God Loves Criminals

I’ve recently started a new Bible plan on the YouVersion app – A21 Prayer Guide. I knew it was a prayer guide and read the description but I didn’t really consider what the plan contained. I assumed it would have the typical – pray for the church; pray for healing; pray for leaders; pray for the world leaders etc.…

 

Day 1: Pray for victims (As I thought)

I was lead to pray for victims of abuse especially within their homes. I also thought about serious crime victims such as murder, theft and assault/battery.

 

Day 2: Pray for traffickers (Eh?)

Immediately I thought, “Oh victims of human trafficking. So, we’re just going to go through the types of victims. This plan is going to be long.” After a while I looked at the prayer points and I looked at the title and really understood that it meant what it said.

 

Pray for the traffickers

I’m not going to lie, I looked at what the title said and I was ready to just read the scripture and either, 1) do an artificial prayer – “God may those who commit the crime of trafficking be caught, amen.” 2) Read the scripture, the study notes in my Bible and move on to my other plan. But we thank God that this devotion covered specific prayer sub-points lined with scriptures which work alongside them.

 

Prayer guide’s prayer points

At this point I thought, “hmm, OK, I see where you’re going with this,” and immediately felt convicted. I was being so narrow-minded and selfish. I only looked at who I judged was worthy of my prayer. I was being so judgemental and ignorant that I was ready to disregard those who may even need my prayers more than the victims themselves. Who am I to judge? Who she me God? This is when I pulled the big guns out. I got my pen, my journal notebook and my study bible. I started to think and pray about praying for those who I may find it difficult to pray for – whether I’ve fallen out with them or I’ve judged them as morally wrong.

 

Pray for conviction, repentance and salvation.

2 Timothy 2:25; Romans 5:6-8; Isaiah 55:7

When someone has an addiction, it is commonly said (or so I’ve seen in the movies) that the first step is to admit. It is impossible for a person to change their ways if they don’t acknowledge, recognise or feel any way about the thing they are doing wrong. Conviction is to convince someone of the truth. That is the job of the Holy Spirit in this case – to reach into the hearts of traffickers and change their heart so that they will believe that what they are doing is wrong and that a way out is needed. As Christians, it is our job to intercede in behalf of those who commit sins and crimes and hope that God will equip us to deal with them and that He himself will deal with them accordingly. 

 

At my university, I had a tutor who mockingly said that he was once a Christian but his sins were too much for even God. The scripture speaks about letting the wicked be convicted, causing them to want to turn their lives around and for them to know that God is a merciful and forgiving God. Too often, people become even more separated from God because they feel like they are too far from God to start with. 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and this includes sins of the smallest to the biggest kind. It is our duty to pray that ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ does not create a barrier for those who are coming to Christ to turn their lives around.

 

Salvation is God’s gift to us. It is not based on our deeds or the lack of but based solely on God’s unmerited favour (Ephesians 2:8). Once we get over the barrier of ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ we can start thinking about what is important. Despite my initial struggles with this devotion, I realised that as a Christian it is my duty to pray for those who I find doing morally wrong. Ultimately the end goal and purpose is an advancement of His Kingdom by spreading the gospel – as we are called to do (Matthew 28:16-20).

 

Pray for criminal networks to dismantle

Psalm 7:9; Psalm 37:17; Psalm 37:20

Specific to the crime of trafficking, this prayer point relates to a stoppage to the crime at hand. In this world, there’s almost an underworld of criminal activity that happens e.g. drug dealing and trafficking. I use the term underworld alongside dark space as it can seem like a completely different world to what we know. I think of the television series Power, where it shows a successful club owner and father in the light but it then switches to focus on his actions of the dark – running an exclusive drug empire and being unfaithful to his wife. In the show, the main character James has such a complex and crossover of networks that the last time I watched an episode he found himself in a lot of problems. Ephesians 5:1-14 speaks about as children of God it is important to live in the light, expose and avoid evil deeds done in the darkness and to know that ungodly and evil things done in secret will be made visible in the light. God is omniscient – an all knowing God. In the show, a lot of James’ problems and barriers have come from his work in the dark crossing over and merging into his life in the light. I believe that we need to pray for an exposing of evil networks so that we are not oblivious to what is going on in the world around us.

 

In the same way, I believe that we need to pray that these complex criminal networks are made to dismantle due to problems. The power of prayer is paramount and more than necessary when gate-crashing the devil’s party and ‘rule’ over certain things. Trafficking comes under the idea of a complex criminal network in a dark place. If we think about the numerous number of people who are reported missing with no explanation. If we even think of the stories of those who have told their story of being trafficked and the detail and complex lengths taken to organise these crimes. When praying for networks to dismantle, this involves barriers that they are met with: may their communication falter; their access to high and important places be restricted; their ease of travel across the world be constrained and may the police and security work as a barrier everywhere they go.

 

Pray for oppressors to be arrested and prosecuted

Psalm 40:1-3; Jeremiah 30:17; Jeremiah 31:17

At first I felt that this prayer point conflicted with the interests of the first one. It then was revealed to me that whilst prayers for salvation may be going up and there is a desire to see the kingdom flourish, networks dismantled, victims returned home and receiving support to reclaiming and continuing with their lives – the God I serve is a just God (Isaiah 61:8). Where God’s people have suffered due to injustice, God vows that they will be rewarded. It is important to pray that those who are suffering and waiting for justice will be blessed with patience so that God can further bless them (Isaiah 30:18).

 

God loves criminals… and so should I.

Where I went into this devotion thinking and sighing, “Oh Lord”, I have now left with an altered mindset. God created criminals as he did priests; waiters; lawyers; taxi drivers and Abraham Lincoln. Not only did God create all of mankind but He loves us all. Although, we know this we often forget that with the same love that made us He made the person next to you. Not only does God love but he also calls us to love even our own personal enemies (Luke 6:31). It took me a devotion and a instruction to prayer for traffickers.

Who do you find it difficult to pray for? Perhaps they need it the most.

 

Emily Shahnee x

I’m sorry😧

If you follow my blog you can see that my last blog was all the way in October of last year. My inconsistency has left even me disappointed in myself. So recently I’ve given myself the goal of at least 1 blog post a month starting from April.

It’s now May🙃…

I’ve been playing around with titles and themes for a while now and as of this week I’ve just started praying and starting to write notes and thoughts on a piece of paper. Although it wasn’t much, I’ve been bringing it with me everywhere hoping that the words will just come to me. Today in church it all started to flow through me when listening to the preacher and thank God I’ve finished planning my next post and also have 4 topics for potential future posts after that.

What I’m trying to say is…

1) When you have a goal, aim, mission or purpose to complete don’t procrastinate or look at the task as a big overwhelming mission that won’t get done – but dip your toe in the water; step out if the boat. In my case, put pen to paper and start jotting. Just know when you can’t see the end, God can.

2) Sorry for my inconsistency. If I start to fall off again I’m asking you to hold me accountable!

3) If you’re a regular reader thank you for bearing with me❣the love is real!

4) I’m back!

5) Watch this space. Follow this blog. Keep an eye on my social media for what’s to come.

CRISIS! The NCS Experience

CRISIS: THE NCS EXPERIENCE

Over the summer I was blessed with the opportunity to work as an assistant team leader at the National Citizen Service. NCS runs a 4-week programme which focuses on enriching values and skills for 15-17 year olds which they can use in their everyday lives. In the first week of programme the young people go to an outdoor/activity centre, on week 2 they stay at a university accommodation in which they have to cook and clean for themselves and in week 3 they travel to a meeting point to plan and carry out a charity project.

 

NCS ETHOS – ‘CRISIS’

  • Challenge
  • Reflection
  • Increased Responsibility and Independence
  • Social Mixing
  • Inspiration
  • Social Action.

 

Although being a staff member, I am a young person myself and so I was able to learn a lot about myself, my faith and also other young people. Fortunately, I was blessed with a great team (BIG UP TEAM 3 *dabs*) which made the job at hand all the more easier. However, I did notice that young people are in fact facing a ‘CRISIS’. It seems as though as time goes on young people are exposed to so much and have to deal with lots of problems and issues that get over looked e.g. drugs, depression, identity, etc. Due to the end of NCS I found myself looking at the ethos in conjunction with the Word to see what 1) the church can be doing to help the youth and, 2) what is my duty as a Christian?

 

CHALLENGE

The young people faced a challenge in week 1 as they were required to do outdoor, team building and skilled activities such as climbing high ropes and canoeing. For those who know me this isn’t a secret that I can joke around and talk the talk but when it comes to walking the walk… well I fall more than short. In the first week, I found myself being the coat rack, the photographer and the cheerleader more times than often. Whilst fulfilling my roles I had the opportunity to watch the joy of those who had overcome big challenges, and faced their fears this made me think of a past COGIC Youth Convention theme – ‘stepping out of the boat’.

Peter walks on water (Matthew 14:22-33)

Whilst Jesus prayed in the hills, the disciples were travelling on a boat in the middle of the night they were met with heavy waves in which they became terrified. At this point they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water encouraging them not to be afraid. Peter reacted in faith by asking Jesus to call him out to walk, which Jesus did. As Peter began to walk, he shifted his focus off of Jesus and began sinking, in which Jesus saved him and put him back into the boat.

Sometimes we are faced with situations in which we need to react in faith and take a step but it is clear that if we do not keep our eyes focused on the goal and what is important, we will soon find ourselves falling off track as we often do. Like Peter when our faith falls short and we find ourselves sinking, we need to learn to reach out to Christ so that he can save us and put us back on track. I also came to understand that playing it safe kept me happy momentarily however I soon realised that I had missed some great opportunities to overcome. In the church and everyday life, we often find ourselves and others running or hiding away from challenging opportunities but as Christians we need to encourage, cheer on, hold the coats and take the pictures of those facing their challenges. The reason I say this is because we can find a great sense of joy in overcoming and at times if we do not have a helping and encouraging hand we can easily pass up opportunities. Although passing up opportunities may be a ‘safe game plan’, we need to show others that by stepping out of their boats, with the right amount of faith and belief, they can walk on troubled waters. This will show especially young people that with the right mentality they can do what they want to do when they put their minds to it.

 

REFLECTION

This second ethos is one which as a member of staff I often found hard to enforce. I can put my hands up and say I for one would not like to be forced to sit down and talk about my day. However, after day 4 of the first week I realised our team of 16 (staff included) hardly knew each other despite spending the best part of 96 hours together. I then asked people to name the whole team. This proved to be a difficult task for everyone who tried. This made me realise that constant reflection is important, as it is very easy to go through your busy day and not take a moment to take note of the simple things about those around you such as someone’s name. As Christians it’s our duty to have a loving interest in those around us. This can include simple actions such as giving a helping hand and being friendly in general. In this way we can work towards leading people to know who Christ is. As Christians, reflection is also an important aspect of our everyday lives.

The definitions and synonyms of reflections range from meditation to serious thought, to a reflection that can be seen in a mirror. In Genesis 2, God comes to the completion of his amazing creation and rests. Here God sets a precedent that rest is necessary. If we think of it this way – even God had to rest. Looking at the scriptures, I don’t believe God rested because He was tired but because He had an action filled time creating the world and on the day of completion he had a chance to look over everything and in His case see that it was good. Similarly, we need to take time out in our day to see all that is good and all that may not be. By doing this we then have time apart in our day to give thanks to God for all the good things in our lives and also to ask God to look over and deal with things that may have not gone well.

As well as physically resting for the purpose of looking over our days we also need to rest ‘in God’. By this I mean in a week we have 168 hours and we need to rest and dedicate time in our days to connect with God as reminded throughout the Bible;

  • Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
  • Matthew 11:28-29 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY AND INDEPENDENCE

In week 2, the young people stayed in university accommodation and had to attend activities all day. This week was aimed to be an insight into uni life which includes cooking, cleaning, waking up and attending  classes on time. The young people also had to stay within their teams for the duration of this week. Some of the challenges that the young people faced was getting the rest of the team awake and also some cooking mishaps…

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Overall our team didn’t do a bad job and even though we had a few slip ups (literally… oil spilt on the floor), by the end of week 2 I personally could a sense of maturing in comparison to week 1.This part of the ethos showed me that at times like with the challenge ethos we try to stay safe to avoid problems however by loosening the reigns there’s an opportunity to show we can be responsible and independent as well as rise up to challenges.

Ephesians 4:11-16

In the book of Ephesians, Paul is talking to the church of Ephesus in order to strengthen the believers to understand their purpose and nature in the body of Christ. Although the motives of the maturing and responsibility is concerning Christ, Paul does pick up on an important message on why we need to be responsible and to mature. Verse 14, shows that when we are immature we are easily swayed, led and influenced. In a spiritual sense this is bad as we will then be easily tricked into the wrong ideas and practices and eventually this will effect or Christian journey. Likewise, when young people are easily swayed this can put us in a confusing mindset so that the goals and ambitions that we have will eventually become further away from our grasps due to the lack of concentration and focus. However, if we have opportunities to be responsible and independent as well as support this will help us go in the right way.

Parable of Four soils – Luke 8:4-18

In this parable Jesus speaks of a farmer who scattered seeds which fell in 4 different type of ground/soils; a footpath, rocks, among thorns and on good soil. Jesus then later explains the parable to the disciples and explains that the 4 different grounds/soils represents 4 different types of listeners. In verse 14, Jesus explains that the thorny ground is an example of those who hear messages and advice but yet are distracted by their surroundings and selfish cares and pleasures and in turn this intercepts the maturing process.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

 

SOCIAL MIXING

This aimed to mix people of different backgrounds together. This was enforced on day 1 when the young people were put into teams according to their assigned team leader. Our first challenge as staff was saying no to all the people wanting to sap groups in order to be with people they know from before the programme. Our team in the first 2 weeks had a sharp division between the girls and the boys. By weeks 3 and 4 this division slowly disappeared to show our team coming together despite differences. In week 2 we even found ourselves embracing differences with Jerk Chicken to Samosas on the week’s menu.

I think it is very important to be respectful to other backgrounds as well as appreciating and embracing. Depending on our familiar surroundings we sometimes are misled into believing we can only mix and appeal to those that are like us but this view is quite toxic. By ‘social mixing’ we actively get rid of ignorance, stereotypes and prejudices by approaching them head on and getting to know other people. In the Bible their are many examples of social mixing and in the long term this actually led to the world wide spreading of the gospel.

  • Galatians 3:28 – There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • John 4:7-9

**Notes from NLT Study application bible**

This woman 1) was a Samaritan, a member of a hated mixed race, 2) was known to be living in sin, and 3) was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did. The Good News is for EVERY person, no matter what his or her race is, social position, or past sins. We must be prepared to share this Good News at any time and in any place. Jesus crossed all barriers to share the Good News and we who follow him must do no less.

  • Acts 10 – Cornelius calls for Peter

In this chapter, Cornelius a Roman army officer was told by an angel in a vision that he must call for a man called Simon Peter. Although Cornelius was seen as a good man (charitable and God-fearing) before God, he did not know about Christ, the gospel or salvation and therefore was not seen as righteous. Peter also had a vision which showed him that when God has made something clean – even against Jewish rules – it is clean and so with this Peter, a Jew went and spent time in the home of Cornelius, a Gentile. By looking past the differences of Jew/Gentile Peter delivered the message and no only did Cornelius but his whole household received the Holy Spirit and were baptised. This led to Caesarea having the first Gentile church making this a step in carrying the gospel to the whole world.

 

INSPIRATION & SOCIAL ACTION

Inspiration

1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

2. a sudden brilliant or timely idea.

NCS aims to inspire young people (and staff) to want to take the CRISIS ethos and apply it to areas of their own lives. This ethos is majorly linked to the final ethos, Social Action. The final 2 weeks required the young people to plan and carry out a charity event completely from scratch. Our team went through ideas such as a party or a cake sale but eventually we came up with a Charity Car Wash. The young people had to contact necessary people, find a venue, budget for resources, get permission and much more. As a team we raised over £200 from our 5 hour Car Wash. Once finished, personally I wanted to continue or do another day of the event and I’m sure the team would agree. Not only was it fun but we knew  that it was all going to a higher cause. Our customers also knew and gave generously despite the £3 charge.

Acts 20:35 – And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Proverbs 19:17 – If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and he will repay you!

Deuteronomy 15:8 – Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.

Over all NCS was a great experience which I would highly recommend. It has helped me to take a look at challenges much more differently. In terms of this post it has also brought back the concept of using the bible to reflect on everyday situations. I pray that within the story telling and the waffle you got something out of this, as I did writing it.

Thank You, God Bless

Emily Shahnee x

January Blues

Uncle B: What’s wrong? I hope you’re not worrying.

Me: Uncle B, it just seems like the devil has a hold on everyone. How can all of this happen all at once and I just know there is more to come.

Uncle B: As I said, don’t worry Shahnee, it’s just the January Blues.

 

January Blues

This is the funk that you enter when the holiday season is over. It starts on January 2nd and lasts at least until February 1st, sometimes until President’s Day. It is an unpleasant time because the holiday season is over, spring is a ways off, the weather is cold and the only movies are lousy January movies. Super Bowl Sunday can be a good cure for this condition.

 

My uncle is just that guy, the one that has a few wise cracks and anecdotes for every situation.

“Take it easy mate.”

“It’s all in the mind. You just have to learn how to hypnotise yourself.”

“Just put the kettle on, put your feet up and just imagine you are on a sun bed somewhere hot soaking in the rays and having a good time.”

His latest one – the JBs (January Blues) have to be my favourite but yet the most annoying one yet to hear in the midsts of a serious situation. The last 2 months have been filled with trials and tribulations – to say the least. With a few hospital admissions and a couple of deaths, 2016 has really come through with ammunition. The only reasoning that my uncle gave me for everything that has been happening is the JB’s. The one thing he failed to tell me, along with the definition above is that the JB’s can and have spilt over into the FB’s, and judging by the date today they may become the MB’s. Although I do really understand where he is coming from, it seems that life can really just be a big old Blue sometimes, despite the month.

John 16:33

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 

In John 16:33, Jesus assures his disciples that alongside the trials and sorrows that are sure to be faced with on this earth, joy will follow as Jesus has overcome the world. At this point all the church folk start screaming hallelujah and crying at the joy and overcoming that is yet to come. But let’s rewind and focus on these 12 month long JB’s that Jesus talks about that we WILL (not maybe) have here on earth. It is so typical that when we read scriptures like the above we pick and choose the parts that feel and sound good and try our best to apply them to our situations. For example here are my translations of what we would like to see…
John 16:33 – Blah blah blah, have peace in Jesus because He has overcome the world. And that means that bad things wont happen to us and that life will just be sweet.

Ephesians 6:1-4 – Children you should really obey your parents but parents shouldn’t ever anger you or provoke you or nag you. As long as you have a reason to kind of disobey them it’s okay and as long as they kind of don’t tell you to make your bed, ever, that’s ok too.

Matthew 7:1 – Don’t judge people.

 

When in reality…

Ephesians 6:1-4 really highlights on the mutual respect between parents and children and how the relationship should play out. With children obeying their parents we get the fact that parents are usually right (not always) and therefore when your mum says, “don’t run up and down the stairs”, it is usually because you will fall/trip. Where it says parents don’t provoke your children, it is followed by saying bring them up with discipline and instruction which most of the time covers the ‘provoking’ that as children we often experience.

Matthew 7:1 is a controversial one that literally says what is says however when cross referenced with Matthew 18:15-17, we understand the need for correction and how to go about it. Where Matthew 7:1, plainly says do not judge others, and you will not be judged – verses 2-6, elaborates on the first verse by speaking on hypocrisy and treatment of others. As a cross reference Matthew 18:15-17, speaks about being in the situation where you may have to judge, correct or as I like to say ‘check/read’ a person, there is a procedure on how to do this and as 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, it should be done in love.

As for John 16:33, although the overcoming and the joy is something that keeps us going and is something that we should be reminded of and reminding others of. The initial statement that here on this earth we will be faced with trials and sorrows still stands. I am a firm believer that faith (that joy will come) without works is dead (James 2:14-26). And so there are always things that we can be doing in times of sorrow and trials.

 

What to do?

When in hard times there are biblical, practical and overall common sense things to do. Here are some examples that I could think of…

 

Emily Shahnee x

Don’t Let It Consume You!

Definition of consume.
Definition of consume.

…Imagine this…

You are a burger. A great big burger dripping with all the grease in the world. In fact you can be a Big Mac to be precise. You’ve got a lot going on – 2 beef patties, American cheese, “special sauce”, iceberg lettuce, pickles, and onions, served in a three-part sesame seed bun. Myself, I’m a Chicken McSandwich type of girl who happens to be a lot simpler. But regardless of what type of fast food burger/sandwich I am – I will be consumed, just like you and every other burger or whatever type of food there is out there.

…Back to reality…

So it is clear to say that if you are reading this right now, you are probably not a burger and you probably have NOT been consumed at any part of your life. However I think it would be fair to say we have felt consumed at some point of our lives. Whether that be by studies, family, peers, work or just life in general. Personally I know that I feel like a big mac all the time! Sometimes things just get on your back and slowly just starts to take over everything.

…BHM’14…

One of the most burger-like situations that springs to mind for me is Black History Month 2014. In college, I was given the opportunity to be 1 of the 2 project managers, alongside a good friend of mine, to a whole month of activities that embraced Black History and different cultures. Right from the get go (April 2014), I put everything I could into planning the month and the month itself. Even after, I found myself still planning and managing – right up to March 2015! Firstly, I wanted to have the best BHM Luton Sixth Form College has ever seen. To start we scheduled 20+ days of activities all within 3 weeks of October. This included 3 flash mobs, cultural days, patty, snack and small item stalls, a debate, a gameshow, a finale and much more.

Long story short. We did a lot. By the 2nd week of October I found myself coming into college with uneven eyebrows, overgrown braids and a constant stressed facial expression. In turn everything started to turn upside down. My attendance had slipped due to the commitment I was putting into the project. Most teachers were understanding… but that special 1 (if you know, you really know). It became a very messy situation in which I was almost removed from my Law class and from my role as a project manager. I’m currently studying a Criminology and Social Policy degree and I successfully gained a qualification out of BHM – so that plan of the enemy failed, Hallelujah! However it was fair to say I was consumed, digested and chilling right in the intestines of life. Luckily, with some very special people and God on my side I was able to reroute my journey and stand firmly on my feet.

 

…The Freshers Experience…

FREsH

Previously I spoke about feeling consumed. However, I believe you can be in a state of being consumed but not actually recognise until we are literally digested (ew!). One of the most prominent examples of this that has been around me and other 1st year university students for the last 7 weeks is FRESHERSSSSSS!

“In the UK, a ‘fresher’ is a new undergraduate student at college or university. (You might have heard the term ‘freshman’, which is less commonly used in the UK.)

Freshers’ week, or ‘welcome week’ as it’s sometimes known, is held at the start of the academic year. It is different at each institution. In some places it could be up to two weeks of fun events and parties; in others, the ‘week’ is in fact three or four days of fun and then a quick reality check with the announcement of two essay deadlines and several reading lists.

In most universities and colleges, however, it is precisely one week with lots of events that will help you get to know other students, make friends, find your way around your town or campus, and start to get used to living in the UK.”

Fresher events often have quite a negative stigma attached to it from an outside view as a result of shows such as Freshers that show young people binge drinking and acting out of the character their parents know. But honestly it is probably the best way to survive your first few weeks at university as you come in to contact with lots of new people who are likely to become your new friends. But of course, being the odd one out and not so good with masses of people, I spent the whole of Freshers in my flat, either by myself, with the flatmates that have just come back or the ones who were just going out. I basically was the granny that went to bed before midnight and up before 9 am.

Despite my lack of the Freshers experience, I’m not completely oblivious to what goes on. After all I am a student at the end of the day and many of my friends are at their own uni’s.

**DISCLAIMER** I AM NOT FROWNING UPON FRESHERS AT ALL! AND NEXT YEAR DESPITE BEING A 2ND YEAR I WILL MIX IT UP A BIT AND ATTEMPT TO BE SOCIABLE!

The idea of a week of partying every night isn’t bad at all, if that’s your thing. 2 weeks every night partying is a bit of a push. However just like anything else it is easy to become consumed and unlike the definition above says, many people miss the reality checks. In turn they miss the announcements, the assignments, and the reading lists and also they miss the money in their bank account. This can be the problem with so many things when done in abundance.

…So What Now?..

That’s enough of life stories with Emily Shahnee. The important part is how do we stop ourselves from being a Big Mac.

You can’t.

That sounds so harsh and so blunt but as living, breathing human beings we will always have a lot going on like the Big Mac. The majority of the time we will have close shavings with being consumed. We’ll just scrape that grade, just meet that deadline and just get a little carried away. But it’s not about the prevention, it’s about dealing with the feeling.

 

MAtthew 11 28 30 NLT

 

Proverbs 3:5

Personally, one of my pet peeves when I seek advice from someone is them throwing scripture in my face. Now, hear me out I’m not saying that the Word of God has no power – absolutely not! Sometimes scripture is all we need for that empowerment. On the other hand, if you are as stubborn and hard headed as myself – and God is working on me – you need that starting empowering step of the Word as confirmation and encouragement AND a plan of action. After all ‘faith without works’ (James 2:20). However as the scriptures say above, God, although often He isn’t, should be our first port of call. Communicate with Him and as He has said He will give you rest. God can also send you in the right direction as to who to talk to, what to do next and where to go. God has a way of putting people in your life to make the influences that you need.

Proverbs 27 17 NLT

 

…The Company You Keep…

WE THANK GOD

Before I close up, I want to be real ghetto and just big up those people who I can literally count on my hand as my sharpeners. When I say God has BLESSED me with amazing people in my life, it’s not a lie. As I said earlier, when everything started crashing during the peak of BHM, I had an amazing support group who picked me up, licked the wounds and dashed me right back into rehearsals.

It is so important to surround yourself with people who will elevate you, encourage you and also educate you. Sometimes those that are closest to you are able to see when you are being consumed before you’ve even made into a Big Mac. It is important to watch the company that you keep and more importantly aim to be more of a person to them than they are to you and pray for them.

Emily Shahnee x

Let’s turn down the noise: What does the Word of God say?

Kaay Russell

The Cross of Calvary=Uncondtional Love Jesus paid it all.

The purpose of this article is not to promote violence or other negative gestures against those of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) and other members of the homosexual community — the sole purpose of this article is to address the topic from a Christian perspective. I would just like to state that it is my personal goal, that when addressing this topic it is addressed from a place of love and not judgement.

On Friday 26th June 2015, a divided Supreme Court ruled for the legalisation of same sex marriage across the USA. For those of you who are unaware, previously, the Supreme Court left the decision of whether or not same-sex marriage would be permissible or not as a decision that was made on a state by state basis. Thus, allowing states the right to reject or accept same-sex marriage. As a result, same-sex…

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Christians, are you comfortable?

It’s funny that while I’m going through things that may not relate sometimes thoughts drop in my head. Recently I’ve been praying about and just thinking a lot on things that make me uncomfortable …
• Public speaking – I just can’t stand people staring at me and then I have to talk at the same time. I feel like I could easily get swallowed by a black hole.👀👀👀👀
• Performing – I know not everyone will approve or enjoy your performances but as a performer I always look to see how people receive my performance. Then the fear of doing it wrong 💃💃
• Meeting new people – As much as I am talkative, if I don’t know you or I’m uncomfortable my mouth will be so zipped up. Most of you who know me know that I am crazily random and I feel like new people probably can’t handle me.👥👥
• Death – I find this very uncomfortable. Do you cry? Do you comfort others? Do you hold it down and not cry? I’ll share a story to show how uncomfortable I am…
I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson and I was in year 7 about to go on a day trip to France when he passed. I remember my mum waking me and telling me someone close had died so I sprinted to my grandma’s room to see her just snoring her head. Came back to switch on the TV to see the news. I did not know what to do with myself and for about 10 minutes I was hysterical until eventually I broke down into bawling right until I had to go. Bare uncomfortable👀
• Exams – this is so uncomfortable to me that since my GCSEs right now to the end of my A levels I’ve had to take my exams in a special room or at the back/sides of exam halls so I that I don’t have panic/anxiety attacks and became sick.
• Church

Wait, what?
Church?!
I’ve come to the conclusion that church is an uncomfortable experience for me. I can’t put my finger on it but something about ‘church’ (meaning the place we go on a Sunday rather than the body of Christ) actually stirs something up in my stomach.

This then led me on to evaluate whether I am in the wrong. As I am a strong believer of finding the plank in my own eye before I go and point out the problems in others (Matthew 7:5). I will put my hand up and say that I probably need to be more confident in what I’m doing however my honest opinion is Christianity isn’t supposed to be comfortable!

Comfort
ˈkʌmfət
noun
1. a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
“there is room for four people to travel in comfort”
2. the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.
“a few words of comfort”

We live in a society which embraces comfort. 200 years ago an idea of a cushioned chair (a sofa) may have been crazy to think of whereas now we have remote controlled footrests. I can also imagine 100 years ago a mattress was a simple mattress (or back in Jesus’ case a manger) however now we have memory foam mattresses that mold to an individual’s body.
The joys of evolution and development!

It seems like all we do is find a way to make things easier for ourselves… is this supposed to be so? Should we make our Christian journeys comfortable and easy?

Er Nah
So often we sing Mary Mary – I Just Can’t Give Up Now however the song really tells us the answer to my question previously asked. The song basically says there will be trials, you will fall and things won’t go your way but that’s when you need to regain strength in God. Therefore according to this concept of trials and tribulations (John 16:33) being a part of the Christian journey – Christianity isn’t supposed to be comfortable.

In the Bible there are many examples of those who had to step out of their comfort blanket and their place of their ‘physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint’ in order to achieve great things according to God’s will.

Genesis 12:1 – Abraham was instructed to go to a land he wouldn’t know until God told him all while waiting more than 20 years for God to fulfill the promise of a son. Genesis 6:14 – Noah was told to build an ark, gather up two of every animal and save the last of humanity before a flood would destroy the earth (one has to wonder how Noah managed to track down every existing animal without modern technology). Esther 8 – A young queen Esther risked her very own life and the genocide of her people when boldly confronting King Xerxes.

Partially taken from http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/your-calling-isn%E2%80%99t-meant-be-easy#MPOCDDiKSJvxyOwL.99 << more on the topic of comfortable Christians

Out from my comfort blanket
Me and 2 of my friends were talking about a previous church service on your calling (I believe it was the last youth Sunday) and how it relates to current situations.
Often God calls young people to step into uncomfortable roles for an amazing outcome. Yet like me and my friend, we more than often miss out on the outcome because we don’t want to come from our comfort blanket. Like in my case we may think we’re not ready, not qualified enough, aren’t ‘there’ spiritually and much more other reasons to deflect what you need to do.

So what now…?
Those who know me can probably guess which areas I’m uncomfortable in however I pose an experimental challenge to all of you readers, to all you that pass this message onto and also to myself. In the future let’s put away our excuses and methods of stalling and take up what seems as uncomfortable roles and tasks in order to build ourselves up and over time we can become the Abraham’s, Noah’s and Esther’s of this time doing remarkable and amazing things for the kingdom of God!

Thank you
God Bless

Emily Shahnee x