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Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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We’re ALL made in HIS image !! 

So, I’m blogging from bed tonight. . this is new for me. What’s been on my mind today?  The journey of struggle to always, 100% of the time, think the absolute best of others… no matter what they’ve done or said to you.  

It can be a challenge. .. but after growing through some friends & family struggles in the last few years,  I’m well able to see the fruitful results of thinking the best of others during & after conflict.  To clarify.. ..I’m referring to the results within me.   When logic tells you this,  that or the other,  but you’re able to see past that and see the likeness of the image of God in all, you know He has done a great work within your heart.   It’s also been really interesting to notice the reactions of others to my approach when it comes to how I think of others I’ve been thru conflict with.   There’s been no resolution. .. and yet I am able to believe the best of them. … even when it defies logic.   I, like many of us, kind of have two different types of friends/family. .. those walking with The Lord.. and those that aren’t.   Prodominently, my friends & family who are walking with Him know that I am making the BEST choices, even when it may not seem the logical choice (the decision you’d make in the flesh).  The flipside of the coin is a large perecent of my unbelieving friends/family think I’m a nutcase when I refuse to think badly of others.

I listen to myself at times and know that it seems crazy.. illogical. . and maybe a tad niave to look past nastiness to the God given gifts & talents that I know are beneath any words said out of hurt, pain, confusion. …. or outright miscommunication, but when you’re witnessed years of a beautiful, kind heart… when you have those memories. .. it’s easy to cling to those,  rather than the negative.

Now..  is it like a switch where you conplete your growth journey and you never struggle to always see the best?  Um, NO !! I so wish it was. .. but sadly, there’s an enemy that loves to pull us down at every opportunity.  We can know that we need to hold our shield high.. but sometimes LIFE gets hectic, stressful… or generally just full-on… It’s at those times that we may get a little distracted and have an arrow make contact.  Solution – Sword of the Spirit.  KNOW IT… MEMORIZE IT… SPEAK IT OUT !! & do that even when you don’t feel like doing it.  Actually. . do it ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like doing it.

Seems simple right. .. well it looks like it on paper.. but it does take strength,  perserverence, patience, persistence, determination . .. and lots of other strong qualities.  Good thing for us God gave us all those things… we just have to use them.   They’re kinda like muscels at times (yes, I did need to bring a fitness element into this.  Ha ha). .. if you use them a lot, they work well… get a little slothful, and it’ll be a tad more difficult for you.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Maybe the conflict I’ve experienced will never be repaired… who knows. . But I know it can only be beneficial to my heart for me to have this mindset.

Philippians 4 : 8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

You know what else is imperative. .. seeking & then listening to Godly counsel.  It takes humility,  but it’s something I’ve grown to know is extremely important.   Because guess what,  we can’t always trust our own emotions.   Another interest thing. .. God doesn’t just use our believing friends to impart wisdom to us.   I’ve recieved fresh insight and wise cousel on many occasions from my unsaved friends & family.

Proverbs 1 : 7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Well, It’s now morning. . And no,  I didn’t blog all night. … but I do like to write and then sit on something thru the night. . Just in case I’ve used my own fleshy thoughts and logic and not discerned correctly what it is The Lord has for me to publish.

Enjoy this new day peeps !! Seek His counsel in all things. .. and see others as He sees them. .. in every situation.  At work today,  with your family,  at school,  out socializing… whatever it might be, look for the best in all !! It might not always be easy,  but man,  you’ll feel better in yourself then giving into what our emotions sometimes say we have ‘the right’ to feel.   We all know what’s best. . It’s the enemy that comes in and feeds us the Genesis 3 : 1 line. . “Did He really say…” As it says, he’s crafty.  He often doesn’t outright tell us things,  but makes us question the sound judgement we have within us from The Lord.

Don’t listen to Him !!

Soak in the scriptures. . And use those swords to tell the enemy where to go when you feel yourself thinking badly of others,  or maybe justifying poor decisions.

And as Lisa Bevere says in ‘Girls with Sword’… STRIKE TRUE !!

Blessings peeps !!

Awaken, sleeping Lionesses

“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world can come together, purely and simply for the benefit of mankind.. it will be a force such as the world has never known.”  Matthew Arnold,  British Poet & Philosopher.

(Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.)

I included that little bit of basic info on Matthew Arnold to make the point that I think he was in a very good position to have made the above statement.  And it quite frankly blows me away to think that he made that comment well over 150yrs ago.  I must say that I do tend to think that we’re predominantly in the mess we’re in since the 1960 or 70’s, as I use the rationale that when my parents grew up, there was far more respect shown to adults/elders/those in authority than there is now.  There was more modest dress, stronger family bonds & commitments, and just more consideration shown for others across the board.  So, with this in mind, it’s interesting to read his statement and note how long ago he would have made it.  Clearly, a very intuitive man.  G. W. E. Russell wrote of Arnold, “He is a man of the world entirely free from worldliness.”

This statement by Matthew Arnold has been quoted by Lisa Bevere at the beginning of her messages since beginning her ‘Lioness Arising’ teachings in 2009.

I went through the Lioness Arising teaching series in January 2012 with the lovely ladies from LifeHouse church.  I found it to be such an informative and enlightening teaching, but it’s very interesting to reflect on how I’ve continued to learn from it in these 4yrs between, and I imagine I will continue to learn from it going forward also.

The cover of the book says ‘Lioness Arising… Wake up and change your world”.  Well, wake up I certainly did that year and I’ve never looked back.

Chapter one of the Safari guide (the workbook that goes alongside the book & message series) begins with these words, “Welcome to the pride, my lovely Lioness sister.”  Now, this right here was an eye-opener for me in that lounge room that night in Jan 2012, surrounded by 12-14 relatively new friends as I’d only joined the church the previous October.  Those beautiful women became my pride for the next 3yrs and I learnt so much with and from them.  God had further plans for our family, leading us away from LIfeHouse and to the church family we now call HOME!  As a result, I have a different ‘pride’ now.  The eye-opening point though had little to do with the small group that is your pride, but realising that we, as women of God, are all in the one pride.   We support each other in our day to day within our smaller ‘prides’, but as a whole, we support the entire pride in prayer also.

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My pride today is stunning… stunning and dangerously wide awake !!  To say I love them and are grateful to do life with them is a huge understatement.   What’s fascinating about our pride is that all five of us have known each other for years…  approx 13yrs is the longest I’ve known one of my Lioness sisters, but some are a little longer, and some a little shorter.  We haven’t always been this pride…. it’s actually come together in solidarity just this year.  In these many years leading up, there’s been weddings (actually, just one, mine.  LOL), pregnancies, miscarriages, births, dedications, relationship tensions, job changes, many a school activity or awards night, family tragedy, mind-blowing blessings, and so so much more.  It continues to amaze me that God’s timing is ALWAYS spot on !  We’ve all known each other for a good amount of years, and have always gotten along, but God has seen fit to bring us together as a pride for THIS time in our lives.  All of us are riding through something at present, whether it be health, relationship, parenting, or something else.. and we’re all there for each other and in most cases can well relate to our Lioness sister’s struggles.

Another thing the 5 of us have in common… we all have a Lioness cub that has been entrusted to our care.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return, and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.  Luke 12:48 NLt

Our ‘cubs’ range from 10yrs up to nearly 16 (so yes, we need prayer right now peeps.. ha ha).  There is so so much to be aware of when parenting a daughter and I know it’s been said time and time again, but seriously, the biggest keys are being in a Godly marriage (don’t worry if you’re a single Mum, or your husband isn’t walking with The Lord as in those situations, The Lord is the other parent when needed) The Word of God, and having open communication with your daughter.  The next biggest asset after those is being in a Pride of fellow Lionesses also mothering a cub.

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It’s so important to instil into our girls that while they have no choice but to be IN the world, they most certainly don’t need to be OF the world.  This can be crazy hard with the influence of tv, movies, magazines, books, music lyrics & videos etc etc.  To give an example, my daughter is 15, is homeschooled, goes to dance once a week, attends a life-group with girls her age at our church, and attends youth group and church on the weekends.  She also works part-time at a coffee shop twice a week.  Now, while she is free from a huge amount of negative influences that she used to be greatly effected by when she was in mainstream school, she still comes in contact with those of different beliefs, moral standards etc etc and needs to know how to respond in those situations.  Recently there was a situation at her workplace where someone was upset and resigned.  What followed was very adult conversation topics, bad language and a lack of consideration shown by some in the situation.  I need to know that I am doing the absolute best job to equip Miss 15 to best handle herself in these situations.  I’m pleased to say that she did very well, recognising where it would have been easy to slip into the gossiping with others, but refrained from it.  #proudmummamoment .  We can tend to think that if we just have our girls in youth group/life group at our church, all will be fine, or at least better than ‘out there in the world’.  This quite often isn’t the place.  Probably better, yes, but not smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination.  Youth group and life group usually involves community kids, so therefore worldly issues, swearing, lower moral standards etc etc.  While we would love to just keep our daughters from these, they need to experience them in these years in order to learn and effectively navigate the big world when they in fact delve into it themselves, whether that be via University, the workplace, or social settings.  Not to mention… how are we to save the lost if we don’t interact with those not walking with The Lord.

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You know another important thing to do with your Lioness sisters….. LAUGH…. Laugh until your stomach and sides ache !!  I’m pleased to say that we satisfy this unwritten pride prerequisite quite well….  especially with this one here….  Oh my goodness we laugh a LOT !!  If I’m a little down, my DH will say to me.. “You need a get together with your bestie… go belly laugh together like you always do.” :0)

Through not only the benefit of laughter, but also friendship and prayer support, we are able to journey together in our walk with The Lord, becoming best equipped to help others.  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

In her book ‘Lioness Arising’, Lisa Bevere writes..  We live in a world filled with ever-increasing opportunities.  We are not limited like our sisters in the 1800s.  We have the ability to stretch forth and reach out to others to do this well.  We must look back and ahead.

 

In Luke 4:18-19 we read God’s Spirit is on me, he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”   In my humble opinion, to most effectively do this, we women NEED to be in a fully awakened and dangerous pride.

To be able to confidently know not only that I would state the following, but my fellow Lionesses would too…  So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.  Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away.  I will tear out your heart.  I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal.  Hosea 13:7-8 NLT.  So, who didn’t know that stuff like that was in the bible??  ha ha !!

There is so much we need to shield and protect our daughters from in this current day, but at the same time, prepare them for when they go out into the world and encounter those same things.  Matthew 10:16 says Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you.  You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves.  Be as cunning as a snake, un-offensive as a dove.  

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Take this beauty on the right here….  Doesn’t she look all gorgeous, sweet and lovely??  well, she totally is :0)… but she’s also one of the fiercest prayer warriors I know, and she can be counted on to go to war for one of her Lioness Sisters at a moments notice if needed.

There is so so much more I could include in this blog, but the best I can do is suggest that if you haven’t read Lioness arising, or done the study within a group, GET ONTO IT GIRLFRIEND !!!  There’s simply too much at stake in our world right now, far too many sleeping Lionesses who need to be awakened.  We need to be Proverbs 31:10-31 women, standing by our men, honouring them so they in turn can be equiped to do their part in The Kingdom.  But as we all know, marriage is tough…  so we need our Pride in order to stay strong, weather storms, and not buy into the ways of the world.   I can personally testify to the fact that if you are surrounded by like minded, Godly women as your close friends and support system, your marriage is 1000% better.

I’ll finish with a list of Prayers Roars from the Lioness Arising Safari Guide.  Why not make it a new nightly routine to declare one of these.  I’ll include 7 so that you have one for each day of the week.  These really will set you on a fantastic path to discovering what you actually have in your hand, and how effective you can be in & for the Kingdom.

  1.  I realise I have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems.  Lord, lead me as I embark on this journey !!
  2. I am ready to give expression to lovely, virtuous, capable, inoffensive, cunning, harmless, shrewd, trustworthy, faithful lioness daughters who enrich the lives of those around me and gather to strategise how to ‘do good’.  I am willing to take on this challenge !!
  3. This day, regardless of how I look or feel, I choose to echo the declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”God’s work in me is marvellous.  I am stunning; but more than just looking good, I choose to develop the strength to do good, I am ready to bear some weight and carry my load, because rather than being busy, I will build, I will shift my focus to gain strength and allow hardship to re-make me invincible in Him.  I embrace my strength and choose to run to win, train hard, give it my all, stay alert and not get sloppy with the Word of God, or the seasons of my life.
  4. I present my strength for you service.  God, I refuse to allow anyone to put me in a position of status.  I choose to serve and lift others by asking “How can I help?”.  I will change the way I look at my life of worship.  It is a banquet of refreshing and strength, not a draining burden.  Show me how to be a lioness among Lions and in the process, raise up others in their strength and encourage them to dream again.  I know acts of honour are never lost in translation, so I look to my future with hope because talking less now doesn’t mean having less in my future.  I am a guide, not a guard.  I live to bring people in, not to keep them out, and enlarge my life.
  5. I pray my release means release for others.  Male and female, help me to always remember that marriage is a union, not a battle.  Let me recognise the gender difference as the affirmation of our need for each other.  I need the men in my world to be all that you created them to be.  God bless the dwellings of unity in my life.  We all need redemption and you alone are worthy of my worship. I will stop being contentious and reading too much into gender differences, because you have ultimate preeminence, may you have your say in my life.
  6. Jesus, we are ready to do something impressive and significant. For your body, show me who I am so I know how to both greet and groom my sisters and brothers.  I want to refresh and restore others.
  7. I am ready to be excellently formed and marvellously functioning.  Teach me to hunt, I am ready to grow up, give me the energy and insight of heaven.  Restore all of my healthy maternal affection that fear has twisted.  I am ready to hunt with my sisters.

Many blessings my Lioness Sisters (& any dedicated blog loving Lions still reading)

Let’s stand together and be POWERFUL !!   (Note I haven’t said anything today about who we’re standing against …. coz I refuse to give him more credit than is due.  It’s like a mozzie to a T-Rex….  We are fully armed peeps with the Word of God.)

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xox

 

 

 

 

Let your character speak above lies

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I’m baaaaaaack….  Yes, I know, it’s been 6wks since blogging.  It’s not that I haven’t thought of it.  I’ve actually thought of it nearly every day, but I think the copious amounts of notes being taken in my Bible College studies, as well as the copious amounts of info being taken in, effects the clarity of what to blog about.

There is so many topics near and/or dear to me in these last weeks but I’ve decided to focus on the above title as it really does cover many areas of struggle in our lives.

One of my lecturers a few weeks back said “You’ll have people that think the world of you, have total confidence in you as a leader and steadfastly encourage you along the way.   Sadly though, you’ll also have people that despise you.  Be prepared for the reality that the closer you walk with The Lord, and the deeper you delve into the things of HIM, the longer that second list of people will grow.”

It’s extremely sad, and extremely difficult to accept, but all I can lean on is the absolute knowledge that we can simple SOAK in God’s word at all times. (& yes, I’ve mentioned this several times in my blogs over the last few years). When we are treated badly, spoken badly of, had lies spread of us, experienced deceit and harsh words towards us, we are in very good company.

2 Timothy 3:12 tells us..  Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 

Persecution is one of the last things a Christian would consider a spiritual blessing. Like suffering, no one needs to seek it out. Jesus did not avoid this subject, but spoke boldly that those who choose to live uprightly and stand for God and speak the truth will be persecuted. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(Matthew 5:10-12)

The word persecution literally means to pursue. However, it includes malicious intent. It can vary in severity from just speaking nasty words to inflicting brutal violence. Jesus said to be happy about it because “great is your reward in heaven.” Most of the prophets were treated harshly, because they confronted God’s people with truth and reproved their godless behavior and their hard-hearted unbelief.

David was persecuted by King Saul, among others. The motivation was jealousy and envy. Saul was tormented by an evil spirit. David knew it was a spiritual conflict and refused to “stretch out [his]hand against the Lord’s anointed.” He said in Psalm 69:4: “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully.”.

How do we practically deal with this in everyday life though?  It’s all well & good to have these and other scriptures on hand to draw on when these situations arise, but in reality, it can be hard.  Feelings are real and it hurts when someone you care about believes lies, or is even the one spreading lies about you.  It always reminds me of that quote “Let your character be such that no-one would believe lies about you.”  I bring this to mind in these situations as, for me personally, I know I have such dear friends who fall into that first category above, have my back, encourage me, push me when needed, call me on things when I slip etc etc.

My biggest ‘take home’ on this issue though is 2 things….. the first is the obvious, lean on Scriptures, memorising them so that they’re easy to pull into your thoughts when needed… and two, ALWAYS try and see people as God sees them, no matter how hard that is, no matter how much the enemy tries to tell you they don’t deserve it.   You can usually find this an easy thing to do if you’ve had a falling out with a friend or family member, as you’re bound to have good, even fantastic, memories with these people, so simply draw on  THOSE memories and not the negative.  That’s what I choose to do everyday.  It’s not always easy… there are days that the enemy feeds rubbish into my head and it can get me ‘thinking’ instead of praying, but I just need to remember who has the victory and who is defeated and I’m able to re-boot my thinking.

Another aspect to this is that if you choose to dwell on something someone did or said to you, you’re actually not allowing the possibility that they have changed.  I have two people in my life that are very dear to me but have turned away from me.  Both of these women have amazeballs qualities, so I CHOOSE to think on that, pile blessings on them on a daily basis, and leave it in God’s hands to ‘do what He does best’.   I declare that even if these relationships aren’t restored one day, God will use even that for good.

Isn’t God just awesome !!!  Just being able to have that confidence that He loves to so much and wants the absolute best for us.

Ok peeps… Nighty night.  It’s to bed for me.

Blessings.  xox

Positioned like a see-saw

I remember sitting under a teaching a few years back about how our posture as a disciple of Jesus Christ should be with one hand stretched upwards to someone in a mentoring capacity.. to someone who is further along in their walk with The Lord than us. Meanwhile, the other arm reaches down, ‘pulling up’, encouraging & discipling someone coming along behind us.  Someone that is a little further back in their walk with The Lord than where we are.

The person you’re reaching up to has a little more life experience than you, so is able to teach and help you through similar situations.  In turn, you can teach & help the one you are encouraging, because of the trials, struggles and victories you have walked through.

I also remember receiving an image about this, back when sitting under that teaching, of one long road with people littered all along it, all at different stages.  I probably should have drawn in it seeing as I wasn’t able to find something that I felt represented it, but this gives you an idea.

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When I had this come to mind last night, the Holy Spirit gave me an image of a seesaw, but it wasn’t like one end was completely up and the other completely down…. it’s not normally positioned in that way, and I don’t believe it would be nearly as effective either.  I think the image of a set of scales where one end has a slightly heavier weight onboard than the other shows a more accurate picture of the common situation, but as the ‘weight’ part of the image makes no sense, I think the seesaw is better.

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This one is more like it.

The person reaching down needs to have the HUMILITY required to fulfil this role in another’s life, while also having the WISDOM to take on this responsibility.

Something that simple cannot be in the equation is pridefulness !!!

Just because I like definitions, let’s look at some now…

First, a ‘secular’ definition of Humility –the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.  While in essence, this is true, I don’t like it one bit as it doesn’t sit well with me when you consider that we are a temple of The Holy Spirit.  We have the power of Christ within us, so when I consider our ROLE in God’s Kingdom, we certainly do not have a low level of importance.  I guess what it comes down to though is the importance of that role, as opposed to the importance of us as a person.  That’s where the pridefulness can come into it.  If we are prideful about our own importance & think that that importance is  seperate to God, that’s when we will run into trouble.

A biblical definition of Humility  –God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ.  I LOVE this !!!  So so true !! Free from pride & arrogance !!

Now for Wisdom… the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.

Not bad…. let’s look at it from a biblical point of view though.

Wisdom begins and ends with the fear of the Lord. It isn’t a fear of being struck by lightning or fear of being struck dead but it’s a deep, abiding, holy reverence and respect for the Lord and for His Word, the Bible. The Book of Proverbs has more to say about wisdom than any other book in the Bible. For example in Proverbs 9:10 Solomon, who was the wisest man on earth, at least until Christ came, said that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Where there is fear, there tends to be obedience and God has said He prefers obedience over sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22; Hosea 6:6). Sometimes obedience comes before understanding and when someone obeys what they know to be true, understanding usually follows. Wisdom begins with reverence for God and a fear for Him and His Word. That’s where wisdom begins. Where there is no fear of the Lord, there can never be any true wisdom. It’s just not possible.

Now, both these two traits can be tricky, and not always easy to uphold, especially in weakness during struggle.  It takes real DISCIPLINE to be HUMBLE & use WISDOM  to take the right path when in a struggle or under attack.

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Two other words that I really think needs to come into the scenario is COMMITMENT & RESPONSIBILITY !!  We need to be there for our ‘person’ at all times, even at times of our own struggles.  The only way we can do that is by walking closely with The Lord, digging into The Word & being accountable.

As a mentor, your role is to teach and inspire by words and example, so you can come alongside someone in their personal development and learning development using your life, Christian experiences, and education as tools.. You are a role model to someone. This is a precious responsibility that is to be taken seriously, but also enjoyed. You need to be one who is growing in the Lord, and who takes His Word and precepts to heart and to life. Because someone is placing his or her trust as a counselor and teacher in you, you need to be real and growing to do this right. Therefore, you are the one the Lord will use to provide opportunities for spiritual learning, development, and growth.

Matthew 12:36 & 37 tell us … I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Words hold power peeps.. in so many ways, so be careful with your words !!!

If The Lord entrusts you with a ‘mentee’  (that’s probs not actually a word, but you know what I mean) then see it as the privilege that it is, and ENJOY it, but never ignore the commitment and the responsibility that goes along with it.

Oh.. and one last thing…. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS RESPONSIBILITY !!  Treat it as the GIFT that it is.  You will grow through every moment as a mentor too… it’s not a one-way deal.  Another thing that has been evident in my walk and I believe I can pass onto others and it be of help, is this…  When God leads you in a different direction… be it towards a different person, or away from a person…. LISTEN TO HIM & ACT ON IT !!

Maybe you will be in a mentor type relationship with someone for a very long time, but often you will not.  People with this need or gifting come in & out of our lives at GOD’S will, not ours !!!  We may be of help, or receive help from someone for a season and that be all God intended for each of our journeys.  When that happens…  seek confirmation from Him.. and then accept & move on, being ever watchful for new doors being opened.

Isn’t it FUN being a child of God !!!!!  Seriously, I LOVE IT !!!!  So much to learn, grow in and become !!!!

Blessings peeps !!!  xox

 

 

What colour is your lifejacket?

Quite often, the Holy Spirit will prompt me on a future blog entry.  This happened to me on the very first day of our cruise, so I did what I always do in these situations, got out my phone and typed it into a note ‘for a time such as this’ (ha ha), when I’d find the time to sit at my Mac and blog about it.

As a little side-note, but still very pertinent to this blog, I am simply LOVING  (& very appreciative) how I have such a great ‘open phone line’ with my Heavenly Father, and in turn am often very aware of Holy Spirit prompting.  Now, I’m in no way saying that I always get it right, coz I so do not !!  There are times when I ignore that still small voice, or buy into the lie that it was ‘just my own thoughts’.  I always know this has happened as a turn of events play out and I’m able to see plain as day where I should have listened to the still small voice, and I didn’t.  Most of the time, it’s very small things.. nothing life changing by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m sure it’s exactly those times when The Lord is teaching me to lean on Him in EVERY situation.  It always prompts me to be constantly aware that if I don’t continue to work on and foster that relationship with The Lord, one of those times won’t be about a small, non-life-changing issue, but something much bigger.

John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom The Father will send you in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

So, with all this in mind, when I am confident The Holy Spirit has given me a message, I get it written down so that I can explore it later.

Because it’s always interesting to start off a ‘story’ or message with a ‘sizzling start’ (that’s grade 3 curriculum coming back to me right there), here we go…

It was a gorgeous sunny Friday, standing on Riviera Deck of the Sea Princess.  My family & I were standing with lifejackets in hand while waving off dear friends that had come to farewell us.

As you can imagine, it’s kinda awkward walking around carrying lifejackets.  They’re not the modern type you’d use when going on a speedboat etc, but the very ‘boxy’ type that I imagine are made that way for easy mass production, as well as efficient storage in small spaces.

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After waving off our friends, we headed to our super exciting safety Muster.  As we were walking to our muster station, carrying my boxy lifejacket, I really felt, within my spirit, that I was being told the following very clear line.

JESUS IS YOUR LIFEJACKET !!

Because it wasn’t a particular ‘must be dealt with now’ type of prompting, I didn’t think on it too much at that time (too busy listening to the fascinatingly interesting safety talk of course), but it was the following day when sitting quietly on Promenade deck with nothing but my husband’s silent company, a great book and a drink (non-alcoholic of course, as I assume some of you may not like me BUI.. Blogging Under the influence …Bahahahahahaha ), that my mind went back to that still small voice and it’s message to me the previous day.

What kept coming back to me was this notion of carrying that awkward lifejacket around with me the entire cruise.  I remember thinking to myself (which, yes, I know is kinda silly) “I wonder if our friends saw us with the lifejackets and thought we had to have them with us at all times on the cruise?.”  Yes, feel free to laugh, as it is a funny picture, as I know they’re clever enough to have not thought that.  When asking for clarification it was made clear to me that the idea shows me that we have Jesus with us AT ALL TIMES and he IS our lifejacket.  He protects us and gives us that amazing sense of security.  He keeps our head above the water, even when the ‘seas’ get rough and the ‘waves’ are high.  (Is anyone  else singing ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong in their heads right now?)

The biggest illustration though was that while the boxy lifejacket is cumbersome to carry around (& worse to wear), and we all couldn’t wait to put it back on the top shelf of the cupboard in our stateroom, to hopefully stay there for the remainder of our cruise.. the lifejacket that we have in Jesus is a pleasure and a gift to ‘wear’.

Another element to the illustration was about the colour.  The boxy lifejackets on the ship are bright orange.  Most lifejackets are bright aren’t they as one of their features needs to be high visability etc.  The question we need to ask ourselves is …  When our friends, family, circle of influence etc see us ‘wearing our Jesus lifejacket’, do they see a bright orange, highly visable ‘lifejacket’ or do they see a faded, shabby one?  I wonder if some people even like their Jesus lifejacket to come in a Camo design at times… like those times that we want to ‘fly under the radar’ and slip into sin areas we know we shouldn’t.

This illustration says to me that yes, we can choose Jesus as our lifejacket but do we wear it at all times, care for it, keep it in tip-top shape?  highly visible & effective, or do we wear it only when it suits us, throw in the cupboard for weeks or months at a time, change the design of it at times so that it’s ‘easier’ (less cumbersome) to wear etc. When we do that, we are actually hurting not only ourselves, but those around us.  Those people that are possibly put across our path in order for us to witness to them.  We are called to be light in the darkness.

Personally, while working with this illustration, I want my ‘lifejacket’ to be a BRIGHT FLURO orange.. I want people to see Jesus within me from far off… & not just in appearance, but in action & deed.

I have found from personal experience over the years that when the lifejacket seems burdensome and weary to wear, it’s at those times that I have let me relationship with The Lord wane.  I’ve not given him my best, my first, my time.  Praise The Lord, I’ve never wanted to take the lifejacket off, never even come close to thinking it, but I am honest enough to know that at times my lifejacket has appeared dull and barely visible.  It always continued to have it’s practical elements of protection, but was I wearing it with the straps undone… living on the edge so to speak. I’m extremely grateful for the influences I’ve had in my life, in particular within the last 5ish years, that have brought me to a place of doing up the clips, tightening the straps, cleaning off the ‘dust’ and bringing it back to HIGH VISIBILITY.

So, to wrap up what I’ve taken from this particular message from The Holy Spirit, I want to keep my lifejacket BRIGHT and VISIBLE !!! How am I going to do that?  No matter how much time, big or small, I already devote in quietness to The Lord, I’m going to work at increasing those times.  I’m going to increase the times that I read from my ACTUAL bible, as opposed to using the app on my phone.  It’s convenient, I know (believe me, I know.. because I can make the font nice and BIG), but it’s also easy to have a txt message or a phone call come in and then poof…  quiet time disturbed.. even if you ignore the call/message.

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Also, I’m going to increase my journalling.  I really enjoy it so it’s certainly not a chore, and much is learnt from each journalling entry.

Praise & worship is also a big part of my walk with The Lord.  So many modern worship songs are full of great teachable content, but you really can’t beat the old hymns.  They are so rich in God’s word…  with so many of them copied straight off the pages.  So, increased time listening to God’s word in song is in order too.

With all this in mind, I’d say 2016 is looking pretty darn exciting !!

Blessings Peeps  xox

 

 

 

Life is continuing….

Oh my goodness, if I’d left it another two days, it would have been an entire month between blogs…that’s downright SLACK !!!

So much has been going on.. which does help to explain my slackness in the blogging department.

The highlights are –

  • Baby Boy Lucas is now HOME and powering on like the little warrior he has proven himself to be.  He’s settling in at home, putting on weight, getting to know his big brother, and is having his first immunisations today.

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  • I scored myself a not very pleasant intercostal injury about a month ago and am actually still suffering from that.  However, it IS improving (PRAISE GOD !!) so things ARE on the up & up.  I think I did it because I did either too many sit ups, or did sit ups incorrectly.  I had both an ultrasound and an X-ray on my right side chest/ribs etc but it didn’t show anything.  As a result, I’ve had to change my exercise routine …  for the first two weeks, I couldn’t do ANYTHING.  I am pleased to say though that I must have been doing just enough to keep the weight loss train going as the number has continued to drop slowly each Tuesday morning for my weigh-in.
  • We are now down to only two weeks and two days until we sail far far away across the sea !!!  Our renewed passports finally arrived so this is a relief.  I cannot even tell you how excited & humbled I am to know that I get to enjoy two weeks ‘off the job’.  No cleaning, cooking, washing….  Thank you Jesus !!!
  • Sadly there is ups and downs (more downs)  in family over the last few weeks that look to be continuing for a while.  However, God is teaching me a lot throughout.  It’s so easy to see someone’s actions as selfishness on the surface, but when looking deeper, you can expose emotional issues that deserve additional care.  Also, sadly, it is human nature to ‘arc up’ when someone does something to upset you, when in fact, we’ve been commissioned to Love thy neighbour, repay bad with GOOD, do all we can to expand God’s Kingdom, and most importantly, be the LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS !!!
  • DH is really enjoying having his aeroplane and being able to go up to the airfield whenever he can and go for a fly IN HIS OWN PLANE.  He’s been waiting a very long time for this and is LOVING IT !!  He’s also made a nice group of friends up there, which is just as much a part of the whole ‘scene’ he’s been wanting to be apart of for so long. They sit around with their drinks and discuss all things ‘planes’.  I’m really really happy for him.  & as you can see, the kids are enjoying it too.

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  • The biggest homeschool excursion (78 people) I have ever organised went off without a hitch (or any drownings)… Woot Woot !!

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  • Miss 14’s dance comps all went very well.  Now to enjoy the break before it all starts again in Feb 2016.
  • The 2016 homeschool journey has been decided on which is also a weight off my shoulders.  The older two kiddos are currently working through diagnostic testing for next year and are doing very well with them.

So there you go, that basically brings you up to speed, to a degree, on our lives.

Even amongst the ups and downs of ‘life’ I love how God makes ‘lessons’ out of all situations, good & bad.  I’ve also been reading Jefferson Bethke’s Jesus>Religion which is really opening up my view on things.

Blessings xox

Passion is your fuel.. Clarity is your power !!

Sunday afternoon took us to church at the unusual time of 4.30pm due to the NRL Grand Final coming on at 7.  (Yay for a footy loving Pastor. LOL)  There was a guest speaker (Andrew Stone) bringing a message and I went expectant.  I was not disappointed !!  I really wanted to share some points with you from that message as it really spoke to me.

The general topic was PRAYER… and that we should go before The Lord with a THANKFUL, or agreeing heart, for that which He has already blessed us with, as opposed to ASKING for this, that & the other.  As I’ve done a fair bit of reading on the topic of prayer and intercession over the last few years, I was already very aware that our Heavenly Father already has all for us that we could ever need, He has already blessed us with all we will need, but so often we fail to CLAIM it.

There’s a story that I’ve heard a few times about a man going up to heaven. An angel shows him around, but seems to avoid a big white warehouse in the centre of heaven.  The man insists on seeing inside, against the angels suggestion that he will not like what he sees.  When the door is opened and the man sees what is inside, a look of amazement crosses his face, followed by a sad look of realisation.  The angel says “Yes, this warehouse is full of those of God’s blessings that His children DID NOT claim.”

After doing the reading I have done, I’ve come to the realisation that I need to go before the Lord not to ask for such and such to be dealt with, fixed, altered, healed or whatever is needed for that particular situation, but with a thankful heart that is already HAS been handled. For example, in regards to my DH not having the personal relationship with God that I would like, I THANK Him that he DOES.  Even though that isn’t the reality right now… I chose to CLAIM what will one day be.  I’m EXPECTANT in all situations.  Now, don’t get me wrong… that isn’t always easy… and sometimes I fail at this and revert to asking, pleading, begging etc etc… but I can usually pull myself out of the funk reasonably quickly.

OK… back to Sunday’s message.

Humanity cages what it cannot control.  Man oh man.. how true is this !!  If we can’t make it work for us, we ‘cage’ it into what we can control.  Andrew used the parallel of a caged circus animal to a caged zoo animal in a conservation zoo.  They are both ‘caged’ but with very different intent by the person in control of the lock & key.  If we use the diagram with real people, Someone who is out of control will need lots of limitations placed on them, and under the wrong guidance, can become a bit of ‘entertainment’ to others.  Whereas someone who cares for that person and wants nothing more than their healing, will make very different choices in their ‘confinement’.  There was lots more to this but I’m not covering it in this post… as it really could make a separate post of it.

Matthew 17:20 –He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[a]

I LOVED what he had to share about this verse.. and in particular, the mustard seed.  Who has ever thought that compared to God’s power, we need just this tiny amount of faith in comparison, for Him to work in our lives? But Andrew suggest that maybe it more speaks to the enemy’s scheme and how just a small mustard seed of faith in God’s power can dismantle his schemes.

Mark 11:22-24 –And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a] it, and it will be yours.  (What sea was he speaking of?? The Dead Sea…. where things cannot live.. and HOLD NO WEIGHT…. Cool right !! )

Isaiah 54:10 –For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Ezekiel 37:26-27 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land[a] and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This brought us into looking into Peace – “Peace is not the lack of problem but rather the superior state in the midst of it.”

LOVE is the motivation..  GRACE is the meditation…  and PEACE is the manifestation.

Peace – Emptying ourselves so that God can FILL US.  Shalom – Breaking your agreement with a lie.

I have always loved the word ‘Shalom’, and like most people, just think of Peace when I see it, say it etc, but it was fascinating to delve further into the word and see what is behind the word when looking at the original Hebrew.

SHALOM – Destroying the authority attached to Caos.

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I wish I could have found the image he used as it described it a little better, but if you see the word secure you can see the parallel of attach.  Also leader can easily be paralelled with authority (shepherds staff…  the shepherd was the authority over the sheep.).  It could read almost as well using the words in this image.  Destroy the leader secured by caos.

OK peeps… Lots to ponder on as always.  God’s word is awesome like that…. we can get a new thing from a scripture or even a word, that we haven’t previously seen.

Blessings xox

I will be still and know You are God

Good afternoon blogger peeps !!! Once again… it’s raining in Brisvegas, which is so great.. and we even got a decent storm with it.  I just love how God works in every situation though, as I have had ‘Still’ by Hillsong in my head all day.. so when it was storming just now, lightening, thunder, flash flooding…. those words came alive in front of me.

When the Oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm.  Father, You are king over the flood.  I will be still & know you are God.

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I have a list of great scriptures to share with you this afternoon which are of great help to me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  Psalm 56:3

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me? Hebrews 13:6

Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, Proverbs 8:35

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Psalm 120:1

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  Jeremiah 29:11-12

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  Mark 13:31

I love the ‘Still’ lyrics and the fact that I’ve had them running through my head all day.  The ‘stillness’ is so important as it is VERY easy to get busy in your own mind with what ‘should’ be happening, or for the ‘why’ questions to start… and then have plenty of my own answers ready… but it’s HIS answers I need, it’s HIS promises I need to cling to, it’s HIS love that I need to soak in at these times even more than usual.

All I can say is how blessed are we to have God’s word to draw on and help us in EVERY situation.  There is not a single struggle, or blessing for that matter, that we can’t find instruction on in His Word.

Ok peeps…  Have a great evening

Blessings  xox

Having an educated opinion goes a long long way.

So, as my 17 (nearly 18) year old niece is a vegetarian recently changed to Vegan, I decided to do some serious research into the subject after she expressed disappointment and frustration at the response she gets from people on this topic.  Now, I’ll admit, my initial response was similar to many…  “What, you can seriously go without eating a perfectly cooked steak, or a delicious chicken breast?”  I love my meat and enjoy cooking with nice meat.

I didn’t want to just give her the same response that many do, without it being an educated opinion… so this is what prompted the research journey.

I must admit, I do stick to those two main meats listed above.. chicken & steak.  The are really the only ‘healthy’ ones that i like to eat.  I’m not a big fan of fish and only really eat it very rarely as I do acknowledge that it’s good for me.  I do have some sort of mince dish once a fortnight or so, but I’d prefer to stay away form it, as well as sausages, as you just can’t always be sure exactly what’s in them.  So, what I’m saying is that I don’t eat a huge range of meat.  My eyesight has always made it difficult to cut up anything with a bone in it, so I’ve stayed away from chops, t-bone etc.

During a conversation with Miss 17 this week, she questioned my biblical standpoint on the topic of meat eating, as I must admit I’d fallen back to those verses about dominion over animals when talking to her at other times etc.  Also, the one thing I’ve clung to is the ‘God gave us meat to eat’ argument.  Something prompted me to look into that and verify that I was in fact speaking correctly.  My research tells me that I WASN’T !!  (Whoopsie)

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Gene:29-30 … And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 

Let’s also look at Genesis 2:9 ..And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.  and vs 16 – And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden (God’s first form of food for us was in fact grown from the ground….. maybe significant, maybe not, but an interesting point nonetheless.)

In vs 18 God decided that Adam should not be alone and that He would make him a helper, so the animals which God had created out of the dust back in Gen 1:20, were paraded past Adam, and he named each one.  A suitable helper had not been found, so it was then that God created Eve.  I think it’s very interesting that animals were first seen as Adam’s HELPER,  there is no mention or even hint at them created for his food.

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In Chapter 3 vs 18, after the fall has occurred, God speaks of Adam eating the plants of the field, and bread.. but still no mention of eating meat.  (& so the plot thickens… who else is starting to think the Vegetarians maybe aren’t the crazy ones??)

However, in vs 20 & 21 of Chapter 3, it says this…  the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.   So, where did these ‘skins’ come from?  Several commentaries look at whether this was skin from an animal, which of course would have had to die in order for him to have the skin, or did God simply create the skin Himself?

In Genesis 4:4, the first specific mention of killing an animal occurs….Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.  

When we get to Gen 8 vs 20…  the flood waters have subsided and Noah comes out of the ark and offers a sacrifice to The Lord and He finds the aroma ‘pleasing’.  Now, would this indicate that God was ok with the sacrifice of animals?   It had been made clear prior to this that a sacrifice was made of an innocent animal, to atone for our sins… all being a prelude to the ultimate innocent, Jesus, who would make the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross… taking the penalty for our sin.  A commentary I read on this verse and others relating to it suggests that it wasn’t the aroma of animal blood and burnt flesh that God found appealing, but the repentant attitude of Noah which prompted him to do the sacrifice in the first place.  (Remembering we are fallen man.)

Gen 9:1-4 gets rather interesting… *remembering that man’s diet to this point has been only vegetarian…  And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

This paragraph from the same commentary mentioned above suggest this of Gen 9: 1-4…

This whole passage is a concession from God and does not express the will of God. God recognizes the evilness of the human heart and is allowing humankind to live in a state of being that is less than His desire or ideal.

The same commentary goes on to say…

However, upon the ark there was once again no death, and apparent obedience to the Lord. But following the Flood, when there was supposed to be another Edenic way of peaceful living and obedience to God, Noah and his family sacrificed innocent animals, because they supposedly recognized themselves as not pure, and needed to repent. This brings about the mixed feelings of God, as expressed in Genesis 8:21.

Apparently, it is easier to kill an innocent animal than it is to be obedient to the Lord our God. Or, perhaps there is more to this corrupted state of being. Are humans expressing their dominance and power over the animals by killing and eating those who are weaker than themselves (The sin of the boastful pride of life)? Are humans expressing their sins of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), by eating the flesh that had been denied them as poor people who looked upon the eating of flesh as a status symbol? I believe the answer to both questions is, “Yes!”

I particularly liked this following paragraph as it relates back to Gen 2:18 where animals were to be helpers.

For nearly a year, the animals upon the ark had lived in close confinement with Noah and his human family. It must have been as though these animals were also part of Noah’s family. The killing of the innocent animals for the sacrifice was a betrayal of the pre-existing peaceful state, and brought fear and terror to the heart and soul of every animal upon the ark. This is the key point that God emphasizes and expands upon in Genesis 9:2. Not only had the humans lost their perfect state of being with God, but now they had lost the companionship and fellowship of most of the animal kingdom.

God, knowing the evilness of the human heart, further grants the concession of eating the animals, for He acknowledges that the humans are not ready to repent of their evil nature.

Once again, a topic that requires some time with God to process.  I can’t honestly say that I’ll be changing to a vegetarian lifestyle tomorrow , but I can definitely tell you that my opinion on it has done a 180 from where I was a few days back.

It’s knowledge awesome !!!  I’ve chosen in this blog to look at this biblical side of the topic, but there is actually a complete other side to it also in regards to agricultural farming and the harm it causes to the environment.  I’m still researching that angle, so will fill you all in once I feel more equipped to do so.

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Blessings xox

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