Pride and Perjury

I picked up this book in a charity shop for a pound. Having read the blurb on the back I thought it might be interesting and I might learn something about politics from it!

This autobiography of Jonathan Aitken written at the end of the nineties is well worth the read. Former journalist become politician he openly shares his life, passions, and mistakes in an honest  fashion that held me captive until I reached the end of the book.

It is filled with intrigue and revelations of the consequences of his choices for good and for bad. It’s an honest, sometimes humorous, sometimes emotional account of what his hopes and dreams were for himself and his family along with filial loyalty and friendship on the one hand, and anguish from paparazzi persecution, lies, deceit and very real fears and the consequences of pride.

I personally remembered nothing from the time when this all took place other than his name., I was not interested in public affairs at that point in my life and didn’t read newspapers so I just associated his name with the government. That was it.!

What surprised me most was the unexpected open honesty about the spiritual journey that accompanied all the drama and turmoil of his life.

I’d say this was a pound very well spent and now plan to get reading his follow-up autobiography Porridge and Passion and maybe even his biography of President Nixon.

 

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PEACE

What is peace? A question I am sure everyone asks at one time or another.

Jesus said in the book of John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you…”

The bible tells us peace comes from Jesus. After telling us Jesus gives His peace or bequeaths it to us which is something you would do in your last will and testament before you died, he tells us it is not peace as the world gives you. So what is this peace that is so different to what the world considers peace?

The rest of verse 27 gives us an instruction:

“….Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

The Amplified bible extends this to say “…[Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”

Well how do we do this?

Proverbs 16:7 tells us “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

So we are told we need to please the Lord in our ways, another clue as to how we can have this peace bequeathed to us.Well what makes us afraid? Lets think about this for a minute. Do you fear:

  • being rejected by people or by God
  • not being adequate to the task ahead
  • looking stupid in front of your friends or family
  • letting people down
  • something bad happening to you
  • losing someone you love
  • making mistakes

These thoughts and many more can enter our minds daily and steal our peace so how do we deal with them when they come?

Most of us recognise quickly when irrational fears are unjustified and can disregard them very quickly, but what about fear of losing a loved one when they are doing something dangerous, fear that you won’t have enough money to pay your bills because you’ve just lost your job or fear that you can’t get away from a dangerous situation or person yourself. These and many more very real fears can take hold of any of us so how do we find peace in these circumstances?

These type of fears are normally counteracted by our built-in fight or flight mechanism. But there are times when it isn’t possible to do anything about these situations even when we’ve done everything we can to avoid them, do something to change or control them or walk away from them. If our own strength is not enough then we can get hurt at times, we do run away and we do try to control others and stop them from taking risks or try to reach some type of agreement with others or find help in another human being. But does this bring us peace?

Yes, you say I called the police when Bill hit me last time, I made my son promise not to drive when he’s drunk, I’ve paid for the best medical attention possible for my dad, I’ve borrowed some money to tide me over till I find another job. Do these solutions give you peace? Yes, you say but can you guarantee what you or others have done will really resolve the issues and give you permanent peace regardless of circumstances when or if  they change? To find our own peace is a constant battle.

Will you be able to:

“Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” as John 14: 27 instructs us ?

How can we follow the instruction above and find this type of peace? I believe the answer is to take hold of the peace Jesus has bequeathed us, but how?

John 3: 16 and 17 tells us that” God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He gave up His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in ( trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish ( come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal ( everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge ( to reject, condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him..”  

From my own personal experience of doing just this: putting my trust in Jesus I find that when I’m afraid I can go to Him in prayer, call on His name and give Him my fear and He leads me through it and out the other side victorious. Yes it’s through trusting in Him that I overcome fear and find that perfect peace. The battle becomes His rather than mine.

When we look to the cross where Jesus died to take our sin and our punishment so we could have eternal life, and recognise our own sin is part of what put Him there, we can turn from it and ask Him for a new start no matter how terrible we think our sin is. He took it all on that cross. It’s for Whoever  that he died. When God raised Him from the dead He gained the victory over sin and death and bequeathed us that PEACE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cross and the Switchblade

This is the story of how David Wilkerson, a Christian pastor in America from the suburbs felt called on a mission from God to help some young boys in New York  that he read about in a newspaper. They had committed a gruesome murder but his heart went out to them as he looked at a sketch of their forlorn faces in a court room.

The tension of this real life drama as David Wilkerson wavers between faith and disappointment keeps the reader gripped in anticipation. The leading of the Holy Spirit confirms time after time that he’s on the right path and yet doors are locked in front of him time and again.

As I followed this emotional journey I found my own faith building and a desire in me to do more for the kingdom and live by faith as I read on.

The amazing testimony of how God led David to young gang members and drug addicts in New York is truly inspirational. Filled with amazement at the bravery of those that got saved from their terrible life threatening addictions and then ministered to others, I could not put this book down.

A ministry was born out of this amazing account of miracles and transformed lives in the 1950’s called ‘Teen Challenge‘ which is carrying on the work to this day and has spread across the globe.

 

We Should All Be Feminists

A book written by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie ,an established Nigerian author who grew up in Nigeria but now spends her time between America and Nigeria, it’s an interesting read. Very short, only took fifteen minutes to read but a good insight to the attitudes of Nigerians on gender issues. The author expresses a desire for change in the way children are taught about relationships.

She challenges the social order of beliefs in her home land as well as America. I could relate to the issues of the cultural belief that women are subordinate to men, as even here in Britain this attitude can bring about much abuse. Nigerians apparently have an expression for what they perceive to be women’s power – bottom power. This means using your sexuality to get what you want. Now there’s a topic for discussion!

I found the content although a little brief very thought-provoking about our own cultural mindsets here in Great Britain. Worth the read!

 

GRACE

Have you ever manipulated anyone unaware of the nature of its effect on you?

I have, and only yesterday!

I woke up  to pray and was led by the Holy Spirit to repent of despising the wealthy and any witchcraft or basically manipulation. If you don’t know what that is, well in simple terms it’s using what you say to control someone with the intention of making them do what you want them too,  usually by making them feel guilty.

I could see that God’s goal was to enable me to have a better attitude to my work and love the new people I work for because He loves them. The wealthy need Him too and it’s not for me to stand in His way by my ‘envy’ or ‘bitterness’, not that I realized at this point that was what I was experiencing.

I went to work with the frame of mind ‘I thought’, that I would enjoy the work with a new attitude and servant heart to please God in working ‘for Him’. I asked Him to enable me to love these people.  (Mark 12:31) ” Love your neighbour as yourself.”

I caught a bus and it turned out to be only  a ten minute walk from the bus stop. I usually get a lift from a lady I work with and she irons while I clean. She was on holiday so in ‘my wisdom’ I said I would do it all this week. The thought of double pay was enticement enough.

Four hours later as I was finishing the lady of the house turned up. She said she didn’t realize I was there as she couldn’t see my car. (I don’t own one but my work colleague does-hence the lift usually). I told her I walked. She asked where I lived. She looked a little shocked when I said the next village so I reassured her it was ok as I’d caught the bus part way. If only I had stopped there!

I felt  a bit worn from the work and in my mind I hoped for the offer of a lift home. I continued to talk about the infrequency of buses and that I’d walk. A few seconds later she said she would have offered me a lift but needed to walk the dog having just arrived from London where she and her husband work. She then said she felt guilty now.

I then felt guilty and said it was OK I would walk.

End of story? No. This morning as I prayed I was convicted by God’s Holy Spirit of my intentions of manipulation and annoyance that she hadn’t given me a lift home. I had to face myself!

The fact is I chose to do the extra work this week knowing I would need to walk home. It was not her responsibility, it was mine. Her only obligation to me was to pay me which she had done. I walked home and was probably better for it in all honesty.

I know it’s right to phone her now and apologise for making her feel guilty.

God give me grace!

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Scriptures taken from New International Version of the bible.