Dear Neil emailed me on Thursday evening and alluded to my remarks about ‘Double Portion’ in connection with one of the day’s blogs Veronika West – 5.:
“Thanks, Richard, I pray against distraction. Be encouraged, if you are effectively carrying out God’s appointed duties (which you are), there will be attempts to divert your attention, to disturb and trouble your mind. Shake the dust off your feet and move on, remaining focussed on that which is your clear calling. Blessings, Neil”
Friday evening, forwarding the following he writes, “Hi Richard, you stirred my imagination!” MOREOVER, his paragraph of Obedience and Joy exactly mirrors what I’d thought for answering one critic – should I get the time!
His previous was confirmation that my activity and reaction to anyone who may ‘play devil’s advocate’ is the Lord’s will for me. The second same-day confirmation came with Wanda Alger’s even more poignant paper on the role of Watchmen, but which I didn’t see until the weekend.
Here’s Neil’s latest:
TENACITY AND JOY IN TIMES OF TURMOIL AND DISTRACTION
When I saw it was Richard Barker’s 3,000th blog, and then his “Wow-Wotta-Wednesday” comment, I had a picture of him running about with his hair on fire (no human was hurt in the making of this vision!). [RB:So that’s where it’s gone! LOL]
This, and an awareness of his dedication, led to further thoughts: The Lord laid the words tenacity and joy on my heart. A joy that reflects the reality of knowing Jesus.
Richard exemplifies “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10), whereas I am more inclined to the “here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8) (but not tonight, there’s a great programme on tele!) school of thought. What hinders me from hearing and obeying is the noise and distraction of the “must be done” things and the lure of entertainment. My imagination is dulled.
Are you disturbed and distracted by the world and by the plethora of insights, prophecies, theories (conspiracy or otherwise), theses, and antitheses that abound, during this time of immense shaking and sifting? Do you have “itching ears” in this unprecedent time of astonishing and often intriguing information? Weighing and testing has never been more important! That does not mean we shouldn’t seek to hear what the prophets and reliable information sources are saying.
Changing tack slightly (or rather, returning to my main theme); there is no doubt that Imagination is a gift of God. We can use it or abuse it, focus it on God or on entertainment (false idols): use it to stir up fear or to see God’s hand at work in all that is going on around us. We are in a time of trial – it has never been more important for us to ensure that our imagination is in the service of God.
I am absolutely certain Jesus will not be outsmarted by the machinations of the evil one. Even so, sometimes my thoughts and actions indicate a deep down (subconscious?) doubt: God help my uncertainty.
What we hear and how we react depends on our disposition.
PEACE AND TENACITY
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Tenacity is more than persistence; in spiritual matters it includes unwavering confidence that what the Lord has told us is absolute truth and, where what He tells us is about future events, that they will happen. Victory in assured.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
God is not disturbed by what is happening. If I can step back and say that all this turmoil and confusion is beyond my understanding, and if I can relax and watch how God is going to unravel it, then I will see His magnificence and all-embracing authority. No problem is too difficult for God!
OBEDIENCE AND JOY
“If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Conviction of sin and repentance are essential steps on the road to giving our lives to Jesus; followed by baptism and growing faith as we move forward in discipleship. How can we ever thank God enough for His awesome and supernatural intervention, in order to provide us with a way to salvation? That is the very essence of joy!
There is a balance to be struck in relation to necessary activities and entertainment. As with the oft misquoted “money is the root of all evil” scripture (which actually says: “the love of money is the root of all evil”); so also loving entertainment and distractions too much; ie, to the exclusion of seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven (see Matthew 6:33), is tantamount to rejecting the best that God has planned for us.
The Lord made it clear to me that He has everything under control, and that while it is essential that we seek to understand what is happening, we should not let our hearts be troubled. We are indeed greatly blessed to live in such momentous times. We can rise to the challenges, in a spirit of peace and joy, knowing that our God is mighty and invincible.
Afternote: Richard’s inspirational “Watch” has fired my imagination over many years; I look forward to the next 3000 blogs!
I first met Neil at his excellent extensive course on this topic at Winchester Vineyard Church ten or so years ago. He was one of the few in receipt of my pre-blog emails on current affairs as they relate to End-times.
The outcome of the two courses is this book written as an easy, conversational-style introduction to what the Bible teaches about the climax of history and the end of the world, as we know it.
For more information and my recommendation see this post, or click the image for fuller details and to purchase.
Neil is a retired Brigadier with a background in communications and administration.