Quid est veritas – “What is truth?”

Pontus Pilate has an odd historical persona. All four gospels share accounts of him lobbying to have Jesus released yet he was the one who condemned Christ to die. Historian Josephus recorded that Pilate wanted to keep peace in Jerusalem by allowing Mosaic laws and customs to be practised. Yet, he lost his role as Prefect because of his brutal treatment of the Samaritans. They were looking to view artefacts allegedly buried by Moses on Mount Gerizim; the mountain where they worshipped God. Pilate exercised political and military might and was accustomed to trying to determine the truth in situations requiring his action. If his life was anything like present-day politicians, he must have been frustrated by the distortion of information. The gospel of John records him asking Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38 a) in response to Jesus’ statement, in John 18:37.  Was Pilate’s question to Jesus sarcasm or was it a question asked by someone struggling to know, “What is truth?”

The BBC news service recently showed a short video of a Chinese artists studio being torn down by government officials. He had designed the “birdsnest” stadium which hosted the 2008 Olympics but today is considered an enemy of China. My interest in his story was sparked by the question, “how a dissident could be allowed to leave China”. I went looking for the facts behind the story and went to my regular internet information sources. The accounts of his life story and interaction with the Chinese government was very subjective and I found myself asking, “What is truth?” The search for an answer opened my eyes to the reality that we are living in an age where, despite having access to a lot of information, the truth is hard to find. It seems that much of the information we read is produced by those more interested in their own notoriety vice the facts. However, the truth that is truly important does not come from man’s words but God’s. Jesus’ truth is far more than facts. It’s not just something we act upon. It acts upon us. We can’t change the truth, but the truth can change us.

Jesus stated on several occasions that He was the truth. The truth He spoke about and represents is rooted in an eternal God who is all powerful and unchangeable. A loving Father who, even after He placed His first children in a garden of paradise and they chose the lie of the deceiver over His truth, He did not abandon them. The MCF does not hide the fact it has a self-interest agenda. We want to expose Jesus as the truth. A truth that starts with belief in His Lordship, the need for acceptance and repentance of sin, and recognizing Him as a Saviour who forgives thereby allowing us to reclaim a place beside our Father. We want people to know that scripture contains a truth they may not want to hear. A truth that states that from the beginning we chose the lie of a deceiver over the truth of God. A truth that reminds us that when we were created, God saw us as good and wants to restore us to that status. The truth is found in a God who wants what is good for His children. Even as He expelled us from the garden, He promised salvation in the form of a future offspring who would crush the head of the defeated deceiver Satan.

Jesus is the truth. Truth personified. He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims. Pilate both witnessed and heard the truth as Jesus stood before him. However, he chose to listen to the lies of the jeering crowds and his political consciousness and missed the truth. Jesus’ death on the cross did not stop the truth from being heard. He rose from death, as He said He would, validating His claim of a special connection with the Father. Allowing the truth to be shared with the world.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that God has written His truth on human hearts, in the conscience (Romans 2:16). We feel shame and twinges of conscience when we recognize that truth has been violated. When our family and friends hear truth, if spoken graciously, they can be drawn to it. The heart longs for truth, even the heart that rejects it. Stand with us as we tell others the answer to Pilate’s question, “What is truth?”

Making the right choice!

Genesis 4:7 – What is right?

Recently I volunteered in an accommodation office and had to calculate the bill of an individual checking out earlier than planned. The arithmetic seemed simple. All I had to do was apply the daily rate to the number of nights stayed as well as remove the discount that would have applied if the individual stayed the full duration.  I mumbled to myself as I worked out the total in my head and then stated a number. When I made eye contact with the client I noted a look of skepticism on their face and knew they did not believe me. I knew I was not going to convince them that my figure was correct unless I performed the dreaded act our mathematics teachers demanded of us every time we took a test; I needed to show my work.

We know scripture does not share everything said between God, Adam and Eve in the garden, but we can read the conversation that occurred when God asked Adam and Eve about their choice to eat the forbidden fruit. Their teacher (God) had taught them about choices. There were probably many days in the garden when they could have taken the fruit but knew the answer was no. However, when Satan confronted them and presented their choice in a problem format, they failed the test. It didn’t matter that Eve’s initial response suggested she knew the answer to be no. Both Adam and Eve proved they truly did not understand that the lesson was about obedience, not about fruit. When challenged by God for an answer about their choice, they could not show their work. They knew the answer was no but, with flawed thinking, tried to explain how they reached their decision.

I don’t profess any mathematical prowess that allowed me to boast my initial answer should not be challenged. To ensure the clients were comfortable that I was not just going through the motions of providing a figure, I had to prove what I was sharing was correct. I wrote out my calculations and showed the individual how I came up with a figure. When I slowed down and wrote out the calculation and explained why I used the figures I did, I proved I understood the problem as well as the mathematics necessary to find a solution. It didn’t matter that my calculation resulted in the same figure I presented from the top of my head or that I had never given the individual any reason to distrust me before that encounter. I had to show my work; I had to show that I knew that I understood what I was doing.

We can’t make the right choices if we don’t understand why a choice might be wrong. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit, our study of scripture, and our prayers and worship practices are the work we must do to make good choices. They are especially valuable when we are tempted to do something that we know the answer is NO. If we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will nudge us to reflect on our choice. We will realize that what we are about to do would be offensive to God, to another person, or to ourselves. The Holy Spirit need not bring the Book of Leviticus to our minds, but He will certainly remind us that we know what the right choice should be.

A disciple seeks to learn what the master teaches and applies it to their daily lives, this way they show the work of their learning. So, when they face life issues they will be able to choose the path and show they understand why and what they were taught. God was not trying to trick Adam and Eve by presenting them with a choice they could not make correctly. Satan turned a simple choice into a complicated one. If we never seek to understand what God teaches, we will continually struggle with choices.

Don’t ignore what is around you

“Romans 1:19-20”  People are without excuses.

What is consciousness? Why are 10% of the human population left-handed? Why do we yawn and why is yawning contagious? Why do humans love music? How do magnets work? Science has many answers to the mysteries of the world but it does not have them all. Richard Dawkins, a strong proponent of the theory of evolution, has suggested Darwin’s theory of natural selection is the blind, unconscious, automatic process for the existence of all forms of life. Dawkins has suggested that natural selection has no purpose in mind. Yet, he has also stated biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. While admitting that living things give the appearance of purposeful design, Dawkins does not consider the obvious—that, if they appear to have been designed, maybe they were designed.
(Notes are taken from website Beyond Tomorrow).

Can you believe in God while also believing in science? Absolutely. Science has aided our curious nature in trying to understand the world around us. Galileo, who contributed much to the formulation of modern science, had his belief in God challenged by his church. He responded, “I don’t feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect, has intended us to forgo their use”. In its infancy, many in the scientific community believed in God and accepted there was the unexplainable that could only be explained with acknowledgement of divine intervention. However, they now feel they must explain in a way the world will accept even if it does not make sense to them.

God provides answers as to why there is a world, why its flora and fauna exist, why gravity prevents everything from floating into space, and why our atmosphere has the right chemical combination to allow life to flourish; He designed it that way. God not only answers how humans came into existence, but He goes further than science and shares the purpose for our existence.

We were formed in our mother’s wombs, not in some primordial mud puddle. The world wants us to accept science as the reason for our existence whereas God wants us to see He is the reason. Accepting God requires faith; God will help with that faith. God will help us see and live our purpose. Enjoy science and the world, but don’t ignore God.

It is not good for man to be alone.

Genesis 2:18 NIV “The Lord God said:”

I am eight week’s post knee replacement surgery and each day I find myself feeling stronger and more positive about my fitness. I thank God for my improvement but I also credit others. People have prayed for me and therapists, who have been constantly monitoring my progress, have adapted my physio and pushed me. There is also another group of people who have helped. I have interacted with them for several hours a week; my Knee Class. All participants have had the same surgery and have experienced life before it, and life after it. We developed a relationship.

Our passage identifies how relationships add to our well being. God noticed Adam needed something and initially presented helpers who turned out to be unable to meet the need God placed in us; the need for relationship. God knew that life would be better and easier if we had someone like us to do life with. In Genesis, God suggests that we desire human companionship because of what we have in common. We experience life with similar responses and reactions as other humans. We are all blessed according to God’s will and none are exempt from struggles. The way we face the good and bad of life can bring us together especially if we lived it under similar circumstances and environments.

I bonded with my classmates because of what we have in common. We did not know each other before surgery but we recognized what we could offer each other. During the class,we exercise and talk. We talk about our struggles and pains. We hear how others have had the same struggles and survived. By week three, not only did we talk about our knees we talked about our families, our jobs and in some cases our beliefs. Some have gotten together after class to have coffee while others have visited each other’s home. Our common bond opened the door to a relationship just as God anticipated.

Military life is what holds the MCF together and it can open doors to others in the military community. If we can recognize what we have in common with the military community we will be able to recognize the opportunities to create relationships. Eve was not created to make Adam’s life easier. She was created to help him fulfil his purpose, which included Adam helping Eve fulfil hers. Our purpose is to worship God. Our mission is to take the gospel to the military, both the saved and the lost. This is a community who experience life in a way we understand. We need to help them find their purpose and to do that, we need to get closer. There are so many ways to initiate and maintain contact with at least one member, couple, or family in our community. It can start with a simple hello, a conversation about nothing special, or an invite to share a beverage together. Leave the Christian talk and bible at home and let God direct your relationship.

Just like Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are meant to be in a relationship with others. Our common military interests pave the path to a possible long-term,mutually beneficial relationship where God can be revealed. Call someone today and start the connection you were created to make.

Don’t forget who is always on your side

1 Samuel 17:11 – Dismayed and terrified

The story of David and Goliath is often discussed as an underdog story. We see a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary. David, because of how this story plays out, often gets top billing in sermons and devotionals. However, have you wondered why the God loving, God worshipping, God-fearing Israelites and their King, stood looking at Goliath “dismayed and terrified”. The Hebrew words used to describe their response to Goliath’s presence implies scared, terrified, discouraged, to the point the Israelites fear is portrayed as a reverence for Goliath prowess. King Saul certainly knew God was on his side so what happened to bring about this seemingly lack of faith and trust?

Have you ever been “dismayed and terrified” when facing life? Have you taken a child for a medical checkup and leave the examination frightened at the news your child has a disease or illness that will bring pain and misery to them? Have you sat before a boss and heard the words “you’re a great worker but we are downsizing and your services will no longer be required”? We are horrified at this type of news and can collapse emotionally because the challenge seems impossible to overcome. We struggle with this news even though we have been a faithful follower of Christ for many years. We may have even been a source of encouragement and comfort to many in our church family, yet upon hearing the news of our child or job loss, some can become paralyzed with fear. Some become so disheartened that God becomes an afterthought and they forget the times they experienced His grace, love and support. What happened to bring about this lack of faith in God?

Goliath was certainly known to the Israelites before their encounter that day. He was a fierce foe with strength and power. His physical size and presence was intimidating and brought about the same shock and awe effect that WWI troops experienced when facing the first battlefield tanks. Have you wondered why the Israelites did not rush Goliath and take him down? In their attack strategy, they could have assigned 5, 10 or even 20 men to focus on Goliath while the remainder fought the Philistines? Goliath unsettled them and sought a one-on-one challenge which he certainly would win. For whatever reason the Israelites let that thought get to them. Saul had no solution to the problem facing him and even when David stepped up and accepted Goliath’s challenge, the Israelites mannerism did not seem to change. There was no cheering, back-slapping, or sense of confidence running up and down the Israelite lines. They had given up hope and possibly saw David as the sacrifice needed to delay the eventual onslaught by Goliath. Satan reminded the Israelites of Goliath’s history and presence and they forgot about the God who walked with them, who provided for them, and who promised to be with them if they followed and worshipped Him.

Satan uses real adversaries to bring about doubt. Too often Christians fall into a sense of hopelessness when facing problems. They become overwhelmed because Satan likes to remind us that we don’t have the solution to many of life’s sets backs. But he is a defeated enemy of ours and we need to remember that. We also need to establish habits to help us focus on God both during good times and bad. In fact, how we approach God during the good times will certainly help us seek Him during the rough times.

God does not expect us to face life alone. The Holy Spirit is available to guide and comfort us but we must not forget that God has gifted and blessed others who can help us. We don’t know why Saul responded to Goliath as he did but we do know that God did not leave him to tremble in fear. He provided a solution which Saul could choose to accept or ignore. God does not change and today, when His children are backed into a corner, He offers His presence which we can choose to accept or ignore. Too often we believe our adversaries are bigger and better equipped than us but remember “you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” 1 John 4;4. Seeking God is the most sensible option we have when life gets rough.  God wants to replace our fears with hope but we need to ask.

Join God’s mission to the military

Galatians 5:13 Called to be Freedom.

Two interesting and difficult realities of military service is the continually moving around and the temporary family separations caused by deployments and training. We know this places stress on family life and we believe God is calling His military children to be a source of comfort and hope to their community. Postings disrupt the sense of normality in our military family as does the other major disruption of taking a family member away for weeks or months at a time to attend a course, or go on deployment. Families adapt to the change if they have a sense that the change will not take away all that they enjoy. They adapt even quicker if they have someone like them to walk with during these times.

The Military Christian Fellowship recognizes the strain put on families and wants to help. It knows that in addition to continually looking for a new doctor or dentist, getting children adjusted to new schools, and finding new places for social interactions, families also want their spiritual concerns looked after. Families want a place to worship but they also want fellowship with people like themselves. They’d like to know believers who live the similar transient life. They want to be able to find solace in another brother or sister while on deployment, on course, or even while doing their day-to-day work. Spouses want fellowship with other spouses when they are left minding the fort while the military spouse is away servicing their country nearby or afar. Our military Christian families do find fellowship in their churches but sharing with those who undergo similar day-to-day experience, with other military believers, has its rewards.

The primary mission of the MCF is to take the gospel to the unsaved in the military community. However we are also deeply concerned for our serving and retired Christian military community. We know the value of being able to fellowship with those likeminded. Only the community truly knows what life is like in service to their country and we want to find ways to connect that
community with other military brother’s and sisters. We want to build on the network of Christians already within the community to be there for one another. We also want them to join our mission, God’s mission, to take the gospel into our military community. We of course have a concern for all those who do not call Jesus Lord, whether they are in the military family or not. But, we believe because the community has common experiences, struggles and joys, God will use that bond to strengthen and grow it.

Prayer is the backbone of the MCF and we want our military community to come along side us and pray with us for the military. We have prayer partners with no affiliation with the military, other than a concern for those who serve, and we want our Christian military brothers and sisters to have that same passion. We have recognized the need to be more strategic in our prayers for the military and have developed War Rooms (prayer groups) to battle the enemy . Additionally we will develop and distribute prayer lists we call The Shield, to focus our prayers efforts. Prayer will open doors to other MCF undertakings. It also causes people to change their involvement in God’s mission.

Will you take some time to reflect on your role as a Christian in the military community?Will you talk with God about His desire for you regarding this community? Will you pray with us as we seek to serve our military family? Will you use your freedom in Christ to help free others?

Talk to God

When asked if they pray, many people will say they do. Yet, when asked what area of their spiritual life is lacking, they say prayer. People are saying they are praying but they aren’t praying well. So, what is wrong?
Read 1 Peter 5:6-7
Prayer is how we get to communicate with the Creator of the Universe. God makes Himself available to hear from us and when He responds, He reveals much about His character and ours. As we share our emotions and thoughts with God in prayer, we can be convicted, enlightened, or even blessed. When we have meaningful and intimate conversations with God a relationship blossoms and we begin to understand God’s plan for humanity and even our purpose in His plan.

God allows us to experience His creation through emotions and senses. He connected with Adam and Eve in a very intimate manner setting the precedence for future relationship building. His spirit was definably with them in the garden. Genesis implies face-to-face encounters also occurred. During their interactions, Adam and Eve’s body language and words revealed their emotions to God just as His presence revealed something about His love and concern for them.  God taught that real connection, that leads to relationships, stems from verbal communication and face-to-face contact. Although communication changed after the incident in the garden, God continued to pursue His creation and taught us we can remain connected to Him if we are willing to talk and listen.

If we asked someone to share their status using 140 characters or less, a surprisingly high number of people will be able to do that. They can create a short, sweet, to the point statement about how they are feeling, what they are doing and so on. People can do this because this is how we communicate in the world today. We post updates using tweets, pictures, and emoticons.  However, these do little to create closeness.  It’s tough to grasp an understanding of an individual based on updates. Studies have suggested that it is difficult, if not impossible, to develop a meaningful relationship with someone using 140 or less characters. Yet, people continue to hide behind their smartphones and tablets while seemingly having little time for face-to-face social encounters.  Many believe they are socially connected yet studies reveal that despite the number and variety of social media tools available to us, more people are feeling isolated and lonely.

God wants to hear from us. He does not want updates. He want to know our heart. He wants to hear our passions. He wants to hear our pain. He wants to hear our confessions. He wants us to listen. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to grow in faith and worship.We can’t share who we are or what we truly desire in 140 characters or less and God can’t help us if we can’t connect.

It any wonder why people struggle to pray? People are losing their ability to connect to the world around them. They are unintentionally isolating themselves and are dependant on instantaneous, short, communication bites to express their thoughts and feelings. This does not allow for depth, understanding or intimacy. Prayer connects us with God who wants a real, two-way conversation with us. Prayer starts and grows relationships but the relationship God desires takes time, emotion, and surrendering our self before Him. Prayer keeps the connection alive and real. It requires more than a few happy faces, single word thoughts, or LIKEs. It requires our whole being to properly connect with the Supreme Being, God.

 

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for….

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

During extensive military training, extreme demands placed on participants can cause some to lose hope. Their weakened physical and mental state may lead to self-doubt and despair. Some will even second guess their decision to participate or even remain in the military. A hopeless mindset is very destructive and so the military reminds them to draw on past experiences and to keep themselves moving forward. Our military, especially those in operation roles, must be in training mode all the time and when they are not training they are putting that training into practice. Learning, training, and doing creates FAITH in an individual’s own abilities, helping our military overcome adversity.

FAITH involves trust and grows as we practice what we are taught. If an individual possess all the qualifications and licensures to practice dentistry but never treats anyone and even refuses to help someone in need of emergency dental work, is that individual really a dentist? No. They are nothing more than someone with knowledge and potential. To be a dentist, an individual must treat patients. The same principle applies to people who say they are Christians but don’t live by faith. FAITH leads them to live according to scripture and to seek and follow God’s will and direction for their life. FAITH causes them to believe and trust in God’s provision, comfort, protection, leadership, and wisdom in all things. If an individual can’t identify how they are living by FAITH, are they really a Christian?

Serving in the military is linked to surviving and overcoming obstacles. During training or day-to-day service, our military are often exposed to different operational scenarios and these experiences gives them the FAITH that they will overcome their circumstances. Those with limited exposure must rely on others to coach and guide them forward but they must personally continue to do all they can to bring themselves up to a functional mode. Because, as with most struggles in life, we start by facing it alone, and so we need to be able to survive the initial assaults.

A Christian’s faith is tested when one faces life in the raw; when an illness strikes or a difficult financial situation occurs or family disharmony is present. Our response to these situations will suggest what kind of FAITH we have. Individuals can lose themselves in fear or grief and will struggle because they are unable to focus on anything other than their predicament. A Christian living by FAITH recognizes struggles, and seeks God’s help. We know He offers a calming effect to help us examine our situation and deal with it. FAITH reminds us of His love and His promise and helps us keep our eyes on the prize; Jesus.

God could make all our life’s struggles go away if we ask. However, He has given us the ability to make decisions and choices and wants us to use our moral and common sense to do so. Most predicaments we face are self-inflicted and like a good Father, He lets us face them. He knows our experiences and study of His word will help us choose wisely. Even in situations we did not seem to bring about, He walks with us but does not interfere. He will offer comfort and peace to address fear and grief, allowing us to put into practice what our FAITH has allowed to grow in us. God’s desire is that we don’t panic or lose hope when life gets tough, but that we put our FAITH in Him to bring us through whatever life has to offer. Talk with God during good times and acknowledge His presence so that when the going gets tough, our first response will be to seek Him and allow our FAITH to carry us.

When I had lost all hope….

“When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord” Jonah 2:7

I recently underwent surgery. Knowing I’d be in the hospital for a few days, I thought about ways I would share Jesus to those I’d encountered. I packed my bible, a book of prayers, and a notebook. I had talked with God before going into hospital and felt ready to be a super evangelist. The morning of my surgery I was keen and full of hope but my attitude began to change hours after surgery. As the medication wore off I began to feel the effect of the surgeon’s work and it hurt. Despite being given a lot of pain medication, I became distressed. Pain is subjective in that no two people will react the same. I was reacting poorly as I had not imagined the pain I was experiencing was possible. I was very desperate for relief and as I lay rocking myself in the hospital bed, I spoke with God several times about my misery. I knew this situation would only last a few days at most but I found I could not say much to Him as my focus and thoughts were about me and not Him.

Many of us struggle with things that steal our focus and thoughts. Many are being weighed down by the trials of life. When we face a dilemma our thoughts are about our situation and we can find it hard to turn them off. The challenge for all followers of Jesus is to find a way to turn our thoughts to God especially during tough times. This does not mean we ignore the problems we are facing. It means we must find a way to soothe our anxious minds so we can survive the experience and even grow stronger. God offers to bring comfort but requires we first stop what we are doing and focus on Him. Why do you think God tells us to be still? (Psalm 46:10). When we are not still our mind is going to be filled with so much noise from the trials around us that we will never overcome our problems and we will resist God’s offer of aide.

Some relief came to me 36 hours post-surgery. As I lay in bed I noticed a bag that had been given to me by some of the kids in my youth class. On it was written “Open if you are feeling bad or need a hug”. I opened it and found many personalized notes of encouragement. They all seemed to be suggesting that if I focus on God I will be happy. The last note I read contained a verse from Jonah 2:7. I seemed to be in a hopeless state but as I read these notes I was reminded of those praying for me and those taking care of me. I also remembered that God loves me and did not want to see me suffer but knew that some suffering would occur but the surgery would improve my life.

During my hospital stay I had used my bible as a biting pad to prevent myself from screaming. My book and notepad were never opened. I did not behave in the Way I had hoped but I learnt much about my relationship with God. When our minds dwells on something besides the Lord for a long period of time we can become weary. As soon as I turned my thoughts to Him, I began to see some light. What are your thoughts filled with? Is it Christ? Our mind loves to dwell on everything and so we have to make war with it. I found that when I thought only of my pain I was not going to move forward. When we get caught up in our misery and struggles, we are often unable to move forward because we stop focusing on God and think only of ourselves; we almost stop looking for help.

Plan to survive struggles. Trust God’s promises. When He says to be still, He offers a way to calm us so we can sense and lean on His presence. Identify a Christian friend who would be willing to walk with you through your thought times and good times (you are expected to do the same with them). Be each other’s encouragement. Have some scripture nearby that reminds you to seek God and trust  Him. Don’t be discouraged or ashamed when you face a struggle. The evil one and his minions are doing all they can to derail your relationship with God. Jesus said He overcame the world, and so we can also survive it. God’s desire is not for us to hate our lives, but to live it to the full. We can do that if He remains the central focus of our thoughts and actions.

Revealing the depth and vulnerabilities of our faith and trust in Jesus

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. ……… If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” 1 Corinthians12:26

During a recent hospital stay I quickly became aware of the fact that to ensure recovery I had to be vulnerable. I had to reveal things about myself that I had previously considered very private to ensure the medical team had all the information necessary to diagnose and treat me. I also had to trust those taking care of me that they had to perform certain necessary procedures on me, that my personal modesty would normally never allow to happen.

As we walk in our faith there are thing we can do to keep us on the path towards Jesus. We pray, study Scripture and worship Him during a corporate gathering. During this journey we will encounter situations that will reveal the depth and vulnerabilities of our faith and trust in Jesus. When we are spiritually healthy, we can overcome obstacles and even become stronger. However, if we choose to live our faith alone, without other believers walking with us, there is a strong possibility that these struggles will infect our faith and over time may damage our overall spiritual health.

The Holy Spirit brings us through many of life’s troubles and that is God’s gift to us, however we were never meant to be on this faith walk alone. Just before God created Eve to be with Adam, He said “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). During Jesus’ earthly ministry He was rarely alone. He maintained His spiritual connection to the Father but His daily interactions were with men and women who He helped, but who also helped Him get His message across to others. To maintain a healthy spiritual life we need to be with other believers such as our church family. It is impossible to have an intimate relationship with every believer we encounter but it is possible, and necessary, to build a bonding relationship with at least one or two people. This person should be someone we can be vulnerable with as we share our inner most struggles. This person should be willing to offer sincere advice to help us battle through the challenging times. This is a person, who is not their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, is someone we can call anytime day or night to talk with about our faith.

We may not feel comfortable sharing with the whole church family, but they can still contribute to our journey. One of the medical procedures I faced this week was having a catheter inserted on my upper leg to allow constant injections of medicine to directly attack the source of pain. The doctor made small talk with me and then, without notice , threw up my hospital gown leaving me exposed as a baby entering this world. I was embarrassed and stared at the ceiling as he worked. At one point I lowered my gaze and noticed there were at least a dozen people watching him work. I made eye contact with a young man, who waved at me and said “Hi I’m Dave, I’m a Dalhousie student”. My first thought was “who is not watching this show’. I did figure out that he was a student in some medical field and was learning by watching. His presence also reminded about our individual roles with the MCF. Our interaction with people in the MCF is limited to observation, but that does not mean we can’t contribute to the spiritual health of other members. From time to time, we receive prayer requests and they are shared with the body. If we choose to pray alongside other members we contribute. Also, we can grow. When we see the vulnerable position some place themselves in when asking for prayer, we may be willing to ask others to pray for us. We may be like Dave, watching so as to be prepared to help one another somewhere down the line.

God designed us to be with others. We honour Him and each other when they are included in our spiritual walk. We should be wise about what we share. We do need to partner with a mature follower to address the faith issues that tear at our souls. If you don’t have such a partner, pray asking God to reveal a name and then go speak with that person. Remember you must also be willing to hear their joys and struggles. Being vulnerable is humbling and on our spiritual journey it can be very rewarding.