No Walls: No courage = No Victory

RE:  Richard  Armitage, British Actor @RCArmitage

Dear Richard,

It is of course your absolute right to choose what to write and what to delete on your timeline and I would always respect your choices and freedom of speech or lack of it, just as I hope others respect mine. I feel compelled however to express my deepest sadness to learn this morning that you have also deleted the very first tweet you sent to Mr Trump with the images of the Berlin wall and the #nowalls tag.

When I ponder on the Annals of History, I always end up with the same reflection: How many awful trends, atrocities and human suffering could have been avoided if only more people had been courageous enough to make their voices heard in the face of evil, greed and pride? I often imagine myself living in those episodes of history and try to honestly gage what I would have done in those situations; what I would do now, if a similar situation arose. This is a mental exercise I do often to pluck up the courage to speak up when I know it matters; when I know it counts. It is scary and it comes at a price, but I am not here to win a popularity contest. Life is too precious, too exquisite to simply settle for that. I guess, I do what I’d call a “John Proctor” drill. God knows this world is becoming an increasingly hostile place and the time may well come again for all of us to make such impossible choices.

I feel we are very much on the onset of such a situation, but as in previous chapters of history, for so many of us our attention is focused on all the wrong things, the trivial things, things of no real consequence to the wellness of humanity and this world in general. So many of us have become complacent and voyeurs in others’ lives whose reality is so much worse than our own and yet, we often dismiss it as not our problem. It is their life it affects after all, not ours.

The whole world is watching, because the whole world is looking for answers, the right answers. In a world where social media has such predominance and worldwide reception, it seems to me it is the optimum platform to make some waves which in turn create bigger waves that ultimately can pulverise some of these issues threatening the very delicate balance upon which our world stands today.

I was so elated when I saw you tweeted that hashtag to Mr Trump. It gave me hope that things can change; that there are those like yourself who act on their sense of responsibility to the wellness of those beyond ourselves, responsibility to stand up and be counted as another voice who is prepared to risk everything for a reality so much bigger than our own, and yet so intrinsic to our own. It blew me away to learn that someone of your popularity and following would have the courage and character to stand up to Mr Trump and speak up. After all, when I do so, I am not really risking all that much, or at least not yet, but for someone like you, there is much more at stake. The ripple that your wave will create is multiplied by the thousands, whilst mine may initially have some impact but soon dies away.

There are so many youngsters and adults even who wait by your side every single day, virtually anyway, to hear what you have to say or not say. So many completely at a loss as to what to make of what they see in the news and in their towns, on their doorstep. So many seeking direction from voices like yours, voices which belong to individuals that are already placed in a strategic spot to be able to change the course of events, to influence through their gifting, their work, their mere presence, the very fabric of history.

Perhaps I am mistaken and the ripples that your tweet to Mr Trump created are not as powerful as I believe them to have been, but I am certain that the effect of you taking that tweet down will be monumental. I fear that it will take the wind out of the sails of those who are inspired by and aspire to emulate the behaviour of the people they see as role models, exemplary, trust-worthy. Not to mention that Mr Trump’s following and anyone who is watching will regard it as a retreat. Another battle won. Let’s go on our merry way to win the whole war.

I do not sit here in judgement. How could I? I know nothing about your circumstances besides what we read in the media and what you put on twitter. You obviously have your reasons for your change of heart. I am no one to judge you one way or the other. As I said at the beginning, it is your absolute right to do as you will. I simply wanted to share my sadness this morning as one of the thousands of people who are inspired by your character, integrity and moral and social conscience, that you have retraced your steps on what I felt in my heart to be a gigantic leap of courage and extraordinary behaviour in this current climate of self-exultation, self-absorption and self-glorification, qualities which Mr Trump is the true champion of.

With my love always,

Mercedes Underwood

 

Seeds planted deep into our DNA were meant to grow into fruitful mighty trees

Screenshot (757)Screenshot (758)Dear Richard,

Your Christmas message on twitter moved me so deeply and struck a vulnerable chord in the fabric of my being. I am a foreigner living in the UK. In the current climate, not a day goes by when I don’t give thanks for the opportunity to live in a country which is not my own, to have been welcomed with open arms and to be able to immerse myself in another culture, learn and hopefully give something back too. My folks are all in Spain and though I do not see them as often as I wish to, this is due to the life I chose and not a set of depleting circumstances forced upon me, beyond my control. To think that things could so easily change and I could be forced out from my own home, family, friends and livelihood here in the UK shakes me up to the core.

I miss my large family back in Spain terribly at times but I am blessed and lucky enough to be able to get on a plane at the drop of a hat and go and see them, just like you do. I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like to feel such terror and threat of staying in your own home that you feel you have no other choice but to drop everything and everyone and flee for your life into the unknown and sadly sometimes into a worse fate than the alternative.

I was out at a Christmas party on Friday night and there I chatted to a Belgian guy who visited Syria many years ago. He told me about this stunningly beautiful country where people used to enjoy the affluence you speak off. Many lived in villas with swimming pools and enjoyed the luxuries and comfort that so many of us take for granted and feel a sense of entitlement to in the West today. And then he told me about the Evil that hit and tore this country apart, the rapes, the violence, the cruelty, the utter annihilation that has engulfed this nation. These people and anyone fleeing their own countries are no more deserving of this hell on earth than you and I, but they sure deserve our compassion and empathy, our love and support. It could just as easily be us having to face, for whatever reason, displacement from our homes and a total alienation from or being robbed off the life that we have always known and enjoyed. Suggesting closing our doors, borders and hearts to those in need is not progress but regressing into a mentality of the survival of the strongest, where the humane part of us is gobbled up by our animal instincts. It is regressing into a primitive state of ignorance and savagery, of dominance and control, a state of staleness and blind spots where cultures and races can no longer learn from each other and enrich each other’s points of view and gifting, be it intellectual, artistic, or even humanitarian. Closing our borders, hearts and minds is regressing back into chapters in history of oppression, annihilation, fear, dominance, holocaust, suspicion and stagnation, creating the perfect environment for yet more radical and extreme individuals to thrive in and take away the core values so many fought so valiantly and sacrificed so much to give us today.

Richard, you are absolutely right. Who are we to judge who can and cannot have what we enjoy every single day? What sets us apart from others to feel with such pride that we’ve earned a life of freedom, civil rights, choice and affluence? Absolutely nought. What makes us so darn special and sets us apart from those who live in the Kibera Slums of Nairobi or the Favelas of Brazil, those who are persecuted for their faith or discriminated against because of their race or religion? Absolutely nought! It is mere chance that has placed each and every one of us in the place we live in, to be born within a particular race or colour and to be brought up to be guided by a certain creed. To think otherwise is to lead humanity into a dangerous downward spiral of selfishness, self-centeredness, narrow-mindednes, greed and success at the expense of innocent people’s suffering and destruction; the most despicable legacy or lack of anyone could leave behind.

There is, however, a point in which I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Your profession as an actor not only does not automatically discount you from voicing your opinion in these matters, but rather places a heavy responsibility on you to do so. Whether you recognise it or not your celebrity status, your reputation and outstanding work as an artist precedes you and makes you into an exemplary role model to thousands of people out there. You have an exclusive and unique platform to not only vent your opinions but to stand up and be counted as a person who will use their influence and global presence to make a vital difference in the course of events in this turbulent world we live in. God forbid we leave the fate of this planet solely to politicians. It is specially people like you who through artistry but also through the multitudinous following you enjoy in today’s most powerful tool, social media, can actively fight the threat posed by the far right views you refer to and challenge the views and opinions of those who blinded by their own egos and agendas are willing to sell their soul to the highest bidder, even when that means putting at risk the lives of millions of innocent individuals.

My wish for this Christmas and indeed for the year ahead is a wish for more courageous men and women like you in advantageous and strategic places in society to follow their true calling or the fire in their belly, the flame that burns within at the core of their being to come forth and challenge relentlessly radical and extremists views at the hands of those who can do the most damage to democratic multi-culturally, intellectually and artistically rich and vibrant societies. I am a great believer in investing my life in exploring and pursuing without fear those little nudges we all get, the quiet small voice in our head that is telling us to push forward in certain areas, to go beyond what we are good at and into what ignites us, what we are most passionate and uncompromising about. Everything about you, starting with the name you have been given, shouts out leadership, righteousness, courage, sincerity and above all an incandescent and latent social and moral consciousness, an unwavering determination to fight for what is right. Yes, you are an actor, but I see another side of you coming through, striving to make itself heard, burning up in everything you do and say. I see a man with remarkable, exceptional qualities, qualities which are not only required but which are essential to fight the good fight, to fight to the end for the things that truly matter in this precarious world we live in.

 May the force be with you! God knows I am.

With love,

Mercedes

FEEDING ON THE VERY EVILS WE CLAIM TO HATE IS LIKE TRYING TO CURE A CANCER WHILST WE GO ON SMOKING – Part 2

PART 2

Just as I am finding it extremely hard to make any sense out of what I am about to share here, I am also struggling to put it into words, to get my thoughts together so that I can put my points across in the fairest, most respectful and sensitive manner. It is a real challenge though to pass on information to someone else when one’s head cannot get around the inherent contradiction, the bi-polarity, the paradox and even the impossibility of the truths contained in that information, so please bear with me.

As I wrote to Richard on a recent tweet (though I think it is safe to say that with 106K+ followers, he probably receives an average of say, 1K messages on his inbox per day and that’s just from Twitter, so the chances of him ever reading my ramblings are pretty much non-existent. Having said that though, if I want to say something which I deeply care about to a person I also deeply care about, I like to say it to the person and not to someone else about that person. So with that in mind, I recently told Richard on a tweet that I admire and respect him hugely and that my rants do not seek confrontation or antagonism for the sake of it, but simply reflection In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to have the chance to hear his feedback, not personally to me but to those fans and supporters out there who may be as puzzled and wondering the same things as I am right now.

Here it goes. Picture this: the same super talented actor who gave us a heart-wrenching, soul-searching, spell-binding rendition of John Proctor in The Crucible; the same inspiring, purposeful and inspired human being who being interviewed about what he hoped people would take away with them on having seen his performance and the play, said: “I hope our audience leave with a sense of purpose, duty and responsibility”, and who in answer to “What is the most important thing that playing Proctor has taught you?”, said “That truth may be hidden, buried, warped and discarded, but man becomes closer to “His God” when he fights for that truth, even at the cost of his own life. The courage to die for the truth”; the same man who in answer to “What aspects of society/culture do you think The Crucible best speaks to today?” said: “It speaks of prejudice and persecution and any society which has permitted its government to legislate in favour of such denial of human rights, be it race, gender, religion, sexual preference and political orientation”, and still the same man who when asked “What do you hope the audience will be left contemplating after the performance?” answered with these wonderfully inspiring words: “I hope our audience leave with a sense of purpose, duty and responsibility… That they are at one with their mortality and that they believe in love.” Wow, I have goose-bumps all over even now. To hear an individual of his current popularity with the platform and the following he enjoys, speak in those terms, with such clarity, courage and determination, is for me almost as powerful and ground-breaking as watching Martin Luther King deliver his “I have a dream..” speech. It’s a breath of much needed fresh air in a world ruled by Mammon, greed, the obsession and glorification of evil, violence and a sense of entitlement to immediate gratification for everything, in every circumstance, even when we don’t deserve any.

When I read those words for the first time I was set alight; my own ongoing search for truth, not just spiritual but for all aspects of our existence, was rekindled instantly with an incredible might. I thought at the time: “that’s exactly the clarity of thought and purpose I want to have in my own life, in my own journey. This guy is on a quest, a worthy quest; he is onto something. He has great leadership qualities which are clearly manifested in the roles he likes to play and in the fact that he is often drawn to those roles. There is a heroic quality about him, a courage, a boldness. He knows where he is going and how to best get there. I’m in for the long haul, I thought.

Many people go about life totally clueless, surviving from one day to the next, purposeless, enjoying life’s pleasures and the good turns life throws at them, but not really preparing for the bad ones or even having an ounce of consciousness about the fact that whether we like it or not, we all carry a responsibility in how we live and of what we do with our time, our gifts and our resources. If not for anyone else, we owe it to ourselves to honour the life we’ve been given and to try to develop our potential to its maximum, try to do something meaningful with how little or how much we may have. I want my life to mean something, to leave something beautiful and good behind. I want the immediate world that I engaged with whilst alive to be a better place when I’m gone, because I was there and did something to better it. I don’t see much point in living otherwise, quite frankly.

Here is an actor whose journey does not appear to be dictated or ruled by what sells, what provides fame and fortune, what brings popularity and the magic formula to limitless open doors that lead to where one wants to go, whatever that may be. We all have to make a living, but in my opinion it has always transpired that for Richard Armitage his freedom when it comes to choosing a role is not coerced by the potential to become wealthy or by sacrificing, supressing what is in his heart, in his dreams in order to comply with the accepted trends and unending pressures within the Entertainment Industry.

During The Crucible he often spoke of being drawn powerfully to the role of John Proctor because it offered a first-hand experience of an “Ascend of the Soul”, of living, if only for an instant, what it’s like to have the courage and honesty to rise to the best one can be when everything and everyone is against us and puts us in a corner, where we either succumb to their wishes or we die battling for the truth.

Richard has said in the past that choosing a particular role stemmed from his passion for the written word, not any written word but a particular piece of literature, a beautiful piece of literature, one that when you are exposed to its power, it helps you fly to heights which you never knew existed; it allows you to feel lofty, honourable, wonderful emotions you never thought worthy or capable of feeling, it takes you to a dimension we rarely break into in our daily grind, whatever that may be for different people, but that beautifully written word, just as the two sides of a coin, also has the potential to take you to depths and crevasses you suspect exist but will always go out of your way to avoid, even if in your gut, you know life has a habit of throwing us one or two curve balls along the way, so you’d better face them at least in your mind, if nowhere else, so that you are somehow prepared for what may hit you as you journey on.

So summing up, here we have an actor who shows great resolve, composure and intelligence when choosing his roles and also shows that it is he who is in control of his career’s trajectory and not the industry which dictates where to next get the big bucks from or what to do in order to get that elusive role which is coveted by all the best known actors and for which many will do almost anything. Here we have a man who clearly sees acting as not only the ability to entertain others, but also as artistry and as such he always seems to carefully search for that next role which will challenge him that extra notch to what he previously did; an actor who does not shy away from new mammoth challenging roles where he has to abandon the land of the living, if only for a while, in order to get into character and truly get into its “skin”, to the point where it is no longer the actor we see in the character, but the character becomes an entity in its own right, it acquires life of its own, and the capacity to live in our minds and hearts indefinitely.

How far in that quest for challenging oneself however, how deep into those unknown crevasses of the human soul is anyone prepared to go to prove their worth and capabilities as an actor, before the line between what is fiction and what is reality becomes blurry or even non-existent? And more worryingly, what if some of those watching do not have the maturity, experience, support network, discernment and mental balance and strength to not let certain topics, visual images and scenes get so deep into their psyche that what was meant as entertainment slowly but surely develops into a time bomb of potential crime and violence? How far does one need to go to prove his worth to himself first and foremost and then the world before the “ascend or descend of the soul” is no longer the primary focus, purpose or message in that portrayal; where it is no longer the “what” that matters in a film or TV program but the “how”, where it becomes primarily about the entertainment and shock value and very little about the exploration, interpretation and study of a literary character or the human psyche, heart, soul and spirit, about the lessons we can draw and learn from from a particular film or play? After all, isn’t what we see on a stage and on the screen designed to take us to familiar but also unknown places, to makes us feel exhilarating and powerful emotions, to transport us from our reality into the world of our “what ifs”? Where do we draw the line between entertainment and feeding our extremely real and potentially very dangerous obsession with Evil and how Evil can take over a person’s heart, soul and spirit and turn them into monsters? Why explore with such audacity, perseverance and intensity a genre that homes in on EVIL, when all one has to do is turn on the News to get more than a handful of horror, barbarism and savagery?

To be concluded in Part 3

FEEDING ON THE VERY EVILS WE CLAIM TO HATE IS LIKE TRYING TO CURE A CANCER WHILST WE GO ON SMOKING

PART 1

For those who read my blog regularly, you may recall some of the words I wrote on my post before last: “The Crucible, as recently rendered at The Old Vic Theatre in London, has released an unstoppable force spiritually, something which challenges the status quo and the complacency of a human race which right now sits pretty for the most part and in denial as the most abominable of evils, perils and injustices are happening all around us.”

In these last few months I have been basking in the glory and sheer joy I was engulfed by after seeing that play. I have been letting its message and unstoppable force get right through my bone and marrow, nourishing my soul in order to build up the courage to become another “John Proctor”, a light in that darkness which daily threatens civilisation with swallowing us all up. The Sleeping Giant was indeed awoken within me and as far as I was concerned, no one and nothing was going to put it to sleep again. My passion and zeal for truth, freedom and light have always been there, but lay dormant, anesthetized by the immediacy of obligations, responsibilities and daily worries. Try as I may, nothing and no one could wake me up from my slumber, my complacency and the all too accepted attitude of: “there are people out there who will do this much better than me, so why bother?. Let them take up the mantle of freedom, justice, compassion and truth. Let them put their all on the line. Nothing, no one could wake me up from my slumber, EXCEPT “The Crucible” and Richard Armitage’s portrayal of John Proctor.

Whether you are a spiritual person or not, whether you believe there is a God or not, hopefully you will relate in some measure to this statement: An epiphany took place that day at the Old Vic Theatre. My moral and social conscience went in asleep but it came out awake. My heart and soul were tepid for issues which make our society hang in the balance and which outcome may mean society is indeed hanging by a very fine and vulnerable thread. My heart and soul were lukewarm with regards to our world and humanity, but they were blazing like fire as I walked out of the theatre door. Even now, as I write this, tears fill my eyes. It was such a great feeling, so liberating, so empowering. It was crystal clear; every bone in my body felt that I had rightly followed prompts coming from an unknown dimension to be in that place, on that day, at that time. The jigsaw was finally complete. A sense of perfect fulfilment overcame me as I left the theatre that night.

It has now been 5 months since I first saw The Crucible, and so much has happened since then. There have been so many news items which directly relate to the issues touched on by the characters and the plot of this play. Over this period of time, I have been following Richard Armitage closely, too closely many will say (myself included), but I have grown incredibly fond of this man who not only is a great actor with amazing potential, but also comes across as a well-rounded super smart human being who has in abundance all the qualities which I hope to one day display effortlessly and naturally. I feel very akin to him. From what he has said on numerous interviews and on social media, he seems to be one of those people that when you peel off all the layers and go real deep, there is a solid, stoic foundation, a force that drives him, a purpose and nothing, no one will deter him from it. I may be talking absolute nonsense, but the fact that he has managed to pile up 103K followers on Twitter since he joined in August, and the rate it is going up at, 1000 per day right now, tells me there is something about this individual which draws people to him. Yeah, I know: “Well, of course there is”, you say, “he is the hottest thing around since….since…well…err… the hottest thing around!” Of course I agree, but looks fade and unless there is some underlying substance, no one is going to get very far on just sex appeal, not even him.

Besides the obvious physical and charismatic appeal that Richard has, there is something very earthy, very tangible, an authenticity, an assertiveness and an organic Goodness about him which makes thousands of us wait by “his side”, stick around, as he gives off the feeling that any day, any moment now he is going to do something utterly memorable, catalytic, life-altering, world-shaping, history-making . He carries this magnetic aura about him and it is impossible not to notice it. Ironically, for me it is not Richard Armitage playing Thorin Oakenshield or John Proctor and immersing himself in these characters, but it is the characters who breathe their first breath, owe their life and grow thanks to the qualities inherent in Richard and not the other way around.

When interviewed in the summer having finished the play, Richard said that in a way, John Proctor, has always been a part of him, has always been in him. I agree and I would add that he still is. I think that regardless of how good an actor you are, you can’t just finish the run of a play or a film, and shake off the character that in this case you have immersed yourself in, heart and soul, for quite a while, just as it is humanly impossible to shake off a person who has been an intricate part of your life for a considerable amount of time, whether you part in good terms or bad, they are a chapter in your life and you will inevitably carry them with you for the rest of your days; the experiences you shared will shape your experiences in the future and HOPEFULLY, the lessons you learnt whilst sharing your life with that person/character will also shape the life you lead from there on, the message that your life, your journey and your trajectory give off to the rest of the on looking, expectant world, a world so hungry for goodness, mercy, redemption, freedom, equality, light……for LOVE, right? WRONG!

To be continued in Part 2

HE will slay the monster of the sea (the gliding, coiling serpent)

On watching the news this morning yet again I feel like I have had a nudge from God to pay attention to what is going on all around us currently in the world.  Believe me, I have had utter aversion towards anything to do with current affairs and the news all my life.  From a young age, I suffered daily nightmares about terrible earthquakes, and although I was born in a country, Spain, which as far as I am aware has not suffered, at least during my lifetime, any significant earthquakes, the mere vividness of my dreams made me shake to the core with fear and trembling at the prospect of ever experiencing such a terrifying circumstance.  Now, the nightmares about earthquakes have become fewer and far between (although they are equally terrifying and at a devastating scale when they come) and have been replaced by nightmares of engulfing tsunamis which leave behind equal death and devastation. Go figure! My parents, even into my adulthood years whilst I was still living at home, tried to instil in me a sense of duty to keep up with the papers, the daily news and to try to have a general understanding of current affairs, to be aware of what is going on not just in my own little bubble but at a larger scale in order to be able to have a grown up conversation and to feel able to mix in different circles and bring something to the table.

The more they went on about me reading the papers, the bigger my aversion towards them grew. Then I moved to the UK and after marrying my English husband, just when I thought I left behind the days of utter guilt for being such an ignorant individual who refuses to be concerned with the ills of the world, my in-laws began to pick up where my parents left off. That didn’t work either!

Interestingly, in the last few years as my faith in Jesus Christ has grown deeper, I find myself miraculously drawn to anything to do with current affairs, news, natural disasters and so on.  I know God brought this about because human effort failed before and no one has been able to make me do something I had such a clear aversion to. Now, when God puts something in your heart that no living soul has been able to imprint, you can bet your bottom dollar there is a clear purpose in it, a use, a function, a fruit that is to be nurtured, grown and harvested at the end of that process.

It is for this reason that when I felt the Lord’s nudge this morning to pay attention to the news again today, I knew better than to ignore it.  As I turned onto SKY news, I was struck by the image below of a giant serpent-like creature called an oarfish which has only recently washed ashore on a beach in California. In fact, another one washed ashore on another Californian beach I believe only days later. These hideous and hellish looking creatures do resemble serpents and we all know or should know what the serpent represents in Biblical terms.  Faced with that, I begun to think to myself: Can you imagine if on reading my daily portion of Scripture today, there is a mention of a serpent or something that may give me a spiritual dimension as to what it all means? What are the chances and if so, what is God trying to say to me, to us, to the whole world, if anything?

Rare: This snakelike oarfish measuring nearly 14 feet long was found on a beach in Southern California on October 18. Speculation is rife over whether the sightings prelude an earthquake

Together with the image shown on the news was given the commentary that many in the California area are terrified, because they see this oarfish coming to land as a sign that these creatures are fleeing from something they see coming, they sense is looming.  Whilst you may be laughing your head off at this point, know that similar occurrences took place  months prior to the Japan tsunami and earthquake of 2011. Now, we all know how prone California is to earthquakes and seismic activity be it at land or at sea, so then I begin to sense that this is indeed no laughing matter but more like a “sign”, like the signs and wonders God spoke off being so prevalent in the last days.

I turn off the TV and sit at my desk and open my bible where I left off yesterday and guess what?

Isaiah 27, 1

27 In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword—     his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent,     Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.

Some people look to the future, to scientific advance, to progress, to man ultimately trying to be God and finding a solution to all our problems. Truth is we will never be able to do this; we are human and imperfect and last time I looked, none of the humans I know were anywhere remotely near becoming perfect, faultless, flawless beings, starting with Moi. Yes, we find cures to diseases and we come up with awe-inspiring technological advances but parallel to all that progress is the sin that tails right behind us all creating a whole load of new challenges brought about by our own pride, foolishness and inability to learn from our mistakes. So you see, what we manage to achieve on the one hand with our smugness, we immediately render ineffective by the whole bundle of new problems we immediately have to face, having only just solved the previous ones, and more often that not these problems are the result of our own stupidity and inability to act responsibly towards our own selves, each other and the world around us.

But, fear not, for there is hope. We know that no matter how much tragedy or disaster comes upon us, and this is the message one has to walk away with from all of this, is that God is ultimately in charge of it all. That serpent-like fish that washed ashore may well be a warning of things to come in the natural realm, but we do well to hold onto God’s promise of what is also to come in the Spiritual realm: God will eventually kill “the serpent” or more poignantly to the news just reported, He will slay the monster of the sea.

Whether you believe in Him or not, Christ will ultimately reign victorious and the snake will be trampled upon and will exist no more, so don’t put your hope in your ability to run fast to beat the snake, the earthquake or the tsunami. Put your trust in the one that DOES HAVE all the answers, Christ risen, who overcame even death.  He sits victorious on his throne knowing how to get through it all, knowing that God is so much bigger and greater than any disaster or fear. Hold on to HIM in these uncertain times we live in, cling to Him for dear life. Only He will provide you with the internal peace, wisdom, grace and fortitude to face what the days ahead hold for all of us, whatever that may look like.

I leave you with an image which beautifully captures what God’s promise is to us regarding the serpent’s threats and its constant assailing and putting us down so that we cease in our striving to follow Christ.

Incredible: An 18-foot-long oarfish found dead in the water off Catalina Island near Los Angeles

“The earth dries up and withers”. Is God’s word fiction or the reality unfolding in front of our very eyes?

I have often been told that my outlook on everything is rather pessimistic and yes, that is true to some extent. I do however strongly feel that one has to have a certain pessimism built-in within them if they are ever going to have a genuine fear of the Lord, which we know from the Scriptures IS the beginning of wisdom. I think it is important in all areas of life to not be over pessimistic but neither over optimistic. I like to be real; I like to keep it real and I like to be realistic.

I know that our Heavenly Father is Love but I also keep close to my heart and spirit the certainty that God is a Just God in equal measure, a loving Father and specially the only ONE who knows it all, despite the fact that so many who are seen as men and women of God today think they too know it all. God alone can see the end from the beginning and the purpose in everything, the true “bigger picture”.

What we do know for sure, for those of us who accept the Bible as God-inspired and as the revelation of who Jesus is and why He came to the world and why He will come again, is the fact that there will be a day of Judgement. Many Christians shake in disapproval and with righteous anger when they hear such statement mentioned, because to them God is above all else love, and talking about judgement is something which in their eyes is non-sensical seeing as Christ has already paid the price for our sin on the cross and therefore what would be the need or the point of God judging men on that final day or even today? Personally, I feel that this type of Christian attitude does away with the need for ongoing repentance, contrition and the determination to go through a process of sanctification until the day we die; all absolutley vital and key steps in becoming more and more like Christ, which is ultimately what one would hope all Christians are striving for, even when we know we will never be like Him, not really. It is an attitude that brings forward countless of new converts, but the question we need to be asking ourselves at that point is: what are they really converting to seeing as the concept of God’s judgement and our need for repentance and humility are so paramount, clear and prevalent throughout the Scriptures?

Though we don’t know when the end will come, we know without a doubt that it WILL come and we have a pretty good description of what will happen when it does, both in the Old and the New testament. Listen for example to this fragment in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 24, 4-13) and ponder afterwards whether you see any similarities with what is going on in the world today:

The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
5 The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left.
7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers;
all the merrymakers groan.
8 The joyful timbrels are stilled,
the noise of the revelers has stopped,
the joyful harp is silent.
9 No longer do they drink wine with a song;
the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
10 The ruined city lies desolate;
the entrance to every house is barred.
11 In the streets they cry out for wine;
all joy turns to gloom,
all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
12 The city is left in ruins,
its gate is battered to pieces.
13 So will it be on the earth
and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

A view from the International Space Station shows bushfire smoke clouds over southern Australia.

As I was reading these words this morning, the images of the fires currently devastating large areas of Australia and also recently in various States on North America immediately came into my mind. Fires of uncontrollable scale are raging, more and more landscapes are becoming desolate. “Earth’s inhabitants are burned up…” we read in Isaiah. It all seems far too immediate and current already! We are getting to the end of October by which time the weather in the UK has already turned nasty weeks prior, and yet this year we are enjoying spring-like weather at the moment. Temperatures are so much milder (17 degrees forecast for tomorrow) and you do get the sense as you are out and about that indeed the whole earth seems to be warming up at an alarming rate.

Lines of scorched earth and huge smoke plumes from wild fires in Australia were visible from the International Space Station on January 8, 2013. Credit: NASA/Chris Hadfield

Only today as I went out for a walk with my dog, I had to contend with fighting off wasps which themselves appeared disorientated and bewildered as the autumnal landscape which they are not familiar with surrounded them. Little did they know, it was them who did not belong in such a landscape at such a time and not the other way around. I think there is a hidden message in that somewhere, but it is not coming to me right now. I will ponder on that a bit later perhaps!

I am not deliberately trying to be a scaremonger, far from it, but one cannot deny that there is a general sense of inevitability and bewilderment amongst earth’s inhabitants today. We realise we have neglected our duty and responsibility of looking after our planet and everything that is in it: our marriages, our lifestyles, our children, our relationships, our morals or lack of, and yet we continue doing “business as usual” instead of actually trying to either repent and change our ways, instead of humbling ourselves and finally recognising that neither we are God nor will we ever be, instead of putting aside our differences and concentrating on what we have in common: our humanity and those things which are vital to our existence: our planet and everything that lives in it.

Christians, the people of God, above anyone else should lead by example by coming alongside each other in unity to encourage and bless each other as we seek to do God’s will, and yet, disunity, pride and a desperate need to stamp our own identity and validity above anyone else within the Christian world is only too apparent when one ponders on the dozens of different Christian denominations and church identities we see all around us. We brag about how good we have it in our own church, how our church’s vision is the one that clearly capture’s God’s heart for His people, belittling in this manner what any other Christian individual or group may be doing be it in their community, for each other or in the world, instead of joining forces as the Body of Christ should to compliment and enhance what each other is doing. The problem with that is the results would no longer point to how amazing WE are, but to the kind of God we claim we serve.

I also see Isaiah’s prophetic words coming to pass not only in the natural world but much more so in the spiritual realm, amongst all Christians, as a scattering of God’s people of biblical proportions is taking place in the world today. Whilst in times past during so called “revivals” Christians were known for their gatherings together and their fight for a common cause and purpose, there is today a great sense of so many individuals being scattered outside of the “Structural” and “Institutional” fold, individuals who are searching for the one and true God whose temple is not made with human hands. These people who are being scattered are also experiencing a tremendous and unrelenting time of draught but the difference is that their draught results from God’s mercy and not his judgement, as He seeks to remove from us anything or anyone who is not from HIM or who deviates us from our true purpose in Christ, anything or anyone who is stopping us from following HIM and from doing HIS will.

I think I should finish with another portion of Scripture which pretty much sums up what I am trying to say here:

Isaiah 26, 7-11

7The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,[a]
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

Conflict in Syria: Just another war or the catalyst that will render the face of this earth unrecognisable?

I have been following Sermonindex.com now for many years. I find that the majority of sermons put on there are God inspired and absolutely led by the Holy Spirit. In these last few years going through the transition from being an integral part of a church and the church system to going it “alone”, Sermonindex together with the teaching of certain godly men in the United States has provided me with a source of great encouragement, perspective, Godliness and it has in effect become the rudder which steers me back into the right path when external, evil influences threaten with throwing me off course.

Sermon Index last weekend held a livestream conference entitled “Sleeping Virgins and the soon coming of Christ” which I believe carries great prophetic weight and importance not only for Christians but for every person on planet earth.

Today I listened to one of the brief talks given  during this conference by a man I have never heard of before called Dean Odle. He speaks of God’s judgement coming to America which is something I have also been talking about much on my own blog on various posts such as the one you can find on this link. https://anewcreation33.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/3692/

I have been heavily burdened lately with the Syria crisis and where all this is leading to. In my spirit I have strongly felt that this is not just yet another conflict which is going to divide the world’s opinion about whether we have a responsibility to act when faced with evil and injustice.  This is going to be a conflict which in itself will become the catalyst to much greater sources of pain, injustice and evil taking place on this earth. There is a sense in my spirit of helplessness as the days go by and events of such magnitude are beginning to unfold and there is nothing anyone can do any more. The dice has been cast, we have chosen whom we will serve and there is no going back. The only thing for it is to go down on our knees, repent and pray for God’s mercy on our souls, pray for courage as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as we witness evil, hatred and hurt all around us, pray for guidance and anointing to be able to reach those who have not accepted Jesus into their hearts yet.

My spirit, as much as I hate to admit it and as much as admitting this fills me with fear and trembling, my spirit bears witness to what this man Dean shares in this talk. I urge you to at least listen to it. If your spirit does not bear witness to what he is sharing, please pray for all those suffering in the Syrian conflict, for the innocent victims of conflict in the Middle East and for God to show each and every one of us how to best be the hands and feet of Jesus to all those who are suffering so much directly and indirectly as a result of wars, injustice and natural disasters in the world.

Thank you.