Why should your Church be situated on top of the Hill?

By Jennifer M Valentine

During the time of the early church and the command of Christ, the church was an institution.  Though, Jesus and his followers founded the organisation as a visible manifestation of his Kingdom. But does that mean this is what our church is today in the twenty-first century?  That is hard to answer as a general principle since there are a number of different churches today and around the globe with many different characteristics.  None of these specific churches can be identified exclusively or totally with the Kingdom of God.  They contain the faithful and the imposter.  No one church follows the teachings of Jesus completely and faithfully.

With that being said, it is equally apparent that many Christians and ministers today have developed the attitude that somehow their local government is supposed to enforce by law what only the Spirit of God can enforce through grace. Let’s be plain: local government cannot do the church’s job.

Likewise, it is not even our central government’s role to undertake family duties. It is the responsibility of each mother and father to teach morality and faith to their children. Parents are given the task of disciplining and correcting their children.

The Prime Minister revealed during a No. 10 meeting with church leaders how he has been rocked by the fuel crisis and the rows over donors and the pasty tax. He said: “In the past week I’ve felt like I needed someone to pray for me.” (Telegraph, 2012)

Mr Cameron also tried to heal a rift with churches over his plans for gay marriage. In a surprise move, he hailed the “Christian fight back” on the right to wear a cross – and praised Christian values. (Daily Mail, 2012).  There is therefore a major impetus for Christians to step up in their thinking, because it is not the government’s role to step up for them.

At this point, I should make it clear that state and local governments have every right-and even the responsibility-to establish community standards. Central and local governments are legitimately within their rights to prohibit those activities deemed harmful to the health and well-being of their communities.

Many churches, locally and globally, are struggling just to stay afloat, including my own. It’s not the responsibility of the church to bail the government out of its own debt. Christ’s church is an example of thankful people who give glory to God because of his resurrection, strength and power.

There are a lot of people who have nowhere to turn and no options and they end up on the street. However, there are a great number of homeless people who are that way because of drug addiction, mental illness, and other similar circumstances.  These people need to be helped by government agencies and institutions for their specific problems. However the church is there to meet a need; which is to serve.  God is glorified as outreach efforts bless the lives of those in need.

There are many Christians who see servant hood as a lack of power because throughout history it is associated with servants or slaves. We find this stress on service throughout the Gospels and the ministry of Jesus.  It is written “who ever wants to be great among you must serve the rest like a servant” and “whoever wants to become the first among you must serve all of you like a slave.” Matthew 20:26 NIV

At such, the most important thing to remember about the Church is that it is not a mass of human beings, but of God.  The reason as to why your church should be that light house church situated high up on a hill is that Christ is not only the founder, He is also its head.

Available on Audible.co.uk

Available on Audible.co.uk

 Words Pressed: A Short Biography – copyright © 2012 Jennifer M Valentine

Fight the Good Fight

by Jennifer Valentine-Miller

If like me you have been involved in a few tussles over the years, can you also say that some of the worse confrontations were with those you thought understood you or those you were close to?  There are at least three things that can be done when being confronted or attacked. One can stand there and be insulted, move away from the situation, or defend ones-self.
In the book of Timothy we are told, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” What are you or I to do then?  “Fight the good fight of faith.” That sounds great but, what exactly is the “fight of faith” especially when there is a sense of feeling so alone. Hence, I add YOU ARE NOT alone.  Others are also fighting too, and within that there is the awareness that I or you are not the sad deceived soul who needs to get a life.  Our enemy wants us to think we are the odd one out. The more this thought pattern is eliminated from our minds, the stronger we will grow.  This is why the enemy has tries to keep us isolated.  I am told that solitary confinement is the worst place to be in prison. In order to or us to fight we need to be strong and to attempt fighting whilst in confinement will place you only two steps backwards from where you are now.

For most people a good fight is a fight that you win.  That is why therefore we must never give up. The stakes are too high. Quitting is not an option. To quit is to admit defeat. Any soldier or those in the middle of a battle have to go through a course of training before they receive an assignment. During this time they go through a very rigorous physical and mental time of training.

The sole purpose of this training is to get us ready and prepared to do the job, and be properly equipped to do whatever it takes to get the job done even under the harshest environments. However we are not doing physical battle such as what military soldiers do, we are doing spiritual battle and the training we do is in the spiritual realm. We have been given God’s amour to do battle, to defend ourselves from the onslaught of the enemy, and to take back what has been rightfully purchased for us. This doesn’t mean there won’t be a fight; it means we just keep on fighting with God’s spiritual weapons. This means that with our eyes of understanding, we have an answer.

Be aware that the enemy will work overtime to keep us from seeing the key issue of the battle. Any fighter without endurance is a fighter who will eventually give up especially during the  time of mental  battle.

Copyright © Jennifer Valentine 2012

Healing From Damaged Emotions

HEALING FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS
For what ever reason there are many individuals whose emotions are strained from all its natural resources. However, there are far too many who also keep a hold of their mental strains!

There are those too who keep up outward observances by praying but inwardly they are going deeper and deeper into disillusionment and despair. There are those whose problems were buried underground, now only find that they reappear later in all manner of illnesses, eccentricities, terribly unhappy marriages. Sometimes this can lead to the cause of emotional destructive children. There are many Christians for example who have found release from emotional hang ups and by experiencing the healing memories through God’s way of repairing. The result is wholeness and transformation for those crippled with emotional despair.

Just like a tree, the rings of the bark reveal their developmental history year after year and the autobiography of its growth. The rings are the scars of long stand painful hurts, which cause all kinds of interpersonal difficulties.

Within the rings lie our long suffering thoughts and emotions which deeply and effectively affect ones concepts, feelings and relationships.

We are made aware that counsellors constantly have to pick up the pieces of people who have been utterly disillusioned and devastated because immature Christians have tried to cast out imaginary demons. And we all know what the simplistic syndrome is. It is instructions like: read your Bible, pray, have more faith, and the most classic being you would never get depressed if you didn’t have these hang-ups. Those who say such things are not only being far from the truth but they are also being extremely insensitive towards someone who has a deep emotionally rooted problem. But most importantly, they are denying that person the pastoral care they so desperately need.

I discovered three good pointers when reading the book *Healing from Damaged Emotions by David Seamands:

(1) Does an individual want to be healed? This is what Jesus asked the sick man who was lame for thirty years (John 5:6). Do you really want to be healed or do you just want to talk about your problems.

(2) Prayer: We need to continually ask the Holy Spirit to show us what are problems are, and ask Him how we need to pray. The book of James reminds us that sometimes we do not receive because we pray for the wrong things (James 4:3)

(3) Forgiving yourself: Many will say, yes, I know that I am forgiven but I cannot forgive myself. Terms cannot be contradicted; God cannot forgive us unless we forgive ourselves. It has also been quoted that areas of darkness are buried in the sea of forgetfulness and forgiveness.  Corrie Ten Boom (a survivor from the Nazi’s occupation of Holland) once said “He then puts a sign on our past emotions which says No Fishing!  Let us not entertain our past hurts.  Leave them with Him and just walk away.

Copyright © Jennifer Valentine 2012

*Seamands, David (1981), Healing From Damaged Emotions