Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Creation, Evolution and Misinformation!

Yes its that old chestnut again. Ye Olde Creation vs Evolution stuff! I have been perusing the blogosphere for articles relating to the debate on Creation and Evolution and all that goes with it. I am basically quite fed up and sad at the amount of misinformation that is peddled around. This goes both ways sadly.

I kind of expect it from secular media, secular scientists like Dawkins and people in general who have an ax to grind against anything religious or creationist. However it should not happen the other way. Christian scientists and apologists should be above reproach in representing creationism and in debating the issues regarding problems in evolutionary theory. It really annoys me when I see Creation Theory repeatedly misrepresented or out right lied about in the media and in Blog articles. A lot of the time it just falls to the base level of name calling and other such childish behaviour. Like stating a supposed belief of creationists which is totally false and purposefully makes creationists out to be moronic idiots for believing such things. Richard Dawkins is a master at this. The interviews I have seen recently of him have incensed me. When an intelligent and talented scientist such as him resorts to such pathetic techniques it is a sad day indeed. If he can't just state his case without the vitriolic and childish personal attacks then he should just scuttle back to Oxford, shut up and grow up!

It really saddens me when I see well meaning Christians misrepresenting Evolutionary theory and quote mining to try and show dissent in the ranks of evolutionary scientists. There should be total integrity and truth in all things stated by Christians who speak up about creationism and evolution.

Now I am no expert and make no claim to be. All I have is the ability to think for myself when reading what others have written. Not being able to think for oneself is one of the things that I see regularly said of creationists and Christians for that matter. Now this is simply nonsense of course and a good example of the methods used to discredit people with any religious conviction. In any walk of life there are people who like to be spoon fed knowledge and don't want to use their brains. This is sadly true of Christians as well as any one else. However that simply does not mean that everyone is like that. It is as stupid and ignorant as someone saying that anyone who believes in evolution is a brainless idiot and has thrown their brain aside.

Here are some of the things that I see written which to me are just either ignorant views or deliberate misrepresentations:

  • Creationists don't believe in Evolution!
    Wrong! Creationists do believe in evolution! Just a certain form of it. In evolutionary theory there are two types of evolution.

    Macro Evolution
    , molecules to man type evolution where one kind of living thing can evolve into a totally and distinct kind. This states that all life evolved from a single common ancestor progressively getting more complex over time through random genetic mutation coupled with natural selection. As I understand it of course, feel free to correct me if I am wrong!

    Now the second type of evolution is what is known as
    Micro Evolution, or evolution within kind. This is where evolution occurs but is confined to evolution within distinctly definable life kinds. To give a basic example there are cat kinds and dog kinds. No matter how much time is given they may evolve and diversify over time within kind to produce new species but will remain distinctly cat kind or dog kind. Very basic description I know but hey I am not a scientist! This is what Darwin saw on Galapogos with his finches and what breeders of various animals have done for years. It is what viruses do when they adapt and change or 'evolve'.

    Micro Evolution is fact and can be observed and is the kind of evolution Creationists accept. Macro evolution has never been observed in the laboratory or in nature and is what is not accepted by creation science. It is one theory to explain how we got here and one interpretation of the evidence in fossils and other life sciences. If you can't see it happening you cannot falsify it by experiment therefore it cannot be stated as fact. It is a theory! Also don't go claiming it has equal status with the theory of Gravity or any other scientific theory accepted as fact by observation, it doesn't!

  • Creationism isn't true science!
    Now this is that argument that says, since you can't prove scientifically God creating things by His word, creationism isn't true science and should not be treated as anything other than philosophical/religious belief and has no place in scientific discussion or debate. Now on the one had this is quite true. If for the sake of argument God is true and can do what He likes then of course he can override any scientific principal since He created them. So therefore in those instances obviously you cannot use science to explain them. However that does not mean you cannot use science to investigate and try and explain theories of what or how it happened, of what natural laws and principals God may have used.

    In evolutionary science, theories are postulated when new discoveries are made in biology, geology, cosmology, paleontology etc... Scientific experimentation in whatever form is then done to try and falsify those theories so they will either stand up or if not be discarded. However without doubt if you come from a conviction that evolution is true then this will shape your theories when faced with trying to explain the evidence in front of you. There is no escaping that fact.

    This is exactly what Creation Science does. It is true science in exactly the same sense evolutionary science is true science because all it is doing is developing theories to explain a certain point if view and belief and applying some of the same scientific principles to again falsify and either continue with as a theory or drop due to lack of scientific support.

    Don't ever believe any scientist comes at evidence with a totally open and objective view. It simply doesn't happen. If you believe one thing you will interpret that evidence in the light of that world view.

  • You can't prove special creation!
    Quite true in once sense but as explained above you can use the same scientific principles to support the theory of Special Creation in the same way you do Evolutionary theory. There are scientists who believe in creationism in the same scientific disciplines as those that don't, who carry out their work just as well. Who are just as academically gifted as the next egg head. They carry out research in the same way as non creationists using the same evidence but may draw different conclusions. No different from Evolutionary theory. Neither can be observed since we weren't there but both viewpoints can be examined, hypothesised and experimentally proved of falsified.

  • Creationists don't believe in science and are a threat to modern science!
    This one is just nonsense talk and any amount of reading of serious creation science research will show it. This one is just scare mongering and panic among atheistic evolutionary scientists and is good fun for the media to promote. No more to be said really other than support it with something solid!
Now I know nothing I say will convince any hardened evolutionary zealot that creationists are anything other than deluded, mentally ill or simply too ignorant to be in the gene pool type people. However to everyone else, lets stop resorting to name calling, let's grow up and have sensible and respectful debates about the whole thing. Let good science speak for itself! It is not going to go away no matter how hard the cult of Richard Dawkins and his followers try to make it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Iona Concert - Eastbourne 28th October 2006

Last night I went to see one of my favourite bands. I have been an Iona fan ever since seeing them at the Green Belt festival back in about 1990/91. The concert was held at the Kings Church Eastbourne. This is a large warehouse type building on the large Eastbourne Industrial estate.

The gig was organised by a charity called Computers for Charities which recycles old PC's for schools and people in countries that would otherwise struggle to get access to a computer.

Iona were as usual quite brilliant in their performance and musicianship. The choice of songs was a little strange I thought. They obviously did quite a few from the new Album 'Circling Hour'. However I thought they did too many of their instrumental tracks and too few vocal ones. Joanne Hogg, the lead singer, was coughing occasionally and kept drinking water to maybe her voice was not at full capacity. However when she did sing it was clear, emotive and powerful as it usually is.

The latest album is not my favorite album they have done. With several tracks seeming quite flat in their recorded form, not the usual emotional impact their songs normally have. However live they sounded better I thought. They did perform my favorite track from the new album called 'the factory of magnificent souls' which was apparently written for Nelson Mandela about his incarceration on Robin Island.

They also performed the usual array of complex jiggs which are always impressive to watch. Seeing Dave Bainbridge's fingers moving at a blinding pace around his guitar fretboard is always jaw dropping with Troy matching him note for note on the Uilleann Pipes. Frank van Essen on the drums and Violin was also a sight to behold. As a drummer myself I just sit and stare in unbelief as I watch him move around the kit. It makes you just want to give up and never play again. He doesn't play violin and drum at the same time by the way.

Well that was the gig, overall a good solid performance and sound, mixing could have been better but thay may have been down to the hall possibly or where we were sitting. Awlays a pleasure and inspiration to watch professional musicians do their thing and to be glad there are Christian musicians who care as much about the music as the words.

Now a rant: Flag waving!

Now call me Mr Angry of Horsham but when it comes to waving flags I have to draw the line at being calm and nice. In case you are wondering what I am talking about there is this Christian phenomenon of waving coloured flags in church. Now it is one thing that really winds me up to the point of wanting to shout at whoever is doing it. (Please note of course I would never do this and am only expressing my immediate thoughts!) I know, I know not very Christian. Hey I am on this path of becoming more like Jesus but I am still human and imperfect. I find is distracting, annoying, and dangerous and there are some who think it has some spiritual power, or the colours represent some character of God. Utter theological NONSENSE!

The reason I bring this up is there was a bloke last night at the gig who evidently was chief flag waver at this church. Through the whole concert he was waving different coloured flags down near the stage. Some of the time at the front. Now call me old fashioned but when you go to see a gig and have paid money for the tickets you want to see the band, not have them obscured by some person and a flag. The folks at the front to the left must have had the patience of saints to put up with it.

DON'T DO IT.....................................EVER!

Rant over! Breathe and calm!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Who is to blame for infidelity and sexual assualt? Australian Muslim cleric creates uproar!

Another article on the BBC Website caught my attention this week. Now I know full well the media reports things completely out of context to distort what was said in order to support the journalists particular angle. That taken into account I still find this article astonishing if this cleric meant even what he claimed he was indicating. To quote the article:

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside... and the cats come and eat it... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat?" he asked.

The uncovered meat is the problem, he went on to say.

"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred," he added.
Sheikh Hilali also condemned women who swayed suggestively and wore make-up,

Now even the most generous of readings of that indicate that he puts the blame of Marital infidelity or pre-marital sex strictly in the lap of the woman, let alone the possible implications of sexual assault. It is basically saying, to pull his analogy apart, that men are nothing more than animals driven by instinct and that faced with a beautiful half naked woman will have no choice but to attack or have sex with her.

This if I am not mistaken is one of the leading reasons why Muslim men insist on their wives etc being covered up in public where they may be observed by other men. The lady who was suspended for wearing her veil when in class teaching children said it was only in the presence of a male teacher that she insisted on wearing it.

The point being, unless I am completely missing the point is that it seems to be in the Muslim male mindset, either culturally or for religious reasons that a woman should be covered for fear she might cause a man to jump her if she were to show any part of her skin. Placing the responsibility on the woman and not the man to control his impulses. If that is not some form of oppression to women I don't know what is. If anyone can enlighten me on any other reason the wearing of the veil and the covering up of a woman in Islam is required I would love to hear from you. Now of course I accept that not all Muslim's follow such strict dress codes and are more moderate etc!

Now I am a devout Christian and I think that a woman should dress reasonably modestly and not wear clothes that leave so little to the imagination that they may as well not be there. After all it is often what is not revealed that is sexy rather than just letting it all hang out. Wearing very little does however encourage the sexualisation of women as objects and not people, the media being very responsible for that. That said it is squarely on a man to act responsibly when faced with any woman no matter how attired. A man is entirely responsible for his actions and has a choice in his actions and how he behaves. Hence if a woman does choose to wear very revealing attire in public it is up to the individual man to behave in a morally correct way.

Now to take it back to my title. Sexual infidelity, in this context being sex outside marriage is obviously the responsibility of both parties. It is a choice made by both, usually and is nothing to do with what one may be wearing in in any given situation. Again extra marital affairs are nothing to do with the dress code of the woman and are the choice of both parties regardless of circumstances. Any sexual assault is squarely the fault of the attacker and not the attacked. No amount of perceived provocation can excuse any form of attack on a woman or man.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Turning a blind eye to vandalism!! Do we fear our youth?

It is very interesting that this article on the BBC News site was published this week. The reason being that an incident happened last Wednesday night in Horsham town centre that highlighted this very issue.

I was attending a church small group evening at our church offices just off the central high street. When I arrived a couple of others had noticed some youths throwing a brick at the New Horsham bus shelter, made largely of glass I will add. As they carried on one of the others asked if I had a mobile with a camera as he intended to go and film them. Instead I went with him to see what they were up to. As we were approaching we heard this loud bang and saw 2 teenage girls run away and discard a brick as they ran. As we rounded the corner we saw the telephone box outside Argos had been smashed. Now the person I was with ran ahead towards a groups of youths round the fountain. I just stood and stared at the glass and shook my head in sadness and saw that the two girls had run some way down the street. We then decided to return to the offices and phone the police. Well he did, I didn't as I assumed the whole thing was caught on CCTV as Horsham town centre is well covered. He gave a description of the girls to the police and a little while later they were caught. I don't know what happened to them, probably just a don't do it again ticking off!!!!

Now this highlighted the whole issue of the BBC article to me. My attitude was to not get too involved and I was certainly not going to put my personal safety at risk for the sake of a smashed window. If it was a person being attacked I would hope I would do something. But anyway I just though let CCTV cover it and what could I do. The other guy ran after some youths but I thought. 'What would you do when you got there? What would you say?'. You cannot lay a finger in any way on a youth or even defend yourself if attacked without the danger of ending up being prosecuted yourself. Those youth certainly didn't give a stuff what anyone said to them or have thought for the consequences of their actions.

When I was their age I was at home doing homework or watching TV or anything else but loitering around a town centre in the evening. I was not allowed to by my mum. I respected that and it didn't bother me. Is it any wonder our youth are acting the way they are. Parents don't teach their children boundaries, don't teach respect for adults or others property. Don't spend time with their kids talking to them, loving them, accepting them. At least not the ones who's teenage kids are running around away from home, on a school night and getting themselves into trouble. Stop treating kids like mini-adults, even at primary age. Discipline and love go hand in hand. If you don't discipline in love and set firm boundaries don't be surprised when your kids run around with no idea what is right and wrong, no idea what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour or even care which they pursue. Take some responsibility and teach it and model it to your children!

Now I realise this issue is more complicated than just parenting skills. Of course it is, social and domestic problems, substance abuse both parents and children, poverty, peer pressure and any number of other influences all converge on any individual to influence their behaviour and attitude. However I do believe parenting is the core influence on a child and individual responsibility is of paramount importance in our society. All the above things may influence each person but ultimately we make a choice to behave in the way we do. No teenager can claim their upbringing caused them to behave a certain way, influence yes but cause no!

We all have the capability to choose between right and wrong, to remain inside the law or break it. To take responsibility for our street, our neighborhoods and towns. To stop building walls around our selves and deferring responsibility to someone else.

Did I take responsibility for what happened in Horsham last week, not really! Should I have tried to stop the vandalism, probably! Ultimately did I care that much, not as much as I should have! If we all took responsibility for our own sphere of influence then our society would be a better place to live, children would grow up safer and more secure, having hope in their lives and a sense of who they are and their place on this planet we all inhabit.

Edinburgh University - A not so tolerant place to be!

It would seem that University, that once great place of tolerance and freedom of expression has become as polarised and intolerant as the rest of society when it comes to expression of Christian beliefs. When I read This Article I was frankly astonished, saddened and not a little angered by it.

A course run by the Edinburgh University Christian Union to study and look at the biblical view of sex to be in the lifelong commitment of marriage has been branded 'homophobic' by the university's Student Representative Council (SRC). Pickets and demonstrations have been organised with the intention to disrupt the course if it goes ahead.

Another quote reads:

'CUs across the country are due to run the Pure course, which has met with widespread criticism and even prompted the launch of a counter-campaign called Stop Pure by liberal students and gay and lesbian activists.' (my emphasis added)

I think this is what Jesus was talking about when he said you would be persecuted for standing up in my name. It is quite obvious that certain minority groups are threatened by such a course but to create a campaign called 'Stop Pure' is astonishing. It basically says we do not want to be pure but to live a life of impurity! To me that name, probably unintentionally, acknowledges that the path they have chosen is not a morally correct one.

The article also states quite reasonably that the viewpoint expressed in the course also points as much to heterosexual sex outside of marriage as it does homosexual sex as being not in line with the biblical viewpoint. They are not preaching it in the corridors, it is a course that people can voluntarily attend. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, they are discussing a view point held by Christians who believe the bible. If society starts going down the path of repressing even that kind of freedom of expression then God help us all! I mean that in a very literal sense!

To label the course 'homophobic' goes back to something I wrote a few weeks ago about society pandering to minority groups, as long as they aren't Christian and letting them influence public policy because people in government are afraid to say no to these groups. In this case the SRC of Edinburgh University has caved in to I would guess internal pressure. I brand the not letting the course go ahead as 'Christianophobic'. Sadly when the tables are turned no one gives a stuff. It just shows the total hypocrisy of it all. Muliculturalism at it best!!!!!!!!!

The even worse thing was that the University Chaplain won't hold the course at the chapel for fear of upsetting people. Oh for goodness sake, how ineffectual and pathetic is that coming from an ordained minister. Grow a back bone or retire if you can't stand up for what you claim to believe.

I pray the CU has the courage and faith to go ahead with the course and that even this publicity will make it a resounding success!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Drums, Life and that Dawkins bloke!


What a difference a day can make to ones mood and co-ordination. I played my drums in church on Sunday and was in 'the zone' so to speak. Meaning I was awake and was able to play roughly what I wanted to. The sticks flowed, sort of and my timing was pretty good. However I went to a music practice last night and it could not have been a more different story. I didn't sleep Sunday night so was tired and had a short attention span all day. Once I had setup my drums at the practice I kind of lost the will to play. I was out of time, lacked any confidence and could not concentrate.


Life is like that for me at the moment, very up and down. I have had wonderful revelations from God and He has been teaching me much. However in between I have had some quite black moments where I have felt so down and down right miserable. I cover this up a lot of the time as it is not nice to be around someone feeling like that. At work you just get on with it which is often a good thing.

I reckon the deep sadness etc... could be the result of God stirring things up within me that I have been ignoring for a while. I think He wants me to face more of the anger and pain inside me and to heal more of it. The unfortunate result of this is it means emotionally I end up quite vulnerable. I think in some instances the enemy attacks that and pulls me down. Goes back to the same predictable attacks as someone recently said to me. Oh well, so that is my life currently.

While I think of it pop over to this link and record your diary/blog for the day to go into this national archive of life in October 2006.


I have been reading a lot of stuff around Richard Dawkins' latest fanatical rantings, in his book 'The God Delusion', on various forums etc... I then came across this link for a lecture by Alister McGrath about Dawkins' beliefs and how they don't stand up to criticism or logic. It makes good reading!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Dangers of blogging!

I came across a post today on a blog I was reading about the possibility of libel cases being brought against bloggers. It can be read here.

It raises interesting questions about how far you can go with blogging before you cross the line of some law somewhere. As yet I don't think anyone has been successfully sued yet for a blog article, fired yes but not sued. However I don't believe it will be long before this happens. Probably in America, the litigation centre of the world.

However it got me thinking how long it will be before as Christians we have to be careful what we publish on the web. Already in the UK the PC brigade in government have almost made it illegal to offend anyone, certainly on religious grounds. How long before it is illegal to stand up in public and say Jesus Christ is the Son of God for fear or upsetting certain other religions. Or to claim the Christian truth of Christ being the only way to God.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in being graceful and loving towards my fellow human and I try not to consciously offend people. However that does not mean that people will not get offended by the message of the Gospel but you simply cannot make it a legal issue. It is too subjective, I am offended by much I see around me but it is part of living in a fallen world. I am sure it won't come to that ever, the British public is already sick of having its freedoms curbed in the name of security from the 'War on Terra' and from the government pandering too much to certain minority groups with loud voices!

The article I linked to is really aimed at commenting on libelous claims and basically slandering or lying about someone on a blog. As it rightly points out a Christian should be above reproach in this area. Think carefully about everything you blog about!

Friday, October 06, 2006

How Problems Occur and how they may be helped! (updated 08/10)

After my last marathon article I had flittering doubts about how biblical I was and if I was correct in saying what I said. Probably the devils attempts to undermine me. However then in my bible reading notes for that day the late great Selwyn Hughes came to the rescue and said the following in reference to John 7:37 where Jesus says 'If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink!'

In my opinion, the biggest single preventative to us having feet like "hinds feet" is a stubborn commitment to independence. This reflects itself in the lives of every one of us - even those who have been on the Way for several decades. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, who were designed to experience fulfillment by being dependent on God, decided to act independently of Him. Sin can be summed up as a 'Declaration of independence' - an attempt to do for ourselves what only God can do for us.

What happened in the garden of Eden is duplicated millions of times daily, not only in the lives of unbelievers but in the lives of Christians also - Christians who use self-centered strategies to satisfy the deep thirst that is in their heart for God. Almost every spiritual or psychological problem has at its root this condition - the person is failing in some way to let God satisfy his deep inner thirst.

This might sound simplistic to some, but after many years of experience working in the field of counseling, I am convinced that this is what underlies such conditions as anorexia, sexual perversions, worry, hostility, depression, homosexuality, and so on. You see, if we are not conscious that God is meeting the deep thirst we have for Him on the inside of our being, then the inner emptiness will move us in one of two directions - to fill the emptiness in any way we can or to withdraw and protect ourselves from the possibility of any further pain.

Daily Devotion taken from Every Day with Jesus by Selwyn Hughes Copyright CWR

Now Selwyn Hughes is my all time hero of the faith. A more gentle and humble man you could never have met but one blessed with a staggering ministry and understanding of scripture. Not surprisingly my understanding of the human condition etc... is shaped partly by Selwyn's views since I studied counseling on a course devised by him. But reading this after I had written my article on Gods love reinforced my passion for people to understand their inner workings. Not for the sake of navel gazing and getting all introspective but to be released into the person God created them to be and to have God centered in their very spirit.

Many Christians as so afraid of taking a look inside their heart and pondering their inner workings. Denial is a dangerous path to take and can have all sorts of unwanted side effects. Part of spiritual maturity should be to always be open to what God wants to deal with in our hearts. Now I say again that the goal of looking into our hearts is never for self centered reasons or we get into a poor me way of thinking. It is always for the sake of looking where we are holding back things or taking control of our own life instead of surrendering them to the Lord in trust and dependence.

Sometimes a person has taken such a beating in life spiritually, emotionally or physically that more than just chatting and praying with our fellow christians can be required. I am a whole hearted supporter of professional Christian counseling since sometimes the church and even its leaders are not equipped to deal with some people and can sadly cause more harm than good even with the best intentions at heart. This should not be the case but until the church is able to deal more effectively with such hurt people then counseling services will be required.

However the evangelical church can be very suspicious of the word counseling. Maybe it is a reaction against the western worlds obsession with therapy and counseling and people box the word counseling into some sort of secular view or think Christian counseling is just secular theory with some bible thought tacked on. That maybe true of some people who call themselves Christian counselors. Secular counseling however is about helping people sort out their issues and feel better about themselves. However from my experience and training, the model I was taught is totally rooted in biblical truth and its goal is to help the person put God on the throne and take themselves off. The focus is not so much about the presenting problem but about the root which in essence is what Selwyn explains above. Sorting that out not only puts God in His rightful place but has the consequence of helping to sort out the neurosis that the person came for help with. Obviously this side of heaven we never get totally sorted and always battle with things but the difference it can make to a persons life is amazing.

I'll get off my soap box now!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Knowing Gods Love at the Very Core of your Being!

I have been pondering recently the awesome nature of God inspired by my trip to the Cornish coast as I mentioned in the article below. Dwelling on how we can be in the presence of such an all powerful and mighty God and yet feel at peace and know the unfathomable Love of our Creator. It has made me realise how poor I have always been at worshipping Him for simply the fact He is God and not for what He can do for me. We say things like 'I praise You and thank You for xxxx". Where xxxx is something God has done for us. Now there is nothing wrong with that in any way at all and we should be rightly thankful for everything God does for us from Dying on the cross to the more mundane little things. However I realised that doing that falls short somehow as first and foremost we should worship God simply because of who He is! We should rest in the awe inspiring presence of the living God not initially with a list of thanks and requests but simply to soak up His nature and that will inspire worship of the deepest kind.

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
Matthew 6 v9-10

That verse, as was recently preached so eloquently by a member of my church, teaches us to lift our eyes off ourselves and onto God in heaven. It gives us an eternal perspective to start from before talking to God about what is going on in our lives. That is what should shape a Christians thoughts. To see what happens today in light of what will happen eternally. That doesn't mean living in denial and pretending those difficult things in our lives are not real and that it doesn't matter. But it does mean that when going through painful and difficult times we have a hope, the truth of which is not affected by the world we live in or what happens to us. It enables us to face the hurts and trials of life more effectively, without denial or pretence, openly and honestly, not afraid that life will crush us if we drop our defences. When we see God for who He is and then who we are in relation to Him and where we will ultimately end up, that is what gives us hope as Christians.

However God has made me very aware over the years of the fact that many Christians go through their Christian walk without actually 'knowing' Gods love deep in their hearts. Not able to do what I have described above. Not able to lay themselves bare before God, heart and Soul surrendered before Him.

They know about Gods love and are convinced of it in their heads. They can recite the verses that talk about His love. The person may have a great ministry and gifting and be actively exercising those gifts to serve others. But it is not a living reality at the heart of their soul. When living like that the Christian walk can be just plain hard work. In reality everyone's walk with God goes through rough times when it feels tough but for a person who's heart doesn't know Gods love that deep it really is a slog. How do I know, because I've been there and occasionally find myself back there.

I've been there when people have been talking about Gods love out of a passionate deeply held conviction and it has left me cold. Or alternatively thinking I wish I knew that. Where they have said that we need to open our hearts to God and let him in and we will know his Love. Where I think 'well you don't know what I have been through!. If you did you'll know I can't do that'. For me the idea of surrendering my heart sent panic and fear through me. I had a God given picture in my mind of me as a child clutching a big iron ring attached to a harbour wall, like ones you use to tie up ships. I could not let go and was holding on to it like my life depended on it. God was holding out his hands and asking me to let go and take His hands. For a long time I couldn't do it. Eventually I decided to take one hand off and keep one holding on. One day I decided I had to let go due to Gods persistence and the desire to not be stuck in fear the rest of my life. It felt like stepping off a cliff into the unknown, would God catch me? For me looking back it was like stepping off a cliff edge and screaming and crying in fear until I looked to find I hadn't actually fallen a mm and I was in fact in Gods safe secure arms. It was at the point I decided to let go that I understood in my heart what it meant to 'know' Gods love at the very core of my soul. Until then I had not let God penetrate my heart out of fear and ultimately a total lack of trust that God was good and had my best interests at heart.

That is at its core original sin. Satan tempted Eve with 'Did God Really say.....?'. The serpent undermined Eve's trust in God and set the thought going that has pervaded every generation since. 'Can I trust God? Is God holding out on me? Therefore is God good?' That doubt is at the heart of original sin and drives nearly everything we do. We lost that core belief in God's goodness and his unwavering Love for us. If God isn't good and we can't trust Him then we must do all we can to protect ourselves by taking control of our own lives and doing whatever it takes to avoid being hurt and to feel good about ourselves. We put ourselves in the place of God! Living in this fallen messed up world only reinforces that message. Hence addictions like drugs, pornography, sexual immorality, affairs, alcoholism. The way we hide behind masks of achievement, appearance, social status, perfectionism, pleasing others, pleasing no one, trusting no one and much more. All designed to fill that space left after original sin caused us to doubt God. We are in effect trying to get back to Eden but our own way. Drinking in our own muddy puddles (Jer 2:13)

Adam's sin also created in us the deep thirsts and longings in our hearts for God. What was fact prior to the fall, complete security, worth and significance derived from Adam and Eve's unbroken relationship with God became needs after the fall. We became insecure, insignificant and lacked value since we were separated from our creator by sin. Now our needs must be met, as we were created to have them met. However without God meeting them we look everywhere but God to have them met.

But the bible says the following:

"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David."

Isaiah 55:1-3

Jesus answered "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the
water I give him will become in him a spring of living water welling up to eternal life."

John 4:14

...give us today our daily bread. Mtt 6 v11

God longs for us to turn to Him to have those needs met once again in Him. He invites us in those verses to satisfy our deepest longings in Him and find life. Our relationship is restored through Christ. God can once again meet those deep soul longings and thirsts for us to feel security, significance and worth. Derived totally from our relationship to the Father as His children. Psalm 139 beautifully illustrates our innate value as children of God.

I was not trusting in Gods goodness and love when I couldn't surrender my heart to Him. That required repentance on my part when I realised this and is ongoing when I take back control of my heart and try to satisfy my needs with the things of this world. Total trust is at the core of anything we do as Christians. Without trust we cannot worship the Lord from the core of our soul. Without trust we cannot lay naked before him, our hearts surrendered and open wide allowing Gods love to permeate our very souls. We cannot face the world without self protective masks and truly love our fellow hurting human beings if our hearts are not surrendered and rooted in vulnerable trust in our Father in heaven.

Every day we must continually surrender our lives and hearts to God. Christ’s death on the cross is all the proof we need of Gods faithful, total and utter commitment to having a restored love relationship with His children. 'It is finished!', the temple curtain torn in two, total unrestricted access to the Father. God is truly Good and trustworthy!

We have been asked recently what makes us weep. People I know who so desperately need to know Gods love deeply and yet don't. People who's hearts are crying out for satisfaction of their parched thirsty souls and yet don't know the Fathers love deeply enough. That is what makes me weep!

We are all on a journey and are at different points on that journey. Those that are not Christians and have no concept of such a love. Those that are Christians yet struggle with knowing/feeling Gods love for them. Those who know with varying degrees that love in their hearts. Wherever you are my prayer and longing is that you '...may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.' Eph 3:18

You may ask what the beginning part of this long thing that I have written has to do with the second part. Well on this journey God is showing me that the more I dwell on His awesome nature and just sit in His presence and read the word the more I realise how liberating it is to open my heart to Him. That all the power of God is for us so we can rest secure and in peace. What it means to be broken before Him. To be able to trust my heart to him and not to fear being vulnerable. All lessons God is teaching me in his own gentle and purposeful way.

Do I find it easy, No! Do I run away sometimes in fear, Yes! Does God treat my heart gently and tenderly when I let Him at it, Yes! Can you know the Fathers love at the very core of your being, Undoubtedly!

It takes an apparent risk. It takes courage. It takes trust. It takes repentance. It takes asking. It takes vulnerability and surrendering. It takes tears. It takes wrestling with your heart and the devil. It is worth all of that!!!!!

If any of those are issues for you then please talk to someone. Get help and prayer. Don't let your heart be bound up in fear and pain. You can do it with the Lords help!