Is Righteous Hatred an Oxymoron? by Helen Khan

“Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loath those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try mean and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 19-24

I have spent the last number of months moving through Psalm 139, sharing how precious we are to God; how he loves us and created us, a wonderous creation. I have shared the precious thoughts God holds for those he has made. Then, I come up against Psalm 139: 19-24. What happened here? We have moved from pure love to hate, or so it seems. Is this some sort of contradiction?

Protective Love

We have a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. With us he is warm, friendly, funny, and just a loving dog. We have had him since a pup, and he thinks I am his mommy. We have a loving relationship. But his loyalty also means he is a very protective guard dog. In contrast, if anyone who is not a member of our household comes too close to his mommy, he is upset; ferociously upset. Maybe he even hates.

The first eighteen verses of the Psalm are a major love affair between God and his creation. By now the Psalmist has fallen helplessly in love with God who loves him and thinks about him intimately, all the time. Up to this point it has been just God and him. He now turns his eyes off God and onto the world around him. There he sees evil men who hate God. Therefore, furious indignation ignites David. He uses strong words to these godless evildoers as he stands up to defend the God who loves him.

Is it Okay to Hate?

And he hates what God hates. The intimate relationship between him and God has been intense. He has come to know God, personally. He knows God hates evil and so he too hates it, with righteous hatred.

We have become averse to the word hate. We perceive it is always bad to hate. But sometimes it is okay to hate, it is even the righteous thing to do. We are to hate evil, passionately hate it. When we see evil we ought to pray that God will help those under its evil clutches escape. When we see human trafficking, racism, murder of the innocent, misogyny, child slavery, oppression – the list goes on; it is okay to hate. It is called a righteous hatred. We hate the evil and stand against it and side with the victim and fallen. This hatred is far different than when we lash out at the closest person to us because we had a bad day at the office. It is different that the indication we feel when we are slighted or suffer a minor offence. That is plain old hatred and maybe we need to learn tolerance and forgiveness.

So self-hate towards ourselves, hate towards others for unrighteous reasons is not hate that is acceptable, either by God or in society. It is unrighteous hate. We need to develop a hatred that parallels God’s hatred.

When we think of God’s hatred, we must remember that although God hates evil and evildoers, he still sent Jesus Christ to this world to reconcile us back to Him. “For God demonstrated his love to us, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Are we capable of that kind of righteous hatred while loving ultimately?

Fearful Self-Reflection

The Psalmist is not just some self-righteous snob. He is not arrogant for he recognises that he could also succumb to adopting an evil mindset or acting against God and his creation. Thus, he calls out to God and says, (my words); Lord God, I could fall prey to that too. I pray that you, God, will search my heart and if I have any hint of evil in me, lead me away from it, lead me to the way everlasting.

The Psalmist had a realistic expectation of what his body and mind can do. He knows that all have fallen short of the Glory of God. He knows he needs help from God lest he too become a godless hater.

All scripture is written for our benefit. Our takeaway today is that we, like God, should hate sin, love righteousness, and love the God who loves us.

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Seasoned With Salt by Joanne Guarnieri Hagemeyer


What did you want to be, growing up?

What did your parents want you to be?

Did you ever have a sense of destiny? What about childhood promises you made to yourself—when I grow up, I will always have a clean house, or I will never get hurt again, or I will make all my own decisions.  Childhood dreams and childhood vows drive us a lot more than we realize. In this YouTube talk, we’re going to see how the disciples’ theology drove them a lot more than they realized, too.

RecapSo, this chapter began on a high mountain, both figuratively and physically. Peter, James., and John had the transcendent experience of seeing Jesus glory, conversing with Moses and Elijah, and hearing God speak personally to them to listen to Jesus, God the Son. Very soon after, Jesus and these three found themselves in a valley, again, figuratively and physically. From their peak spiritual experience, they found themselves plunged into the chaos of overwhelmed disciples, a demon-possessed boy, an angry crowd, and a desperate father.

Evidently, there was a house nearby. Jesus took His disciples aside, once they’d entered the building, to explain why they’d experienced such failure in casting out the demon. This is where Mark picked up the narrative, again.

Seasoned With Salt
Mark 9:30-50

[Jesus in Peter’s house | James Tissot, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain]

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Are We Created by Design or by Accident?

You saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came into being. Psalm 139: 16

Our environment tells us we are just here. Parental abandonment tells us that we are unwanted. Some societies value sons over daughters. Perhaps we are made to believe that we are unwanted and unloved. Scientists say we live and die without purpose, maybe we are just a mass of cells and chemistry, nothing more. We exist but without love, without purpose and without happiness. In fact, life is miserable. Gloom fills our days and we are walking in the valley of darkness. We believe we are unloved, unwanted and without hope. Death may even be sweeter, so suicidal thoughts creep into our lives.

But what if all the above is a lie to rob you of your joy and hope of a fulfilled purpose in life?

There Wasn’t an Accident

Over the years you heard the whispers when people thought you weren’t listening. Or perhaps you have been told directly that you were an afterthought, or an unwanted child. Perhaps due to a violent twist of events, your mother was raped, and you were born nine months later. Or due to parental abandonment, you feel your life is a failure, you are to blame for your parent’s marriage problems. Or perhaps your parents are so consumed in their lives, you feel emotionally abandoned. You feel unloved and unwanted. Depression digs deep you wish you hadn’t been born.

But may I tell you another story?

Imagine an architect who designs a home. Mathematics and straight lines and curves, exact measurements are penned to paper so when it comes time to build, what has been conceptualised can be brought into existence at the construction site. A beautiful edifice evolves. I had the privilege to tour architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House in Pennsylvania. It is indeed a wonderous structure above a waterfall. Just to hear the water cascading downward is reason to live there.

But he didn’t do it without thought. There was a plan, a blueprint and then the construction material was brought to the site. Then the rubble of bricks, wood and stone took shape as the blueprint was followed and a work of art stood where once was barren ground. The structure was not an accident. It was constructed due to intent, for a purpose.

You Were Perfectly Made

God is your architect. He visualised you before you were even conceived. He saw your incomplete substance in his eyes and then he fashioned you in his mind. God perhaps didn’t use pen and paper for his blueprint, but he wrote it on his heart. His knowledge of us is intentional. His knowledge of us comes from sight, not hearsay. We are not an accident. We were planned and creatively designed by the Almighty. You were born just the way He wanted you to be born, the exact shape and size and with purpose. And in everything he does, love defines his actions and his finished masterpiece.

“That’s hard to believe,” you may say to me. “Look at me, I’m too fat or too skinny. I was born blind, without limbs, look at me, I’m a misfit,” you may yell at me.

You have looked in the mirror. Who can know you better than yourself? You have seen the imperfections. You cringe at what you see, and you believe the world joins the chorus. In fact, they are the ones that started it with their taunts and bullying. Our beauty culture demands perfection and we are not perfect. We try diets, exercise, cosmetics but we see the same body every time we look in the mirror. We become dejected and depressed. “If only I looked like a movie celebrity, I would look beautiful,” we lament.

What the world calls imperfect, God calls beautiful. His design, his blueprint comes with beauty and purpose. How can a man born without limbs have beauty? Yet when you hear Nick Vujucic’s story, it is there.

God looks at the heart of a man or woman, he is most interested in our inner being. Yes, he is concerned about our body too, but he has the whole picture of what we are all about, inside and out. He sees where people can’t see. This should bring comfort that we are whole beings who matter to him. He has no limitations to his love.

You Were Born for a Purpose

We were not born just to exist. While it is true that we live to die, we do not live a purposeless life just drifting through until we are buried never to be resurrected. Science may teach us so, but science doesn’t have all the answers. God does.

All of our days have been ordained. Ordained has two meanings: One is that we are appointed, invested, and/or anointed. All these words imply purpose or position behind the one who does it. For example, if we are appointed to a position, it is expected that we carry out certain functions, have a specific role. Human resources call it a job description. In the second instance, ordained means to decree, to order or command. For example, a nation may decree that certain laws must be followed. People are ordered to follow the laws of the land. Again, we see purpose for no law is given without a positive purpose to it.

And so, all our days have been ordered, or appointed. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Your work was cut out for you even before you were born, while it was only visualised in God’s mind.

“But what must I do,” you cry. “I don’t know my purpose in life. What is wanted of me? I don’t have direction.”

Jesus can answer those questions. When you “abide in Christ”, you will find joy, hope, self-worth, and purpose. God loves you and wants you.

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Coronavirus and Job by Michael Furlonger

One good thing about this isolation is that more people are attending church services than ever before, albeit online. And today I want to share how about my wife’s service from Sunday, which lead me to think of the coronavirus and Job.

Now, one of the things that I have commonly heard is that this virus is not from God. So many people are saying that, because we know about the background of viruses as well as other life affecting catastrophes, they aren’t from God.

Now, I’m not going to say this is or is not from God, but I will say that God is sovereign. Nothing happens without his knowing about it.

Blessed Be Your Name

We started the service by singing some songs and one of these songs is called “Blessed Be Your (God’s) Name”. Not just the Name of God, but the entire being of God, the characteristics of God.

The chorus, or bridge, of the song goes, “He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, ‘Blessed be Your name’.” I’ve heard pastors say that this song is about God giving good and taking bad away. But that’s not what it’s about.

First off, ‘Blessed be Your name,’ comes from a reference from the book of Job (pronounced Jobe). In the book of Job, this man of God loses everything aside from his wife. A wife, by the way, can’t even stand the smell of him, according to Job 19:17. To stay on topic, the song comes from Job 1;

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)

As you can see, Job is saying, may the name of the Lord still be praised despite circumstances. Now, in the song, one verse reads;

“Blessed be Your Name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there is pain in the offering
Blessed be Your Name”

Supernatural Catastrophy And Coronavirus

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:6-19)

Cause & Effect

As you just read, Job’s calamity didn’t come from a supernatural travesty. The supernatural God allowed a supernatural angel to cause damage to a natural man through natural means.

  • 1. Sabeans attacked and stole the livestock and killed the servants.
  • 2. Fire from heaven (arguably supernatural) fell and killed the sheep and servants.
  • 3. Chaldeans stole the camels and put servants to death.
  • 4. Wind swept in from a known position and knocked over Job’s children’s house, killing them.

The Lesson To Be Learned

A lot of churches teach on how God will bless them if they come to church and give a offering. Job’s story completely disagrees with that. And so much of scripture will disagree with the common prosperity message.

What we need to learn from this story is that God is God. He is our only Hope and our only source of Righteousness. To live absent of God’s righteousness is to live absent of God.

I can’t absolutely say, “The coronavirus is an absolute judgment from God.” What I can say, as Jesus said, “… When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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Scared Of Eternity? by Michael Furlonger

Half way through Ecclesiastes 3:11, it says, “He (God) has also set eternity in the human heart.” While 2020 isn’t going as planned for so many of us, I want to share an aspect of godliness, and God Himself, that isn’t focused on. That is the eternal nature of God. And since we are made in his image, the eternal destiny of humans.

Things You Need To Know

  • God is eternal and created all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1; John 1:14)
  • You have an eternal soul. Whether it’s Heaven or Hell, you will be eternally in one of those places (Matt. 25:46).
  • Jesus Christ died for your sins so that we may partake in the blessings of the eternal God and the eternal life we were made for (John 17:3)
  • God is Holy and calls on us to be holy as He is (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 26:19; 1 Peter 1:15)

Why I’m Scared

You know that scene in Aladdin when the Genie tells Aladdin that he has, “Phenomenal cosmic power.” Then he goes back into the lamp and in a squeaky voice says, “Itty, bitty living space.” That’s why I used to be so scared of eternity. I remember praying, “Lord, I don’t want to go to Hell, but I also don’t want to go to Heaven. Please, just destroy my soul.” A little morbid, I know.

New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21, an angel shows John the new heavens and new earth. Followed by verse 2, John sees the new Jerusalem, the Holy City coming down from Heaven. In verses 15-17, John shares the dimensions of the gates around the new Jerusalem. The walls were 12,000 stadia on each side and 144 cubits thick.

It scared me because in my head, I thought all of eternity would be spent within this measured city. Eternity seemed quite claustrophobic with boundaries. No?

Locked In (Part one)

I felt locked in to this four walled city, each wall measuring 12,000 stadia. That is equal to just shy of twice the size of New York City.

There were three gates on the east, three on the north,
three on the south and three on the west…
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev. 21:13+25)

This is quite interesting. There are gates, but the gates are open, not closed. Revelation 21:26 says, “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”

New Heavens & New Earth

In Revelation 21:1, John begins by saying that he saw “a new heaven and a new earth”. Then John sees the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth. There is obviously more than the small size measured out above.

Look at what Solomon prays when he is dedicating the temple within Jerusalem:

“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you…” (1 Kings 8:27)

If the infinite God is too grand for the highest heavens now, why would he minimize Himself in the new creation?

No Water?

Revelation 21:1 says that “there was no longer any sea.”

I don’t like that there is no sea. “Where do the fish live?” I thought, “Jesus was a fisherman. Why would he create a new heaven and earth with no fish?”

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life… On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. (Rev. 22:1a+2b)

I realized that not all bodies of water are sea. I remember spending several summers in my teen years at a cottage at a lake in Ontario, Canada. Spending times fishing, cooking fish over a fire and on and on.

(We can also discuss salt water seas/ocean, verses fresh water lakes. If you drink excessive salt water it will kill you, but fresh water won’t.)

Although there is no sea, in John’s revelation, there is a river and thus a body of water. I can only assume that there are many bodies of water.

The River & Locked In (Part 2)

In the section above, I mentioned my fear of being locked in to a closed location, even if it’s the new Jerusalem. I mentioned the entrance and exit through the gates that never close.

On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:2)

Not only do these gates never close, but Revelation 22 says that there will be other nations. And where this new Garden of Eden is, nations will come into it for healing.

Animals

I remember watching a movie when I was young called All Dogs Go To Heaven. I don’t remember liking that movie, but it is a great segue into the next topic of animals.

Do I believe that your pet gold fish will be in heaven? No, I don’t. But I strongly believe that animals will be in the new creation.

In Isaiah 65:17-25, God is telling Isaiah about the New Heaven and the New Earth. Note that there is some mention of the mortality rate of the young and the old. I personally believe this is to point out the blessings of the new creation, not the mortality itself. But on the topic of animals,

The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:25)

I believe that this points out two things of the new creation. One is that rival enemies, like a wolf and a lamb, will live in peace. In the same way, rival people will live in peace. And, two, there will be animals.

Will we all become vegetarians? I don’t know. But, with the technology with these fake burgers, being a vegetarian doesn’t seem that bad.

Late Homework

Have worked hard on a project, but knew that if you had only a bit more time, it would be better? If this universe is bound by time and space, what do you think God will do when we are no longer bound by time and space?

Two satellites were sent from NASA in 1977 called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. While they were meant for the study of planets in our solar system, the have gone beyond it. Scientists, I believe, were quite surprised at how far these satellites had gone. As of February 9, 2011, Voyager 2 is 8.6 billion miles from the sun.

What if God says, “If only you gave me more time, I would have shown you what I have created.” In the new creation, I believe that we will see so much more of what God can do. It definitely won’t be boring.

God Loves You

God loves you. He created you as an eternal being. God wants to show you what he has done. That is what waits for us beyond this chaotic world.

God is also infinitely just. God is so just that we could never pay off the debt of our sins. But because of his love, He showed how just he is by having his Son, Jesus Christ, die on the cross.

Please, if God has called you and has set eternity in your heart, call on him. He is infinite in his justice, but also infinite in mercy.

Get a free PDF copy of my book Assurance of Salvation and go through the book with me

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There Are No Mistakes! All Are Wanted

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depth of the earth. Psalm 139: 15

When our friends’ first child was born, everyone knew about it. A baby boy had been born to the household! Joy and happiness abounded; sweets were distributed to relatives and friends far and wide. The news was out! A baby boy was born!

But it was a different story for the next child. We knew the wife was pregnant, but the due date came and went, and no birth announcement was made. We questioned when the due date was. Maybe she didn’t have it yet? Finally, we called to find out. Yes, a child had been born, but this time it was a girl. There was no rejoicing, no sweets distributed. Her birth was covered in shrouds of secrecy.

Perhaps you have seen this happen in your neighbourhood. Perhaps it has happened to you. You were that unwanted girl child. Or maybe you were just unwanted. You were an ‘afterthought’. Or you are the result of an unplanned pregnancy. Your parents hadn’t wanted any more children, or you were an ‘accident’. Maybe you have been abused because of who you are.

You feel unwanted and unloved. Maybe you curse the day you were born. Or you live your life in rebellion striking out violently at injustice served to you. Maybe you weep, hurt by thoughts of being an unwanted child.

Your Are No Accident

But you are no accident, you are wanted, and your birth should have been a celebration. The Psalmist says that you were not hidden from the Creator of the universe. As your Creator, he wove you together. Weaving takes planning, design, careful attention to detail. The ancient art of carpet weaving requires the artisan to dye the woolen yarn in rich colours, then painstakingly weave the carpet, a process that can take months. Some carpets are not dyed, rather the natural colours are made from different coloured wool, depending on the breed of sheep. These carpets take years to collect enough wool to make a small carpet. Weaving a carpet is no simple matter, it is carefully planned and designed, each design unique to a family or clan.

My husband and I have the luxury of visiting a carpet shop where antique and beautiful carpets are displayed and sold. We sit in wonderment at each unique and carefully designed masterpiece. And along with the display, the shopkeeper shares how each carpet is made, which tribe made which carpet and whether they used natural dyes or not. Each kind of carpet comes with its own creation story. And each carpet has its purpose.

You Have Purpose

Baloch carpets tell the story of wars and rivalry. Some carpets are designed to see if a man and women, if they marry will make a compatible couple. The man is given a piece of canvas as is the girl. Both weave a design into the canvas. At the end, the two pieces are sewn together and if the designs match, then the couple will have a good marriage. I don’t know what happens if each piece is quite different. That might be a different story.

Like the carpet, there is a purpose to your life.

Please consider the One who wove you together in your mother’s womb, that secret hiding place where you were designed and beautifully wrought. You are a creation story. Unique and beautiful in our own right. You were planned by the creator. You are both wanted and loved. He loves you and wants you and he created you with purpose.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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Assurance Of Salvation (Free eBook Download) by Michael Furlonger

  • Did you know that there is a eternal God?
  • Or that the eternal God created you with an eternal purpose?
  • Did you know that not everyone will inherit eternal life?
  • Do you have assurance of salvation?

Take the opportunity given to you this day and pick up a free copy of Assurance Of Salvation. Watch the 12 videos that the author put together going through each chapter.

Words From The Author

I hope that you took the time to read the book and go through the videos I shared on YouTube as I try to offer more details from the book. There are plenty of books on the topic of Assurance of Salvation that you can read. This book is available for free because you are called to live for more than this world.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “… Set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated, seated at the right hand of God. Set your heart on things above, not on earthly things.”

If you enjoyed this free copy of the book, I encourage you to go to my page (click link below) and buy a printed copy to give to your friends and family members. Or check out my other book, God: The Master of Sin and Satan the Beautiful, or any number of other authors on the website.

God bless.

Michael W. Furlonger

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GOD WANTS US TO BELIEVE HIM

Here in Genesis 15, we see that Abram believed God. This is so important, so let me say it again. He believed God! That’s why he was counted as righteous in God’s eyes. This is an important point that is woven throughout the entire Bible. God wants us to believe Him. This is a fundamental requirement if we want to have any relationship with God. Our belief in Him shows up in our thoughts and actions and determines whether God considers us righteous or not.

What God is showing us here may be foreign to many in today’s world, who believe righteousness is something to be earned or acquired by “conformity to an abstract moral code,” or doing so many good deeds. On the contrary, in the Bible righteousness is “faithfulness to a relationship”, and the first requirement of this relationship is a belief that causes trust.

In only reading the first 15 chapters of the Bible, we have identified the epic battle of the universe in the eyes of God as recorded in the Bible. That battle is whether we will believe God enough to act accordingly. There is a great spiritual war that is taking place all centered around this one thing: Will we believe God enough to act on that belief?

Click Here To Read God The Father Revealed By Lewis Erickson

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Handcrafted or Production Line Made: Which One Are You?

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13-14

Everyday thousands of girls are born, unwanted. In some countries like India and Pakistan, boys are the preferred gender. A man might divorce his wife because she bore him a son. Girls receive less or no education because of gender discrimination. The list of abuses against women is exhaustive. Many girls grow up wishing they were born boys for they know they would fare better as males. And it isn’t just in Asia or Africa, gender discrimination against females is a worldwide problem.

Many young people, men and women, grow up hating themselves and their bodies because they either feel unwanted or they do not like who they are. They look in the mirror and see only an ugly face staring back at them. Their image is often shaped by an ill-placed insult or demeaning statement by a friend or relative. Perhaps an aunt many years ago said to her chubby-cheeked niece, “My, aren’t you a chubby one!” Although the aunt had intended no harm, the little girl begins to think there is something wrong with her body. She is too fat. This is especially possible in a world that emphasises thinness. Women are supposed to be shaped a certain way, thinly, that is. Soon, the little girl is eating less and develops anorexia. This may seem extreme, but all very possible.

Or maybe you live in a country where there is a strong “beauty culture”. You compare your body and facial feature to the latest Bollywood or Hollywood beauty or fashion model. You fall short. Low self-worth sets in. You wish you had not been born, or if at least, if you could have been born in a different body, you are sure life would be better. You begin to berate yourself.

Now I am going to take you on a bit of a journey; to a grandmother knitting a sweater for her grandchild. Let’s say it’s her granddaughter. She either uses a pattern, chooses the colour carefully, perhaps in a lovely pastel pink because her little granddaughter loves pink. It’s her favourite colour. Or maybe the grandmother is an accomplished craftswoman and makes her own design, a detailed artwork of cables, purls, and knits. She sits in a comfortable chair and love is wrought with every click of the needles, ever stitch knit, love for her granddaughter. The creation is finally complete, and the grandmother wraps the sweater up and gifts it to her granddaughter. A beautiful creation is born swathed in love.

Let’s now look at how God’s design (that is you) happens. The Psalmist says, he was knit together in his mother’s womb. Take now the imagery above of the grandmother and replace it with God. That is how God makes you. He lovingly knits you together in your mother’s womb. Love and beauty poured into one creation. You.

Then the Psalmist goes on to say that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, God’s works are wonderful. You are wonderfully created by the Creator. And the love that was poured into designing you! Unfathomable!

If you feel unloved, unwanted, imperfect, if you despair at how you look, what your gender is, if you feel unworthy of love and attention, look to your Creator. Look to the love he poured into you. Look at his design. You might not be a fashion model, but you are beautiful, you are wonderful.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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How To Worship “Online” During The Virus Crisis by Lewis Erickson

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I’ve felt it and I’m sure you have too.  It’s hard to worship the Lord when watching my church service online from home. It’s not like being at church and worshipping in the midst of a lot of people. Much like when we watch a sporting event or the evening news, we can become a spectator to an online worship service rather than a worshipper of the Lord God Almighty.

What if this “virus crisis” isn’t over soon?  How can we change from being a spectator to an “online worshipper”?  The answer may depend on what we consider being an “online worshipper”.

For example, how did Paul and Silas become worshippers of God while in a Philippian jail cell with their feet locked in the stocks? This was right after they had been beaten with rods. The Bible says they were praying and singing hymns at midnight and the other prisoners were listening to them. How could they worship in those awful circumstances?  There was no worship band, no hymnals, no worship leaders. They weren’t even comfortable at home in front of their TV, but in a hostile environment instead.

I believe it’s because they had learned to be “online worshippers”. They had learned to tune in to the worship service that goes on in heaven and never stops.  See Revelations 4 for more about that worship service. Regardless of their circumstances and where they were, they were able to pull away from their environment and focus on their audience of One. Rather than seeing just themselves, they were able to see the rest of heaven that they were joining in worship.  They were going online in a spiritual sense.

This is what our Christian family must do in countries that are hostile to the gospel. If they are caught, they will be beaten, fined and jailed. So, they must worship quietly, sometimes in strict silence, but going “online” in their hearts and minds to join the heavenly worship service that never ends.

How can we learn to worship earnestly, a/k/a “online” like Paul and Silas and our spiritual family in hostile countries? Primarily, we have to learn that worship is a matter of our heart.  Jesus has to be someone more than we just know about. He has to be someone we love and that we long for. If He isn’t that for you, pray right now and ask Him to become that for you. Then make it your goal to live like He is your “first love”. If you want me to explain more about that, let me know at godthefatherrevealed@gmail.com.

Beyond our heart, here are some other practical suggestions:

  • Put away your phone, tablet and anything else that may distract you. You wouldn’t be messing with them while trying to worship God at church. Don’t do it while worshipping at home either.
  • If you stand up and worship at church, stand up at home.
  • Sing when its time to sing. Don’t just watch others sing. Your audience of One is watching you. He’s not listening to how good you sing. He’s listening to your heart and mind.
  • Prepare for online church. Just like you would go to bed on time and get up in time to shower, shave, eat and then drive to church, don’t stay up late the night before binge watching Netflix.  Get to bed and get up on time so you have time to prepare to be ready to participate in online church without distractions of a hungry stomach, morning breath or bed head.
  • If you have kids, help them to prepare too. Talk about how you are looking forward to worshipping Jesus during online church. Share that all of you are going to act like the people on TV are actually in your house visiting you. If your kids are really young and must have attention, give them your attention. Hold them and worship like you would if they were sitting with you at your normal church service.

The Lord willing, the virus crisis will end soon, and we will resume going to our churches to worship.  Perhaps this time of “online worshipping” will help us learn to push out distractions that we can avoid. Perhaps we will learn to focus on worshipping the Lord despite distractions that we can’t avoid.  Finally, perhaps we will learn to go online no matter our circumstances or wherever we are to join the worship service that never ends.

Click Here To Read More By Lewis Erickson

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