Jumping The Barbed Wire Fences

Galatians 6 v 1
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by
the Spirit, should restore that person gently”

As a child, I was often taken by my parents to walk in the New Forest.
I routinely loved the challenge of jumping over fences laden with
barbed wire whilst I happily ignored shouts of “use the turnstile
Jonathan !” behind me. A far more boring way to progress the walk I thought.

Often my timing wasn’t perfect and I would get stuck on the fence,
held firmly in place by the barbed wire. My woolly jumper, jeans and
socks would be caught on barbs intended to warn wandering livestock
rather than enthusiastic kids.

Invariably, I would find I had scraped or cut myself and the more I
moved to struggle free from the barbs, the more the clothes would tear
and the cuts get worst. Hence, a shout of …”help me I’m stuck !!”
would ring out.

My Dad’s advice was wise…”don’t move at all and I will unpick
you”…my dad knew the key to setting me free was that I stopped
trying to get free independently.

Christians on the barbs
God loves his people. He wants them to enjoy him now and forever.
Still, there are so many barbs that we can be caught on and the
variety is endless. Over-consumption of food or alcohol, pride,
addiction to shopping, pornography, gripping fears, co-dependant
relationships, television programme addiction,  and the list goes on.

So when do we need help from others ?
A conference speaker clarified the difference between the normal
struggle with sin (you just need to be alive for that 1 John 1 v 8)
and the being caught on the barbed wire fence.

She said “Someone who is caught cannot survive without the
substance/thing/person whereas someone struggling can survive – they
are able to move forward freely.

The challenge to the church is to invest time in people who find
themselves caught but are shouting “help”….and, in humility, to
examine our own lives.

1. We cannot help a Christian until they shout “help” – deception is
Satan’s trap.
2. Once they shout “help”  we approach them in gentle love, affirming
our own weakness in appropriate areas to encourage them that they are
not alone.
3. Preventative maintenance – we need a culture of accountability
whereby we walk in the light with someone. This is a fierce battle as
Satan hates it ! I think this is a rarity unfortunately and that’s why
Satan fights to keep your problem secret.

So lets help people to come off the barbed wire fence in gentleness and walk in
the light with each other.

 

by Jon Gledhill, a member of Hope Church Luton

 

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Hangover Filters: What would Jesus believe?

Godly agreements v Ungodly agreements

Sounds a bit holy but you may be surprised by just how many words or phrases you accept that are just not true, and how catching attitudes can be. When you spend time with people you hear all sorts of opinions and pains. Often we fail to realise the holes these make in our filters and how they can rob us of our freedom and joy.

Take fear for instance. The bible says ‘do not fear’, and yes some fear is healthy when it keeps us safe, but not when it controls our thoughts or actions. Have you ever noticed how the fear of the dentist spreads or fear of spiders or mice?

When we fail to disagree with someone it can open a door in our heart to something that is just not true. Spiders are not fearful. They do not jump out at you and are not going to sink huge fangs in you and poison you, in England at any rate! The dentist does not want to hurt you, infact the pain from not going to the dentist can be far worse.

Watch out! If you spend time with hurting people who think that ‘men / women are useless’  it could affect your marriage or relationships. Like mud, these attitudes can stick to us unless we clean them off.

Perhaps it is something more personal, like who you are…you are not useless, ugly or a ‘bear of little brain’. You are created by God, chosen, and blessed. You have access to the wisdom and storehouses of the God who created everything.

News flash! Teenagers do not have to be rebellious: Wisdom says  train your children in the way that they should go and children respect your parents. Parents do not vex your children. Do not fall into a world trap. Help them, they need it. I am not talking control, there are decisions and actions they will take that you do not agree with, but let them be in full view of the facts, let them see all sides of the decision process so learn to talk with them and be real with them.

The bible is there to help us, guide us and teach us in the ways that we should go. The wisdom contained within its pages can help us make wise choices and decisions that lead to immense freedom and joy even in the midst of extreme struggles. Often it is not about changing what we are doing but the way that we think; our heart attitude.

As you start this new year ask God to detox your heart and mind. Whilst you do not want to offend people by disagreeing to their face all the time, learn to filter what you hear in your heart and freedom and joy will follow.

Learn to ask….What would Jesus believe?

1 Timothy 4:7, Ephesians 1, Ephesians 6:1-4, 1 John 4:18, Philippians 2:14-15.

Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team - you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church
Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team – you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church

 

 

Hangover Filters! Forgiveness Or Unforgiveness?

Last week I talked generally about filters that help cause hangovers. This week I want to start to be more specific.

 

One fundamental filter that causes so many hangovers, headaches, heartaches and hiccups in life is that of unforgiveness. More family breakdowns happen over the Christmas period than at any other time of the year. Why? Because we spend time with people, people we expect to know us, know what we want and how we function. These people fail to live up to our expectations, we get upset with them, we might try to excuse their action or omission, but at the end of the day they have offended us and our best cause of action is to forgive and clear all the debris away. Our action, not theirs. Failure to do so will mean it will linger on, clouding our judgement and thought processes giving us a headache for years to come.

 

Jesus sets this fundamental life filter in place at the cross and resurrection. Before his death he audibly asks his Father to forgive the world for crucifying him. After his resurrection he returns to his disciples and explains that when we forgive others they are forgiven, when we do not forgive others they are not forgiven. We are responsible for our attitudes and actions.  When we do not forgive an attitude, action or omission it is not covered by the love of Jesus, but the bitterness of the world.

 

As Christians we live in the love of Christ, but this can become tainted by the bitterness of unforgiveness, zapping our strength, re directing our energies and tainting our relationships. We are responsible for sorting this, no one else. Jesus did not say; pretend it did not happen, it did not hurt or that it was OK. He began His resurrected life as he finished His old one, in forgiveness. Through Him God forgives us.

 

Whilst our drinking fines have already been paid by Jesus, if you were breathalysed travelling into the New Year, what would your reading be?

 

As we look forward to the year ahead we can put down the problems and disappointments of yesterday, last week and the last years. Let us follow the way of love and forgiveness and take care not to drink from the world of retribution, rebellion and rejection that leads to hopelessness and despair. We can navigate the bumpy road of life much better with a clear head!

 

Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 23:34, John 20:23, Philippians 2:5-11,

 

Jane

 

Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team - you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church
Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team – you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church

 

 

Helping a New Year Hangover

 

Fact: We all suffer from hangovers and sadly some will last a lifetime.

 

‘But I don’t drink!’ I hear you say.

 

Yes you do! We all do.

 

Every second of every minute of every day you are drinking and not all of it is healthy and wholesome. Often it is contaminated and downright poisonous but we drink it anyway. Sometimes very willingly. Some of us are addicted to some very damaging cocktails.

 

The good news is that we can get rid of the results and even put filters in place to stop noxious substances from doing us bodily harm.

 

Of course I am not talking about alcohol.

 

I am talking about life, about what we see, hear and experience every day.

As we go into the New Year we may be tempted to make resolutions we will struggle to keep because we are still ‘drinking’ in the contaminated world. Without the correct filters (thought processes) in place it becomes hard to change our attitudes and actions because we lack the right motivation. When we understand why we do things we can choose to change because we realise we can.

 

Over the next few weeks I will look at some potential filters that can help us change our attitudes and actions.

 

Jane

 

Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team - you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church
Jane is a member of Hope Church Luton and leader of the Welcome Team – you will meet them on the door when you first arrive at Hope Church