately took my thoughts to Jesus, because they were very overwhelming.

I wrote down and listed the things that were going on in my heart, I listed what I was thinking, and I began to align God’s promises along side them. I made sure that I saw the truth of who God is, and not submit to the nature of my heart. Jesus was my love and my strength in that moment.

It was back and forth the whole day. But the Lord helped me. His Word triumphed over my emotions and feelings. The word of God is a Sword, and I used it to defend myself, from myself. And that Sword was more than enough to do battle. My desires, feelings, emotions, were defeated and were under my feet. It doesn’t mean they didn’t try and come back again but God helped me each time they did, and there is nothing that is greater than Jesus (eventually these feelings were under my control).

Clearly I liked this girl a lot. But I was upset with the fact that she could never know my feelings. I was upset with God, myself, and her. It was terrible. But thanks be to God that He helped me.

What God says about the four main emotions we feel most regularly

You might be able to relate to the above story. A time where your feeling and emotions overwhelmed you, most likely far worse; perhaps a lost of a loved one, or a divorce, or emotional or physical abuse. Perhaps our emotions were so hard to handle and you didn’t know how to, and in that moment maybe you did and said things that you regret because you couldn’t control how you felt. My friend, let me remind you. You are more than a conqueror through Jesus, you can have control over your thoughts, emotions, and motives. But only through Jesus can you do this. You have no power outside of Him.

There are four emotions we feel daily, if not weekly:

Happiness, Sadness, Anger, and Love.

I will cover these four, and not all the other emotions we feel. God has a lot to say about these four emotions, and we will see how to have a mind that is able to discern what makes us feel these emotions, and combat the wrong motives and replace them with the right ones. You might think this is a very strange thing for someone to be writing about, but my job as a Pastor is to shepherd peoples hearts. Just as a doctor fixes all the things in our outer body, so in another way I am trained and called to discern, understand, and help guide the hearts of men and woman towards godliness and Christlike behavior. And though I can’t see into peoples hearts, I know that the King I serve can… He is on my side and is always with me to help me. So… friend… I therefore have more than enough to discern these emotions and feelings that are in you. Not with mystical powers, but through the truth of the Word of God.

Happiness and Sadness

What makes you happy? Really sit and think about this for a second. What makes you genuinely happy? Be honest with yourself, because God can see what you decide in your heart.

If I can say this, and I’ll back it up with the Bible just now, but I am a firm believer that happiness can be the most deceptive emotion. It can really make you think that some things are okay, and that you can do things that you think are okay in the eyes of God when really what is making you happy has made you an enemy of God, “…anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God…” (James 4:4). That is why you must sit and think about what makes you happy. Does lying on the smallest levels make you happy? Does giving people the silent treatment and punishing them by not speaking to them if they’ve wronged you, make you happy? Does loving the wrong kind of guy or girl make you happy? Does going to places that involve sex, drugs, and money make you happy? So, I ask again, what makes you happy?

The Lord says through Solomon – “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” (Ecclesiastes 2:2), and further the Lord says “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in sorrow.” (Proverbs 13:14). And further He says “For like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This too is futile…” (Ecclesiastes 7:6). So friend, are you person who laughs in the midst of your foolishness? Are you happy with your sin? Do you find joy in things that are wrong in God’s eyes? Are you still sleeping with that guy/girl, justifying it in your head and heart saying” God will forgive me”, yet you continue in your rebellion and are happy in it? As the Lord says through His servant James “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up…” (James 4:8-10).

These words above, are the words of God for you. Happiness a lot of the time is a delusion. It makes one think that you’re fine when you really are not. Happiness, and the desire to always be happy, can become a mini idol. You pursue pleasure for sake of your happiness. You pursue that guy or the girl, because they are a crutch you rely on for happiness and contentment outside of God. You pursue the things of this world, thinking they will make you happy. What then can we say? As the Lord continues to tell us in His Word in Ecclesiastes, everything is vain, meaningless, and full of futility. Isn’t it? It is. The truth is, our happiness can sometimes lead us down the wrong roads.

After looking at the above verses, you can see that God calls us to weep and mourn a lot. Have you ever wondered why we cry? Why do we shed tears? Medically speaking, crying actually brings a balance. Crying is a response to physical and emotional pain, that is a God given ability to bring about balanced emotions. Have you ever felt better after crying? Have you ever felt so sad about something that you cry and cry, and then later you feel better? Our bodies cry to help us feel better. But also crying creates a clarity where we can think properly. After crying, our pain is sometimes minimized and we’re able to contemplate what has happened. We avoid crying thinking it is not good for us, but really it is. So God calls us to mourn over our sin and this world. It is dying, it is full of evil. And true repentance doesn’t come during and after crying. It comes when we respond to God’s Word and do as He says, turn to Him and look at Him for forgiveness and a change of heart. Only He can bring that change.

So how then do we balance sadness and happiness? We must first understand their origin. These two emotions come from God. God is the creator of happiness and sadness. So with that in mind, where should we look to find our true happiness and our desires to weep and mourn? We do this, by looking to God. We find joy and sadness in the cross. We are joyful for salvation through Jesus, we are happy that we are saved, and we cry and mourn that He had to die for us in order for this to happen, and we mourn and weep for those who don’t love or turn to Jesus for salvation. When we do this our perspectives for true happiness and sadness are placed biblically. We stop focusing on ourselves and our situations, and we combat wrong motives, by first looking at the cross. When we look at Jesus and what He did we realize our current calamities and happiness are but a small drop in the ocean. So this is the wisdom we must understand; feel that sadness and happiness in its fullness, but understand and know that both are from God and both are made by Him, to bring us closer to Him, to turn us to Jesus, and we take those two emotions and place them at the foot of the King and acknowledge that these two are part of God’s design for His purposes, our knowledge of Him, and for His desire to have a relationship with us.

But does God not care about our sadness and happiness? Is He passive to it? This is what God says:

“You (God) keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” – Psalm 56:8

“…You are aware of all my ways…” – Psalm 139:3

“...God… holds in His hand your very breath and all your ways…” – Daniel 5:23

“…all my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be…” – Psalm 139:16

God calls you to remember Him, because He knows and always remembers you. He knows your deepest sadness and greatest happiness. He is the one who made each day and all that it brings. He is aware of all your emotional highs and lows.

You might ask, what should you be happy about then? Be happy to know that one day “…He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4). This is why we don’t try find everlasting happiness, or be sad forever, about what happens here on this earth. We know and long for what is to come. Because as the Lord has said concerning His people and their future in his kingdom – “…He will swallow up death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face and remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. For the LORD has spoken.” – Isaiah 25:8.

We look forward to the day when our sadness here is destroyed forever, and our happiness will be forever. This is what should drive us to be happy and sad, to be happy for the days to come. And be sad for those who would not know it and for our own sin that would have stopped us from knowing such joy if it had not been for the work of our Lord Jesus who has saved us from eternal destruction.

Anger, the most misunderstood emotion

Do you know that God gets angry? He is full of anger and wrath. Yes friend God is an angry God. Look at one of the most powerful sections in scripture that explains God’s anger;

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade. The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it. Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.” – Nahum 1:2-8

You are just like God when you get angry, my friend. Do you know and understand that? But what is the problem with our anger? Human anger is tainted by sin and evil. So we in our anger do evil rather than good. We are quick to get angry, unlike God. We hurt others, abuse them, kill them, both in our hearts and physically in our anger.

What is the ultimate purpose of anger? To destroy evil. That’s what we see above. The context of Nahum 1 is that of Nineveh, the same city who 100 years later (after Jonah, the man swallowed by a big fish, preached repentance to them) they forget God and turned back to their evil ways. So God rightfully gets angry and decides to destroy them, after He showed grace and mercy to them. As it is written about them before this;

“But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” – Jonah 4:9-11

So can we be angry? Yes. But we can’t sin in our anger, as it is written ““In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” (Ephesians 4:26), and further God’s Word says – “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” – James 1:19-21.

But you might say “This is all easy said, than done Cameron…”, yes it is actually very easy to say, and also very easily done – 🙂 🙂 🙂 (I’ve probably triggered some of you with this previous statement haha. See… your anger is misplaced). I’m just joking and pulling your leg here guys, you can breathe and laugh for a bit.

The problem is our heart towards what God says. Anger is an emotion given by God, to be used for godly purposes. We control anger when we love our Lord Jesus, exercise the fruit of self control, and are obedient to His Word. That is how we have true anger management. If you are an out of control angry person, it’s only a public deceleration of your love for dominance, power, and to rule and to be heard by producing fear through your anger. That is not from God, and you are not being Christ like when behaving like that.

Lastly, please don’t use the verses in Matthew 21:12-13 (Jesus over turning tables) as an excuse for you to be an angry fool. As many fools look at that, and think it’s an excuse to be angry, and they totally misunderstand what was going on in that context.

Love – an emotion?

Love is also, something that is very misunderstood and practiced in the wrong ways some times. For me to cover the entirety of what the Bible says about love here would put me into an eternal coma. So please… spare me such a thing. I’ll explain two parts of love;

  1. Christian love is the most powerful gift we can do and display.
  2. Christian love is the ultimate weapon against worldly lusts and pornography

Christian love as a gift

The verses in 1 Corinthians 13, speaking about love, is one of the most butchered sections of scripture. EVERY YOUNG ADULT, in the history of mankind, goes to 1 Corinthians 13, sees the word “LOVE” and immediately their minds relates it to romantic love…. please friend… another way to put me into an eternal coma, is to misquote this text…. it is not speaking about Romantic young adult love.

Go read 1 Corinthians 12, and then the entire of 1 Corinthians 13, and you will see the context. I don’t want to quote it all here, but the point of the word love there is that Christians posses the greatest spiritual gift, given by the Spirit, and that is a kind of love that is only from God. Paul says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…” and further he says “ If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…”, that is when he starts highlighting the power of the gift of love, which is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, etc etc.

We don’t need prophets, and people who speak tongues (which are languages, not some un-comprehensible blabbering they seem to do today), and interpreter of tongues, and apostolic powers and all that today, because the Bible is complete and there’s no more need for special revelation. But what we do have as Christians as a spiritual gift, is the love of God. Which is the greatest, but the least most practiced gift in the church today sadly. No one wants to love anyone, but they all want to be the greatest, just like these Corinthians (as their problem was that they wanted these gifts, but couldn’t love each other), who have all these powers and so on. But no one loves each other. This is the sign of the end times really – the lack of genuine and sincere godly love. “…in the last days terrible times will come, men will be lovers of themselves…” (2 Timothy 3:1-2).

The Bible has called us to Love God first, and then each other. This must be done.

NB!!!! Please read the below section before continuing.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: the following section may be hard to read. But I must declare war, and go to war, with Satan here, and his version of love, so that I might expose the darkness and show the light of God and His Son and show you what He says about true love within marriage. So please be advised if reading this to children. Thank you.

Christian love, a weapon against Satan’s version of love

Porn and lust is what the world thinks love is. Worldly people jump into bed with one another, and engage in sexual relations, and promote sexual relations with others of the same sex or with multiple partners, and go in and out relationships, one after the other, searching for genuine love and contentment in another person, but can never truly find it. Worldly love in romantic relationships is often very selfish, aimed for self pleasure, and the pleasing of people, using them for gain of various types. Men rape women because they are evil and often do it out of sinful pleasure, to show power, to punish women, abuse them, and so on. Women use so called love and sex to control men, to manipulate them, and to gain wealth and to be seen with high favor amongst the people of the world. Wordily love is dark, it’s extremely sinful, and is used for the individuals pleasures.

Pornography, and its evil, has swept across the world, along with everything that goes with it. The way TV shows, porn sights, and how the world shows sex; is NOT how God intended sex to be. Porn is very violent, abusive, graphic in visuals and in intensity, and it’s always about the shock factor. In other words, how far can you really go, with the various scenes and positions and tools used, and what more can be done to display the porn stars.

I tell you now, this is not love. Love is far greater than this, in the way God intended it to be, between a man and a women. I’ll show you on section of scripture briefly that explains this (and may God give me wisdom as I write this and try to explain it);

“But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

There are a few things to notice here from this text;

  1. Love in the form of sexual relations are with your spouse, and spouse alone.
  2. Sex is a must in marriage relationships, you must fulfill your duties. Not because it is a duty alone, but because sex is made by God and is for those who are married, and is the ultimate and most intimate way to show that person that you love them.
  3. Your body, as either husband or wife, is not your own. Your body belongs to your spouse. Sex and love within the marriage is a selfless act. It’s about serving and pleasing the other person. It is completely SELFLESS. It’s not about gratifying yourself or demanding evil things from your spouse, because of what you have seen or watched on TV. Some men have said that sexual relations with many women has given them understanding in how to go about physical intimacy and what is pleasing to women. But God tells us that when you are married to a person for many yours, you truly get to know them and what makes them happy in physical intimacy. That is why Biblical marriage is far superior to any form of love in this regard, and is what is pleasing to God.
  4. You are not to deprive your spouse from sex. Often men and women, after having a fight, would deprive the other person as punishment. This is wrong. But if you do stop, it must be a “…mutual consent for a time…” so that you can pray to God about the situation.
  5. You must come together again, after that short time, so that Satan doesn’t tempt you to have sexual relations with anyone else.

Do you see the difference now between the ultimate form of love within a romantic relationship that is God centered, compared to the worlds version?

Friends, this was not easy to write. But the Lord has laid it on my heart. If you wish to speak to me about his, I welcome your criticism and comments. But this is the truth out of God’s Word, what I have presented here today. So I pray that the Lord would show you that.

So then friends, love is not just an emotion. It is an action carried out in many situations. I have only presented two today. Christian love is Christlike – meaning it’s all about loving the other person and serving them. So that they may know and love God more.

Practical ways to fight your emotions and control them

The above is my extremely untidy drawing I did in Microsoft paint, of our hearts. I am leaving it as imperfect, so that you can see I’m just a human being.

The above is what our hearts are made up of; mind, conscience, will, and passions. I’ll be brief in practical ways to discern your emotions here;

  1. List or write down what is in your mind right now.
  2. List or write down what is convicting you in your conscience.
  3. Lit or write down what actions you are going to take (what is your will, and what is God’s will).
  4. What are your driving passions, or lusts right now. Are they good or bad?
  5. Find in God’s Word what the Bible says about your emotions and feelings. Go to a website like: https://www.openbible.info/topics, and here type in “what does the Bible say about love” then read the verses. Or go to a site like https://www.gotquestions.org, and type in your desires. I trust these sights and have used them for many years.
  6. Once you have listed and written down what God says about what you are feeling. Pray through each one. And do the HARD work of memorizing those verses or at least being able to paraphrase them. And then do them, and live them out.
  7. Remember What the Bible is – it’s God’s Word, it is alive and active, and is very much sufficient to deal with all your problems.
  8. Do these things for a few days, and always bring your emotions to God. He is the maker of them so He knows how to fix them if they are broken.

The above will help you see whats actually going on in your heart. If you trust in God, He will help you. Wait on the Lord, be patient, endure the suffering He has ordained you to be in.

Conclusion

Our emotions are powerful, and can be used as tools for God’s purposes and to love both Him and each other. Through Christ you can have victory over your emotions and you can control your spirit and all that is in it. This is not an exhaustive blog post on this topic, so please don’t think this is all the wisdom that there is on this.

Lastly remember this;

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Do you see where the peace of God, for both your heart and mind, is found? Look at the last three words there… “in Christ Jesus.” The peace of God is not some mystical feeling, it is found in a person. That person is who Christ is, and what He has done for you on the cross. You are therefore loved by God, if you are His, and you can have peace and know that Jesus has overcome your heart and your emotions. Trust in Him alone.

Grace and peace to you, from your brother in the faith. Till we meet again in another blog post.

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The theology of Christian dating for young adults: what is Christian dating?

So here’s the thing, this topic gives me the heebee jeebees (I hope I’m spelling that right), because I know that this is a hot topic amongst young adults and it’s nerve wracking even daring to write about such a topic. But I feel that I must for the sake of the Lord’s name, His Word, and for the sake of my beloved friends and family and my dear Christian brothers and sisters all over. And this blog post is aimed at a young adults audience because I feel it’s appropriate for that audience. I also understand that many adults who have been married for many years, as well as others who have just married etc, will read this. I hope you will be kind to me as I wade through something that you might feel you have more wisdom on.

But I want to be very clear on this, I am going to be doing my best to present God’s Word on this matter, and not Cameron’s 10 steps on a better dating life. Also, most of you know I’m not in a relationship. Please don’t let that affect you, because I am not coming at this from an experienced veteran point of view, but only as a servant of our God and King the Lord Jesus, and I have confidence in writing what I am writing because I stand on the authority of God’s Word. And because of that I know I am more than able to persuade you to move towards Christ like thinking.

So sit back, relax, grab some tea or whatever version of flavored water you like. And enjoy the read.

Where to begin… the Genesis of this topic: what is Christian dating anyway?

Christian dating is a vaguely defined term that seems to have no real definition or clear outline. Often the dating idea is dripping with opinions, traditions, supposed Biblical principles, and man’s way of going about doing things, rather than knowing and understanding God’s will for relationships of the romantic nature between man and women. Notice I say a man and women, and not a boy or girl. Anyone below the age of 18, should not be dating. I’ll say that up front. But here is some questions that I have gathered over the years that many young adults have braved to speak aloud:

How does anyone date in the church? Small communities are tough to find “the one” in most cases right, so how to we begin to choose? What is dating anyway, there’s too many opinions on it, that I’m confused as to what it really is? Do we just leave our love life in God’s hands and do nothing until he/she falls through the roof and the angels sing “THE ONE!!!!”? How do you get to know people without being in situations that could lead to sin? And what is “Christian” dating anyway? When do we decide to get married? How long do we date for before deciding? When do you have the talk about marriage and the serious stuff, and how do you balance that with just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company?

Have you ever asked any of these questions before? They are just a handful of the questions asked on this topic, and forever will be asked for generations to come. And you can see how quickly we are confused and perplexed. Suddenly this Christian dating thing becomes very complicated, when it really shouldn’t be.

So how do we define Christian dating? I’d like to point something out and hear me on this one… there is no such thing as “Christian dating.” In fact I believe that it’s a title that’s very unhelpful and boxes Christians into a theological cube that they can never seem to climb out of. In-fact that cube hinders healthy relationships, and cages what should be something that is beautiful and free within the liberties that God gives us. But, for the sake of the lack of a better term we will use that title as we go through this article.

Christian dating is hard to define, because we are too worried about the ethics of how to go about doing it. What I mean is, we are worried about what is the morally right way of doing Biblical dating, and what is seen as the wrong way of doing it. Rather than just doing what God says we should do, we spend so much time worrying about avoiding doing the wrong thing whilst we’re leading up to, or are busy dating, and we are harsh and critical of others who don’t go about doing it the way we did when our way works out. So here it is: Christian dating doesn’t exist. But what does exist is a unique relationship between a man and women who represent God to the world through their love for one another.

What do I mean by that? Well think about it. Unbelievers date all the time, frequently, and with sometimes little to no purpose. They also have relationships. They love one another, just like anyone else. Also, bare in mind, dating is a western term. You won’t find the idea of dating, with people who live in the middle of the Amazon jungle. There is a whole world out there that goes about romantic relations between two people in the way they see it through cultural values and ethics, religious beliefs, and personal ambitions. So what makes the Christian relationships different? This is what is most important, and we’ll be expanding on this. And this is where we will start:

Christian dating represents 1) who God is, 2) who Jesus is, and 3) who the church is. Those three elements are very important to understand. Now you might think wow… that’s quite a lot of pressure already. But you see, it isn’t really, as this is where I like to hand you off to the Bible and show you that it’s God who tells us these things, and not me.

Your Biblical world view defines how you approach dating

I want to be simple and straight forward in this section. Because that is how it should be with these things.

Firstly – In our dating we represent who God is, as Christians. We know we worship the true God, and only God. And God is three persons in one. He is one being, but with three persons that operate and relate to us humans. We have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So how do we represent God because of this? Because God created us to have a relationship with Him first, then with one another. We bare His image, because we desire relationship. God has relationship (not romantic obviously) within Himself, with the three persons. So His desire is to also have a relationship with us, the church, and so we are like Him in that way when we desire relationship with one another. That is why we go to church, to find friends who are in the family of God.

If you read Genesis 1 and 2 and the whole creation story there, you eventually get to the part where God says “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him….” (Genesis 2:18). God saw Adam was lonely, He made Eve, and the two became husband and wife. Human beings all desire relationship, that’s why sometimes we get lonely. Hence why we seek out relationship with other human beings, and in this case we’re talking about romantic relationships. So it’s part of who we are. We cannot fight it, nor can we deny that we desire it.

But then how do we do this in a way that shows the true God? This is the answer: we love one another. Relationship is based on a love for the other person. This is where we go into the next point.

Secondly – You represent Jesus. Christ loved the church (John 3:16) whilst we were still sinners, and He died for us (Romans 5:8), Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25), and in the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28). Now this is the picture of how Christians should see a relationship centered on Christ like love. It’s a relationship of selflessness, and giving one’s self up in every way for the other person both in the dating phase and in the marriage phase. When you date someone, guys, you are representing who Jesus is to EVERYONE. This is what should quell any kind of desire that leads to sin, both publicly and secretly. If you are going into a relationship, and claim Jesus as the Lord of your life, and you do all kinds of sinful things with someone in that relationship (sexual immorality, fornication, and all manner of secret sins, etc.) you profane the name of our Lord Jesus above all things. Not only bringing shame to yourself and your boyfriend/girlfriend, but shame to the name of Christ.

Thirdly – you represent the church. Who is the Church? It is Jesus’ bride (Revelation 19:7-9, Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 21:9, Revelation 19:7). And if the church is His bride, don’t you think He will defend her as a husband does? Isn’t He our King, God, and Shepherd? So if you know the seriousness of profaning and sinning and hurting His bride, then you’d be aware of what to do and what not to do in a dating relationship. Also, marriage is a symbol of Jesus and the church, so to honor that Biblical truth we need to be aware of what we do and say to one another when dating.

So friends, these three things are on display when you date someone. These three things are what separate Biblical dating to any other form of romantic relationships.

But you might say, these are marriage examples? Well aren’t you leading up to marriage when you’re dating? You have to always ask the question; why do I want to date that person? And if I date that person, what am I saying to them? Am I saying that I love you, and I want to get to know you so that maybe one day I might marry you.

Now of-course this kind of thinking makes people nervous. Because the pressure is on, from the beginning. But you see, there’s no pressure. If you are ready to marry, and you are ready to love someone for the rest of your life, and you are a MATURE believer, then the above three things won’t be a burden to you. In-fact you will be more than happy to strive for these things to be the center of your relationship. And they’ll flow out naturally. You’ll see.

How do you get to know someone?

This is the hard part. So I will tread lightly here. But I think this is important to address, and this is where everyone has very strong opinions.

So we already know now who we represent. But how do we get to know someone so that we know whether we want to date, and or eventually marry the person? I’d say this; everyone is allowed some level of privacy when trying to get to know someone.

One of the biggest problems (and yes it can be a problem) in church environments today is that everyone wants to know what everyone is doing, and they want to have not only an opinion but also some kind of hand in navigating you and your BF/GF in your getting to know one another. And this can be very unhealthy, and very stressful for the two who are dating.

Our natural tendency as sinners, is to be busy bodies and gossips and slanderers (1 Timothy 5:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, Titus 2:3, Proverbs 18:8). We have to be on guard and not sin in this regard. So when two people are getting to know each other, we should leave them be, if the following is in place;

  1. They have appropriate accountability
  2. They are mature believers
  3. They are adults (over 18)
  4. They understand their own motives and intentions

If these things are in place. Then we should not go digging into their business. Privacy in church circles is very important. And there is a difference between privacy and secrecy.

Secrecy often involves sinful actions. Hiding things intentionally never ends well.

Privacy is very needed and important for any relationship to develop and grow. We should not persecute our young adults who desire to spend alone time with one another.

And lets say they do hang out with one another, and sin is involved. Are they not then shooting themselves in the foot? Will what they’re doing not eventually come into the light, or if they are true believers will they not be so convicted of their sin – that they then eventually repent and seek forgiveness and reconciliation? If they do sin, which we so heavily want to guard against, will it not prove that their motives and desires were not godly in the first place? In the end, that man or woman will stand before God in judgment. Yes, we should guard our young adults and prepare them with wisdom to deal with these situations. But if they are not allowed to practice that wisdom, then whats the point of giving them that wisdom in the first place? If you’re not going to even allow them to get to know someone alone, then why even bother giving them wisdom on how to go about it?

Here’s another thing. Getting to know people in groups. This is important, you should start off getting to know a person in a group setting. But at some point, if feelings develop, there has to be alone time with that person. The fact is… you can never really know who someone is unless you spend some alone time with them. Go do things that they like, and vice versa. Go hiking, surfing, running, eat out at each others favorite restaurants, share books with another and relay what you thought about the book. Go picnicking, spend time with their family and friends, go for a drive through the country side, whatever it is. If you are going to end up dating this person, to eventually get married then you have to do these things. And do it OFTEN.

If you are trying to figure out if this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you can’t know that unless their is freedom to spend some alone time with them.

Now, don’t spend alone time in a place that is going to lead to temptation to sin. Like your bedroom, or alone at home on the couch, parking away in some park where no one can see you, etc. The reality is, your feelings can cause you to make unwise decisions some times. These are common-sense things, that I really should not have to put over emphasis on. YOU WILL get into sinful situations when you provide yourself the right opportunity. If you truly care about that person, you won’t put yourself or him/her in that place of temptation.

Lastly, before even trying to get to know someone. Intentions must be very clear from the beginning. Don’t lead yourself, or that other person on. Make it very clear from the beginning. If you don’t do this then someones going to get hurt at some point. And being deceitful and leading someone on is a form of lying, and that is not Christ like love.

How do you know if they are the one?

There is not much to say here. Only you will know this. But you will only know this if you spend time with that person.

How do we know God? By spending time with Him, in prayer, in reading His Bible, in watching Him answer our prayers, in spending time with His people, in spending time with Him ALONE. Is not the same principle with the one you are dating and wanting to marry?

But if you want an answer, this is what I have from God’s Word:

  1. They must be a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:39, 2 Corinthians 6:14)
  2. Ask the question; do I love this person? You must be prepared to love them through everything, and give your self up for them every day (5 Ephesians 5:33, but basically Ephesians 5:21-33). That is the heart of Christian love, it is like Jesus – sacrificial.

That is all. It’s not complicated, as it shouldn’t be.

Whose calling the shots?

God has called you men to lead the dating relationship. True godly woman, will find it very attractive when you lead the relationship. That means you ask her out first, you make sure you set up the necessary boundaries whilst dating, you set up the accountability for the two of you, you guard her heart from anything and anyone who tries to lead her to sin against you and God, you make sure that the places you two go to are not a temptation to sin, you honor her parents by making sure you adhere to their rules for her (come back at 6:30pm after dating, no kissing, whatever the rules are). Men, you will be held accountable for the way you treat her. It is YOU who will suffer the consequences. So make sure you are the leader, and she will know and understand this if she is a wise and true believer. And you will represent our Lord Jesus well.

My sisters in Christ, God has called you “…to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God…” (Titus 2:5). In practicing these things whilst dating (emphasis on the practice), you are doing it for one reason. As God has said in this verse “…so that no one will malign the word of God…”, are you, my sister in the Lord, in the business of maligning God’s Word? I hope not. And continue to do this in all things “…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious…” 1 Peter 3:4. You do these things, you will do well. And you will represent God and our Lord Jesus in exemplary fashion.

Practically ready, and spiritually ready: dual necessities

If you have made it this far, I salute you. You are a solider, and I thank you for your endurance.

Here is where I’d like to say it’s my opinion, but in this section I pray that this would be helpful in a Christ like way and not in a harmful way. May it be wisdom, and not a hindrance to your understanding and knowledge.

Two things to know and ask, before dating – 1) Am I spiritually mature enough to be in a dating relationship? 2) Am I practically ready to be in a dating relationship?

Here are some questions to further explain these two things:

Am I spiritually mature:

  1. Am I aware of my responsibility to both God and this person to live a life that is above reproach, focused on God and His will for my life?
  2. Do I understand my role in this relationship, as either the guy or girl, and do I understand what my role will be when marriage comes?
  3. Do I have the right intentions?
  4. Are my motives in the right place?
  5. Do I have someone who will help me see my sin and my errors?
  6. Do I know what God says about how to deal with my sin?
  7. Am I ready to lead the home one day as the husband?
  8. Am I ready to be a submissive wife?
  9. Am I ready to be married in a Biblical way?
  10. Am I ready to love this person the way God intends me too?

Am I practically ready:

  1. Am I ready to be married in the next year or so? (or however long you end up dating)
  2. Can I afford to support a spouse?
  3. Can I provide a home for my spouse?
  4. Am I financially secure to eventually get married? (you don’t have to be rich)
  5. Am I still living under my parents roof? (God calls people to leave the parents home when getting married)
  6. Am I ready to leave my parents house and start a new family one day with this person?
  7. Am I emotionally secure enough to support this person when they are going through tough times?
  8. Am I working, and able to support myself before anyone else comes into the picture?
  9. Am I currently in debt, and if so how will this affect my spouse?
  10. Am I ready for a life long commitment?

Another thing is to consider that persons career. Are you ready to be dating and marry a; doctor, pastor, businessmen or businesswoman, someone who travels a lot and isn’t home often etc. Careers and personal goals can sometimes affect healthy relationships.

Conclusions…

I hope this has been helpful. It’s not an exhaustive blog post on this topic, but I do hope it helps you see the wisdom that is needed for these things. I too, am still learning. I don’t know everything. But our Lord Jesus has been gracious and patient with me, as I know He will be with you. He is faithful in all things, and in the end we do everything, that includes the people we choose to love, date, and marry, to His glory and for His purposes. Amen.

Grace and peace to you, in His name, friend. Until we meet again in another blog post!

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The Children of Albion – Chapter 2: Warm Lodgings

Gwen woke to a strange sensation she felt on the bottom of her feet. She slowly opened her eyes to find herself lying down, and a man holding her feet and prodding them with a small stick. She jolted up, startling a small white fox that lay just at the foot of the bed. She felt dizzy, as she tried to heave herself up, but she was weak and her head pounded. She lay in a bed that felt more comfortable than any bed she had ever lay in before. The softness of it gave her a feeling of security. The blankets were thick and furry, soft to the touch. The cabin she was in was warm, with a fire across the hall that was lit and roaring with life. She lay on a pillow that cushioned her entire head. She had been concussed for a week. She hadn’t seen it or known of it yet, but her right side of her face was swollen and black. Her feet were puffy, but not as much as they have been the past few days.

She gazed at the man, her vision hazy, as he tested the nerves in her feet. Every time he moved higher with the stick, her toes would move in response. He nodded his head in approval. She had frost bite in her limbs, and he had saved each with gentle care. The fox stared back at her with one eye open, half expecting another burst of movement, but it eventually relaxed and went back to sleep. The cabin was large enough to hold a small dining table that was against the wall to her left. The fire place on the other side of the small hall was surrounded by all kinds of utensils, quivers, baskets, and a small box with wood in it. The rest of the cabin was lined with thatching on the roof, with large wooden beams holding it all together. The door was on the far left, and there were barrels, and shelves that held other things Gwen couldn’t quite make out. Small woven baskets hung from the roof that were used to catch river crabs, and fish. Pelts of rabbit and other vermin hung from rafters on the roof. A large lynx pelt covered the floor. Gwen noticed another little white fox, nestled on the lynx pelt, wrapped up in what looked like sheep’s wool. A basket for a fox to sleep in? That is quite strange, she thought.

The man at the end of the bed smiled as he looked at her, and began to giggle. She turned and stared at him with a vague expression. “You should see your hair, las… you’ve got morning hair…” he began to laugh. She looked around her, eyes moving to and fro trying to see what it was he was teasing her about. He changed the subject, and began to speak about what kind of food he was making. He went on, and on, about how he made the gravy from various fungi, mushrooms, and fats from animals. Gwen, though half conscious but still somewhat listening, could not recall who she was or why she was here. And she was suddenly very hungry but also very tired, and it didn’t help to hear about roasted venison, gravy and steamed carrots and potatoes. As he went on about food, she dipped back into sleep.

****

Gwen rocked from side to side, as she held the edge of the boat with her little hands. Eoghan threw another net out into the waters, it sank deep into the abyss. They were both far out at sea, the land could only just be seen in the distance. Gwen played with the water that splashed against her hand. She grabbed some bait next to her, and dipped it into the water, teasing the tiny fish that hid under the boat and raced to her hand when the bait hung in the water.

“Gwen… don’t do that lassie… is today the day you want to see the bottom of the ocean? Do you want some foul beast to drag you down with the bait? Take your hand out the water before something grabs you and pulls you out this boat…” Eoghan said sternly. “I’m not swimming after you if something does grab you… I already rescued you once from this ocean…”

Gwen stopped and stared at her father, after hearing the last sentence. He was stern, but his face was gentle and kind. Reminding her of how she seemingly came into this world on the waves, and washed ashore. It was if the fairies willed it. The gods hands were on her that day. Gwen had been rescued by Eoghan when she was an infant. She lay on rubble of a boat that was out at sea, wrapped in many layers of cloth, and the tide carried her to the shores of Albion. The waves broke the rubble and she was washed far up the shore line. She cried her little lungs out all afternoon till Eoghan found her. He had taken her to the healer who lived in a small cottage not far away. She was nursed, and fed, and taken care of. Eoghan visited her everyday before he went out to sea. In time he made the choice to take her in as her own, having never had a family before, she became his daughter, and he – her father. She was a wise young las, a fast runner, a skilled cliff climber, and an excellent fisher-woman. She was her dads daughter, even though she was adopted. Until she lost him to the sea, and her heart went with him.

Eoghan lifted the net from the water, fish was bountiful today. The many shoals swam closer to the surface, traveling far across the shore line up north to colder waters. Eoghan sorted through the fish, keeping the large ones and throwing the rest away. Gwen helped him, she always laughed as they squirmed and wriggled in her hands. Her dad would make funny faces with the fish as he held them up next to his face. If Gwen ever knew love for someone, it was in this part of her life. With her dad. He wasn’t her dad by blood, but he was her dad. Family is not always flesh and bone, and that is has been something she has held onto and believed for years to come.

The sun began to rise above the ocean horizon. The red and yellow beams kissed the waters surface, creating twinkles and flashes of smaller lights. Fish jumped out the water, dancing in the air. Sea gulls hovered over the boat, squawking and diving towards the fish pile. Some floated near the boat, hoping a morsel would be tossed their way. But Eoghan new better. There be monsters in these waters, he always said eerily. Terrible beasts of the deeps that would tip the boat with one flip of a tale or fin. The ocean surface was extra quiet later that morning. And Eoghan noticed that the fish had moved on, and so he and Gwen began to row their boat back to shore.

“Dadee… have you ever thought about kissing a lady before?” Gwen asked her dad, a cheeky smile crept across her face.

“Well… not recently no… don’t tell me you’re pushing me to think about that girl that sells cabbages again?” Eoghan snorted. Blushing as he looked away towards some other direction so that Gwen could not see.

“I never said anything about her…”, Gwen giggled. “Your the one who brought her up now, eh…?”

“Ohh… go drink a cup sea water you little imp… I have never thought about kissing her…” Eoghan held back a smile, knowing that his daughter was teasing him about something he knew was true. He did like the cabbage lady. She was kind, and very good to him and to Gwen. He grew up having a crush on her. But he was always scared that her parents would never like him, or want him to be her husband one day. He was a fisherman, and she wouldn’t want to be married to a stinky man like him. He wasn’t the most good looking fellow either. She, however, was lovely and beautiful, and had many suitors. The one time another man from another village asked her to go to a village dance with him and she gladly accepted. It was the first time he felt jealousy hot in his chest… he would never forget how he just wished he was the one who got to be with her that day. She would never know his love for her. Some things are just to hard to say a loud.

****

The boat rocked in a very awkward but sharp movement, caused by neither Gwen nor him. A dark shape pushed against the boat. It’s size, almost doubling that of the vessel. Eoghan moved quickly. Several spears were held in a small hold under the boat. Too late to grab them all. The leopard seal knocked the boat again in a swift and precise action. Their fish sprawled over into the water. Eoghan managed to keep the boat from completely flipping by pushing his weight against the side. The seal appeared out of the dark gloomy depths and beached its entire body on the boat. Gwen was trapped under its weight. This was no ordinary leopard seal. It was known as a terrible monster to the fishermen of these waters. It swam from very far north, being born on the shores of Antarctica, and finding little to no food there that could sustain it’s size, so it swam south, finding it’s home on the shores of Albion, where it’s food source was plentiful and much bigger than just mere fish.

After stabbing the beats twice, and eventually tipping the boat over to get the foul creature away. Eoghan pulled Gwen onto the boat which was now bottom up. As he slid her on, the beast emerged from the depths, enraged by the retaliation of it’s foes, biting deep into Eoghans’ leg, it dragged him deep into the water. Gwen screamed as she watched her father engulfed by the waves and the monsters image dragging him down.

She woke, sweating and in more pain in her heart and mind, more so than what had been in her whole body this past week.

****

Gwen looked around. No one was in the Cabin. The foxes lay on her right and left side. They had grown accustomed to her presence over the past week. The girl fox crept closer to her, and wrapped itself under her armpit. Gwen hesitated, but eventually cuddled the little creature. She felt hungry and looked around for food. A mug filled with hot water, and a piece of bread and meat was next to her bed on a stool in a generous portion. She heard a noise coming from outside that she couldn’t quite make out. It was far off in the distance. But consistent. It sounded like someone was chopping something. Wood, maybe?

Gwen moved the fox over and sat up and ate. For the first time that week she sat an tried to think about where and what was happening. The dream of her father had stirred a new desire in her to know what was going on. After her breakfast she tried to get up, she needed to relieve herself. As she stood, she looked across the room, and hanging on the wall were her two daggers, her bow, and her quiver, and her cloak. Then it hit her.

It all flooded her mind like a dam breaking open. The aurora lights, the climb. The trekking across the land of snow, moors, glens and ice. The forest. The fight with the falcon. The plunge into the frozen river. A cold shiver went up her spine. She was Gwen, and she was living in a cabin with the man she tried to kill a week ago.

To be continued…

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The Children of Albion – Chapter 1: Gwen

Her boots hit the pebbled beach, as she lept from the boat. They crunched down on the tiny stones still wet from the cold waves that gently licked the shore line with their icy touch. Her red Autumn colored hair gently blew in the cold wind, that traveled all the way from the Arctic north. The air touched her face with gentle hands, she breathed in deep, the fresh salty air that filled her lungs with an almost intoxicating high. The air was different here, it was old. Very old. It’s as if no human had yet had the chance to breathe it into their lungs since its creation, and be filled with its exhilarating power. She felt she was the first to taste it. It’s saltiness settling on her pallet.

She was as far north as she knew to be, and here the elements of the wild were ancient and powerful. Her eyes opened to the world that was lit by the aurora borealis lights. Lush alien like colours crept across the horizon reaching towards the ends of the world; green, purple, yellow, and hints of red, painted the ocean surface and sky. She stared out into the ocean, it was dark and gloomy. What lurked beneath those waters she would not dare to think. Many creatures other than whales, penguins, and seals lurked beneath the water surface. Ancient sea going leviathans, their fins scrapping the bottom of the ocean searching for their next meal. Their dark movements unseen by the body of water that hid them.

She started back at the beauty of the night sky, and the lights, and beyond was the farthest reaches of space, the stars dancing in the night, out in the galaxies abroad, creating a canvas that only added to the beauty of the aurora. The breeze picked up, and she felt the tundra cold creep past her warm clothing. She wore a lightly pelted corset which was layered with warm furs, and material which all stretched across her shoulders, arms, and down to her knees where her tall boots met the cloth. Around her neck she wore a thick gold and black necklace. All around her clothing were similar small gold amulets that held together other parts of her clothing and gear. She wore a dark blue coat that wrapped around her entire body, it too was lined with inner light furs. Her eyes were a light crystal blue, which were now painted by the beauty of the aurora she observed. Her face was painted with tiny freckles (her best feature). She never smiled, but when she did her thin tiny lips slowly crept across her face, leaving tiny dimples on her cheeks. Petite gold hair rings were tied into her hair strands that held together braids. The rest of her hair flowed down past her shoulders, but not too far. It was messy hair, straight and well looked after, but rustled by the sea wind that forever blew it out of proportion when she stood to steer the mast on her small boat.

As she gazed at the sky, she pulled her hood over her head. Her bow was in her right hand, and she picked up her quiver and swung it around her left shoulder. She had two small daggers sheathed in two hilts on the left and right of her hip. She traveled light. She knew better than to carry heavy weapons. She was a fierce enemy to all her fought her. She was the greatest woman fighter of her time. No one knew where she came from, where she was born, where she was trained. She was left to die at birth, and a man who looked after boats on the shores of southern Albion found her on the beach and took her in. She was a baby wrapped in a simple cloth when her father (not by blood) found her. She had floated in the ocean for a while, when she came crashing down in the waves and was washed onto the soft sand of the beach. By the hand of God, she survived. This was her life. Cold, harsh, no love, no family, forever moving and facing all strife that this world threw at her.

Her name was Gwen. And she was feared by all the known world.

****

She had climbed the tall cliffs of the beach that towered over the shore line. The wind whipped at her as she ascended the mountain side. She was a skilled climber, knowing exactly how to navigate the edges, and knew exactly where to put her hands and feet. Once she reached the top, she trekked across the plateau towards a small glen that was at the foot of a hill. A thicket of trees had hidden a small rock cave that she made camp in. She gathered small sticks and piled them into a corner. She made a small fire with kindling she had been carrying around, and she stayed there two days. Resting from the long voyage from the southern lands, which she sailed all across the shore line to miss the inland Roman armies and Celtic tribes that would have slowed her voyage if she had traveled by foot. The risk to sail was high, as she knew that this time of year storms ruled the seas. But she didn’t care. She was Gwen. Nothing could kill her. Nothing in the known world. Except maybe the one she now trailed.

She traveled very far north. Towards a series of mountain peaks which could only be seen on the odd glimpse through the mist and snow which now blanketed the land. Her target to kill was somewhere in those mountains. She would find him. The last challenge this world could offer. She would find him. And after she had brought his head to the Emperor in Rome, she would find a place to die. She had nothing more to offer in this life. And this life had nothing more to offer her.

Or so she thought.

****

A week past as she slowly navigated the land which we now know as Scotland. She found herself fighting snow, and ice, and mountain passes that were so thin she tore her cloak as she crept through the crevasses and navigated the tough terrain. It was the dead of winter. And it was cold here, very cold.

Gwen was not accustomed to this kind of weather. She did like snow, but not with this kind of intensity. She found shelter under a small rocky outcrop and hid behind some stones as the wind and snow pounded against its shielding side. As she sat and shivered herself to stay alive, she thought about her life. “Meaningless… ” she thought. We are born and then we die. And no one knows why we die, why don’t we live forever? The gods clearly don’t exist to help those in need, or to give them life when mortals call on them. The world has never helped her, and it doesn’t help itself. Why was there life, if death was at its side the minute life breathed another being into existence. She could not understand purpose or morality. Everyone was like the beasts of the wilds, cruel and merciless. What was love really? She never knew it. All she knew was the cold steal of the blade, it’s hilt, and the way she could move it in the air to swiftly bring an end to all who stood before her. She hated war, and blood, and the pain it all brought. Yet this was her profession. She was the hand of death. She did its will. None cloud face her fury.

****

When she saw her first human track, her heart leaped. There is no chance that this could be anyone else, but her target. She was extremely skilled in tracking. Nothing escaped her gaze. Her senses were so well trained in observing every small detail a person made when they moved. She tracked for a few hours before she found her quarry. And there he was. He was also hunting, but very unaware of being hunted. She laid eyes on him as she stood high above him on a rock. He was clothed in rags, lots of them. They looked old. He had been here for much longer than she had been. Perhaps a year, maybe even two.

He was just about to fire an arrow at a mountain elk he had been hunting, when he suddenly felt an sharp pain in his leg. He made a small “Arrghh” sound that scared the deer off, as he gazed at the arrow that was lodged in his leg. He suddenly found himself tumbling in snow and bush.

Gwen had landed next to him and then tackled him down the bank, kicked him off of her and he landed in a position that broke the arrow she shot into his leg. The arrow didn’t pierce as far as she wanted, as he was not injured enough, as he was still able to run. He moved with far more speed than she anticipated, and he almost out ran her. But she used the terrain to her advantage, leaping on rocks and logs that was not completely snowed on, and was able to chase him through the woods, and then along a iced up river, to a waterfall edge.

He stopped a few hundred meters before the waterfall edge. “No where to run… falcon…” Gwen shouted in a panting voice, unsheathing her daggers as she walked towards him. They weren’t small, almost big enough to be small swords, but light and easy to grip and handle. As she walked towards him she noticed he was holding the hilt of a small weapon at his side, as if he was ready to draw it. She couldn’t quite see what it was. It was covered by a cloak.

The white falcon of the north stood before her. He was the greatest warrior in all of Albion. Feared by the Romans and her own people, the Britain’s. He had struck fear into the hearts of men and woman throughout the world to the farthest reaches of Egypt, to Cush, and far east to the lands that were at one time Persia, and to the far north where the Norse dwelled, and all across Europe. He too was a renown warrior. Like her. It’s what they had in common. She hated it. Here stood a man who had slain legions of Romans in defense of his people. At one time one hundred Romans fell to his sword, in one fight. She hated that he held the same renown. She would quell it, and bring her name above all names. The fool had fled into the mountains for a purpose she didn’t understand. The reports had said he had converted to Christianity, and now worshiped the God Jesus. And because of this he had left his life as a war chieftain and general of his people. Coward, she thought.

“Please… don’t fight me woman… I have no quarrel with you… leave me alone, and you can go in peace…” the falcon tried to persuade her. But to no use. Gwen had her sights on him. She didn’t reply, but only took off her cloak and her quiver and dropped her bow, leaving her lighter and ready to move in battle. “Please… don’t do this… life is more than swords and blood, don’t fight me…” he tried once more. But she wanted nothing of it.

On the edge of a waterfall, and the world it seemed, with snow and ice and mountains surrounding them, she began her attack and launched into a fray of skilled offensive slashes and swings. But she could not land a hit. The falcon was swift. It was as if he knew her every move. She switched to different sword fighting styles trying to confuse him. But to no avail. Finally, he ducked under her left blade and pulled back his leg aiming for her stomach and kicked the stuffing out of her, launching her across the ice. She felt all the air leave her body, as his boot left her stomach and she flew backwards, with no gracefulness whatsoever, far further than she ever had before after any retaliation of an enemy.

The falcon watched her slip and slide away from him, like a small goose flapping it’s wings in panic. He knelt down, breathing slowly, and he closed his eyes.

Gwen had to stop herself with her daggers, plunging them into the ice. Around them was a wall of trees. The waterfall was frozen, and dipped down into a valley with the forest lining the sides of the hills. The rest of the river traveled back behind them, and bent into the woods. She held herself level with her daggers and pulled herself up. She started at him, anger filling her heart. He kicked her. And she rolled across the ice like an infant learning to crawl. He had knelt down, and looked as if he was… praying? She hated that. What kind of man prays in the middle of battle. Maybe he’s waiting for me to just finish it. Miserable sod. She advanced towards him, this time far more ready and prepared.

As she reached him he suddenly leaped into action, drawing the hidden two handed sword from his cloak. Surprised by the immediate reaction, she ducked under the blade that hung in mid air, and skated under and sword, narrowly escaping a beheading. She skillfully twisted around, not expecting him to be right on her again. She went into a defensive stance. Then fought, and parried and fought, and back and forth they went. Both extremely skilled in their fighting craft. But she knew in her heart that there were may times in their fight that he could have ended her. But he didn’t… what was he doing?

The twang and clank of sword filled the valley. Wolves on the move stopped to listen, deer lifted their heads from grazing to focus on the strange sound. Badgers scurried away into their holes, owls sunk deeper into their nests, and birds flew from the scene. The wilderness was filled with shouts, and movements of fighting and sword clashing.

Gwen was renown for striking fear into her enemies. She had faced large strong men, who tripled her weight and size. She had fought massive battles, against elite guards, and killed them all. She had faced catholic knights, assassins, the kings guard, horse archers, elephant riders, and all manner of animals from bears to lions. She had no weakness. She was the elite of the elite. But she did not know it until now that there was something growing in her heart. As she fought the falcon and they danced back and forth with each other, something deep inside her began to grow. Fear… where was it coming from? She had never been afraid before. Only when her father had died, being pulled off a boat by a abnormally large leopard seal and dragged deep into the depths of the waters never to be seen again. Since then she has not known fear. But the fear in her grew as the fight went on.

She now turned and faced him and the waterfall was at her back. He breathed in deep and launched the most aggressive attack of the fight thus far. She couldn’t understand it. He could have killed her many times, but he didn’t. He slowly pushed her back. Every move he made was precise and perfect. Every swing timed with fierce accuracy. Slowly he pushed her back. And it began to dawn on her that this man she faced… was better than her. And there was nothing she could to stop his onslaught. She didn’t want to die to his hand for the sake of her pride, but she knew that she could not win either. He pushed her back.

“We will prevail …” he said aloud as he pushed her further towards the waterfall edge. Her fear grew. Why… she did not know. It was like something else inside her heart amplified the feeling, and it played a role in her slow defeat.

“We will prevail…” he said again as they drew closer and closer. She hated it. She hated that he was a better swordsmen. She was being beaten by one man, ONE who had never seen or heard of her. All her years of battle and victory after victory, she now would lose?

“We will prevail…” he kept saying it over and over again. But who was the ‘we’? Why was he speaking as if there was more of him, or others around helping him?

“We will prevail…” he chanted as they finally reached the edge, with a large swing, he swung hard. She blocked, but the swing pushed her back. She was a few meters from him. And he now started at her. Sword in hand, but lowered. She for a moment also stopped, and stood, staring at him in awe. “Don’t move…” he said. His voice showing no hint of fatigue. She however was exhausted. But she didn’t show it. “You can still live… just listen to me now…” he explained but she snarled and bellowed “Silence! Do not give me orders and advice you coward. You will die by my blade.”

He stared at her, his face changed from fighter, to calm and collected. “If you move any further, you will fall in the ice. It is weak at your feet. I know… I have chased many deer to this spot and killed them as they tried to escape the icy water. You to… will taste the ice and breathe the rivers turbulence if you do not heed my warning. Choose. Throw your weapons to me, you are defeated. I will help you. But you have little time to decide. Make Haste!”

Gwen started at this man. Suddenly it was as if she saw something. She looked at his eyes. His face. He was kind, gentle… he wanted to help. She hated that, but she also was afraid. I don’t need saving, she thought. He continued his gaze, pleading with his eyes. There was a crack… a ooze of watery sound that traveled across the river and towards her… a creaking sound… the ice began to break… she felt her hands slowly loosen on the blades, “fine I yield -” she began to say, but the ice opened and darkness consumed her.

To be continued….

Below is a photo of how I pictured Gwen in my head. I found a model who cosplayed almost exactly how I pictured Gwen. I do not own the below Photo, all credit and rights of the photo belongs to her. Please go see her page for how to buy it legally. 1) https://www.facebook.com/Katarzyna.Daedra/photos 2) https://www.instagram.com/daedra_model/ 3) Other photo credit belongs here: https://za.pinterest.com/anerianaa/_created/

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God’s will for young adults: the fear of not knowing the future

Do you ever feel like you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life? Have you ever reached a mile stone in life; like finishing school, university, or a short course, or perhaps even just the end of the year cycle and December has come so fast, and you just don’t know what God wants you to do next? You also have so many people telling you what you should do, or asking you what you’re going to do next year or what’s the next grand step forward?

If you fit into maybe one or two of these categories above, then this article I believe is for you. Because the Lord doesn’t want His people to be confused about what they should be doing with their lives. He has given us all we need to know about what His will is. And let’s just say, this will be a very application focused article, which I hope is relatable and helpful to you as you continue to move forward with your life.

Everyone’s asking what I’m doing next year, but I really don’t know…

I can tell you now that I can relate to those who feel like everyone around them wants to know what you’re doing after university, or they ask that same question maybe two times a week (usually with the best of intentions, and to spark conversation), but let’s face it… it can be annoying right? Especially when it’s more than one person asking. It can feel very overwhelming, and can make you feel anxious and stressed because you actually don’t have an answer, and because you don’t have an answer you some how feel inadequate or not as efficient or well planned. You feel like they expect you to know already, and to have at least an idea of what you want to do. But the thing is… you actually just don’t know.

Let’s start off by saying this. It’s okay not to know. Yes, I said it. It’s okay not to know what you’re going to do, and why? Because the reality is that you really actually cannot know what is going to happen. To accept this reality is to accept God’s revealed will. That revealed will is that we actually cannot know what tomorrow brings. In fact James speaks about this as he says – “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes…” (James 4:13-17). The Holy Spirit Himself (that being God the Spirit) tells us right there in that scripture that we don’t actually know what is going to happen even if we say we’re going to do something, or going to go somewhere and study or go visit this country etc. Our lives are like a mist, we are here for a little bit then we die and that’s it. If you grew up in a misty place, like I did (I grew up in Hilton), then you’d know how quickly mist comes and goes. Your life is a mist, you’re here one day then gone the next.

That truth about life being short will deeply sadden some people. But for God’s people it should actually be a relief. Why? Yes because we go to heaven one day. But also because trying to figure out the future, knowing that you could die any day, brings more anxiety than it does peace. Your life is so short and there’s so little time to do so much that when you’re pressured to know everything you can often feel very overwhelmed. Young people are put under so much pressure in this day and age to have their whole futures planned out and scheduled that when they either; aren’t planning so intensely like they “should be”, or if their plans don’t work out after planning so rigorously, they are shamed and shunned as if what they did, and what happened to them, was wrong or sinful and their fault. The first thing to know about this is; you don’t know what is going to happen. And to accept this will bring a godly peace rather than a worldly anxiety.

Solomon writes this to further explain this point “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well…” (Ecclesiastes 11:5-6). Wind and farming are the examples used here to basically say two things; firstly, you don’t always know if what you’re going to do is going turn out well. You plant crops hoping they turn out right, but sometimes they actually don’t grow properly, or a fire comes and burns them, up or a plague of locusts comes and devours the whole lot. As God has told us in His Word in Ecclesiastes 9:11 – “I have seen something else under the sun: the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, the strongest doesn’t always win the fight, the wisdom of the wise doesn’t always put food on his table, wealth and money and riches doesn’t always go to those who are brilliant in what they do, and favour doesn’t always come to the ones who are learnered who have the best education. Time and chance (which is in God’s hands) happens to everyone. That’s not what I have said, that’s what God says.

Secondly from what we see from Ecclesiastes 11:5-6 above, you have no idea what God is going to do nor can you predict what He is going to do no matter how much you try. And how is that helpful to know? It’s helpful because it means you can’t control anything. As much as you want to, you can’t. And if you believe in the sovereignty of God over everything, which is what the Bible says about God, then you should rest and know that it’s the Lord who determines where and what happens to you no matter what you choose, both the GOOD and the BAD things. That’s because God is working everything for His purposes, and moving everything, big and small, to a final end. The end of this age and the end of this world and this universe. To bring about a new one.

Another thing to note is that sometimes things don’t work out and sometimes things don’t get better. When someone goes through a tough time, to promise that God will bring them out for the better in the end is not wise. It’s the same with whatever you choose, you might choose something and it might go horribly wrong, and not get better but get worse and worse. The fact is, our choices sometimes lead us to places where the situations actually don’t turn out for the good or the way we wanted them too.

Now what does any of this have to do with you choosing what’s going to happen next year? Well it means you have so much freedom to choose whatever you want to do in the means that God has given you. You don’t have to be pressured to choose one way or another based on what others think or what is pressuring you, it means there is so much freedom and liberty to work and choose paths that will take you where God will determine ultimately whether it happens or not. Listen now, you who are greatly loved by God, and let this be an end to your external and internal anxieties… your great God works things not to better your life or give you all your material and emotional pleasures, but rather to bring you closer to the day where you are with Him and see Him face to face forever. What happens to you brings you closer to Him daily, and closer to Him eternally where you will see Him face to face.

So whenever others are filling your heart with thoughts and pressures, or the pressure you put in your own heart, know and understand and love this very truth – “…whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything…” – 1 John 3:20. The context of that is, when sin overwhelms us to the point where we are governed by everything our hearts want, know that God is greater than your heart. Yes friend God is much more powerful than your heart. And He knows everything, which means not only does He know your future but He also knows why your heart wants what it wants and is driving you to move in certain directions. He can and will use both the good and bad motives to steer you towards His purposes. That is how wise and powerful God is. And that is an amazing, out of this world, truth and comfort for us His children.

How do I make the right choice on what to do next? How do I choose my career, or university education?

How do you make the right choice? This is not talking about the ethics of something. It’s about making a decision about something in order to do it, so there is a difference. What career should you take? I think the answer to this lies in your heart. Yes the Bible says our hearts are deceitful and can lead us to sinful things. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is the ability to make a choice because we are capable of doing so, because that’s what hearts do; hearts think, then act, and then react to what they decide to do. You might have options in your heart, you might say; I want to be a Dentist, or a Doctor, or a Pastor (like me). The Bible does not make choices for you, the Bible only tells you what God says about choices. And those choices are used by Him to drive you towards Him.

Now obviously don’t make a choice that is against God’s Word. Don’t expect God’s blessing on your life if your career choice is something like prostitution, or drug dealing. I don’t have to explain this to you. If you’re reading this, my educated assumption is that you generally have the Biblical compass in your heart needed to make a choice that is not sinfully imbecilic like the above choices. We’re talking about general choices.

The advice I’d give to you is what Solomon gives, listen to this – “…be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless…” Ecclesiastes 11:9-10.

So in a nut shell, do whatever you want to do. Follow the ways of your heart, and do what you want to do. If you want to be a detective then do it, if you want to be a street sweeper then do it, if you want to go to university in Ireland then do it, if you want to live in an off grid home in Alaska and live off the land and sell pelts then do it. But the verse reminds us of this, that whatever you do, God will bring you into judgment. You won’t be held accountable for the career you choose, you’ll be held accountable for what you do in that career. So do as the verse says “So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless…” and your youth is meaningless because one day you will grow old and die. That’s the point being made there (read chapter 12 of Ecclesiastes for further explanation).

Choose a career path within your means. Don’t go bankrupt trying to study something. Money is something given by God, and taken away by God. If God has given you only so much money, and you can’t afford to study something, then either save up to do it and do something else in the mean time whilst getting there, or make the wise decision and see that this is something that you can’t do in your short mist of a life, so might as well choose the next best option. Also, there is nothing wrong with choosing a job that pays well in the end. But understand this “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle…” (Proverbs 23:4-5). Money comes and goes, there’s never enough, but don’t wear yourself out trying to get lots of money. If God gives you money, then use it to eat, provide for family, pay the bills, enjoy some pass time (whatever it is you like doing), but most importantly use your money to aid the church in it’s advancement of the gospel.

When choosing a university, apply to many. You have no idea which one you’ll get into. But understand and know this, when choosing a university that you will study at for a long time, be sure to find a good church in the area first. Find the pool of friends you need at church first, and then look for friends at university. Your church attendance will determine your spiritual well being in the Lord, this I can assure you. And it will help with your decision making, as your fellow believers will have wisdom from the Lord which will help you and guard you from certain paths that may lead down a dark road.

I hope the above points are helpful. But in short, I can’t open the Bible and tell you exactly what the future career or university you’ll take is. The Bible only shows what God wants us to know in His revealed will, the rest is His unrevealed will. Why don’t we know the unrevealed will? Because we are not God, and because He wants us to focus for now on the revealed will. People want to be God, and try to be God, because they love following after the devils lie he told Eve in Genesis 3 (you will be God if you take this fruit an listen to me), but in the end we cannot be God.

God has also given you parents. Some parents try live their lives through their children, and are very controlling and manipulative both in words and actions, so some children struggle to do what they want because their parents some times hinder them. But God has given you parents to help you make wise decisions. So don’t discount their wisdom, listen to them. But make your choice in the end. God will use the motives of your parents (whether good or bad, controlling or helpful) to get you where He wants you to be.

So then child of God, you are free to choose. But only let your choice be content with what God has given you to do, and don’t find contentment in the job itself. Because all work is hard (Genesis 3:17-19) and you won’t always enjoy it. But you can always find joy in the fact that this work is from the Lord. And this university that is on the cards of choice, is from the Lord. And remember, that even the things that happen by chance are actually determined by the Lord. So yes things happen by chance and time, but it’s all from God whether good or evil – “In the day of prosperity (good times) be joyful, but in the day of adversity (hard times) consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him…” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

How do I know the person I am dating, or I like, is the right one?

This is the big one. Every young adult is ALWAYS thinking about this. In fact I’ll say it consumes their entire beings some times (I have seen it myself, and even experienced it in my own heart). I don’t care how much you try and argue that you don’t care about marriage and dating and all the rest of it, I know for a fact that you do. So don’t deny it.

Now that the rebuke is out the way, lets get down to the matter. And it’s a short one. You have no idea who you will marry, or if you will marry, or what will happen if you get married (i.e: are you going to be barren, will your spouse die 3 months after marriage, will you get some terminal disease etc). And the same applies to dating, and your current crush. Feelings come and go, human love seems to come and go, acts of love come and go, marriages come and go, time and chance happen to them all. One minute you like her, the next minute she does something and you really dislike her. One minute you spend the whole day with him and you love him, the next week he does something that makes you question your love and motives. It’s all a grand mystery really, and can be both painful and the biggest joy in life.

But who you date, and end up marrying, will determine a lot of what will happen to you. So it is important to speak about, at least briefly.

I can only present to you this wisdom from 1 Corinthians 7:28, listen to what God (not Cameron, it’s not my opinion), but what God says about this entire relationship mystery. This is what the Lord says:

“…those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.”

Do you see the above? Read it again.

Now read it again.

Okay, well done. Now read it again.

The truth is, marriage is full of troubles, and pains, and sacrifice, and responsibility, and things that can and will show you how sinful you really are, and how sinful the other person is. And if you’re dating, you should be aiming for marriage, and not towing the long line thinking I can date this girl or guy for 40 years and he/she won’t mind if we don’t marry. If you are wise, you should marry in the wisdom and time you both decide. But remember what has been said by the Lord, you will face many troubles. Why? Because it’s not easy being a sinner, then having to live with another sinner and deal with their sin as much as you have had to deal with yours. (on a side note: watch how people deal with their sin. This will give you a good indication of their maturity in the Lord).

This section is not a bash on marriage. To desire to be with someone is a good desire, to desire companionship is something ingrained in us by God. It’s beautiful to be married, and marriage is from God. It is a joy, and it is a part of God’s plan.

But my point in this is reminding you of wisdom and it is this; don’t think marriage will solve all your problems (emotionally and physically), or bring you eternal happiness, give you your greatest pleasures, and solve sinful problems. Young adults sometimes make the wrong spouse choices, because they are trying to fix them selves or think they can fix others around them, or are driven by unwise desires, and they end up being the most miserable creatures on the earth. I have seen it, I have witnessed it, and I have (in a smaller way) experienced it myself. That’s why Paul writes that verse in 1 Corinthians 7:28.

Don’t be fooled, as it is written “…those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.”

Lastly, loneliness is not a sin, but can lead to sin. Loneliness is a feeling. Loneliness comes and goes. But this should be taken before the Lord first and dealt with there at his feet.

Now, how do you choose the right person? It’s not complicated. God has told us to choose a Christian to date and marry, and not an unbeliever. God has told us we must be ready to love that person (so ask the question, do I love him/her?), because in the end a romantic relationship is suppose to be an image of Christ and the church (because of what he did for His bride on the cross, His bride being the church), and love is the strongest gift a Christian can have (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) so you should be ready to practice it (like the vows go; for better or worse, through sickness and health etc). Get to know them, alone, when you can and in groups. Every person is entitled to privacy. You can never really know who someone is unless you spend time with them. Of course have accountability, and make sure to be in geological places that won’t lead to sin (so don’t have a coffee date in your bedroom). Don’t hold secrets from those who you are accountable to. And guys really, enjoy the getting to know process. Don’t rush it. Practice patience in that regard. Learn who that person is, and ask the questions that need to be asked. Be wise, child of God. I speak from a Pastors heart here. Don’t sin against that Lord, and that person in your thoughts and actions. Be honest about your intentions. Don’t lead the person on.

I said I would be brief here in this section right? Let us move on to the final point.

What is God’s will for my life?

I have no idea what God’s immediate will is for your life. That is my honest reply. Everyone who reads this blog post; has a different purpose, different life, and different desires. I’m one person, my life went from being not saved, to being saved, to going into the film industry, then going into full time ministry as a Pastor. I can’t even tell you what is going to happen to me. I might be in full time ministry for 40 years, 5 years, or maybe just next year. I don’t know. So then how do we answer the question? It’s not hard. This is the answer.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

A Christian is able to understand God’s revealed will (in the 66 books of the Bible) by renewing their minds, we do that by focusing on everything Jesus commands and teaches, and on what the entire revelation of the Bible says about Jesus and God and our lives. This is not a once off thing. You do this every day. Day in, and day out.

But to know God’s unrevealed will, as we have discussed, is impossible. You can’t know it. God has made sure you don’t know it, and won’t know it. God’s will, is that you don’t know the unrevealed things yet. The reason for that is so that you can trust and rely on Him to give you what you need. The purpose is to drive you closer to God, and away from your selfish ambition. Don’t choke on your ambitions, present them to God and allow Him to answer your prayers. You are a child of God, the Father is your heavenly Father now. If you ask for something, remember what is written:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the Prophets” – Matthew 7:11.

This doesn’t mean God will give you all your desires. this means that God knows how to give good gifts. That being your universities, career paths, spouses, where you will live etc.

So in conclusion. Make choices that will drive you towards God’s purposes. Jesus is coming back soon. This world is passing away, along with it’s lusts. So young adults, do the will of God, because this is pleasing to Him. And remember the words of our Lord Jesus:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34.

And lastly, never forget this, you who are loved by God:

“…I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

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The fool says in his heart, “I want more!”

Two of my favorite books in scripture right now is; 1) Ecclesiastes, and 2) Numbers. Both of them have for the last two years, spoken to me in various ways (things like; my sin, how to grow in love for the Lord, how to know Him more, to know how vain and fleeting this life actually is, and how to carry out doing what He has called me too) and the Lord has used His Word in both books to really help me understand where I am in life. And where am I? Well I am a student, currently. I have been in university for the past seven years (I studied film for 4 years, then went to Seminary to study theology to be equipped for full time ministry), I work as an intern at my church, and I am currently in my 3rd year of Seminary going into my 4th year next year (Lord willing). So I’m kinda in where some might say the “in-between.” In-between what? Currently, finishing my studies and then venturing into the ministry the Lord has called me too (which would be possibly, Lord willing, at the end of next year or the beginning of the next). Do I know what ministry it is? Not yet, but it’s not as if I am just waiting for something to fall into my lap. I am already doing what I can, to serve the Lord where I can, at my local church. This is part of my practical learning (work experience), but also it is what I love doing so I do it not because I have to, but because I actually love it. And I have felt very blessed to serve at such a wonderful church; men and woman who love the Lord, who fear Him, and seek to obey His Word. What an honor it has been.

So how does the above relate to the title of this blog? Well sometimes in life we can, and do, desire more than what God has allotted to us in specific seasons of our lives. It could be in your current job, it could be in a period of time at university, it could be in your current relationship status (I’m talking to my fellow young people here), it could be for material things too: but for some (as I will discuss below) it could be a desire for far more serious things. The desire for more. The key word in my little blog post today, is more.

More of what exactly? Lets see what God’s Word says.

“Now Korah…rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men.” – Numbers 16:1-2

I won’t quote the whole story, as it’s an entire chapter, but essentially what happens here is Korah gathered men against Moses and Aaron in an attempt to take him out of leadership, and for Korah and the other men to take Moses’ and Aaron’s place. I will leave it to you to look into the context of this story.

This is what Korah said against Moses “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”

Moses replies “When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the Lord will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.  Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; put fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!”

At first glance the issue is leadership. Let’s see what happens though;

Moses later says “…is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them,  and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also?  Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”

I like that last sentence. Basically a humble reply “who is Aaron anyway? Isn’t he a man like you? What is he really? Sure, he has the job of the high priest, but why do you want his job now?” It reminds me of Job 33:6 “I am the same as you in God’s sight; I too am a piece of clay.”

Korah’s “goon squad” of 250 men, whom he gathered to somewhat intimidate Moses and Aaron, were high up in the ranks of the ministry (so to speak). They and Korah, as seen above, ministered before the congregation; God separated them, brought them near to Him. They had a job to do, it was a good job, they were to be faithful to it, but what did they want at the end of the day? More, and more, and more, and more! More of what? More entitlement, to be the “Moses” to the people, to be the “greatest”, to be seen by all as the leader, as Moses said ” to be…the holy one…”, and if you read the rest of the story you’d see what happens. God tests them through a special sacrifice, that tests the motives of their hearts. How did these men fair before God’s perfect, fair, and righteous judgment? Look below:

” And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord.  If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me.  But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord. And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart.  And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.  So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.  And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!”  And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.”

Who did they actually come against? Moses and Aaron. No… they had an issue with God Himself. They despised the Lord. The motives of their hearts, didn’t match up to their accusations (words) and actions. This is why motives are very key, when trying to find out why people do what they do.

We do read though that some of Korah’s family survived, and the sons of Korah actually became King David’s musicians. When you read the Psalms you will see “the sons of Korah” there, and even the prophet Samuel came from Kroah’s line. God showed mercy and grace to Korah’s later generation (this shows our God’s heart, even in a situation like this).

So are you like Korah? Has God placed you somewhere in life, that perhaps you desire to go “out side of the circle” and gain more than what the Lord has allotted to you? Do you want MORE, than what has been given to you?

Is this the only example (the one about Korah above), in scripture of what we’re speaking about here? Lets look quickly at two more examples:

“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab… but David remained at Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 11:1

The story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah her husband, is an example of a man of God, wanting more than what he had been given (he was a king of a nation and to its individual people, a husband to his two wives, and a father to his children, I mean what more could a man want?). How did this entire thing happen? He was suppose to be doing what God said to him to do, go be in battle and defend your people and your kingdom, but instead he stayed at home, sent his generals instead, and looked out the window, at a pretty woman, for a period of time and finally fell into the temptation of his desire. He wanted more.

But what about the tempter Himself (that is, the devil)? He too wanted more. Lucifer, son of the morning. Who is now Satan (which means adversary). Look what God says about him below:

“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty… you were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you… you were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” – Ezekiel 28:11, 14, 15

Satan was perfect, and was good. Until something happened:

“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.” – Ezekiel 28:17

Then, he wanted more. Look below:

“You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount… I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” – Isaiah 14:13-14

He wanted to be God. That was his “more.”

So, as we conclude this little blog post my friends. I would say, that one area of my life where I wanted more is; I was not content with my life as a student. I thought life would be better outside of studies. I wanted more. Things that I thought would make me happy, I wanted it. I was not content with where the Lord had put me (and that was my issue), and so I was angry with God. And so the joy of serving the Lord began to fade for a time. All because I wanted more, similarly like Korah.

But thankfully thanks to God’s grace, and through His Word, I have overcome that desire. He has shown me my heart motives, over the years through the book of Numbers and Ecclesiastes. The Korah story in Numbers, being one of them.

So my dear friend. Where are you now? Perhaps you too have fallen into this trap. My prayer, in love, is that; if that is the case, that the Lord will show it to you through His Word alone, in the scriptures above, and perhaps others I have quoted above. May we seek to love where God has put us and placed us in this life, and not desire more than He has allotted to us in all facets and aspects of our lives (family, status, church, and so on).

I end with this quote from my favorite book;

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting… to find satisfaction in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of life that God has given him—for this is his lot… when God gives someone wealth and [or] possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil–this is a gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:19

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Dancing in the Winter

Gwen O’Brian hitched her horse to a tree. She left her saddle and strolled down to the river bank and dipped her tin cup into the icy river, she tried to drink but the water was far too cold. She thought it would be better if she made camp here tonight and made her way up the mountain tomorrow. The sun sank slowly behind the tall mountain peaks that towered over the valley. It was your typical alpine forest valley, with a variety of tree types; oak, beech, elm, chestnut, mountain ash and birch. The forest teemed with wild life; marmots, racoon, moose, mountain goat, sheep, elk, wolves, grizzly bears, and the like. The odd elk call could be heard in the deeper parts of the forest, hidden in a cool afternoon mist. Gwen found her self a good camp sight where she heated her cold water on a warm fire, and she set up a tent not too far away. The smoke from the fire rose far up to the tallest heights of the trees. The smoke kept the predators away, as the bears and wolves didn’t like fire or the smell of smoke. Gwen gazed across the river bank and saw a pack of wolves, numbering seven, exiting one side of the forest and entering into the deeper darker wood. “They must be after those elk” she concluded.

Gwen found her self a nice round boulder, sat down, and drank her warm cup of coffee, and gazed up at the heights of the mountains. She never ceased to be amazed at how small she felt under these behemoths. Her father, a real life Cow Boy, owned a ranch not too far from where she was now. As a little girl she loved playing in the snow and she loved looking up at the mountains and pretending that some amazing creatures use to live up there. But all the more important, her grandma told her about the strength she got from those mountains. Grandma always told her that when she saw those white peaks, she was reminded about her sin and how she is now washed clean whiter than those snowy peaks. Grandma told her that seeing those mountains preached the gospel of Jesus to her, and she loved winter the most because of that message that reminded her of her hope in God. Gwen, for this reason, also loved the winter, she too loved the snow, and the cold, and the stillness that came with it all. But she, a former bounty hunter, now coming home to her fathers ranch, is ready to tell her own prodigal son story. And it all began with the story of her love for the snow.

Like Gwen, I also love the snow. To think that each snowflake is unique in it’s own design? There was, nor never will be another snow flake like it again, how amazing is that? Winter is indeed my favorite time. I haven’t really found anyone yet who loves winter as much as I do. Most people enjoy the sun, the beach, the heat, the sweating, the air conditioners, the fans, ice creams, swimming pools, and the rest of summer “delights.” But I do enjoy my winter days. Where one can grab a soft blanket, a hot cup of Milo or Hot chocolate, and a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich, and snuggle up on the couch and enjoy a good audio book or a movie. These days I’ve been watching the TV series “The Last Alaskans”, and that show got me thinking about one particular thing. That thought being, why did God create snow? I’ve heard some people say that God never intended snow to be a thing. They would say that snow couldn’t have been in the Garden of Eden because snow must have come from the fall after Adam and Eve sinned. I guess when looking at that opinion I can see where the various assumptions for that would come from; things like the image of the garden of Eden being a green garden that could be tilled and had to be planted in, as that was God’s desire. And the weather was indeed different as there was no rain before the flood. In fact the scriptures tell us this – “the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.” – Genesis 2:5-6

Interesting isn’t it? A mist watered the earth. Not rain. The rain only came as judgment on the earth when God sent it during Noah’s flood. So when you see rain, you can be reminded of these things. But what about snow? Did snow come before or after Eden? Or after Noah’s flood? Scholars and scientists would argue it came after the flood due to the weather/climate patterns and volcanic activity and other related things that occurred during Noah’s flood that shaped the earth as it is now. The earths first and only ice age occurred not long after this, and during this ice age of course we had all our mammoths and saber cats which later died out of-course. But the question is, did God create snow? Lets see what God says in His Word:

“You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.” – Psalm 74:17

“From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?” – Job 38:29

“…By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.” – Job 37:9-10

“For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth…” – Job 37:5-6

“He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.” – Psalm 147:16-18

We see that God is indeed the one who made snow, and is very much in control of it. God’s breath gives ice, waters are frozen by it. God tells the snow to fall, and it falls. He has given birth to the frost of heaven, who can stand before His cold? The snow and ice is a God glorifying element, that is for sure. It’s beauty, in my eyes, is unmatched.

But the question hasn’t been answered yet, why did God create snow? God’s natural purpose for snow is very much there, but the spiritual Biblical truths that can be derived from the snow is just as Gwen’s Grandma told it.

“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18 (God speaking to Israel)

“Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol [the grave] those who have sinned.” – Job 24:19

Snow is very much associated with purity, and cleanness. Death snatches away those who are rotting with sin, like heat and drought would with the snowy waters. But snow is used as an image to show how white one can be from ones sins if the Lord deems to make one clean from red crimson sin.

As David says “…I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” – Psalm 51:6-7

None of us can be white as snow unless God does it. We can only become white as snow through Jesus Christ. Who gives us this purity, this righteousness, and through Him we are justified and made right in God’s eyes. Otherwise we cannot be white as snow. But it is true that, like Gwen’s grandma, I’m reminded of the gospel when I see snow. Snow reminds me of Jesus, it reminds me of what He has done to make me white as snow. It reminds me of my sin, and how lost I was before I knew the true God. It reminds me that I needed salvation from sin. It reminds me of my daily struggle against sin, and how I must keep on fighting my sin daily.

Snow also causes us to slow down. Cold weather makes us stop and slow down from our busy lives. We live in this rat race of a world, constant pressure. Constant deadlines. Constant work. Constant need for bosses approvals. Constant need for everything other than God. But snow and winter helps me to slow down and to think with clarity. Though for some, cold weather might create a sluggish slothful behavior, but for me cold weather reminds me to slow down and to sit by the river side and gaze at the mountains and be reminded of the gospel from those snowy speaks.

I pray this would be the same for you dear friend. When you see the snow, be reminded of the message of God, His testimony about His Son Jesus.

“Long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.” – Christina Rossetti

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Where gravity doesn’t matter: Covid-19, and outer space?

“He hangs the earth on nothing.” – Job 26:7

Have you ever tried to hang something on nothing before? I’m not a fan of hanging things. You have to go get the ladder, and the drill thing, and then climb the ladder, and get all sweaty after showering in the morning, and then draw a pencil mark, then drill a hole and so on… and so on….. But I will admit that once a painting is hung and once I have finished (complaining and being lazy), all the drilling and all that goes along with hanging a picture, it is (I’ll admit) quite satisfying to stand there and watch this inanimate object do nothing but fill space and appeal the eye with the beauty of stillness, or the capture of a moment in time (like a old family photo). Lets admit, once it’s there it’s going to be there for a long time, and you might as well hang that other picture now that’s lying on the floor.

Well there was a time when God did some hanging of His own, without a drill or ladder or even breaking a sweat. He hung our earth, and hung it on nothing. (Just ponder on that thought for a moment!) How great and wise, and powerful, our God is, to hang the earth on nothing!

The book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. It is not known how much older the book is before the writings of Moses (first 5 books of the Bible). The human author is not quite known either, scholars have debated that it could be Job himself, Elihu (the last of Job’s friends to speak to him in the book), Moses, or even Solomon (David’s son). But in any case, to think that someone, the author of Job of-course, all those 1000’s of years ago knew that the earth hung on nothing? This was before NASA, and other 21st century space astronomers declared such things. Yes, before we confirmed it after landing on the moon even (don’t bring any conspiracy theories here, I do believe we, humanity, went to the moon okay!).

So who owns all these planets out there? The Lord has told us in his Word:

“Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.” – Deuteronomy 10:14

and again the Lord says;

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.” – Psalm 115:16

Did you see that? He gave us one of the planets! Our own little spec in the universe (the one He hung). That’s quite something! God has shown us His power, as He has said;

“If he commands it, the sun won’t rise and the stars won’t shine. He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.” – Job 9:7-9

Quite incredible, isn’t it? God controls the sun, He spreads out the heavens, He made all the stars (all of them…), as well as all the constellations. He goes further to tell us that “…the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured…” – Jeremiah 33:22. The glory of God is truly shown in the making of the heavens. Each planet He knows by name, He crafted and thought about what each would look, what colour each would be, how many stones and sand particles would be on it. From planet earth, to the very furthest planet that hangs on the edge of the universe, God designed and had a plan and purpose for each one.

So then what does all this have to do with Covid-19? Well, if God created each planet, and has providential power over each (governing each one, and maintaining each one), and looks after and cares for each, and in His sovereign plan purposed each one to do a job… can He not also have seen and planned a purpose for our planet whose inhabitants are now infected by Covid-19? Has He abandoned our planet, to go and look after all the other ones? The answer is no, and this is the reason why.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He also made man, the animals, and the birds, and the sea creatures to live on the earth and under the earth and in it’s seas. He told man “…from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:17, and later man sinned and through that disobedience sin entered into the world. But God did not abandon man, He promised Him He would send a Saviour. Not long after sin entered into the world, in Genesis 3:15 God spoke to Satan the deceiver saying “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he [this promised Saviour] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” From then on man, and Satan, knew that sin would be take away through a promised seed that would come from a woman. With sin, came not only death, but also came the curse of the rest of the creation and in that decay came disease and viruses which result in pain, and suffering and death.

But God’s Son came, the promised seed in Genesis 3:15 came, He crushed the head of the serpent, He (the Saviour) died and rose again from the dead as it was written in the Old Testament scriptures.

Jesus Himself said “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Then he opened their [disciples] minds to understand the Scriptures. And He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” Luke 24:44-47

Now, in light of this good news, does this mean that Covid-19 will vanish away in the immediate life when you believe in Christ? No, only false teachers and false preachers would promise such things. In fact this Covid-19 pandemic has exposed all so called “Televangelists” and “Prophets” who claim to heal peoples sickness. Why haven’t they healed all those who are infected with this disease? “…in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” – 2 Peter 2:2-3

These false teachers, “They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing…” 2 Peter 2:14-15

God has promised that when Christ returns in His second coming and fulfills Scripture, and we enter into eternity with Him. This is the future and hope we have one day when we are with our King and God “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelations 21:3-4

The former things, the things like viruses like Covid-19. These things will no longer be a reality because we will not be living in a world corrupted by sin. We will not be living in a decaying dying world, dear friends. Our little planet has not been abandoned, our little spec hanging on nothing has indeed a Saviour, and His name is Jesus Christ.

So when you look up to the places ‘where gravity doesn’t matter’, remember the hope that does matter and that was promised for our little planet. That hope has come, and is alive and He will return one day.

“He who testifies to these things [written in Revelation] says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” – Revelation 22:21

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The Bear Necessities: Covid-19, and hibernating bears?

Dear friend

By some chance I have lured you to my blog, and hopefully you’ll be brave enough to stay. Brave because bravery comes with not only having to tell a story, but also for those who dare to read it. That is because each story, once read, has the power to change us. Are you ready to be changed? This is the question I ask each time I watch, read, or listen to a story. God has given us the ability to tell stories, as well as the ability to hear and ponder upon stories.

So are you ready Frodo? “Ready for what?” You might ask. “For a little adventure,” I say. It’s a dangerous business, Frodo… going out of your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

On a cool spring morning, on the lonely river bank of the Yukon river (in Alaska) a grizzly brown bear lapped up the cold waters that flowed down from the mountains. It’s tongue dry from the long hike down the valley, the bear drank deep and was replenished by the fresh cool river mountain water. Suddenly the bear jerked it’s head back as a large piece of ice slammed into it’s nose. The ice was moving at quite a speed. The bear watched the last of the ice break up, which occurs annually on the Yukon, float down the river towards the ocean. Content and it’s thirst quenched, the bear now turned back towards the woods and made it’s way towards a large carcass of moose. The mother bear watched as her cub ripped small pieces of moose meat off the large behemoth of an animal. She tucked in too, gnawing on a bone. She finally got to the marrow. Both mother and cub indulged, and enjoyed what God had given them both. Food, after a long winter hibernation. It was spring again, and things were good… yes, very good. The wind blew down from the mountains, and with that last blast, the icy grip of winter vanished away with the wind into the horizon. A warm spring air filled the nostrils of both mother and cub. The first of the spring flowers, bloomed on the river bank, eagerly sprouting their petals after waiting so long to show off the glory that God had dressed them with. The pines dropped their last anchors of snow (that hung on their branches), and the rocks, wet from the frost along the river bank, glazed in a new spring sun.

A few days ago I thought about this imagery, as I gazed out into the early morning mists that Hilton is known for. Just like the bear, I was replenished with my own water. But mine was hot of course, tea with a squeeze of lemon and two sachets of sweetener. I dived into a carcass of bread that was left over from the night before. I too enjoyed the food that God had given to me. Then a verse came to mind that has been shared many times over the past few weeks:

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” – Matthew 6:26

We worry, we pant, we thirst, we drink, we eat, we grow, we live, we work, we plant, we harvest, we reap, we sow. But all these things come from our God and our Father in heaven. The birds are fed by God, and so are we. We being more valuable of-course. We are higher on the propriety list of God.

During this lock down period, the icy grip of the Coronavirus (like the cold winter that the bear had to endure) has locked us into our caves and dens. We, like the bear, are in hibernation. We, like the bear, are waiting for spring to come where we can be free again to leave our hibernation caves and bask in the glorious sun, and trample the flowery fields and green moors. We, like the bear, both in the spring and in the winter, are provided for by God. This is what the Lord says;

“All creatures look to You [the Lord] to give them their food at the proper time.” – Psalm 104:27

and again, the Lord says;

“I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.” – Psalm 50:11

and the Lord, then, poses these questions to us;

“Can you hunt the prey for a lioness or satisfy the hunger of young lions when they crouch in their dens and lie in wait in the thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God as they wander about for lack of food?” – Job 38:41

Notice how the young ravens cry out to God. Notice the young lions crouching in their dens. What is the similarities here? Both of them wait and rely on God for their food. Both cannot get their food unless the Lord provides, or hunts for them.

Notice the lack of food that causes the young ravens to cry. Is that not where we are at today, dear friends? Our country cries out, in desperation, but to whom do we look to for our food? God says this in His Word;

“Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass?” – Job 38:25-27

Have you thought about that before? The valley in which that bear lives. That same bear we spoke about earlier, in the valley where no man has gone or goes, God brings”…rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land…”, what a beautiful piece of God’s written Word don’t you think?

When a bear hibernates for the duration of time, its known to be between five to seven months that a bear would be in this state. The bear, during this time, would go without drinking water, eating food or defecating. All the while the Lord gives breath to this bear, provides food for the cubs laying with the mother (milk of course), and sustains this large animal from one end of the year to the other (with the food the Lord provided before the bear went into hibernation). What marvelous power, and wisdom, and might our God has to achieve this. As the Lord has told us in His Word;

“…since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

Dear friends. As God sustains the bear during it’s hibernation, so to we can rely on God to sustain us in this lock down period. And even further into the coming months as we as a country reap the effects of this lock down, we can rely on the Lord to sustain us.

So what should we do then? Be a bear. Be like the bear, who without question relies on the Lord and trusts in Him to sustain him during the hibernation period. And not just the hibernation period, but the spring time as well.

In this time of hibernation, so to speak, in being like a bear, going about ‘the bear necessities’, we must know this truth, below, and hang on to it until the spring comes and even beyond;

“I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.” – Psalm 3:6

For it is God whom we trust in. And it is God whom we love, and believe. He sustains us, even when we are asleep.

What of our adventure then? I leave you with this;

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

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