Top 10 posts of 2016

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When I started this blog I sought to share the revelation that God had been giving me on my journey to sexual wholeness and I wanted to help others on the journey and help parents communicate a godly view of sexuality to their children.  I am so grateful for the many messages from readers who have benefited from my writings and my vulnerability.  Thank you so much and I hope I can continue to bless you in 2017.

So in order from least to most views here are the top ten posts of the year:

10. Discipline vs punishment vs education (godly parenting)

This post spoke of how the word discipline comes from the word disciple and is about training.  It was a calling of parents back to the Hebrew way of showing not telling. (56 views)

9. Destination sickness (godly desire)

The Christian life is a journey not a destination.  This vulnerable post spoke about how our obsession with getting “there” leads us to work harder or give up and not to grace. (57 views)

8. Wired for intimacy part 1 (godly sexuality)

This post looks at how, even from birth, babies are wired to seek faces.  This reflects how we are wired to seek God’s face. (59 views)

7. Redeeming Christmas (Godly Parenting)

A post that helps parents make the Christmas celebration more Christ-centred for their children and themselves. (64 views)

6. Calling out your child’s true identity (godly parenting)

The story of Gideon shows us how God calls out his true identity and this serves as a model for us as parents to call our children into maturity. (78 views)

5.   How to stop looking at women lustfully (godly desire)

Another vulnerable post where I share the difference between worldly solutions to lust with a godly approach which has helped me. (86 views)

4. Trump, Clinton or Christ?

A topical post that sought to counter the political spirit that was/is seeking to break the church’s unity and therefore it’s prophetic voice to the world. (142 views)

3. Nothing is impossible (teach your children godly sexuality part 15)

As parents it’s easy to despair and think all is lost. This post spoke on the reality of our God who is able to redeem all things – not just so we are healed/fixed but so that the mistakes become sources of grace to others. (169 views)

2. An alternative ending to the Orlando shooting

A topical and vulnerable post about the similarities between my life and Omar Mateen’s.  His life ended in tragedy, mine in redemption through expressing my same sex desires to Jesus. (328 views)

1. Immature giftings (Godly Parenting)

This post was aimed at parents to help see that sometimes bad behaviour is actually an immature gifting that needs to be directed to its true purpose.  However, many people found this post as a source of grace for them on the journey to maturity – whereas before they had berated themselves – they actually saw they were stamping on their giftings/callings. (1846 views)

Trump, Clinton or Christ?

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We have just witnessed one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in American history that has the potential to destroy everything.

Even though I’m British and started watching as an outsider, I eventually found myself taking one side.  This led me to question a sister-in-Christ when she held a different opinion.  I did this in such a way that I hurt her deeply even though it was genuinely not my intention.  I sought to overcome this by subsequently blessing her and giving her a prophetic word, but the damage had been done and she was unable to receive the grace I offered because her heart was closed to me.

I only realised this today when the Spirit showed me that I had been infected by a political spirit that is seeking to divide brother against brother and church against church.

Each of us has been deceived into thinking that one of the sinful candidates is America’s saviour.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Only Jesus is the saviour of America or any other nation, only He has the power to change hearts, transform atmospheres and bring healing and reconciliation.  Only He can do anything of lasting value that’s why He said “apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5).

Let’s update what Paul said in his letter to the Corinthian church:

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ…You are still worldly. For since there is…quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Trump,” and another, “I follow Clinton,” are you not mere human beings?  What, after all, is Trump? And what is Clinton? Only servants…
Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight…So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Trump or Clinton or Johnson or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God
. (1 Cor 3:1, 3-5a, 18-19a, 21-23)

We have everything we need in Christ.  God can work regardless of who’s president.  Indeed some of the greatest growth in the early church came under the persecution of the Emperor Nero.  The Chinese church has seen most growth under its atheistic persecuting government.  To think that God is not able to being about change unless we have our candidate in power is to have too big a view of the world or too small a view of God.  To think otherwise is not faith but fear.

But let’s step and look at the spiritual reality for our battle is not against presidential candidates but against but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12).

Why does Satan seek to divide us with this political spirit?  Because the oneness of the church brings glory to God who is Three in One.  It testifies to the world about Jesus:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (Jn 17:20-23)

The Spirit of Christ can bring unity regardless of church tradition or politics or race or class and as the time for Jesus return gets nearer there is a clearer call for unity as One Bride ready for her Bridegroom.  We are seeing it in the UK where churches are coming together not by committees but by the Spirit of Christ causing Christians to work together to bring about transformation in their communities.  The spirit of jealousy that meant church fought against other churches for members is dying as we seek first His kingdom and not ours.  We are therefore seeing more people turn to Christ as they are seeing a love that transcends barriers and as the Church body receives the blessing that comes from unity.

The political spirit is an anti-Christ spirit – it testifies against Christ.  Hence it seeks to divide those united under Christ.  Or it seeks to bring unity under someone other than Christ.

A body without a head is horrible.  A body with a different head sewn on is a freakish Frankenstein.  Both are only going to bring fear.  Neither are going to bring unity or attract people to Christ.

How do we Christians come against this political spirit?

Firstly, we need to repent of this worldly thinking:

Father I am sorry for agreeing with a political spirit, I’m sorry that I have sought to replace Christ with someone else.  I’m sorry that I have sought to point out the superiority of my views.  I’m sorry that I have not been humble and have not valued others above myself (Phil 2:3).  I have sought to be right rather than righteous.  I reject this anti-Christ political spirit that is seeking to destroy me, your church and your country.

Next we need to apologise to those we have hurt.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Mat 5:23-24)

Notice in this passage that we go if someone has something against us, not if we meant to hurt them.  We’re not going to get unity by trying to convince the other side that we didn’t mean to hurt them nor by showing them how they’re wrong.  People think with their heart not their head.  You start by loving them and love always seeks to make the first move.  Apologise for the hurt you have caused.  Don’t do it conditionally waiting for them to apologise back.  Also don’t apologise for hurting someone and then seek to justify your position.  Just apologise:

“I’m sorry for any hurt I have caused you in this election.  I’m sorry for putting politics before Christ.  I’m sorry for wanting to be seen to be right.  I’m sorry for not loving you like Christ has loved me.  Please forgive me”

This is the beginning of our ministry of reconciliation – by taking the lower position.  Healing comes through our brokeness as we mimic Christ whose body was broken for us to reconcile us to the Father.

Thirdly if you can seek to share communion with your brothers and sisters – as that is a prophetic act that signifies our common union under Christ.  It speaks a powerful truth against the lies of the political spirit.

Once we have done this and got right with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ and are operating again as His Body under the true head we are now ready to pray for and serve our nation.  Seek to bring His shalom wherever you go.  His peace, His wholeness and well being.  However that might look.

I’m seeing the church stopping for those who are worried and giving them a hug and consoling them.  I see them bringing in chocolate to the office to share to bring joy.  I see people giving doughnuts to protesters and telling them that they’re loved and its going to be OK.  I see people standing up against fear in conversations and reminding them that there is hope – Christmas is the perfect time for this.

As any prophet – I only catch a glimpse.  If you see more of how we can bring God’s shalom at this time then please feel free to put it in the comments below.

Unity not uniformity

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There’s some fantastic laws in Leviticus (no really!) that contain immense truth:

Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals.  Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.  Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Lev 19:19)

And in Deuteronomy:

A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this… Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled…Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.  (Dt 22:5, 9, 11)

Why on earth are these important?

God is Three

Well remember that creation was made to glorify God.  It does this by making known God’s divine nature (Rom 1:20) and since our God is three the different genders, species and materials reflect the plurality of the Godhead.

So anything that seeks to remove these differences actually seeks to destroy how creation glorifies God.  That is why crossbreeding, cross-dressing and the intermixing of seeds and material were prohibited.  Each of these actions ultimately causes the loss of the distinctive characteristics and qualities of the different species, genders or materials.

These differences are especially important in marriage as only male and female together make up the full image of God:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Gen 1:27; 5:2 KJV)

And in the church, the Body of Christ:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Cor 12:12)

The members of the church are different and have been given different gifts and all are needed to express the full image of Christ and all are needed to build up each other (see also Eph 4).

God is love

Intuitively we know that honouring the differences shows love and this reflects our God who is three and whose nature is love.  For example I wouldn’t be loving all my children if I gave them all the same gift of a stunt bike for their birthdays.  My eldest son would be delighted but my three other children would be upset and feel unloved.

We see this in how God deals with the different individuals in the Bible in different ways.  He even heals the same condition (such as blindness) in different ways.  So too the Spirit of love gives different gifts to the members of Christ’s Body, and God created male and female different to each other.  These differences glorify the full nature of the Godhead.

God is one

However our God is also one (eg Jn 10:30).  There is unity in the Godhead hence we use “Trinity” which comes from tri-unity.  And so God is glorified when there in unity amongst the differences.  Jesus prayed that the church would be one like he and the Father are one (Jn 17).  Hence we speak of communion which comes from common-union.  And one flesh (Gen 2:24) comes from the unity of male and female.

Unity is a beautiful and godly thing (Ps 133:1) but the counterfeit to unity is uniformity.  This has been seen throughout history, such as in the Hellenisation of different cultures.  It is more prevalent than ever in our common age under the guise of technological advances or equality.  The world speaks of diversity but to think different is to be classified as sexist or a bigot.  To say anything different is now classified as “hate speech”.  Love has been confused with agreement.

This lie has permeated the church:

  • There must be one “right” way of ministering healing – all methods must be wrong.
  • There must be one “right” way of worshipping – other methods are clearly inferior/not spirit led or unscriptural.
  • There is one “right” way of doing church – all other denominations are wrong/unbiblical.

And so we end up not with unity but competing ministries/churches where each contain cookie-cutter Christians who look the same, think the same and act the same.

It’s easy to understand why.  Because uniformity requires no grace/love for those who are different.  It requires no sacrifice/change in one’s own life.  It’s convenient Christianity.  It’s not taking up your cross and denying self (Mk 8:34).

How can we have unity of differences?

If we return back to those laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy there was actually times when the forbidden mixture of wool and linen was allowed – in the prayer tassels and the clothes worn by priests.  Only priests were allowed to mix the aromatic spices to make the anointing oil (Ex 30:33) and for the mixing of seeds in Dt 22:9 the Hebrew word (bizarrely translated as “defiled”) is qadash (H6942) which means consecrated/holy.

You see the holy unity of differences can only occur through our great High Priest Jesus (Heb 4:14).

Jesus is glorified if there is unity amongst believers (Jn 17:20-23) but it’s impossible to have unity between a zealot and a tax-collector without Christ’s spirit of love.  And so this could only be realised after the Spirit came at Pentecost:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
(Acts 4:32 see also Acts 2:42-47).

It is this unity between differences that glorifies/speaks of God.  That’s why Jesus said “everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (Jn 13:35).  A sign of a church that reflects Christ’s love is one that crosses social, racial, political and denominational barriers – people who are different – that’s what the world will see as astonishing.

That’s why when Paul speaks of the differing gifts of the spirit in 1 Cor 12 and 14 he speaks of God’s Spirit of love in 1 Cor 13.  And again when Paul talks of the different gifts and ministries in Eph 4 he speaks of unity in love through the Spirit.

Jesus is glorified when there is unity between the man and women in marriage.  And this is only possible through the Spirit of love.  Hence God breathed his breath, his spirit into them (Gen 2:7) and the man, woman and Spirit makes a cord of three strands that is not easily broken (Ecc 4:12).

Only in Christ is there unity in churches and marriages.  But greater than all of these is the truth that only in Christ can there be unity between God and man.  Things so different that could never be together on their own.

Making it reality

So when you become frustrated with someone who is so different to you, whether that be in church or in your marriage, and you find yourself crying out “I just can’t love ” then look to Jesus who cried “it is finished” and through his death broke down the dividing walls (Eph 2:14), ripped the curtain of the temple (Mt 27:51) and brought unity between God and sinful man, Jew and Gentile, slave and free and male and female (Gal 3:28).

Father, forgive me that I want to take the easy route of uniformity.  I want everyone to be like me so I can have a convenient life.  Father, I can’t love them on my own, I need your Spirit.  Help me to honour their differences and to sacrificially love them like your Son sacrificed himself for us when we were your enemies so that we can be one.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

In case you’re wondering about the picture.  It’s all the components of a camera.  Only if all those individual parts are become one do we get the whole camera.  Only together do they give the full picture (pun intended).  So too may it be in our marriages and churches.

Further Reading

  • I am indebted to this Jewish article that first opened my eyes to the significance of Leviticus and its application to sexuality.
  • To read more about oneness in sexuality you can read my earlier post here.
  • I also highly recommend “The Culture of Honour” by Danny Silk that gives some great tips of loving and honouring the differences in the church.
  • And finally I thought this article from relevant magazine on sub-cultures of uniformity in the church rather than unity in love was worth reading.