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Giving the best

You know the saying “saving your best till last?”

Well I’m not the kind of girl to keep the my favourite part of the meal until the end, oh no not me. More the “guzzle it just as soon as possible” (in a polite manner of course)’ kind of girl. However, occasionally I have given my last Rollo away.
the lake

Recently when wandering along the shores of Lady Bower Reservoir at some early bird time in the morning, I was aware of many of my lacks and needs. The need for a bigger heart of love, more energy to do and give, more patience, the list goes on.

Surely though, God, our Heavenly Father, just wants our love? Our childlike, trusting, faith filled, delighted, grateful love?

In deciding to remain single for Jesus, to invest who I am and what I have in serving Him and His church, I realise that I have given him the cream of the milk, the best in my heart. My most intimate and secret love in my heart is wasted on Him. It may be a little strained at times, it may feel like it is falling short or not making the grade, but it is all I have.

God spoke back to me in the fullness of my heart. I know complete fulfillment and contentment deep inside. He has my best, I have His love and smile.

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Posted by on Fri 10th May 2013 in Snippets, Uncategorized

 

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Reality Verses Romance: Attaching Our Hope to a God-given Vision

Alison Moore lives in London and has been a committed Christian celibate since 2006. She writes about her experience of coming to terms with her past, leaving aside ‘unreal’ dreams and attaching hope to a solid vision God has given her.

Ask most men what kind of film they like to watch and they will tell you that the fast-paced movies with plenty of action and adrenalin appeal to them.  Movies like Fast and Furious which portray a successful tough male persona are popular – it is the strength of the man and his ability to affect the situation around him which is significant.

As for us ladies, well – the majority of women identify on some level with characters like Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and her desire to win the unruly Mr Darcy. It is her beauty and its capacity to affect others which counts.

Why do these stereotypes appeal to us? They appeal to us in a very healthy way to demonstrate positive behaviour and can provide healthy role models. Strength for men can be character strength and leadership, not just brawn, and beauty for women can be grace, humour, determination and so on.

Yet sometimes fiction can function as a substitute for us and instead of leading us into reality it can trap us ouFast and furioust of it. Sometimes a painful event can stop us from moving forwards.

When I was a teenager I rebelled and got into going out with boys, getting drunk and staying out. My behaviour resulted, after a few years, in me getting pregnant, having the pregnancy terminated and losing the love of my life. For many years I just couldn’t get over it – the whole thing was just so devastating and I didn’t have a clue how to get over it. Nothing helped.  My life was totally destroyed.

Because the reality of my life had hit a brick wall, my only option for a while was to take refuge in my imagination and somehow that imagination seemed to offer me hope. In my imagination I would have a second chance, fall in love, get married and have children.

The trouble with my dream is that it just wasn’t real. And it took a very long time before I could let go of the fact that deep down I was still in love with the father of my pregnancy and face the fact that my dream was never going to happen. It can be very easy for us to nurture things which are not real because we kid ourselves we can get something for nothing and we can comfort ourselves or put a lot of hope in these things. We can substitute the hope for the reality of doing anything about it.

Anything which is not real is not of God. God is in the business of reality and the plan He has for us is 100% real.  He has created us and everything which is for us. It is only what He has created us for that will satisfy because these are the things we are made for.

Maybe we think one day we will get married or have children or be a great leader or plant a church or something but if the origin of it is not from God and we are just ‘dreaming’  or we are still hanging on to things from the past which have themselves moved on, then it doesn’t happen.  When it doesn’t happen we get sick, frustrated, older and just don’t fulfil our potential in life – we get ‘stuck’.

Lots of people like to watch films because they identify with a deep need in us to be beautiful or to be strong.

Imagination can be a very powerful thing because we attach hope to it and that hope gives direction for our future.

But – as a friend of mine quoted –  ‘entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy’.

It took me a long time for me to realise that my dream wasn’t going to happen. And, when I did that, I needed to repent of my dream and turn away from it. That was a very difficult thing to do because then I had to face the devastation again because that was my reality and it was still there – just the same many years later. Reality doesn’t change without us in it – that’s the amazing thing and that’s what makes it our reality. The only way I could face that devastation and loss was with someone else who had been there before me and that person was Jesus. But I found oupride and prejudicet very quickly that He was there to bring me healing from the old wounds and so much joy as I realised that God’s love had been there with me all along.

How powerful it is when we attach our hope to a vision God has given us.

As one of our pastors was saying last night – ‘What is the dream God has placed in our hearts? What is the dream that God has placed in your heart?’

Do we need to repent of hopes which are not of God to make room for the ones which are?  How amazing and how wonderful that would be.

 
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Posted by on Fri 26th Apr 2013 in Contemporary

 

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The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life: Part 3

Continuation of the outline of the book: The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life; Charles A.Callagher and Thomas L. Vandenberg. St Paul Publications. England. 1987

Chapter 2: Matrimony and Celibacy: Adversaries or Allies?

 celibacy mythCelibacy and marriage have a great need for each other.

Celibacy, according to the New Testament, is for the Church, for furthering the Kingdom of God. Marriage, too, is for the Church, for furthering the Kingdom.

Celibacy is not a private affair between oneself and God; neither, is marriage. Both are to enrich the Church.

 “When a priest it totally taken with his people, absorbed in them, then celibacy becomes ”of course’ instead of ‘I have to’.” In this way celibacy is no different from faithful marriage. A faithful man promises commitment to one woman and that ‘narrowness’ enhances that one relationship.

It seems that the higher marriage is upheld, the more too is celibacy – and visa-versa. Both marriage and celibacy are a calling, a sacrament. To uphold the sacredness of one is to uphold the sacredness of the other.

Matrimony and celibacy are church experiences; they are complementary life styles meant for each other.”

Celibates need a relationship, friendship, with happily married couples – not just with ones who need their advice because they have problems.

Of both celibacy and marriage: Together, they are reeling from the shock waves of a society that has turned its back from the very notion of commitment itself.” Where marriage fails, so will celibacy and visa versa.

To be continued.

 
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Posted by on Fri 15th Feb 2013 in Books

 

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What Are You Living For? Good, Better Or Best?

Malcolm Lisle lives in a Jesus Fellowship community house, ‘Royal Standard’, in Sheffield and has been a committed Christian celibate for three years. He tells of the time when God offered him an important life choice.

When I was a student, I knew what I wanted out of life. I wanted a well-paid job, I wanted to get married and I wanted to have a house and a car. I was absolutely besotted with the woman who led the Sunday morning prayer meeting at the university.

My plans didn’t work out. The adorable Christian woman who led the prayer meeting remained an acquaintance. I was unemployed for twelve years after leaving university. This was a sad time in my life, but a fulfilling one. I learned to live by faith. God provided for my needs. I learned to live for Jesus, to dedicate my life to helping others. I loved giving money to Christian organisations around the world and I was faithful to my church. I learned to be less self-centred.

Some years later, God showed me a vision of a Hi-Fi catalogue that was around when I was a student. There were three categories of Hi-Fi, good, better and best. God asked me, “Malcolm, which Hi-Fi do you want?” I had always wanted the best Hi-Fi. I knew God was speaking to me about celibacy. “God,” I said, “I want what’s best from you.”

To be a fulfilled celibate, you need some definite work of God to dedicate your life to. Community goes with celibacy, so does being a volunteer in a Jesus Centre, and so does planting churches. The celibate has fewer responsibilities than married people. If I wanted to go to Swansea, I wouldn’t have to worry about whether my wife wanted to go to, I wouldn’t have to find a new school for my children; it would be so much easier than it would be if I was married. If I want to stay late at the office to write this letter, I don’t need to worry about my wife and children expecting me home. According to the Bible, the reason for choosing celibacy is to serve God more.  Without that desire to serve God, singleness can become very selfish.

 
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Posted by on Mon 29th Oct 2012 in Contemporary

 

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Don’t Go For Silver When You Could Go For Gold

Download the single here – Don’t Go For Silver.

 
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Posted by on Thu 25th Oct 2012 in Poetry

 

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Doris’ story: celibacy frees me to live out more fully what God has invested in me

Doris - freedom in celibacy

Doris: “I love celibacy because of the freedom it gives”

Doris (34) was born in East Germany and now lives in London. She tells her story:

“When I was 13 I watched a documentary about orphan kids in Africa. It got to me and made me cry and I realised that without God I couldn’t make a difference.

“I knew I needed to put my life in God’s hands to make it worthwhile. I prayed, ‘God, have my life.’ Later, when I was 17, I was baptised in water and the Holy Spirit.

“When I was 18 I read Shadow of the Almighty, a book written by the wife of Jim Elliot, a missionary in Ecuador who had been killed trying to reach a primitive Indian tribe. As a young man, Jim had basically said, ‘If God wants me to stay single, I will.’ I wondered, ‘How can anyone pray like that?’ I really wanted to get married. I’d been brought up with five brothers and sisters and wanted to marry young. My parents’ marriage, too, was a good one – an example I could follow. I was so challenged by this book and I prayed for the ability to pray like Jim Elliot.

“Around this time I was apprenticed as a health care assistant and came to London for a gap year as an au pair. Later on, I was hoping to go to Africa to work in an orphanage.”

While in London, Doris was invited to Spreading Flame, a Jesus Fellowship community house in Acton. She said, “I fell in love with the vision of community and let go of my plans to go to Africa. God was calling me here.

“When I moved into Spreading Flame I was inspired about celibacy by the example of two young celibate sisters. People were really doing it! I prayed about it and the more I got to know the calling of the Jesus Army, the more I fell in love with the vision of celibacy, although I still wanted to marry and have kids.

“I felt God say, ‘Choose which gift you want’ (marriage or celibacy). I thought it would be better if He made the choice! In one of our Sunday morning church meetings I sensed God offering me the gift of celibacy. I had the impression of a grey parcel; it didn’t look very attractive but inside I knew it would be colourful. Again God gave me a choice.

Finally, at the age of 24, Doris made her decision to make a celibacy vow. ‘I’ve never regretted it although God tested me from the word go.’ Yes, Doris has fallen in love since and has been very tested on celibacy but, “the calling has outweighed the testing. In times like that I’ve hung onto my friends. People believed in me despite my struggles – and that made me believe I could pull through.

“I love celibacy because of the freedom it gives and I can do the things I love to do such as spending time with young sisters in the church – something I really love. I also love doing domestic work at Battle Centre, the Christian community house where I live. It is an amazing way to build the kingdom of God. The kitchen is the hub of the house. I’m available to people – celibacy gives me that freedom.”

What about the future? “I’m expecting, anticipating new things – and still excited about living in community. I look forward to making disciples and seeing them come into the kingdom of God. So far I’ve been mainly a friend to people but I want this to develop more and more into spiritual motherhood.”

Doris finished by saying: “Celibacy frees me to live out more fully what God has invested in me. I want to be content with whatever situation God puts me in. It may sometimes be day to day ordinary things like scrubbing floors and loos and kitchen pans but, even in these, I can find the extraordinary, supernatural life of God.”

 
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Posted by on Thu 6th Sep 2012 in Contemporary

 

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Is celibacy for anyone or just a select few?

Gift of CelibacyAnyone, certainly, but not necessarily everyone.

The New Testament says that spiritual gifts are determined and given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:11).

And yet we are also told to ‘eagerly desire the greater gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:31).

So gifts are given by God, but they are also to be desired and received by us. It’s a two-way operation.

So in that case, all spiritual gifts – healing, prophecy, tongues, intercession … and other gifts too – must surely be for anyone. They’re available to us all, if we so desire them.

I have found myself desiring particular spiritual gifts at different times throughout my Christian life; and then, some when down the line, I’ve been surprised to find that I’m using them! I’m sure God awakes in us the desire for certain gifts and that process is all part of him giving them to us.

It’s similar with the gift of celibacy.

Perhaps we find ourselves longing to give everything for the kingdom of God, longing for a close walk with God, longing to be like some of the celibates that we see around us, longing to be more fruitful. God awakes a longing in our heart for the things which celibacy embodies and – for those that dare – this is all part of receiving the gift. So in that sense, celibacy is for anyone. Although many will not choose it or receive it, it is available, even offered, to all.

Jesus said that only those to whom it had been given could accept that it’s better not to marry; but then he also said in the same breath that some would make themselves eunuchs (choose to stay single) for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:10-12). So there’s a receiving of a gift in celibacy, but there’s also a very definite making of oneself celibate.

It would be wrong to say that celibacy is supposed to be for everyone – the Apostle Paul himself says that it is wrong to forbid people to marry (1 Tim. 4:1-4). However, I think it is right to say that it can be for anyone, whatever their age, race, sexual orientation, abilities or background.

The gift of celibacy is not for some kind of gifted, higher-class elite, but it’s open to be received, and enjoyed, by all.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

 
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Posted by on Wed 29th Aug 2012 in FAQ

 

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