Posted by: forfreedomalone | 17/07/2018

Wake up and get in training.

When you throw the baby out with the bath water, you end up with an empty bath. There is no point in continuing with the bathing routine, as there is no one to bathe. The whole point of the process is lost.
 
When you believe that God does not discipline his children, that he no longer corrects nor sets in place unpleasant or uncomfortable situations to bring us to our senses when we stray from HIS path, not our idea of his path, then you are in the same situation as the baby-less bather.
 
Do not be quick to blame the enemy for what seems like, or actually is, disaster in your life; do not be quick to cry out to be saved from your discomfort. Begin by asking, “Is this you Lord? Are you trying to teach me something?”.
 
Discipline is a dirty word in both the world and the church, nowadays, we are all supposed to be allowed to do as we please, follow our hearts and the voice of the Spirit, as we understand it. The Bible has a verse for that…..”In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17:6)
 
When we have no King we do what is right in our own eyes. Having a King does not mean that there is a Monarch on the throne, it means owing fielty to that King. He is no king at all if he is just sitting there, being ignored by everyone. He is to be given the power to reign, by a people who are his “liege lords, of life and limb”. This included being taught and trained by him.
 
God’s people are too quick to cry, “It’s satan!”, when life is tough. We give him far too much credit. God does not and never will change, so if he disciplined his people in the past he will do it today. Are we willing to be disciplined? That is the million dollar question.
 
As the tornado of political disorder rampages though the world, creating chaos and fear in its wake; as the tsunami of religious terror pounds the shores of the world bring with it death and suffering and the future looks so bleak and unsure, are we solid on our rock? Are we strong in our core, or just in our peripheries? Are we tuned to the still small voice, or deceiving ourselves? Have we trained on the tough and muddy assault course under God’s watchful eye, or have we been asleep, grown weak and flabby, sitting ducks for the enemy when he does actually show up?
 
Don Quixote (key-ho-tay) was a prime example of a man who was so convinced that his way was right that he ended up fighting windmills. Our enemy is not a windmill and without proper training and discipline we will be cannon fodder for him; not because he is more powerful, but because we refused to get out of bed and listen to the drill Sergeant.
 
 
(This post must qualify for the one with the most mixed metaphors ever 😏)
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Posted by: forfreedomalone | 16/07/2018

The hem of his garment.

Have you ever wondered why it was that the woman, in Matthew 9:20, wanted to “touch the hem of his garment”?

Probably not, most folk haven’t. But the answer is quite interesting if you want to ask the question now.

She was not the only one, as we see from Matthew 14:36, but she was the first. So what is this about? Does she just want to crawl though the crowd and by the biggest stretch she has ever managed just reach her figure tips to the very bottom of his coat? This is the picture which is conjured up by the term ‘hem of his garment’ after all the hem is at the bottom, and to reach the bottom of his garment she would need to be crawling on the ground. No, this is not what was happening.

This is what was happening.
In Numbers 15:38 we are told that God commanded, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.”

The purpose of the blue cord was “And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.” (verse 39)

It was a common practice in the Middle East at that time and on into the time of Jesus for men to wear tassels or fringes on the hen of their outer garment. The number, style and, often, colour indicated the status of the man wearing them.

(Note, in the picture below the tribute bearers are wearing tassels on the hem of their garments in red or blue)

As with the horns of the alter, people know that to take hold of the tassels on the hen of a garment was to call for the attention of the prominent person wearing the garment. They were, in effect saying,”I know you are a powerful person, because your garment tells me this, and I am ‘throwing myself at your feet’, asking you to use your power and authority to help me”.

The sick of Jesus day knew, from the tassels on his garment, that he was a powerful man. What made him powerful? The cord of blue…a reminder of the Commandments of God…..was not only seen on the garment but also in his life. They recognised the power and authority of God when they saw it and they ‘threw themselves at his feet and asked for mercy’.

Are we as quick to recognise his power and authority?

Image may contain: one or more people
Syrian tribute bearers from the walls of tombs at Thebes.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 02/07/2018

Why one another?

“Love one another”, said Jesus to his disciples. Why did he say that? Why didn’t he say, “Go out and love the world, show them who I am with your love and compassion.”? There were plenty of poor people around in Jerusalem in his day, he himself said they would always have the poor with them, so why not set up social programmes to feed them, in his name?
 
What was it that was so special about his instruction to love ONE ANOTHER?
 
The reason he told them to do this and not something else was because he knew that how they lived, in a ‘closed’ society, one which has its own standards, its own ways of doing things, its own ‘set apart people’, would attract the lost, helpless, desperate people of the world to a higher, better way of living. The life of the Kingdom of God, rather than the death of the Kingdom of this world would be the flame with would attract the moths. It is ONLY by being a ‘set apart people’ that we have any hope of changing the world. This is a pattern of God. He did it with Noah, he did it with the Israelites, he did it with the church, yet on every occasion the ‘set apart people’ have preferred to mould themselves to the world than have the world mould themselves to his ‘set apart people’.
 
It is in being ‘set apart’, from the world, that we become like God, who is also ‘set apart’. Not ‘set apart’ in the sense that we will not even look on one who is not one of ‘us’, but ‘set apart’ in the sense that we have something better, higher, more powerful that they do and we are protecting it from being sullied by the dirt of the way of the world. We are not meant to be ‘better’ than the world, but ‘different’. This is what ” a peculiar people” means. Not weird, but different.
 
The word, in Romans, which is translated as “goodness” actually means, “moral excellence”. It is God’s moral superiority which leads people to him, not his giving out of food, money, compassion or even love. It is the fact that he is set on a higher plane and they can see that life there is a better deal than in the mud and mire in which they usually live. Now, of course, it is his love for people which causes him to want to draw them. It is his mercy toward people which caused him to set in place a system to bring about this drawing. It is his great patience which causes him to be kind and gentle in drawing, but it is his life, on a higher plane, which is the draw.
 
As the people of God mould themselves to the world, as they work like mad to love the world and treat their brothers and sisters in Christ with disdain or indifference, the light, which was to shine so brightly gets dimmer and dimmer. The world will take whatever it is given, but it will never make a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ so long as we are not ‘set apart’.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 26/06/2018

When is a Seat really a Throne?

Have you heard it said that now that Jesus has ascended to heaven and taken his place in the Tabernacle there, as our High Priest, we can boldly approach the seat of mercy in the Holy of Holies to obtain mercy and grace?
 
I have. I heard it today, when I was told that we are no longer separated from God, but have full access to his presence because Jesus is our High Priest. This is a little muddled to say the least.
 
Let’s start at the beginning, with the Mercy Seat.
This was one name, or a translation of the name may be a better way of putting it, to describe the top of the Ark of the Covenant which was covered by the wings of the two Cherub. This was where God’s presence was when he dwelt among his people in the wilderness. This is where Aaron would meet God on the Day of Atonement in order to atone for the sins of himself and the people.
 
Next we should clarify the layout of the Tabernacle and, later, the Temple. Principally this was split into three sections; The Court, The Holy Place and The Most Holy Place (often called, The Holy of Holies). The Court was open to all Israelites, The Holy Place, to all Priests and the Most Holy Place ONLY to the High Priest and ONLY on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
 
Right, now on to the tricky bit.
We are told, in Mark 15 that when Jesus died that ” the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” This was the evidence my ‘teacher’ of today was using to say, “You see, we can enter directly into God’s presence now, as there is no more veil to bar us”. Not quite.
 
Hebrews 9 helps us with this bit when it says, “But into the second part (i.e. The Holy of Holies) the high priest went alone, once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.”
 
The “first tabernacle” was the Tabernacle of Moses, which later because a Temple, but was nevertheless a place of offering of sacrifices on earth. There can only be one system of atonement at one time, so we can either have the Aaronic or the Melchizedekian, but we can’t have both. So long as there was the Aaronic priesthood, with Aaron entering the Holy of Holies offering the blood of animals as atonement, on earth, we could not have Jesus entering the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle in heaven offering his blood as atonement there.
 
Aaron and his descendants were able to be priests and the High Priest until it was time for the new order to begin….at the moment of Jesus death. Now the veil could be rent, NOT to allow entry to a new order of priests, but to desecrate the Holy of Holies on earth. It was now polluted, unclean, no longer able to be used and thus the Holy of Holies in heaven was able to replace it.
 
The law was not done away with, it was elevated from ‘earthly’ to ‘spiritual’, as the Priesthood was not done away with, it was just elevated from that of Aaron to that of Melchizedek. But who was Melchizedek?
 
He was Priest of the Most High God and he was King of Salem (Gen 14:18) He as a priest and a king…..just as David was and just as Jesus is. Jesus is our High Priest and he is our King.
 
So, whom do we approach upon the Throne of Grace? Not our High Priest, but our King. He is enthroned on high, seated at the right hand of the Father and this is where we can approach him for mercy and grace. Jesus is our mediator, just as Moses was for the Israelites in the wilderness. We do not have direct access to God the Father, who is FAR too Holy to have us, who are still tainted by sin from this world, in his presence. But we have one who can enter that presence on our behalf and, indeed, does, pleading for mercy and grace for us.
 
When we are told we can boldly approach the Throne of Grace, we need to realise this is in line with Ester who had extended to her the sceptre, so that she could approach the King without penalty. It is our King who then dons his robes of righteousness and enters the presence of the Most High God on our behalf.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 21/06/2018

Winking at sin??

Have you ever wondered what on earth Jesus was writing, with his finger, in the earth in John 8?
 
If you recall, we have a drama involving three parties, the “woman caught in adultery”, Jesus and a group of Pharisees, who bring this woman to Jesus in order to, “test(ing) Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him”. This story is traditionally interpreted as Jesus teaching that only one who is sinless can accuse another of a sin, or that only the sinless can condemn a sinner. On his part we are told that we see an all merciful, all loving Saviour who does not hold our sin against us. The facts are just a little different.
 
Here we have a group of priests who are asking this pest of a men what his interpretation of the law on adultery is, as they say they caught the hapless woman in the very act. They are hoping he will advise a course of action against the Law and they will then be able to attack him.
 
“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. When they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (v 3-5)
 
They knew the law of Moses on the subject, but few today do, so we’d better have a look at what it was to which they were referring. Firstly, the Ten Commandments forbids it. “You shall not commit adultery”. Exodus 20:14….so that’s fairly straightforward. But what if, as man is prone to doing, you do it anyway? Well, Leviticus 20:10 is equally clear on that point, “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”
 
So adultery is forbidden, but if a man commits adultery with his ‘neighbour’s’ wife both of them are to be stoned to death. ‘Neighbour’ here does not, necessarily, mean the chap next door, but any of his fellow countrymen. So, where, we may ask, was the man? Why didn’t they bring him also and ask the same question of Jesus regarding him? They said they knew the law on the subject…..or is there perhaps something we are missing?
 
Well, yes there is.
Numbers chapter 5 goes into great detail about what is to happen if a man believes his wife is being unfaithful, but he does not actually find her “in flagrante delicto”. The nub of the chapter, which is relevant to our first question is this…..”The priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.” (v 17) then the priest has to make the woman swear that she has not been unfaithful and, ‘Then the priest shall write these curses {to which she will be exposed if she is guilty} in a book and he shall scrape them off into the bitter water.” (v 23) She will then be required to drink the water containing the dust of the floor and the words of the vow. Then they wait. God will deliver His verdict in time, a guilty verdict being evident by her barrenness.
 
So let’s go back to the woman in John. The priests say she was ‘caught in the act’, but her husband, who is required as a witness is not there. She, herself, says nothing. They know that the law requires them, as witnesses, to stone her AND THE GUILTY MAN, to death outside the city wall. There is NOTHING for Jesus to give a verdict on……unless, they are lying, she is innocent and what happens next is the “trial by water”.
 
The elements of that ‘trial’ were dust, water and an oath to God, invoking His holy name. What do we have here in John?
The dust of the earth, the Water of Life and ….Jesus writing in the dust YHVH. He was not pronouncing the Holy name, but by writing it he was making very clear to the priests that he knew they are lying and he is administering the “trial by water”. As He IS God, there is no need to await a decision, he can give it at once. “Go and sin no more”. He does not say, “Go and do not commit adultery again” because if he knew she was guilty he COULD NOT as the Son of God, break the Torah (after all he is the living Torah) by turning a blind eye to her sin. He knew she HAD to be stoned, but if he knew she was innocent of the crime of which she was accused, that is a whole different matter.
 
By commanding the one who was without sin to begin the stoning, as He wrote YHVH in the dust, he was telling the priests he knew they were guilty of “bearing false witness”.
 
If we knew the writings of the Tanaka as well as the writers of the New Testament expected their readers to, then we would not need to puzzle over details like this.
 
Jesus did not condone her sin, he did not turn a blind eye, he did not even show her mercy. He administered justice, according to the law which God gave to Moses. The just verdict of the Judge of the Universe was strictly in accordance with the law….just as we should expect from the living Torah.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 19/06/2018

Only Under his Wings…..

Have you ever thought about ‘original sin’?
 
Not many really do, as, if you read anything about it there seems to be a million different opinions as to what it is, or indeed, if it even exists.
 
Let me offer you the one million and first definition.
Original sin was the first time we see a refusal to submit to the Lordship of God. All sin, since its original inception, has been a refusal to submit to the Lordship of God.
 
Today, we hear, from the greatest pulpit of all time, facebook, and many other places, that if we have accepted the Lordship of Jesus we are no longer sinners, but saints. We are elevated to a much higher level and sin no longer affects us, we are loved and perfect, we have arrived at the pinnacle of relationship with the Almighty.
 
We may, perhaps, want to reconsider that thought.
 
We have accepted that Jesus IS Lord and that acceptance has set us on a road to ‘sainthood’; we need no longer labour under the weight of rebellion, we can be equipped to live life in a powerful and potent way. But we need to submit, minute by minute, to the Lordship we have claimed to acknowledge or we are back under sin again.
 
This is why James in chapter 5 tells us to confess our sins…..acknowledge to yourself and to those who you trust, that you have rebelled, set yourself up in place of the Lord of lords……and change your mind, return to submission to him.
 
Sin….as worldwide state of rebellion against His Lordship….is in the world and we are affected by it, just as we get dirty daily by walking in the polluted atmosphere; we need simply to wash and we are clean. Spiritually, we need time with God, washing in the water of His word, bathing in this presence of the Holy Spirit and being made clean. The beautiful pure Spirit of God draws us close under His wings. Psalm 91 draws the most beautiful picture of being “under His wings”.
 
” under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
 
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
 
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you.
 
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
 
Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
 
For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.
 
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
 
You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
 
Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
 
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue him and honor him.
 
 
With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”
 
I have only quoted verses 5 to 16 here, but you really should read it all, it is balm for a worldweary soul.
 
But when sins are present we have a slightly different problem.
 
When the rebellion against His Lordship in within us, we need to be willing to kill off that part of self and force it into submission to the King. This can be painful as the nearer we get to the root of self the more resistance there is to submission. It is like a verruca…the root, right in the centre is the hardest part to kill and the most painful to deal with.
 
We are no longer under the master rule of sin, so long as we keep submitting to the Master of our souls. As soon we rebel, we have changed sides.
 
Pride is the fuel with powers this rebellion and pride does not want to be told it is proud. Humility is the antidote. When we humble ourselves, pray in repentance and godly sorry over our rebellion, then God will hear us, He will forgive us, He will bring healing to us…..to us personally and to our land.
 
Yes, God loves us, even in our rebellion, but it is His love which tells us to see, own and change our state of rebellion, when it is present…..and it is present way more often that we want to acknowledge. It is because He loves us that He wants us fully and totally submitted to Him in ALL things, for only from that place can He protect us and provide for us.
 
If ever there was a time in history for the people, who are called by God’s name, to humble themselves, acknowledge that they are in rebellion to Him in so many ways and repent for it, it is now. There is such a want of healing on so many levels in this world and WE, God’s people are the ones who are told to lead the way.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 05/06/2018

Are you a Pharisee?

Have you ever wondered who, exactly, the Pharisees were?
 
No, I can fully appreciate that you have not, not many have.
After all, why would we need to wonder, it is clearly laid out for us in the Gospels? “Hypocrites”, “Whitewashed sepulchers”, “A brood of vipers”, what more do we need?
 
Today, the term “Pharisee” had become an insult to be hurled at those who point out wrong from right, holy from common, clean from unclean, godly from profane. It carries all the meaning of, “Don’t you dare tell ME what is wrong, when you are as wrong as me in other ways. Don’t judge me, don’t correct me, don’t educate me, leave me alone to live as I see fit.” It has become a byword for a legalist, one who has more value for keeping rules and regulation than they do for love…..as defined by he who cries, “Pharisee!”.
 
But who were the Pharisees and is this view of them correct?
 
The Pharisees were one of three main sects at the time of Jesus. Their name comes from the Hebrew Perisha, meaning “one who separates himself” and they devoted themselves to observing the laws of priestly purity, to avoiding the ‘am ha-arez (the ignorant and ritually careless), to paying tithes, to observing vows and the respect for other’s property. It is believed by some scholars that they developed out of an earlier group, the Hasidim (Hasid = pious) and resurfaced many centuries later by this same name.
 
They took their ‘separateness” from Lev 11 where God said that he was holy and that they were to be also. To the Jews of Moses era holiness was the ultimate level of cleanliness, to be holy one HAD to be separated from anything unclean. They placed huge important on the Oral Torah, a system of law they believed God had given Moses on Mt Sinai, which helped to explain the written law where it was confusing….as confusion was the result of kil’ayim, (mixing) and TOTALLY forbidden in the Torah, understanding and clarity were vitally important to pure living.
 
This search for clarity of understanding of the meaning of the law lead them to making up more and more tradition, in an attempt to ultimately hone the law to its finest point and, thereby, ensure there could be no transgression. The problem was, that this intellectual approach to God’s law only made keeping it harder and harder until it was impossible. They had created so many rules that they began cancelling themselves out and creating traps even for the Pharisees. These were, “the traditions of men” of which Jesus spoke. They believed in the coming Messiah and the resurrection of the dead.
 
The other main sect of their day were the Sadducees. They insisted on the literal application of the law, whereas the Pharisees were more democratic and compassionate in their applications. They believed in common sense application of the law and humanity where possible.
 
The WORST insult one could offer a Pharisee was to call him a hypocrite. Their intent was sanctity at all costs and hypocrisy was anathema to them. However, by their many traditions, hypocrites is just what they became, as there was no way to keep all of their traditions. At some point or other they would be saying one thing and doing another, it was inevitable.
 
This is where we, modern Christians, get the idea that The Law was unable to be kept. Moses said it wasn’t hard to keep, but the traditions of men,added over the centuries, made it impossible. The Pharisaic attitude to the law was that it was for training a man in his responsibilities towards God, or as they put it, to accept the Yoke of His Kingship, which included the yoke of his commandments. They made this yoke heavy by their added traditions, but it was never intended to be so, it was always meant to be light.
 
They taught that the people should, “take upon yourselves the yoke of God’s Kingdom; let fear of God be your judge and arbiter and deal with one another according to the dictates of love”.
 
Knowing this little about the Pharisees helps to make sense of statements made by Jesus about his “yoke being light”, “the traditions of men” and why he said that the greatest commandment was the Shema (Deut 6). All of these teachings were aimed at the Pharisees.
 
It is known that many of the references to Pharisees in the Gospels were not references to them at all, but to “high priests” or “Saducees” or “Herodians” and were changed to “Pharisees” during the reign of Hadrian, all of whom were persecutors of Jesus. There is even some academic thought that Jesus himself may have been a Pharisee as his teachings are so closely aligned with theirs. Whether this is true or not, we know that many Pharisees came over to Jesus.
 
Some of the Pharisees were, there is no doubt, difficult and unpleasant people, for whom the letter of the law was more important than the spirit. But on the whole the Christian church as adopted Hellenistic attitudes to them and believed that Jesus words, to the extreme among them, was to them all.
 
But, even if we conclude that he was condemning the whole sect; a philosophy to which I do not subscribe; he was not criticising their high standards, their desire to be holy, nor to lead the people to greater holiness, he was not attacking their correctness, but their traditions; the fact that they had added rules and regulations to the law of God and had made it impossible for the people to ever be free of oppression legislation.
 
When we understand who the Pharisees were we may find that calling a person such is more of a compliment than an insult, depending on the situation. High standards, set apart from the world, a desire for holy living untainted by the world and a desire to obey God’s commands for our lives is not Phariseeism. Neither is teaching right from wrong (even though we, ourselves, fail from time to time)……adding traditions (or in modern church parlance, “doctrines”) to the word of God is.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 08/05/2018

The sweetest fruit.

Have you ever though that the belief that Adam did not eat of the Tree of Life, is just church tradition?
 
If the Tree of Life is Jesus, the fruit of the Tree is relationship with God. Adam had a relationship with God, before he disobeyed Him, eating of his “daily bread” would have been a natural thing to do.
 
Bringing about the fall of mankind took a once and for all action…eating the rotten fruit, but maintaining a relationship with God requires a daily action….eating of the life giving fruit.
 
Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3). Eternal life comes to us by eating the fruit of the Tree of Life, it is ongoing relationship with the Father and, a relationship which could not continue after eating of the forbidden fruit, hence the Cherub with the flaming sword.
 
When Jesus made the way clear for us to re-enter that relationship the Tree of Life was once again available for us to eat of its fruit; but ONLY by first having relationship with the Son. “No one come to the Father but by me”, said Jesus (John 14:6) and prefaced this with, “I am the Way”.
 
To have found the Way and returned to the Tree, but to think we must eat of its fruit but once is to deceive ourselves. We need daily bread, we need constant relationship. Jesus said that whoever eats of the Bread of Life and drinks of the Water of Life will never hunger or thirst again, but the hunger and thirst he spoke of were the hunger and thirst which drove us to take that first bite or sip. From here on, we should be hungering and thirsting for more of the same. The Song of Songs tells us of this hunger and thirst.
 
I have no doubt that Adam ate from the Tree of Life and experienced the sweet fruit of knowing God. It affected his life in every possible way…even to exceedingly long life for him and many of his descendants….so the loss of that life would have been devastating. I am sure, if he were here today, he would tell us, do not, for one moment, take for granted the life giving fruit which is available to you now. Eat of it constantly and allow its life giving properties to full you. There is no sweeter fruit you will ever find.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 05/05/2018

Is God really a rapist?

“Hang on”, you may be saying, “that’s a bit strong!” But I feel in my heart I need to say this as so many seem to be espousing a doctrine of spiritual rape.

I was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and of rape as a young adult. When I read  comments about God loving me, saving me and forgiving me of all things no matter what I think, believe, want or do, I feel the same sense of helpless rage I felt then.
I did not ask for that, I didn’t want it, I cannot escape it and I have no power to overcome it and get away. I am trapped in this abusive relationship and a victim of, in this case, so called ‘love’.

That is NOT love. That is abuse.

I know that God loves me and will always be gracious towards me. I know he has paid all my ‘spiritual’ bills. BUT, he then steps back and waits for me to approach him. He does not force himself on me.  A lover will take me to tea and pay my bill. He will walk me home and make sure I am safe. He will be filled with feelings of love and adoration towards to me, he will provide for me in kind ways and will woo me, he will long for the next time we can get together; however, I can choose to reject him. A rapist will force himself on me. He will not woo, he will not care about how I feel or what I want. Where is the joy, peace and love in being trapped with a rapist? Why would I rejoice in that?

I rejoice that I can come to someone who is gentle and respectful, that I can pull back and he will stand and await my next move, that I decide the speed at which we become intimate and, when I am fully comfortable with him and his intentions, I decide to abandon myself to him. Then all that he is and has become mine, he will pour himself into our relationship, I will be overwhelmed by him and his provision in every sphere. There will be no powerlessness, no feeling of rage and no desire to get away, but a greater and greater desire to submit to his tenderness and love.

As I abandon myself to this lover, I change. I cannot help but be affected by his love for me. It will soften my heart, cause me to be more tender in response and that tenderness will affect all around me. I will no longer want to do things which my love does not do, I will no longer want to use language my love does not use. I will, as naturally as the flow of a river, change to match his image, as I respond to his loving invitation to go deeper and deeper into relationship with him.

There is a subtle, but critical, difference between sexual relations between  a man and a woman which are love and which are abuse and that subtle difference is called, “free will choice”, or “consent”. So it is in relationship with God.

He has done all that is required for us to approach him and begin a relationship with him, he is all that we need to fully abandon ourselves to him and find all fulfilment in him, but then he steps back and asks, “Do you consent to this relationship?”. We are FULLY free to say, “No” and walk away. If we are not, the resulting relationship is called, “rape”. God is no abuser, he awaits, at every step of the relationship, your consent to be drawn deeper and deeper until you are fully submitted to him.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 05/05/2018

Perfect Light

To a dalang, light is very important.
A dalang is a puppet master in the Javanese Wayang (or shadow) theatre.

There is great skill in moving the wayang kulit (shadow puppets) as they dance and move about the screen telling epics of Indonesian history and culture. But the skill of the dalang is lost if the light is wrong. A certain quality, strength and type of light is important. If it is too dark, no one can see the wayang kulit, if it is too bright the same thing happens, as they are overwhelmed by the light. When the correct light is achieved the puppets come to life. The light does not change Bimo or Nakula, (characters in stories) from who they are as they tell their story, it allows them to BE who they are so that their story can be told.

Who would know or understand what is being enacted if it cannot be seen clearly?

So it is when we surrender to the light of the life of the Holy Spirit within us. His perfect light shines in us and allows us to be who we were created to be, but with such easy and grace people really see who we are.

The delicate wayang kulit are so very beautiful when you see them behind the screen, but when they are before it, dancing with the energy of the dalang and the perfect hue of the light, they are entrancing.

Selah.

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