‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

The moving story in “Top Gun: Maverick” of a fatherless son’s journey toward healing is proving popular with audiences worldwide. This is a film highlighting the importance of fatherhood, portraying a tale of reconciliation and redemption.

Top Gun: Maverick is smashing box offices, and it’s easy to understand why.

The film is spectacularly outpacing its weak-because-they’re-woke counterparts, because the film’s unapologetic dad themes resonate.

Alongside the gutsy F-18 camera shots, audiences are in love with the Tom Cruise/Joseph Kosinski sequel because its father-son backstory hits home.

Even the, “it’s all flag-waving, MAGA propagandist tripe” critics are applauding the sequel for keeping to the consistency of the first film’s deep relational backbone.

As The Atlantic’s David Sims explained, the film’s ‘emotional weight rests on Pete Mitchell (Maverick) fighting to earn the respect of Goose’s son (Rooster), who blames Maverick for the tragic loss of his father.’

Childhood Memory

For me, Top Gun: Maverick cut deeper.

My family and I recently saw the film for a birthday bash. The only thing missing was my dad.

Watching the first Top Gun at the cinema with my dad was to be one of the only long-lasting positive memories I would have of him.

It was 1986, I was 9, and we’d turned up late to the cinema.

Missing the iconic afterburner intro of the first Top Gun, dad and I slid into our seats in rhythm with Tony Scott’s smooth golden orange sunset, shot high above a lone F-14 landing on the silhouette of the USS Enterprise.

It became a shared interest, a mutual pursuit, a common bond solely shared between father and son.

From the soundtrack, which always seemed to be on repeat in our broken-down housing commission home, to the old-school Amstrad computer game, the movie connected us.

This was true, right up until my dad’s final week, when, knowing he would never get a chance to wear it, I gifted him a T-shirt with the Top Gun logo on it.

Now covered in dust, I still hold onto the volumes of Warplane magazines he’d chosen to buy me, instead of paying “through the teeth” for participation in a weekend sport.

Healing

I related to the second film because of the first.

Similar to ‘Goose’s’ son in the film, I was confronted by what was lost, what might have been, and what my dad chose to abandon somewhere along the way.

The sequel made the memories all the more material when Val Kilmer (Iceman), tells Maverick — still haunted by the death of ‘Goose’ — “It’s time to let go.”

Seeing the first film at the cinema in 1986 with my dad was an oasis event, an anomaly of normalcy in a wasteland of ash.

This explains why, in almost every scene of Top Gun: Maverick, I heard, and felt my dad’s absence, and choked up at Hans Zimmer’s rendition of Faltermeyer’s iconic Top Gun anthem.

We’re taught in The Good Book to raise up thanksgiving in the face of suffering. Even the smallest object or event that is worthy of our gratitude puts points on the board when it comes to healing trauma.

In retrospect, watching Top Gun with my dad in ’86 was the first, and only time he offered me a healthy introduction to manhood.

His wasn’t perfect, but that was a perfect day. That day my dad did good, and for that I thank him.

For me, the only thing missing from Top Gun: Maverick was the man who took me to see the first one, sitting, at his best, beside me and my uber-impressed family.

Top Gun was, and is, about loss, grief, and recovery; fatherhood, and fatherlessness — as much as it is about courage, defiance, and the determination to overcome obstructions encountered along the way.

The sequel builds on its original father-son backstory. It is “dad cinema” at its very best.

To lean on Miles Surrey’s review in The Ringer,

‘Every single dad — past, present, and those who are expecting to be dads in the near future — should check out Maverick, if not for the sanctity of ensuring Dad Cinema doesn’t fade away, then for experiencing a blockbuster that surpasses its predecessor in every respect.’

___

First published at Dads4Kids.

Thank the Source

Powerful Preaching: Are You Manifesting the Kingdom of God?

Powerful Preaching: Are You Manifesting the Kingdom of God?

When our western Christian ears hear the word “Gospel”, we automatically think of the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus. However, in Greek, the word gospel (transliterated as ‘euaggelion’) simply refers to ‘good news’ in general. In our modern context, the word is used almost exclusively for a particular piece of good news; namely, the good news of Jesus. But to a contemporary Greek-speaking person in the first century AD, the word would have prompted the question, ‘OK, so what is this good news you have?’

In Matthew 4, we possess the writer’s first account of Jesus’ Gospel-preaching ministry following His consecration (baptism) and testing and temptation in the desert. In this important moment, we get some insight into what exactly this gospel is: the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’.

Historical Context

In the contemporary first-century culture, Roman conquerors would often go and take over a new kingdom or region, occupying it, and plundering it for its spoils. Following the invasion, an apostle (at that time meaning an emissary and ambassador of the new occupying ruler) would travel throughout the region, proclaiming ‘Gospel! Gospel.’ They would tell the new subjects the ‘good news’ of the new forcefully-enthroned ruler, and they would also bring the new culture and principles of the victorious kingdom.

These apostles would put the old, defeated rulers in cages, parade them through the streets and publicly humiliate them. This is precisely the spiritual force Jesus engaged the domain of darkness with, hence this passage in Colossians 2:15 which reads, ‘And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’ Wow!

Why is it so hard to preach the Gospel?

Imagine for a moment you are living in a town in the ancient world when one day, news of a new ruler comes to your ears. You hear that a ruler has forcefully evicted the existing powers-that-be and taken the throne for themselves. An apostle comes to tell you news of a new culture, a new way of living, a new language, new concepts and new philosophies of life.

However, the manifestation of these things never follows. The man bringing you the news doesn’t seem any different, and, as the days and weeks unfold, life goes on as it always has. Nothing changes.

For many of us, the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven’ or ‘Kingdom of God’ can be difficult to preach. Why? Because we are still so unfamiliar with the Kingdom itself. What does this new Kingdom mean for us? What culture and way of life does it entail? The Kingdom of God is an invitation into a deeper revelation of the things of God and the things of His Kingdom, a truly valuable journey as we grow in evangelism.

Manifesting the Kingdom of God

When Jesus was inviting people into repentance and preaching the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’, he wasn’t simply telling them about the Kingdom. He manifested the Kingdom. Healing, signs, wonders: even the unclean spirits left at the mention of His name! (An exciting revelation reported by the disciples when they returned from their commissioning in Luke 10.) Love, compassion: a gaze focused on those that society ignored. These are all manifestations of the Kingdom.

Friends, when we tell people the good news of the Kingdom, what we are really saying is this:

‘Good news! There is a new ruler in town! Turn away from the old, damning way of life and behold a new way of life! He has dethroned those rulers that have held you in captivity and given you the opportunity for liberty! He has plundered those things that have tortured you and now offers you a totally new dimension of freedom! Come and partake in the spoils of the war that was fought and won on your behalf, for the Kingdom is now yours!

And when we manifest the kingdom through our lives by healing the sick, stopping for the homeless beggar and standing up for injustice, the world indeed tastes the entrées of a feast of heavenly riches destined to become their inheritance, if they would but accept the invitation.

Brothers and sisters, an exhortation for us all: may we be so familiar with the Kingdom we preach that we experience it, become it and accurately represent it to the lost and broken world that lies before us each and every day.

___

By Isaac Parkinson, Jesus Campaign Director – Youth for Christ.
Photo by Pixabay.

Thank the Source

Powerful Preaching: Are You Manifesting the Kingdom of God?

Powerful Preaching: Are You Manifesting the Kingdom of God?

When our western Christian ears hear the word “Gospel”, we automatically think of the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus. However, in Greek, the word gospel (transliterated as ‘euaggelion’) simply refers to ‘good news’ in general. In our modern context, the word is used almost exclusively for a particular piece of good news; namely, the good news of Jesus. But to a contemporary Greek-speaking person in the first century AD, the word would have prompted the question, ‘OK, so what is this good news you have?’

In Matthew 4, we possess the writer’s first account of Jesus’ Gospel-preaching ministry following His consecration (baptism) and testing and temptation in the desert. In this important moment, we get some insight into what exactly this gospel is: the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’.

Historical Context

In the contemporary first-century culture, Roman conquerors would often go and take over a new kingdom or region, occupying it, and plundering it for its spoils. Following the invasion, an apostle (at that time meaning an emissary and ambassador of the new occupying ruler) would travel throughout the region, proclaiming ‘Gospel! Gospel.’ They would tell the new subjects the ‘good news’ of the new forcefully-enthroned ruler, and they would also bring the new culture and principles of the victorious kingdom.

These apostles would put the old, defeated rulers in cages, parade them through the streets and publicly humiliate them. This is precisely the spiritual force Jesus engaged the domain of darkness with, hence this passage in Colossians 2:15 which reads, ‘And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’ Wow!

Why is it so hard to preach the Gospel?

Imagine for a moment you are living in a town in the ancient world when one day, news of a new ruler comes to your ears. You hear that a ruler has forcefully evicted the existing powers-that-be and taken the throne for themselves. An apostle comes to tell you news of a new culture, a new way of living, a new language, new concepts and new philosophies of life.

However, the manifestation of these things never follows. The man bringing you the news doesn’t seem any different, and, as the days and weeks unfold, life goes on as it always has. Nothing changes.

For many of us, the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven’ or ‘Kingdom of God’ can be difficult to preach. Why? Because we are still so unfamiliar with the Kingdom itself. What does this new Kingdom mean for us? What culture and way of life does it entail? The Kingdom of God is an invitation into a deeper revelation of the things of God and the things of His Kingdom, a truly valuable journey as we grow in evangelism.

Manifesting the Kingdom of God

When Jesus was inviting people into repentance and preaching the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’, he wasn’t simply telling them about the Kingdom. He manifested the Kingdom. Healing, signs, wonders: even the unclean spirits left at the mention of His name! (An exciting revelation reported by the disciples when they returned from their commissioning in Luke 10.) Love, compassion: a gaze focused on those that society ignored. These are all manifestations of the Kingdom.

Friends, when we tell people the good news of the Kingdom, what we are really saying is this:

‘Good news! There is a new ruler in town! Turn away from the old, damning way of life and behold a new way of life! He has dethroned those rulers that have held you in captivity and given you the opportunity for liberty! He has plundered those things that have tortured you and now offers you a totally new dimension of freedom! Come and partake in the spoils of the war that was fought and won on your behalf, for the Kingdom is now yours!

And when we manifest the kingdom through our lives by healing the sick, stopping for the homeless beggar and standing up for injustice, the world indeed tastes the entrées of a feast of heavenly riches destined to become their inheritance, if they would but accept the invitation.

Brothers and sisters, an exhortation for us all: may we be so familiar with the Kingdom we preach that we experience it, become it and accurately represent it to the lost and broken world that lies before us each and every day.

___

By Isaac Parkinson, Jesus Campaign Director – Youth for Christ.
Photo by Pixabay.

Thank the Source

Healing the Father Wound

Healing the Father Wound

Our human fathers may leave us with wounds, because they carry wounds themselves. But God the Father can make up for their failings and heal us from our pain.

I have old black and white photos of my dad and me when I was very young. They show him carrying me as a baby, nursing me on his knees and playing with me when I was a small boy.

I never doubted my dad’s love for me. Our home was never a place where I heard raised angry voices or felt fearful or abandoned by my dad.

He was a good man, who worked hard to provide for our family. There was never any doubt that dad loved all of us, my mum, little sister and myself.

Every year we enjoyed family holidays together, as well as regular gatherings with our uncles, aunties and cousins. Life was good.

Growing Apart

Time passed. I became a teenager, grew into adulthood and left home when I got married at the age of 23. The relationship between my dad and I changed throughout my years of growing up.

He was still a good man, but he was never a father I could talk to about deeper issues of life. Mum was a Christian, but Dad expressed no faith in God. Occasionally he would accompany us to the little Methodist church we attended. He would only stand in silence during the singing of the hymns.

Dad’s brother once told me that when he was a boy, three of his younger siblings, twin boys and a girl, died of childhood diseases before the age of 2. He was heard to say to his mum, “Why did God do that?”

As an adult, the relationship between my dad and I lacked any form of physical affection. My sister and I couldn’t remember a time in adult life when he ever said to us, “I love you.” If mum ever tried to show him any affection in front of us kids, dad would get very uncomfortable.

Grief

My first wife had been unwell for much of our married life and in 1989 underwent a transplant operation that did not have a good outcome. She remained in hospital for the next 6 months until her death at the age of 36.

Our families and many Christian friends were present in the ICU. It was time for the nurse on duty to turn off her life support equipment. Very quickly after this, my wife slipped quietly from us into the Lord’s presence.

I said my goodbye to her, then turned to my dad and said, “Dad, I need a hug.” As I went to him, he couldn’t do it himself. I had to physically lift his arms and wrap them around me.

Years later, Dad developed throat cancer. I was away on an overseas trip at the time but arrived home in time to spend one last hour with him. He lay sedated on his hospital bed and had not long to live.

Not knowing whether he could hear me or not, I spoke into his ear and told him how I loved him and was grateful that he had been my dad. I then took the opportunity to tell Dad how much God loved him and wanted to have him in eternity with Him.

Praying, I asked Dad, if he could hear me, to ask Jesus into his heart to forgive him of all his sins and bring him safely into His heavenly kingdom. One can never underestimate what someone in Dad’s state can still hear.

The hospital provided me with a room where I could stay the night to be near Dad. I went there to unpack, but wasn’t there long before a nurse arrived to tell me that Dad had just passed away.

Dad was 77 years old when he died. At the funeral, the lady chaplain spoke of the talks she had with Dad while in hospital. She told of the many times Dad had expressed his love for his son and daughter. These were, ironically, words that my sister and I had rarely if ever heard directly from his lips.

Life continued with my mum dying eight years later in a nursing home. Being parentless felt rather strange. One generation had passed, and we were left to carry on. In the process of growing up, physical scars of childhood accidents may be many and obvious, while the hidden wounds of parental deficiencies remain hidden to all, but not to God.

A Vision

Seven years later, I experienced a profound emotional healing. We never realise how unwell we are until we are restored to normal health. This is no less applicable to our emotional well-being.

I was attending a session at a Christian conference. The leader asked us all to move to a space in the auditorium where we could be alone with God in our thoughts.

Quiet worship music played in the background as we entered God’s presence. Our session leader was encouraging us to ask the Lord what He would like to show us or say to us.

Almost immediately, I saw Jesus’ bloodied hand impaled to the cross by a large nail. As I looked at the image in my mind, I heard the leader say over the microphone, “Put your hand in the hand of Jesus.”  She had no idea what I was looking at just then.

I felt that Jesus was inviting me to do just that, to put my hands in His hands. With my imagination, I placed one and then the other hand into both His hands on the cross, then stepped up onto His feet.

I was then stretched out in the shape of the cross with my face so close to His that we could look into each other’s eyes.

It was then the scene appeared to split in half, and I fell into Him and travelled down a long hallway till it seemed I was in the golden throne room with Father God. The vision was not crystal clear, and I couldn’t get any further into the vision.

After some time of lying there waiting on God for further revelation, our leader asked for people to share what visions they had received. I was the second to volunteer. As I stepped up to the mic and began sharing what I had seen, she asked me what it meant to me.

I then realised that by placing myself in Jesus’ arms, I had fallen into the Father’s arms. I then added that I could not remember my own father ever giving me a hug.

Having said that, I couldn’t continue speaking, but began to weep uncontrollably. The leader prayed for me and down I went on to the floor, sobbing deeply as a load of pushed down and accumulated hurt came to the surface.

I realised later that all my life I had felt alone (not lonely), but that I often felt like I didn’t belong or was always on the outer of things. Even in my own family, because my father never included me in his life with affection and hugs, I grew up feeling disconnected from life in general.

I always felt different from all my peers and often told my mum this. God was releasing these hurts out of my life. I honour my dad. He was a good man in many ways. He was the way he was because of his own life hurts.

My heavenly Father began setting me free so that I could receive His love, His spiritual hugs.

Early next morning I awoke with a clearer understanding of what I had seen in the vision. The ‘hallway’ was taking me through the veil of Jesus’ body that had been torn on the cross to give us access to the Father in the heavenly Holy of Holies!

Scripture confirms this vision in many places.

Hebrews 10:19,20-22 says,

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

John 14:6 says,

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

God wants to release us from the hurts caused unknowingly or knowingly by the imperfect love of our earthly parents. God is our true Father. In His love, He created us and draws us to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.

Set aside some time with God. Let Him show you what He wants you to see or know. He will heal your hurts and then fill you with the Holy Spirit, He can impart the experience of Father God’s love for you. Accept His unconditional love.

___

Photo by Alena Darmel.

Thank the Source

From Fatherlessness to Faith: Dysfunction with a New Start

From Fatherlessness to Faith: Dysfunction with a New Start

Despite the failings and traumas handed down from past generations, with the grace of God, we can break free of toxic cycles and build a far better future for our children. Those who grow up hurting from being fatherless can learn from our parents’ mistakes and develop into life-giving, dedicated fathers.

Like every single one of our five kids, wearing the dad hat was for me a cliched process of having to learn to crawl before I walked.

Once past the dizzy, surreal, “Gey, I’m actually a dad” phase, my life as a dad looked more like a traineeship than a masterclass.

Having little to no examples of what healthy fatherhood is, was, or what healthy fatherhood even looked like, every metaphorical hands-and-feet advance was a literal basic training moment.

Generational Trauma

For as far back as I have been able to go, the broader pattern of my family’s history is a continuous cycle of pain, separation, fatherlessness, divorce, and death.

As my tight-lipped late grandmother’s 83-year-old sister often states,
“Why do you want to know? There’s not much, if anything, there to celebrate.”

The “scrapbook” family album is a disfigured family tree, mangled by a century of dysfunction, enough to be the envy of goth poets like Edger Allen Poe when they were at their darkest.

There isn’t a whole lot to get excited about. This makes the few special examples worth cheering on, all the brighter.

Like my great-great-grandparents who, with five children, including a newborn, travelled from Scotland to Australia in a converted tramp steamer in 1912.

A great-great-grandfather who worked on locomotives on the Western Front during World War 1. He was sent home a nervous wreck, because trains can’t dodge falling artillery shells or shell damaged tracks.

Stories matter. Learning about our genesis helps us to learn from others. No matter how broken — sin-packed, or sin-impacted — their lives offer a wealth of knowledge, and, with it, motivation.

Honour Thy Mother and Father

When talking about parents and children, flawed father, husband and theologian Karl Barth defined the fifth commandment in the light of education.

He stated,

‘The willingness to learn is the honour which is required of the children in relation to their parents.’

For Barth, to honour our forebears is to learn from their instruction, steering new life away from their paths of destruction. We preserve the good, shear off the bad.

Not all suffering comes from God, but God works through all suffering.

Ever the Christian, Barth infers that the ‘light of grace’ can pierce even the darkest, or most shattered, cruel, cold and silent of disfigured family trees.

In Barth’s words,

‘The Fatherhood of God lends its meaning and value to human form.’

This is because,

‘No human father, but God alone is properly, truly, and primarily Father.’

The value of vocation is intricately entwined with the importance of stories.

Our hands and feet are charged to ‘imitate God’s action’: a genuine emulation forged by a healthy grasp of HIS-story, and with it, humility and honesty.

Crawling through my family history taught me the importance and the value of fatherhood as a vocation. I was born a father out of fatherlessness.

I was its raw recruit pioneering a way through the muck of past dysfunctional experiences. Its basic training taught me to be responsible for the life of a new family, creating a new history, alongside new memories, with new people, into newness of life.

___

First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.

Thank the Source

Daughter, Your Faith Has Made You Well

Daughter, Your Faith Has Made You Well

When the haemorrhaging woman touched Jesus’ cloak, He addressed her as a daughter of God, a beloved child reunited with her heavenly Father. In that one word, this Bible passage reveals something profound about our relationship with God and how we are justified and saved.

The account of the woman with the issue of blood is in all three synoptic Gospels; these short passages carry a powerful message. See Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48. This short account is one of the greatest life-changing miracles Yeshua performed on Earth.

Background

As a bit of background, we will quickly look at Malachi 4:2. Once we understand this passage, we will be able to see the basis of the woman’s faith that caused her to reach out and touch the hem of His garment.

But to you who fear My name,
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings.
~ Malachi 4:2

First, the translation of ‘sun’ can also be translated as ‘servant’, as it is the same word (shin mem shin) with different vowel pointings (which were added around AD 600).  This is then rendered as the servant of righteousness, which is clearly Yeshua our Lord.

Secondly, the word wings in Hebrew is kanaph and can be translated as corner or skirt, as well as the wings of a bird. The knots of the tassels at the corners (wings) of the prayer shawl were called tsiytsiyt, or fringes.

Refer to Ancient Hebrew Research Center — The Tsiytsiyt and the Sun of Righteousness for a detailed look at Malachi 4:2.

This prophecy of the Messiah from Malachi was fulfilled when the woman who had the issue of blood touched the ‘hem of his garment’, which can also be translated from Greek as fringe or corner.

So when the woman reached out to touch Yeshua’s tsiytsiyt, she was acting on the word of God.

Daughter

I have been looking at these passages of scripture over the last few weeks, and came to an amazing revelation! All sermons I have ever heard on this story focus on the woman’s faith, yet miss a keyword. The faith message is true and powerful, but misses something much more important.

The keyword of this passage is the word Daughter!  Let me explain:

And He said to her,
Daughter, your faith has made you well.
Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
~ Mark 5:34

Due to her condition, this woman was continually ceremonially unclean. This meant she was disconnected from her family and community. She was ostracised, rejected, shunned, treated as unclean, and unable to attend the temple or synagogue to worship for twelve long years.

Further, if she touched a man such as a Pharisee, especially if that happened in Jerusalem, she, under the Pharisaical interpretation of the law, could have been whipped and possibly stoned. So when she touched Yeshua’s tsiytsiyt she was taking a huge risk, as she technically made Yeshua unclean until sunset. The Pharisees could have had her whipped, yet she knew she would be healed if she acted on His word.

Yeshua’s first word to her was Daughter (Hebrew: בַּת (Bat))! In that one word every rejection, every hurt, all loneliness, all pain, and all disconnection was made whole. Yeshua did not call her woman, but the intimate family word Daughter.

Such freedom, such deliverance, such life came from using that one word. Her relationship with God changed in an instant. This was and is an eternal miracle that completely transcended the physical healing she received. Yeshua was 100% representing Abba (Father) when He called her Daughter and recognised her as part of the family of God.

Understanding

The change of perspective of this amazing account is quite revolutionary. It leads us to see again that the basis of faith is relationship — i.e. not something we work or strain for, but something we live in due to Who our Abba is.

Often we hear ‘just have faith’, or ‘only believe’, etc — yet this, for some, leads to some sort of works in terms of something we seem to need to do.  Once we know we are sons and daughters, we believe without struggle, as we know and trust our Lord.

At any time, we can just touch His tsiytsiyt and be made whole. Healing is the children’s bread, and again, children trust their mums and dads. We trust Abba as children do, for all of our needs.

What was her name?

The scriptures do not explicitly tell us the lady’s name. However, let me share a story from a trip to Israel. We were hiring a car from El Dan car rentals in Jerusalem and the young lady serving us had a name tag that said בַּתאֵל, in English ‘Batel’ — that was her name. It stuck with me as it literally means Daughter (בַּת Bat) of the Lord Almighty (אֵל El). I thought that was a wonderful and awesome name; we even chatted about it briefly.

My name for the woman in the scriptural account is Batel, Daughter of the Lord Almighty! It is easy to infer this name, at least as a new name for her. I’m sure this is a good extrapolation from scripture that is part of her story of healing and restoration. No longer the unclean woman, but instead Daughter of the Lord Almighty. In an instant, with one word from the Lord, she is transformed.

Prayer

Papa God, I come to You as Your son/daughter and receive Your love afresh at this time.

I reach out and touch Your tsiytsiyt and receive Your healing for all my needs.

I thank You for the power released to me, and see that I am made whole.

You are awesome, and I love being in Your presence.

Let me go out and bless others with Your healing word, Your love, and Your power. Amen!

____

Originally published at Ruach haKodesh Ministries. Image: Simon Dewey, “Touch of Faith

Thank the Source

Double Purim 2022: A Double Portion of Breakthrough

As the feast of Purim reminds us of the story of Queen Esther being instrumental in the salvation of her people, we pray for the Esthers of our generation to be effective channels of God’s grace in uplifting our nation.

The festival of Purim commemorates the divinely orchestrated salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” It is celebrated with Megillah readings, gifts of food, charity, feasting, and merriment.
~ Chabad

Introduction

Welcome to one of the happiest holidays on the Jewish calendar — Purim.  You may also like to see what I wrote last year where I outlined the highlights of Purim.

This is a time of partying, masquerading, enjoying friends, food; and escaping from the troubles that surround us.

In this article, I wanted to look at Purim from a distinct perspective, because it is a Hebrew leap year that contains two months of Adar: Adar I and Adar II.

Because of your shame, which was doubled,
and because they cried, “They deserve disgrace,”
therefore in their land what they own will be doubled,
and joy forever will be theirs.
~ Isaiah 61:7 (CJB)

As I was researching for this article and reviewing what I had written last year, I came across this phrase that stood out to me:

Purim became the celebration of the salvation of the Jews of Persia during the reign of King Ahasuerus.

Perhaps this year for the Father’s Beloved Chosen People will not just be a year of salvation from Israel’s enemies, but also a year of salvation whereby many enter into the New Covenant like it says in —

John 3:3 ~ Jesus answered and said unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Double portion

What might a double portion look like these days?

For years now, we have been seeing Christians and Jews walking together in partnership, which did not happen previously.

Esther - Purim

Esther — John Everett Millais (1865)

We saw Esther and Mordecai working together as family members, followed by Esther and King Ahasuerus working together for the salvation of the Jews — again, family working together.

The Jews and Esther fasted together, and the Lord broke through for them. The Father’s Beloved Chosen people are family through Father Abraham.

It is my desire to also see leaders and congregation members working together as family, and leaders of various congregations working together not just for their own communities, but for the benefit of the wider community that does not have the same hope that we have.

Through these examples, I hope that you can see that a double portion is when we work together — in their land what they own will be doubled. (cf. Isaiah 61:7) We can achieve more together, and we are actually more together as one. Our oneness is of immense value to the Lord and His Kingdom.

Ultimately, we as Yeshua’s Bride, are working together with Him to disciple nations, bringing in sons and daughters.

The kingdoms of the world are rising against the Kingdom of our God. Some see dark clouds on the horizon, with nations raging as Psalm 2 states; but instead of disaster being forecast, Father God is rising — this is His day, and He is at work bringing nations back to Himself. God is the Shepherd of the Nations bringing His flock home to His heart.

I believe we will still see a healing of nations where the Lord is bringing down principalities and instituting His rule as He draws nations to Himself to be sheep nations.

Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations.
~ Revelation 22:2 (CJB)

Get ready for blessings!

I had been asking the Lord for a fresh word from Heaven about Purim this year. Then when I received a message from the Holy Spirit, I wrote it down:

“The sceptre is being extended to you in this season. You are in a season of favour, but it is not for your own benefit but to get ready to be a blessing to others.”

I will not recap the story of Esther, as you can read more about it in the article I listed above; however, I wanted to mention the key point of Esther coming into her destiny.

Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.
~ Esther 4:14 (CJB)

There are so many examples of deliverers in the Bible and in history. Father God always has His key people prepared.

You let our enemies walk on our heads.
We went through fire and flood,
but You brought us to a place with good things.
~ Psalm 66:12 (NCV)

Australia suffered the bushfires of 2019-2020, and now in 2022, floods in Queensland and New South Wales are being called the once in 1,000 flood.

However, I believe the Lord is bringing us through all these tragedies into a place with good things. He will again demonstrate His goodness and I believe many will be drawn to the heart of Father God through Yeshua.

My feeling is that the Lord has been testing and purifying individuals in Australia for His greater purposes, and that the prosperity in this country is not just for ourselves but to be a blessing to other nations around us.

In this new day that the Lord is giving us, He will position each one of His purified children in the role He has prepared for them, to be a blessing to many.

What Purim represents to Israel

This year, Purim falls on 16th-17th March. It is a festival of joy, gift giving, indulgences, masquerading, partying, parades, costumes and joy. Primarily, Purim is the national dress-up holiday in Israel — this extends to offices, schools and, well, the entire country.

Purim performance at the Jewish Theatre in Warszawa, Poland. (Photo by Henryk Kotowski, March 2009)

For Israelis, it is a time of joy and a welcome distraction from the difficulties surrounding them.

Intercessors are saying that Purim could be a key time when the Lord brings down Israel’s enemies like we saw with Haman in the Book of Esther, a divine reversal.

What Purim represents to us

Here in Australia and in many places, Covid-19 restrictions are lifting and we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Each of us in the Body of Christ is like Queen Esther, put into a royal position, for such a time as this — to bring solutions to the earth but specifically to the nation of Israel, His Beloved Chosen people.

… then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.
~ Romans 11:18 (CJB)

… for salvation is of the Jews.
~ John 4:22b (KJV)

We as believers are children of Father Abraham. Yeshua came through this lineage to bring us salvation, for which we are ever so grateful.

As we look at the Hebrew calendar, which is a combination of lunar and solar calculations, it is balanced by a leap month (Adar I and Adar II) which we are experiencing this year.

It is good to keep our eyes on Israel and see what the Lord is doing in this season. His people are the apple of His eye and Father is working out His best purposes for them.

How much more will He not give us breakthroughs in our own lives and families because we have a better Covenant with better promises through Yeshua. (cf. Hebrews 8:6)

Let us join with the Father’s Chosen people and declare: “Do it again, Lord.”  He is faithful and will bring us through our current trials.

You let our enemies walk on our heads.
We went through fire and flood.
But You brought us to a place with good things.
~ Psalm 66:12 (ICB)

Prayer

Father God, we thank You for the story of Purim, where Your name is not mentioned but Your work is everywhere to be seen. Let us see with the eyes of our spirit that You are at work in our lives, in Australia, in the nations of the world.

We are not orphans like Queen Esther was an orphan, but You adopted us and made us royal sons and daughters. Please position each one of us for our appointed time to be a blessing to Israel and those in need. We look to You, Father, to do Your inimitable work in this season.
Ba Shem Yeshua (In Jesus’ name), Amen.

This video comes to us from 2014, but it shows the Israeli resilience in the face of trials:

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Annie Johnson Flint: Joy in Suffering

Annie Johnson Flint: Joy in Suffering

This great saint knew all about suffering, yet she magnified her Lord exceedingly.

Annie J FlintHers may not be a household name, even to most believers, but she was a notable and remarkable Christian indeed. Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932) is remembered for two main things: her decades of hardship and suffering, and her wonderful and moving Christian poetry.

For over four decades she suffered from crippling and painful arthritis. It kept her pretty much confined to her bedroom that entire time. Yet out of all that terrible pain and suffering, she gave us some of the most memorable and inspiring Christian verse.

Great Loss

She could have so easily just been an embittered and hate-filled person, cursing God for her situation. And even before arthritis struck, she endured plenty of hardships. When she was three, her baby sister came along, but her mum died soon thereafter at age 23. Her dad was ill as well, so he handed over the two girls to another woman, but it was far from a good situation.

But around two years later, a Baptist couple adopted the pair, and that was a much better arrangement. Early on, Anne loved reading and loved verse. When she was eight, her new family left rural New Jersey for city life. There Methodist revival meetings were in progress, and at them, she gave her life to Christ.

After high school, she taught for a few years, but it was then that the crippling and life-altering arthritis set in — never to leave. Also at this time, her adopted parents both died, leaving the sisters alone again. She soon became an invalid, pretty much confined to her home.

So for over forty years, she endured grievous physical pain while also drawing close to the Lord and turning out moving verse. At first, her gnarled and bent fingers were still capable of writing the poems, but later, as the pain became too great, she had to have others write them down for her.

A Life of Service

Soon her poetry was being published in magazines and in book form, and they were even reprinted overseas. Sales of her writings were the main source of her income. As a result of her spreading fame, she had numerous folks corresponding with her, which also kept her busy.

As mentioned, the painful arthritis would remain with her until she died. As we read in the forward to her biography (see details below):

One day a visitor stepped from Miss Flint’s sitting room into the sleeping room to secure a certain reprint of a poem for Miss Flint, who was seated in her wheeled chair. A glance at the bed in that room was revealing. Nine soft pillows were carefully arranged on the bed for use in protecting the exquisitely sensitive, pain-smitten body from the normal contact of the bed-clothing, so distressing it was for her to recline in the hope of rest at night.

Choosing Joy

Like the Apostle Paul and countless other Christians throughout history, it was the cross that she most cherished, rejoiced in, and clung to. We know of only one prose work that she ever wrote, and it was a brief allegory of her life entitled “The Life In Allegory — ‘That I Might Be Like Him’”. One small portion of this 5½ page piece says this:

Then the Voice said, “This only is the way by which thou canst approach nearest unto Me and be most like Me. This is thy cross. Lie down upon it without shrinking and without fear. Thou shalt not be alone: I too have been there. I sounded all the depths of pain, and at the last I was forsaken by the Father; but that last, worst suffering thou shalt not know, for I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

So I lay down upon the cross, and I rest upon it even unto this day. And the Angel of Suffering watches upon my left hand, and upon my right is one who comes always with him… the Angel of His Presence. And of late there has been another, the Angel of Peace. And the three abide always with me.

Glory

A final word about healing. As in our day, some Christians back then told her that healing was in the atonement so she should just claim her healing by faith. She decided to undertake a careful and prayerful study of the matter in Scripture and in other Christian writings.

She came to believe that God certainly could heal her if He chose to, as he sometimes had done, but God can also be glorified through the suffering of His saints. Says her biographer:

Miss Flint became thoroughly convinced that God intended to glorify Himself through her, in her weak, earthen vessel, and while like Paul she had three times, and more, prayed that this might be taken from her, there came to her with real assurance the voice which said, “My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is made perfect in weakness.” She reached the place where she too could say with Paul, “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” …

It was not in the setting forth of Christian doctrine in poetic form that Annie Johnson Flint’s greatest ministry lay – it was in the application of Christian truths to the experiences of life. It was to the weary pilgrim on life’s journey that she sang her sweetest song. She knew the One who was the Man of Sorrows. She had drunk her own cup of bitterness and could sympathize. And to the weary traveller along earth’s way she sought to sing her songs of help and hope.

Let me present just one of her poems, “The Court of the King”:

With staff that had failed in my need
Where the road had been stony and steep;
With lamp that was smoking and dim;
Though the darkness was growing more deep;
Weary, too weary to pray
And too heavy-hearted to sing,
Faint with the toils of the way
I came to the court of the King.

There where the fountains fall cool,
Their waters unfailing and pure;
There where the ministering palms
Stand like His promises sure,
Oh! there was peace in its shade,
Oh! there was rest in its calm;
And its sweet silences lay
On my bruised spirit like balm.

Long did I kneel in His court,
And walk in his garden, so fair;
All I had lost or had lacked
I found in His treasuries there;
Oil to replenish my lamp,
His kindness a crown for my head,
For the staff that had wounded my hand
The rod of His mercy instead.

A garment of praises I found
For the sullen, dark garb I had worn,
And sandals of peace for the feet
That the rocks and the briers had torn;
Joy for my mourning He gave,
Making my Spirit to sing,
And, girded with gladness and strength,
I passed from the court of the King.

Imagine having chronic and devastating pain day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, yet still being a shining witness to God’s grace and goodness! Would that we all were able to showcase the love and mercy of God, even in the midst of life’s deepest tragedies and sorrows.

For further reading

There are various online resources about her. Many refer to a brief 2019 book that I have called The Making of the Beautiful by Roland Bingham (Hayden Press). The back cover says this:

“This book is the only known biography of Annie Johnson Flint, written by Roland V. Bingham (1872-1942) who was the founder of the Sudan Interior Mission and knew Annie personally.”

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Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

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