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1. A Personal Journey

2. Jesus Christ

3. A Fallen World

4. Spirits, Angels and a Modern Link

5. A Spiritual Life


A PERSONAL JOURNEY

I think that there are two ways to approach the subject of Christianity – one is by simple faith, which some people are lucky enough to have – the other is by thought and research.

Possibly, trying to look at it from a non-Christian point of view, first of all, I think you have to have an open mind. You have to be able just to consider the possibility that you may just be a created being, ….. with a creator! Once you get over that hurdle, well you’re on your way, hopefully, to a better understanding of the subject.

So, what does science think? Well I never was much good at science! However, from the little I’ve read on the subject – the ‘big bang theory’ etc., it seems that a growing number of scientists now consider that there had to be some cause for this – a catalyst, or even an ‘intelligent designer’. The intricacies of the human body are apparently too vast to have been evolved, even over the millions of years they talk about. In fact, I’ve read the reference somewhere, that someone once said, that expecting a human being to have come about by evolution, was akin to the chances of a whirlwind passing over a scrap yard, and leaving behind a fully functioning 747!

Of course, you might say……. ‘Why bother?’ Why bother to find out where the human race has come from? What’s in it for me?

Well, I can tell you, from personal experience, that there’s a great deal in it for you,…though the road isn’t necessarily an easy one to take, but then life these days is seldom easy, whatever your belief.

Most people need someone, or something to hold on to, and indeed spend much of their lives looking for him, her or it. This search can take you through various partners, or various jobs, or even all round the world. It can take you through drink or drugs, wild all night parties, or long periods of isolation or loneliness. You can believe yourself to be happy, and maybe you are, but eventually the time will come when you realise that something is still missing, and you’ll start looking again.

Now all this may be years and years into the future for you, and right now, you’re probably more concerned with next weekend, BUT just think a minute…. If God DID create man, and if there IS a brilliant master plan for your life, wouldn’t it make sense to find out a bit more about it? Surely only a fool would dismiss something out of hand, without first establishing the facts?

Facts? Perhaps you’re shaking your head in disbelief? Perhaps you think I’m talking nonsense? Perhaps you think religion is an age related disease for boring people? I wondered for a long time about the concept of God. I read some really good books, tracing evidence for the existence of Jesus back to within about 20 years of His death, when people who knew Him would still have been alive to dispute any errors. The same books also considered the evidence of His deity. Yes, I wondered long and hard about this, but then I stopped wondering, because He spoke to me! At a time when my life was at its lowest, and I had lost all sense of direction, He told me what to do. After that everything changed, and that’s why I’m writing this today.

However, belief is a very personal thing. I can tell you that something is true; I can show you the route I took to find that truth, and you can even take that route yourself, but if you will not open your mind to see it, then your journey may be in vain.

The choice is yours.

11/12/05

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JESUS CHRIST

Many people will admit to some kind of belief in God, although probably they may not think about the subject very much.

I used to be like that. My life was very busy, and I felt I had enough on my plate. God didn’t really feature in my everyday life, and Jesus was someone who came into focus at Christmas and Easter. My experience of the Holy Spirit changed all that. I learned that my acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice for my wrongdoing, was an essential part of my being acceptable to God.

I believe that God created the universe, and everything in it, including us. We were made by God to enjoy a perfect relationship with Him. We began life as perfect beings, made in the image of God, but quickly fell by the wayside, tempted by the seedier side of life. Today’s Bible, which is a collection of historical documents written as far back as 1400 BC, tells the story of the beginnings of the Jewish race, and of the prophets who tried to get them back on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately they didn’t succeed, and eventually God himself provided the ‘scapegoat’ for man’s sin – His Son, in the human form of Jesus Christ, born into this earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. God wanted to bring man back into a loving relationship with Him, but being holy and perfect, was unable to accept us as we were. We had to be cleansed of sin, and begin a new life, and to do that we needed a role model.

God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit have always existed. God gave his Son to us on earth for a period of about 30 years. This was Jesus. He was born as a Jew in Palestine, grew up, learned the carpenter’s trade, and began His ministry about the age of 30 years. For the following 3 years he amazed people with His teachings and His miracles, until, in accordance with the prophecies, He was put to death by crucifixion.

Jesus knew He was going to die. He was totally perfect and blameless, just as His heavenly Father, but God’s plan was to transfer on to Jesus all the sins of the world - past, present and future – so that we, in turn, could be clean again and be forgiven by God. Jesus took our punishment, because He knew that God loves us. He stood in our place, and endured hours of torture, and a terrible death, so that we could be saved. Jesus, although suffering a human death, was resurrected on the third day, and after spending some more time on earth, ascended into heaven.

God’s promise is, that if we believe that Jesus died for us, and if we are sorry for our sins, then our spirits also will defeat death, and go to heaven, but the only way to the Father, is through the Son. Vague belief in some kind of ‘superior being’ is not enough, because that doesn’t affect our attitudes or conduct in this life.

Now perhaps I’ve lost some of you by the third paragraph. Perhaps you think it’s all nonsense. I can’t help that, except to say that thousands of scholars over the centuries have researched the Bible’s origins. Historians, archaeologists, theologians and all sorts of learned people have tested it through and through, and found more to substantiate it, than to discredit it. Some major event started the Christian movement. It had to be big. It had to be unforgettable. It had to be worth dying for, because thousands of people over the centuries have literally given their lives for this faith. Only Jesus’ Resurrection fits the bill!

So how do you feel? Still not interested? Wondering a bit? Dare you write this Jesus off?

I’m sitting here at 1.30 am in the morning, wondering myself if there’s anything more I can say, which will make a difference. I’ve experienced the Holy Spirit. I didn’t imagine it. He’s changed my life. He’s done this for millions of others too.

Why be left out?

21/08/06

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A FALLEN WORLD

So, what’s wrong with our world today?

I expect we could all produce a long list of complaints, covering war, famine, disease, poverty, racial intolerance, inequality, loneliness, and pain. Amongst all that, good and evil are two very obvious combatants, with fair-minded people all over the world, doing their best to right wrongs, and bring everything a little more into balance.

Whether you have clear views about God, or not, and whether you think about the origin of man, or don’t give it a moment’s thought, surely everyone must agree that good and evil are everyday ingredients of our lives on this earth.

This is a huge subject, and almost impossible to get a grip on, when you consider that what one person might consider good, another might view as bad. This may be the case one day, but the next, it can all change. Situations and influences colour our daily lives, and some people move with change, while others flow against the tide. We are constantly interacting with each other, and this can either promote well-being, or result in friction.

We are also driven today by the desire for material wealth. The world is upside down, inside out, and back to front. Sometimes we don’t know if we’re coming or going. Fashions come and go, possessions come and go, and circumstances change – none of it really matters, for you can’t take it with you when you go, and, as the bible says -

‘How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

Christians believe that in the beginning, there was no evil. God intended us all to be equal, and to love, respect and cooperate with each other, but Satan tempted and deceived man. New motives of selfishness, greed, worldliness, jealousy, hate and other evils then came into the world. People’s attitudes turned away from considering ‘their neighbour’ first, to considering themselves instead, and out of this grew a multitude of perversions, which have grown and developed over the centuries. Today’s world is the product of that loss of faith. Today’s atrocities are not God’s fault, they’re ours,……….. but God has the answer!

God loves everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve done. All sins are forgiven, if you are sorry, accept Jesus’ death and resurrection, and look to Him for guidance. He will help you personally rise above the problems of this world.

Somewhere in you already, is a little piece of God. We were made ‘in His image’. Think about it. Haven’t you ever wondered where your ‘nice side’ comes from, and your sense of right and wrong? Don’t you feel good after you’ve helped someone? When was the last time you sat quietly, and wondered at the beauty of a butterfly, or stood on a cliff top and gazed at the majesty of the sea? When were you last truly happy?

Now this isn’t all pie in the sky! It’s real! The peace and joy, and growth in awareness, which you can experience, when you bring God into your daily life is amazing. Christianity isn’t just dull, cold, blind, lifeless faith. It’s a warm, living and powerful reality, which heals and transforms. I know this, because of the improvements in my own life. As my home page says, I was looking at things from the wrong point of view. Like everyone else, I had been brought up with a set of expectations of what life and marriage might bring, and when that didn’t seem to be happening, despite, I thought, my doing everything right, I began to feel very negative about my situation, and could only see how much I was suffering, what was lacking, and how unfair it all was. My experience of God, and the things He has shown me over the last two years have changed my outlook. Some problems still exist, but they are decreasing, and I have new ways to deal with them. Not only that, but God’s intervention in my life has spilled over into the lives of others, and they too have seen benefits.

So, if you’ve tried everything else, and everyone else, or are still coping with this life on your own, then why not give God a chance? You only have to ask Him, with a full heart, and then take the steps He shows you. You will not believe the clarity, strength and fulfilment than He can bring to your everyday life.

September 2006


SPIRITS, ANGELS AND A MODERN LINK

My life’s path brought me to Christ, after taking a fairly heavy detour via some New Age psychic pursuits.

If you’ve read my home page, you’ll maybe have gathered that I was a horoscope junky. This wasn’t just the odd random magazine horoscope; I was paying monthly online subscriptions for a year or so to a well known astrological site, I’d had my chart done, and at the height of my relationship problems was also spending a lot of money talking to mediums and psychics on the telephone. It took me some time to realise that all I was getting in return were platitudes, false hopes, and conjecture. I was addicted to my daily fix – my moods rose or fell according to what I read for the day – and it wasn’t until a couple of years later, that I could see I was still in the same place, with the same problems, but rather out of pocket.

The Alpha course picked me up and set me moving again, but in a new fascinating direction. My amazing experience of the Holy Spirit far outclassed any ‘buzz’ I ever got talking to a psychic, and my life has progressed by leaps and bounds in a direction so blessed, that fulfilment is now an everyday experience. Yes, we have the occasional problem, but on the whole we are guided around life’s obstacles, and the journey is so powerful and positive that I know that God’s Spirit is with us in a very real sense.

My reflections on the events of the last few years led me one day to read a very interesting book called “What your Horoscope Doesn’t Tell You”, by ex-astrologer Charles Strohmer. Now I have never said that there’s nothing in astrology or psychic phenomena, because I always felt there was; my feeling simply was that, in the long run, it got me nowhere, and while I followed its dictates, I felt like a piece of flotsam drifting on some kind of astrological sea. I felt controlled, not empowered as I now am. Mr Strohmer’s book, based on his own professional experience, revealed so many startling theories about the workings of the spirit world, and the truth behind popular psychic practices, that I felt quite unnerved when I thought back to my own earlier associations with it. His revelations were also supported by what the Bible says about the spirit world.

My understanding, after reading his book, is that psychics aren’t necessarily talented in themselves. In many cases, a psychic picks up clues from the client and feeds that information back to the client. The client remains unaware of what has happened, and thinks a spirit has been contacted. Mr Strohmer also suggests that some psychics may be channelling messages from spirits in the general spirit realm. It seems that deceiving spirits could have been around when your relative was alive, and were aware of conversations which took place then. They just relay the necessary information to the medium, who then passes it back to you! So you’re simply paying for something you already know! Quite possibly the mediums themselves are being deceived as well. I know I was. It seems unlikely that the medium actually has any contact with a departed relative, and this appears to be borne out by Scripture.

Now I’m not going to attempt here to explain the truth behind horoscopes, tarot or anything else in the book. It’s far too complicated – you’ll have to read that for yourself. Suffice to say, it’s all rather risky stuff. Nor will I venture an opinion publicly on reported benevolent experiences of the spirit world, or on other New Age practices where there seem to be unexplained forces at work. I’m just not qualified to do that, nor do I feel any particular urge to try. Our world is a combination of darkness and light, but there are shadows too, and as I learned quite recently, Christians don’t walk in the shadows – we don’t need to – we have the Light! So, I don’t understand everything, but I don’t need to; I simply stick with what I do know to be the Truth.

What I can say is that the spirit world is very real, but we only generally receive small glimpses of its existence, and for this reason alone we should be wary. I view it as a large dark hole, of which we know practically nothing. My own experience, and the advice of others I have spoken to, has taught me that it is best left alone. The Bible also says to give it a wide berth, as this is Satan’s realm, and Satan is known as the ‘Deceiver’. Certainly, he successfully wasted my time and money for at least two years.

If you want to speak to God, you just don’t take this detour. You go directly to Him, in prayer. There’s no need for ritual, for appointments or for money to change hands. He is totally free, open 24/7, and totally approachable. He can take anything you care to throw at Him, but will answer you in love.

So who is Satan? Well, he is the epitome of evil, and the Bible says that, since the fall, he rules this earth, aided and abetted by other deceiving spirits. One essential point to remember though, is that God is not the equal and opposite of Satan. - God is infinitely superior! - God is the Creator of everything, including the angels, and Satan was simply a fallen angel, and now prowls the lower spirit realm looking for mortals to confound and deceive. By tying us up in worldly pursuits, he aims to keep us away from God, so that we lose our way to eternal life. God will deal with Satan eventually, but until that appointed day, He allows us to make our own choice as to whom we shall follow.

It’s a shame in a way that more is not made known publicly by the established church about the spirit realm. I imagine that’s partly due to the political correctness of the world we live in. The church appears to emphasize its positive beliefs about God, but spends little time educating the man in the street about the supernatural. There is therefore this yawning gap between the church, as seen by the public, and the people they try to reach out to, many of whom are seeking spiritual help and enlightenment, but by other means.

The psychic realm is big business these days, and the church tends to lose out here. It's almost as if the world says - 'If you have a problem, you can ask a psychic, or, you can ask God, and they're two completely different things'. Nowhere is it publicised how these are linked, and I don't see the church jumping up and down trying to explain it to all of us! Most people believe that astrology is either nonsense, or harmless, and that psychics are possibly gifted people.

No one stands up and shouts '' Wait a minute, there! When you consult a psychic, you're actually contacting a lower level spirit being. Why not go to the Top Man in charge of the spirit world? Ask God! Then it won't cost you anything! '' Wow! If only I’d known that four years ago!

The sad thing is that people who regularly make in depth contact with the supernatural – and I don’t mean God – seem to believe that it’s terrific – a gateway into a fourth dimension – but don’t appreciate that it’s just a very large dark cul-de-sac! They’ve missed God’s motorway. They’ve ignored His signposts and all His promptings. They’ve dismissed the sacrifice of His Son, and prefer to seek their own godhead in the dark recesses of their own minds. There they can become ‘fair game’ for those deceiving spirits, laying in wait for a nice empty mind to infiltrate.

As part of my Holy Spirit experience, described on my home page, I was cleansed of my contact with all other spirit beings. I can’t emphasise enough that this was not just a mental or faith process – it was a powerful physical and spiritual experience! This was God showing me personally what it was all about, and believe me, spiritualism couldn’t hold a candle to it!

I’m happy to say that now, fringes of the church are making more realistic contact with mankind, and are beginning to show spiritual seekers just how God can work in their lives, healing, guiding and satisfying.

Why don’t you give Him a try? Go on – go right to the top – He’s waiting for YOU.

Joyce
2 January 07

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A SPIRITUAL LIFE


So, what does your life mean to you?

How many dimensions do you have? Is it just money, success, sex, and a material life?

Perhaps you feel there’s more to life than that?

Perhaps you’re a fitness fanatic?

Or, do you have a yearning for knowledge?

What motivates and drives you? What satisfies you, and for how long?

How open-minded are you?

Who, or what, is the centre of your world? Yourself? Your partner? Your family? A hobby?

How sensitive are you? Or, has the world hardened your heart?

Would you like a simpler life? Have you amassed too much clutter? Can you see a nervous breakdown on the horizon?

YOU are probably the only person on this earth who really knows how YOU feel!


For the first half of my life, I was more or less the same as everyone else. I had the same aspirations – a house, a family, a job and good health. However, also like most people, I was too caught up in the world. Life was a treadmill most of the time, and even if you could get off for a while, chances are, sooner or later, you’d have to get right back on again.

This is the time in their lives, when many people get caught up in alternative spiritualities. They are seeking some kind of release, or new meaning – as the Alpha caption says “ Is there more to life than this?” However I was lucky. I’d already experienced the world of psychics, and knew it would get me nowhere.

When my life fell apart, I reached out in desperation to that invisible entity called ‘God’, and found a new dimension – the source of all power and meaning – the Creator. I suppose it must have been similar in magnitude to discovering that the earth was in fact a globe, instead of flat, as they used to think, in that suddenly there was a mind-blowing whole new perspective to life. Yes, this dimension of the spiritual world certainly exists. You just have to be prepared to step beyond the limits of your rational mind, and then the door opens. When it’s time for you to look for the missing dimension to your life, then you will know, because there will be a restlessness that nothing else can satisfy. This is in fact God calling you into relationship with Himself, the purpose for which we were all made.

In the bible, God says: “Turn to me now, while there is still time! Give me your hearts.” (NLT Joel 2 v.12), followed by: “I will pour out my spirit upon all people.” (NLT Joel 2 v.28)

Now, I’ve been doing some additional background reading, since I last looked at alternative spiritualities in the previous article, and have been listening to teaching by John Paul Jackson *, a Christian speaker who is very experienced in this field. He notes the amazing rise in popularity of ‘psychics’ and ‘healers’, and confirms that the sources used by them are demonic, because anything spiritual that does not come in the name of Jesus must be demonic. There is no other source of good! There is no good ‘universal life force’ other than God, the Creator. This is true, even although the psychics themselves may be convinced otherwise. That is the nature of Satan’s game – deception! He steals gifts given by God, and uses them, and people, for his own purposes.

Well, Mr Jackson refers to Joel 2 v.28 above – “I will pour out my spirit upon all people” – and sees the outworking of this statement in the popularity of New Age seeking today, in that people are being drawn to the spiritual in response to stimulus by God, the only problem being that they have latched on to the wrong source, and are unknowingly dancing to the devil’s tune instead of the Creator’s. They rejected the church, and God, because at the time, they didn’t seem to provide what their own spirits were yearning for, but they found some release in consulting psychics. However, as we are pointing out here, this leads not to the true Light, but only a false hope. There is no Truth without Jesus.

Satan and his demons are master counterfeiters. It is correct that many psychics have spiritual gifts, and these were given by God, and He will not take these gifts away, but unfortunately the psychics are all tuned into the wrong channels. John Paul likens this to a TV or radio receiving system. There is only ONE God channel (in the spiritual sense), and that is approached only through Jesus. However there are many ‘alternative’ channels, all professing truth and goodness, but they are all counterfeit. They will lead you on a dark road to nowhere, if you’re lucky, and to eternal disaster if you don’t pull out in time. I know this, because as I’ve said before, I wasted two years of my life there, held fast by a ridiculous obsession, which God later showed me, although I couldn’t see it at the time! God is true to His nature, and allows us all to follow whichever path we desire, as he gave us free will. He sent His Son to show us the true path to Him, and if we follow this path, the Holy Spirit will be with us in our daily lives, helping, guiding and strengthening. God hopes that we will open the door to Christ, but if we still refuse to see His truth, then that is unfortunately our choice. God loves all of his creation, but if we continually reject Him, then He will ‘let us go’.

John Paul also confirms and clarifies the ideas of Charles Strohmer, mentioned in my previous article, in that God provides revelation to his people, whereas demons, working through psychics, only provide information. Only God knows the future. The ‘future’ that psychics ‘predict’ is not new information – it may be new to you as the customer, but it was already known to the demonic realm, as they witnessed its inception. For example, John Paul was once told that he would be contacted by letter by an old girlfriend. This sounds like prediction, but in fact the demonic world saw her writing the letter two days beforehand, so they’re simply passing on information. Even psychics who find missing people can be led by the demonic, who witnessed the abduction in the first place. Demonic sources can appear helpful, in the short term, but in the long run their aim is to keep you away from the true path to God and eternal life with Him. So you see, once you accept that we are surrounded and interwoven by both angelic and demonic entities, it’s easy to see how all this New Age stuff works.

Every now and then the Holy Spirit moves powerfully in my life, and I would like to tell you here about another personal experience. I had done the Alpha course, and was developing my faith and understanding of how God works, but these were early days and I was still labouring with my home situation. I sat with a cup of tea on my lap in the lounge, with my husband engrossed as usual in his own life, when I was aware of an incredible feeling of love passing from me to him. Just seconds before, I’d been consciously stewing in my own bitterness towards him, but now from nowhere came this contradictory sensation of total love, so real, so pure and so tangible that in my mind, I could almost see it as a bright white line travelling between us. It was as if I was wearing a hat, and the love was flowing simultaneously from the hat, parallel with the resentment, which was still flowing from me. I sat there for several minutes trying to work this out, still feeling the resentment, and denying this powerful Love bearing down upon me. I knew that was not how I felt at that time. Finally I got up and went into the kitchen, because I just couldn’t stand this paradox any longer. I felt that God had shown me that one day I would love my husband. In fact, much later, someone else interpreted it as God saying he would reach my husband through me. Hopefully both will come to be. Certainly that love that day was from God – no one on earth could love like that!

So when you start looking at spiritual matters, please respond to Jesus’ arms outstretched in love and forgiveness. Yes there are psychic sources almost on every street corner, probably looking quite harmless, and of course they would do, because if they carried a hazard warning, you’d run away, wouldn’t you!? John Paul Jackson has brought hundreds of spiritual seekers to faith, including psychics and witches, who were looking for the true Light, and he says that the process of expelling demons is not a pretty one.

So trade in your stress and materialism for joy and fulfilment. It’s not a matter of opting out of life altogether – that’s not how the Holy Spirit works. We all still have the same problems and challenges that life brings, but amazingly your capacity to deal with them changes! You see things you didn’t understand before, God speaks to you in many different ways, and there is such joy within you, even through bad times, that you’ll wish you’d had this clarity before! Jesus likened Himself to the main stem of a vine, with his followers being the branches. As believers, we are rooted in Him and supported by Him. We are never alone, but are connected forever to Him by the living power of the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus to help us in our daily lives, and lead us to the Father at the end of those lives.

Reach for the true Light. Discard all the rest, and see what it’s like living ‘outside of the box’.

Yes – there IS more to life than what you have – SO MUCH MORE!


Joyce
June 2007


* John Paul Jackson, from a 2005 conference with Mark Stibbe. Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. For more information, please visit www.streamsministries.com

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