Practice Of The Presence 2

Brother Lawrence’s book ‘The Practice Of The Presence Of God’ hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, so I’ll continue with some thoughts that came to me since my last posting.

One of the biggest problems we all have to deal with is a little appendage lurking in our dark corners called ‘the ego‘.

In some people, the action of the ego is very clear to see: self-importance, megalomania, ‘me, me, me’, hunger for acquisitions, fame, power, influence, and more. People laced with a heavy dose of this curse may be easy to identify, because they usually make a big showing on the world stage.

What about the rest of us? “I’m not like that,” we may think.   But whoa!   Make no mistake, deep in the salt mines of our souls this worm is at work continually, coloring and shaping our thoughts and attitudes on anything and everything.

Jesus said , “Take up your cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)

I don’t believe He was referring to the stresses and strains of worldly life in work and relationships – that is all periphery. The issue goes deeper than that.

Paul gives us a clue in 1 Corinthians 51:33 when he says, “I die daily.” Clearly, he doesn’t mean physical death. What does he mean then?

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we get another clue : “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  What has to die is the ego.

Now this is deep stuff. It’s all very well to have a head knowledge of these scriptures, but it’s something else to take them on board in your life and your heart. Paul is NOT talking about demolishing other people’s false beliefs (I’ve seen that argument put forward by clerics),   He is talking about our own ‘pretensions’, in other words, the thoughts and attitudes sown into our souls by the action of the enemy, through our egos.

In my last post I confessed about being dissatisfied with my effectiveness as a Christian. In truth, the dissatisfaction arose from comparing myself to others, to those who have done and are doing great things for the Lord: a comparison brought about by my ego. There’s no good in denying it. Deep down we all want to be something special, to have satisfaction and recognition for what we’ve done, not only on earth but in heaven also.

Jesus warned against seeking the approval of other men at Matthew 6:1-6. Put bluntly, if you act with the intention of gaining men’s approval here on earth, that’s it – no approval will be forthcoming from God.   You got what you wanted.

But what about comparing the Father’s rewards and the extent of His approval as between ourselves and others?

Jesus tackled this issue head on in His parable of the workers in Matthew 20:1-16.   He describes a vineyard owner hiring workers throughout the day to complete work in his vineyard. At the end of the day, the workers who had worked all day were incensed when they saw those hired later getting the same pay as they got, even though they themselves were getting their agreed wage.

In the parable the land owner answers one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matt 30:13-16)

Here we have it – the Father does not look at man’s criteria when deciding who and how to reward.   He doesn’t have to!   Those who kick up a fuss and claim their entitlement is greater than others’ will find themselves at the end of the queue.

Patricia

PS:   A denarius was a good wage – it was the normal daily wage of a Roman soldier on active service.

Denarius coin of Augustus Caesar, emperor of Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth.  Note the word “Divus” (god) on the reverse side: the introduction of emperor worship was facilitated by the gratitude most colonies felt for Pax Romana, the ‘Roman Peace’, brought about by Augustus after centuries of warring in the Mediterranean countries.  For most colonies, this was nothing more than the addition of a further god to the array of gods they already had. For the Jews, of course, it was anathema.  Rome was wise enough not to press the issue at this stage, but no doubt the coinage was a constant irritant to the Jews.

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Practice Of The Presence

This last few months I’ve had much time for thought. I’ve been less active physically due to my eye problem, though I’ve still managed to produce artwork, thank goodness.

It goes without saying that a spell of introspection does us all good. But introspection can be a painful activity, often productive of self-doubt and self-criticism: not a good state to be in.

This is how I’ve felt lately with regard to my Christian walk.

Questions flood the mind: “What are you doing that’s of use to the Lord?   Why, you’re not even in the marketplace, not even in close contact with many people.   What good is this life you’re living?”  That’s how the enemy works.  The results are the sins of doubt and unbelief.

I’ve been on the backside of the desert one way and another for more than 12 years, battling this type of mindset.  Now the war intensified….

So I cried out to Him for help – and sure enough it came, in a form something like a door being kicked open.   Praise the Lord  – a complete change of mindset?   It’s interesting how this came about.

Way back in a former life, I was a student of Classics at the University of Auckland, studying Latin and Ancient Greek with a much-loved Head of Department, Prof E M Blaiklock.

A brilliant writer, scholar and lecturer, he inspired us all. His writings and translations live on, and not only in the world of classics. For 40 years he wrote without fail a weekly column published in The New Zealand Herald and the Weekly News  under the pen name ‘Grammaticus‘.   A quick glance at his entry on Wikipedia gives some idea of the vastness of his other written work.

I’ve recently re-read his ‘The Century Of The New Testament – maybe the first time in all the years I’ve had the book that I read it right through.  It is a great exposition of the history of the Mediterranean world leading up to the century from the birth of Christ to the death of His longest-lived apostle John.  This book is written from the strict perspective of a historian, and it is fascinating.   The author’s deep knowledge of his subject-matter – the Middle East, Greece, Rome – stands out: it’s like being back in lectures again.

Searching Blaiklock’s name on Trade Me, I bought another of his books: ‘The Acts Of The Apostles‘ – more of a commentary, it demands concurrent reading of the Book of Acts, so I’m working on that.

Recently though, my standing search on Blaiklock’s name brought up something else – ‘The Practice Of The Presence Of God‘ by Brother Lawrence, translated by E M Blaiklock – no doubt from the Latin.   I’d never heard of it, but a light flashed on in my head – “You need this book!”  Okay, okay…

Quick research revealed that Brother Lawrence was a humble 17th century lay monk in a monastery near Paris.  His daily work was lowly – labor in the monastery kitchen and mending sandals for his fellow monks. Nevertheless, his teachings became sought after.  Collected after his death by Abbe de Beaufort, envoy of the Cardinal of Noailles, they have gained an enormous worldwide reputation and influence, and multiple editions and translations of the work.

I snapped the book up.   It is still in the mail.

More quick research soon revealed an enormous wealth of commentary and quotation of Brother Lawrence on the Internet.   For those who cannot get the physical book, there is probably no need, because the volume of quotes and reference to Brother Lawrence’s work on the net is so vast.

Next post, I will talk about what this monk and his writings have to offer for us all.

Patricia

Tribe Of The Lion of Judah – Part 1

In Defence of the Prophets.

But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’” (Revelation 5:5)

The title of this post is a deliberate misquote. We all acknowledge that one of the Lord’s titles is ‘The Lion of the Tribe of Judah‘. What I am talking about here is the new tribe that belongs to the Lion of Judah – a tribe of present-day apostles, prophets, priests, teachers, warriors and followers that are being raised up in these times to put on the Full Armor of God and follow the Lion of Judah wherever He may lead them. Note: this word ‘tribe’ is not synonymous with ‘church’ or ‘churches’ – far from it.

Many will argue that this concept is ‘unscriptural’, that apostles and prophets no longer exist. I say to you that ‘scriptural’ is a sliding scale in many people’s hands: but most certainly it is wrong to deny the latest moves of God on this ground. He is the author of scripture. In this age, He is talking directly to His flock, and in some cases using scripture to illustrate and explain what His next moves will be.

Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”

When Jesus walked this earth, His message was very simple, and He had no time for the leaders of the church of the day. His message was so discomfiting for them, so alien to their beliefs and their entrenched status, that they killed Him.

The story has not changed. Those who are entrenched in religiosity and doctrinal beliefs are still with us. They are still the biggest detractors from what The Father is doing in the present time, and unfortunately since they are largely represented in the established church, their views tend to ‘carry weight’. They are not killing Jesus, but they most definitely ARE killing His message. We have gone from ‘The Law’ of Jesus’ day to a new kind of ‘legalistic’ bondage.

We hear fairy tales like, “There are no miracles today” … “God no longer speaks through Prophets” … “While miracles may have had their value for the early Christians, they have no value for us, for our experience is different from theirs”   et cetera  ….  et cetera.

So… does God no longer speak? Has He gone silent? What are we to make of the testimonies of people who are hearing from Him today? What are we to make of the plain words Jesus spoke when He walked the earth?

Quite clearly, there are people who are happy to count themselves saved by the Lord, but all they want to do is sit in their ‘saved’ bubble, carry on with life as usual, believe what their pastor tells them to believe and wait for the Lord to call them home. “Don’t talk to me, Jesus – I don’t want to hear.”

That is not what it’s about, people – the Lord is still speaking, and He expects us to listen up, take responsibility and act accordingly. How else are we to be transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18)?

You will say, “by applying scripture to our lives”. OK – HOLD IT THERE.

If this is true, then what are we to make of the passages in scripture that clearly point beyond the immediate times of Jesus’ life? What are we to make of even the following two examples from the Word:

Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20)

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:23-24)

So – you say, “This was Jesus talking to His disciples and does not apply in the present day.”   Has it not occurred to you that most people subscribe to the application of scripture to our lives so completely that sermons in the present-day church are invariably built around the application of passages of scripture to the lives of the flock? What then are you going to make of the word ‘whoever’ in the above passage – and what are you going to make of this:

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

And this:

Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the Age.” Matthew 28:20.

Both of these passages foretell Jesus’ continued connection with His followers, even after His passing from this earth.

Like it or not, God is still speaking. Like it or not, He is in this day raising up apostles and prophets to alert His people to the upcoming moves He is going to make.

Many people waste time taking it upon themselves to second guess Him. How much speculation have you read about when, if and how the rapture will take place (for example)?   How many reams of paper, how many cyber-pages, how many ‘comments’ and forum posts have been taken up with this one issue, when Jesus has already told us that even He does not know the answer to this? (Matthew 24:36) What an exercise in futility! What a waste of time!

It is all further confusion instigated by the enemy to take people’s attention away from the REAL ISSUES of the day.

We need to be preparing to march forth in the Lord’s name and start taking ground for Him and His Kingdom (in our own lives to start with), not wasting time haggling over doctrine.

More to come,

Patricia

I say refuse to doubt and refuse to question yourself in regard to hearing Me. Do not doubt the wisdom I have given you. I want you to go the way that I tell you to go.” (The Father Says Today 20 October 2017)

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Healing Begins

Lift up your hands without wrath or doubting. I see your need and hear the cry of your heart. There will be a reversal of every physical malady that the enemy has brought against you. The blood of Jesus shed in your behalf is healing your physical body. There are angels assigned to your life to break off the word curses and the illegitimate authorities that have sought to bring about the diminishing of your health. The command of heaven is that the health of your countenance will now spring forth speedily and manifest.” (The Father Says Today 7 March 2017)

I decided to sell my beloved 10 acre block in September 2014, I think because everything became too much for me. I’ve loved the place for over 40 years but I’d lost my enthusiasm and interest. I wasn’t even interested in my plants and garden, let alone 10 acres overgrown with gorse. Much had been neglected in the years I looked after my mom with alzheimers, sole charge – there was such a lot to be done and so little funds to do it all with.

So spake the enemy.

Fortunately, I’d been born again in October 2006, at a small fellowship in a coastal town half an hour’s drive from where I live. I hadn’t been a churchgoer since I was a child, but out of the blue some friends invited me to their fellowship that day and I decided to go.  It would be a change, I thought, especially since my mother was in respite care for a week. No-one at this little fellowship knew me.

Well, the worship and the service had such a strong impact that I was in tears for most of it, and decided then and there to be baptized with three others in a ceremony they were going to hold in the ocean near the church.  So in this way the Lord reached out and pulled me into His boat.

Then we went back for lunch, and several people brought scriptures that had come into their minds for me. Out of probably 5 scriptures, 3 were identical:

“So I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25)

I was astounded. These people did not know my life’s health history, nor did they know that I had looked after my mother with alzheimers for 9 years…

That prophetic scripture encouraged me so much, because I felt it had indeed come direct from God, and thanks to the experience I’d had with the Holy Spirit on that day I really had become a ‘believer’. As very often happens, though, the outcome of the prophetic was not immediate nor has it been instant. Far from it. There is a lesson to be learned for us all in this.

When Jesus walked this earth, He worked many instant miracles – in fact the hallmark of His miracles was the instantaneous. Sometimes though, He required evidence of faith from the people He healed – as when He asked people what they wanted from Him. He knew the answer to that question perfectly well, but He wanted to draw out from them a statement of faith.

Sometimes, He required people to take action in faith – “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8), “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” (John 9:7). For a man afflicted with illness for 38 years who couldn’t get himself into a pool, and for a man blind from birth, these were not trifling commands – they required faith and effort. Sometimes it is so with us, and I believe we are the better for it.

Today, instantaneous miracles are still happening:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)

This last quotation highlights another aspect. Many miracles were – and are – worked in such a way that there can be no doubt they are sent by God. Two historic examples are the raising of Lazarus (John 11), and the healing of the man blind from birth (John 9:1-7), as Jesus stated there in answer to the disciples’ question.

I believe there are times when the Lord does not just hand out an instantaneous healing because He wants us to trust the process, and learn something. And so it has been with me.

My mom passed away early in 2007.    I always baked bread from wholewheat and ground sunflower seeds for her because she loved it – the bread was raised with baking powder, so as to avoid yeast.

Now was my opportunity: I was led to stop baking (and eating) bread, and test out a feeling I had about gluten. So I cut out all wheat products. That helped, but was still not the full answer. Then I was reminded other grains also contain gluten, so I swore off all grains except rice and a little corn – some more improvement, but still not the full answer.

I was noticing a strange cramping in my bowel at times, and the words ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome‘ kept coming to mind. So I researched an explanation:
“The small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed, is supposed to have tight cell junctions to separate the chyme (food turns into chyme in the stomach) from the bloodstream. But a chain of factors causes these tight junctions to degrade. Once the connections between intestinal cells are weakened, undigested proteins and bacterial toxins escape into the bloodstream. This leads to a heightened state of inflammation.”  (Empowered Sustenance)
Could this be what was causing my skin problems and ‘under the weather’ symptoms? A condition brought about by years of candida and stress?

The way to treat Leaky Gut Syndrome holistically prescribes avoidance of all sugars and all starches (including grains and starchy vegetables). So the packets of rice biscuits (my bread substitute) went out the window, as did corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes (our NZ kumara) and yams. I put myself on the GAPS diet.

Meantime I’d had polymyalgia, which of course is an inflammatory disease, affecting mainly the legs in my case and almost destroying my mobility. It began late 2014 and thanks to careful management by my doctor, we had a recovery by April 2016.  A wise friend suggested that maybe the reason the prednisone worked so well on me was that I have never taken pharmaceutical medications.

Meantime I had started a course of chiropractic to fix some spinal problems, exacerbated by a couple of falls.

After many months of daily pain and limping, I’d at last begun to feel I was starting to come right when I received the prophecy quoted at the head of this post – 7 March 2017.  Note the 7s: God’s number of completion.  And the 3 (March) – God’s number of perfection.

Hallelujah! This prophecy came like a heavenly benediction on a decision I was in the process of making – the decision NOT to sell my beloved 10 acre block and NOT to move away.

Well, our Father is a God of Breakthrough. He is also a God of knowledge and understanding:

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 3:33)

For over 2 years I’d pursued the idea of selling up and moving – hampered continually by one major thing after another – my health issues, a tree falling on my roof, having another tree taken down with massive fallout scattered everywhere, repair work needing to be done on 3 outbuildings, a huge overgrowth of wandering jew weed – you name it, I had it.

I don’t think I was meant to move away from here, and things were allowed to happen that made it virtually impossible for me to move quickly.

But what does it take to deal with all these problems?

I’ll tell you what it takes – faith, that’s what – and being prepared to trust the process. Being prepared to take action when a fast outcome is unlikely. Being prepared to listen to the still small voice, and obey. Being prepared to step out in faith without having a clue how it will work out.

Plus a healing miracle.

More to come.

Patricia

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Life and Strength

I am your life and your strength. By My hand I am increasing your vitality and strength in this timeframe. The new wine of My Spirit is being poured out in a vintage that you have not tasted of in times past.” (The Father Says Today 11 October 2017)

Without wanting to sound dramatic, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve never enjoyed good health in my life, since I was a teenager.

At the age of 16, on board ship in the tropics, I was given a massive dose of every antibiotic the ship’s doctor had in his pharmacy. That got me on my feet in time to disembark, but only days later effects began to manifest. Before long, my parents sought medical help, but it was not forthcoming. “Spots on the face? That’s just teen-related,” was the verdict.

Well, of course, for a teenager, spots on the face is a serious business, whatever the cause. But they didn’t diminish with time, and soon other symptoms followed – tiredness, digestive problems, pain in the stomach, and more skin issues. The tiredness got to the point where I was tested for bilharzia (schistosomiasis) – negative.    Pains in the stomach had me tested for gall-bladder issues, and with a barium meal test – both negative. I had treatment for thyroid, and though that was helpful, it didn’t fix the problem. There was (almost) an endoscopy for stomach ulcer: aborted at the last minute.

I gave up on orthodox medicine, and tried to follow a diet that gave me the least digestive issues, while researching alternative health. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but I knew for sure it was not ‘all in the head‘, as some doctors alleged.

Through all this, I got 2 university degrees – the second in Law, while working  in a legal position in government. So one might say, “Well, you can’t have been that sick.”

True, I wasn’t confined to bed, or hospitalized, but I continually felt ‘under the weather’ and most of the time life was a struggle. In my first year of study after I got the government job, I only achieved 1 law unit – though I enrolled for the normal 4. That was because of exhaustion. The only way to combat that was to move my lodgings as close to the university as possible, to make evening study less of a hassle.

Time marched on – without letup in the problems. Finally one day, as Regional Solicitor for the ACC in the Waikato, I conducted a hearing into a complaint by a lady denied cover for an illness contracted while picking a bed of sprayed asparagus. I was impressed by the knowledge and open-minded approach of the doctor who gave evidence for her. I decided to consult him.

When I told him my story, he didn’t have to think twice. His immediate diagnosis was Candidiasis – ie an overgrowth of candida organisms in the gut: something I had never heard of before. He said the huge dose of antibiotics did indeed kill off all organisms in my gut – the friendly ones as well as the unfriendly ones. This gave the Candida carte blanche to take over the territory. “I can’t prove it”, he told me, “but I will put you on treatment and if I am right, you will be very sick for a while.”

Sick I was.

I was lecturing in business law at the Hamilton Polytechnic and some of my male students told me I didn’t look well (!). One day – fortunately while my parents were visiting – I woke up from a mid-morning sleep feeling so bad my father drove me to my afternoon lecture because I felt as if my head wasn’t attached to my body.   Definitely not safe to drive.

“Little green men….” the doctor had said.   Such is the effect of ‘die-off’, when the Candida organisms are killed off and their toxins flood the system. How I got through that lecture, I don’t know. For some weeks I was tired, slept a lot of the time,  generally felt horrible, and was difficult to live with.

But at least I had a diagnosis – after 27 years of trying.

It needs to be said that in those days, the general medical profession was in total denial about the implication of antibiotics in the spread of Candida.  Even today, very few accept it – especially health professionals.  This is largely the work of the pharmaceutical companies, who encourage doctors and veterinarians to administer antibiotics regularly as a backstop, whatever the problem may be – ‘just in case’.  Aaah alas, the mighty dollar…

It may be years before the issue is brought into the open.

I moved away from the Waikato to the family 10 acre property. As we all tend to do, I hoped as time went on that I had got over it. I swore off bread, mushrooms, and other yeast products (so that’s why beer never agreed with me).  I kept away from too much sugar, and boxed on. But still things were not right.

Then while working in a local health store the chance came to consult a visiting iridologist who was with one of the major health companies. She told me she could see signs of Candida throughout my body. That was a shock. My spleen, she said, was enlarged.

I didn’t even know where my spleen was.   So I went home, consulted the books, and found the acupressure point for the spleen is under the bottom rib on the left. All of a sudden I realized here was the reason for the unexplained tenderness I had felt there for years, and which I had always put down to my bra “biting” me. It looked as if my immune system was shot.

By way of explanation: if you think you know all about ‘thrush’, you don’t know enough.   Candida being a yeast or fungus has roots similar to the white, silky roots of mushrooms and toadstools – roots that invade the bodily tissues: it is indeed a serious business if it gets the upper hand in your system.  It had had the upper hand in my system for 27 years.

It was frightening.

I had access to all the latest alternative products on the market, and tried many of the promising ones. Some helped, but still there was no final resolution. It was going to take more than that.

One Power was keeping His hand on me through all this, though I was only nominally a Christian and He had not yet openly come to my aid. That was soon to happen:

“…the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

There was a warfare going on in my life, that I hadn’t identified as such – a spiritual battle that started in my teens and had intensified as the years passed by.  I am truly grateful that throughout all the years of this drama, with the exception of one period of treatment with Nilstat, I was kept away from taking Big Pharma’s drugs: grateful, too, that in spite of the struggles and weariness, I managed to make a success out of the ‘corporate’ talents the Father gave me.

The Enemy was on my case:  I was truly under attack – mainly in the area of health, but there were other things happening also, of which I was totally unaware.  Indeed, if you had said the words ‘spiritual warfare‘ to me, I wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”  (Hosea 4:6)

More to follow

Patricia

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Woe? Really?

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers of the false prophets.”  (Luke 6:26)

When we read the Beatitudes, we all love the “Blessed are…” bits – but we tend to overlook and forget the “Woe to…” admonitions that appear most strongly stated in the Gospel of Luke.

Jesus is indeed love, light and truth – and we all love focusing on that.  But part of the truth of loving Him and understanding His message involves remembering the other things He said:  His powerful rejection of the mores of the day’s religious leaders, emphasis on the causality created by God in our world, and the many warnings about being careful where we focus our attention.  The above passage falls right in line with His many statements on this last topic:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matthew 6:21)

And even more directly in point:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 6:1)

The passage is a reminder that what ‘everyone thinks’ is not necessarily the truth – and that people flock where they see numbers, often without any real perceptiveness.  It also hints at the soul-eroding quality of craving popularity in the eyes of men.

Dangers of the Internet

The dangers of seeking man’s approval rather than God’s have become even more powerful with the advent of the Internet.  Marketers and frequenters of social media (now a key factor in marketing success and the inflow of money and ‘all good things’) are taught to strive for ‘hits’, ‘visitors’, ‘likes’ and favorable comments.   Algorithms in search engines further feed into this.  And of course, the practice has moved beyond marketing into straight social activity, where it is in danger of becoming a fetish on the likes of Facebook.

Please understand I am talking here as a 20-years-on-the-net, ex-marketer who several years ago threw marketing away for this very reason, that I perceived the huge pitfalls of letting this whole approval-seeking, Internet fad become ingrained in the soul.

There are indeed many ways to fall into ‘The Trap’.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8)

Patricia
http://damascusroad.news

New Year’s Visitor – 2

bucks2-iconHere I was with 2 on-heat bucks running loose among my does.  Didn’t I decide 9 years ago that I was done with the ‘Births, Marriages and Deaths‘ scenario?  This was by far the worst thing I could think of!

I went down to the house and over a cup of coffee was inspired (thank goodness) to give myself a real hard talking to:

“Pat, this is the Serpent messing with you.  He’s got you in a right stew and as long as you’re in a stew, you block the Lord’s work.  Remember what He said: “Focus on Me!”  Just do it, and stop falling for Satan’s talk.  Whatever happens, it’s not the end of the universe.  With the Lord’s help, you will get through it.  And remember, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4)

Thank you, Lord.

In trials like these, it can be very difficult to realign your thinking.  All the evidence is against that, all the facts point one way, and the news is all bad:  ‘No-one in their right mind would think any differently.’   But Paul emphasized the importance of walking by faith, not by sight.  And he was tested sorely throughout his ministry: you can’t accuse him of not knowing what he was talking about.

Paul said, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.”   WHICH TRANSLATES:

The more we engage with worldly thinking the more we turn away from the Lord’s power.  So we need always to be of good courage and walk by faith in Him, not by what we see.”   (2 Corinthians 5:6-7)

Our limited minds are always searching for answers and solutions: “How, how, how can this come right?”  “What can I do to sort this problem?”  “Can I think of some way out of this situation?”   It’s hard, with our worldly drive to organize and plan everything, to ‘opt out’ and let things go.  We get hammered with the goal setting, visualizing and life planning ideologies of the self improvement gurus.  Not to mention  the ‘I Did It My Way’ would-be standard for living enshrined in the world’s thinking over 46 years ago.  What a travesty that was!  How many people were fooled by it!   Still are.

Didn’t Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)  No DIY, no  goal-setting instructions there.

How many of those who heard Him, and how many of us, struggling with the issues and dramas of everyday life, have thought, “This guy was crazy!”   And yet … ‘this guy’ holds the keys to the universe, life and death, in His hand.

Somehow, I managed to settle down and quit worrying.

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It would be nice to say that next morning the bucks had disappeared – well at least I couldn’t see them anywhere.  I opened the paddock gate again and the does went up.  Washing the dishes, I was full of hope – until I heard an irate call that didn’t sound like a doe.  It was Himself, allright – suddenly realizing they’d got away from him.  As I watched from the kitchen window, he charged through the open gate and on up the paddock in search of his harem…

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But now, 7 days down the track, I can pretty definitely say the bucks are not on the property.  None of the does is on heat and I haven’t sighted Himself or his offsider for over 6 days. Maybe they are like sailors with a girl in every port…   Somehow, they must have got back through the fence into the bush and I have a window of about 2 weeks to get the fence mended before the does come on heat again (if they haven’t taken to service).

As far as I could tell, only 2 of the does cycled.  So if I can keep Himself and his offsider out, the kid drop may be less than I feared.

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”  (Psalm 103:2)

Yes indeed – Regardless.

Patricia