Last night I was watching the Mandalorian with My wife. In season 1 episode 7, Kruill makes a comment. “Droids are neither good nor bad. They are neutral reflections of those who imprint them”.
The Droid IG-11 is programmed to be an assassin. He is programmed to kill the enemy. He is brutal, without any hesitation IG-11 will kill. The Mandalorian doesn’t trust the droid because they had a shootout. It is after this that Kruill finds him in some ruins and reprograms him to be, quoted by the droid, “a nurse”. The droid still remembers his past, and continues to mention that he is no longer an assassin.
The statement, “Droids are neither good or bad. They are a reflection of those who imprint them” really connected with me. I am reminded of my own personal walk with Jesus. It reminds me of who I once was to who I am now.
When I was at school I didn’t have any friends. I wanted to make an impression, I wanted to be liked, I wanted to be a cool kid. I thought to be a cool kid I had to rebel; rebelling led to bad choices. Those bad choices led to consequences. I didn’t realise at the time how my peers made an impression on me. The impressions went into my adulthood that led to low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, drugs and drinking.
For many years I lived a life trying to impress people. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I wanted to be liked, loved and have friends. I struggled because what I allowed to imprint me wasn’t what God wanted.
As I have said in past blogs. My relationship with God didn’t exist. I didn’t know God. I didn’t spend time with Him in reading the bible or in prayer. At times I had encounters with God, however I didn’t allow the encounters make an imprint on my heart.
The droid was rebuilt to be kinder; a nurturer. His imprint changed. His assassin imprint was turned into a kind and nurturing droid. I believe for God to imprint your heart you need to give God permission too. You need to say, “God here I am, imprint my heart”. The only way to do this is to spend time with God and allow Him to start the process of imparting Himself into you. The starting process is to be willing to change and to trust God.
The droid was programmed by bad people, that made him into an assassin. It wasn’t until Kruill who found him, that changed him to be a better droid. At the end of IG-11s’ life, he sacrificed his life to save others.
Impressions can either be good or bad. My example of school was a negative impression. I have had bad impressions from leaders and pastors. I have also made a bad impression on people. So much so I was in Prison. With these impressions it is important which ones we hold onto. It can mislead us.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” NIV
The word bad translates to rotten, and corrupt to defile. “Rotten company defiles good character”
If you leave a bunch of tomatoes in the fridge and one of them is mouldy. Eventually that mould will carry over to the good tomatoes. It is like us. If we are around people who are always negative, dragging their feet, eventually you will be the same. Be around strong godly people to impress your heart
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. NJV
Jesus came to serve the people. He washed the disciples feet, He healed hundreds of people and fed thousands. He also paid the ultimate price; dying on the cross.
Having an attitude of servant hood does not come naturally to man. From experience If I try and serve in my own strength it is difficult, When I serve though Jesus it becomes a natural part of my life, and brings me much joy. Jesus wants us to serve with gratitude, love, and compassion. When I serve others I serve because of what Jesus has done for me, the blessing He is too me. I want to show the love of Jesus through my actions.
We have to remember there is a difference between serving people you love and serving a homeless person. Jesus’ example was serving people who are homeless, hungry, who are poor. He even served sinners. We need to serve with the same eyes Jesus had. If we stop serving with humility and through the eyes of Jesus then I believe pride can set in.
I was in ministry for many years. There was a time I was a deacon. In the beginning, I loved what I was doing, I loved serving people who were in need. Over time my relationship with God started to decline and I started to lose the joy I once had. I stopped spending time with Him, I didn’t pray or read my bible, I had no relationship with God at all. And this is when everything started to feel mundane. Then my church life became a battle. I felt like I was fighting against everyone, and everyone was against me. The love to serve people declined, and so I started to appease man exalt myself; earn brownie points, rather doing it because of what God has done in my life. My serving became habitual and mundane, I served because I felt like it was a requirement, rather than serving unto God.
The scripture I am reminded of is Matthew 23:12 NKJ
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted
Exalting oneself is an attitude of pride and Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18. NIV. This is what happened to me; I was exalting myself, trying to be recognised. It lead to a life of arrogance.
It wasn’t until I went to prison that God showed me the life I was living. It was a life of pride and arrogance. He also showed me I had lived this way out of hurt and unforgiveness.
Once God revealed to me the life I was living and the reasons why, the healing process started to happen. I thank God for being in Prison. I thank God for healing my heart from anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. I thank God He broke old habits and thought processes. For God to heal my heart I had to humble myself before Him and it took me to go to prison to do that.Now, if I’m in the city, I will serve a homeless person. I’ll ask if there is anything I can do. Sometimes I will sit on the ground with them over a cup of coffee and just talk. I will share the love of God with them, show them that God is real and loves them. Sometimes I won’t even say anything about God and they will comment that God has sent me to them. I love serving people, whether it is my neighbours, my colleagues at work or a complete stranger. I do it because God loves them and I love them. I do it not because I have to, I do it because of what God has done in my life.
At the beginning of this pandemic, I said to myself that I would not post anything about it as everyone else would be. This past week I have continued to be reminded how much I have been blessed, and how Gods love and blessing has continued to show during this time.Before the pandemic started, I got engaged to a beautiful lady, who is the kindest and most loving person I have ever met. When we got engaged and before the pandemic started, God spoke to us both about getting married on a particular date in August. Then in August during lockdown, we got married; My fiancée and I were together in the house, our pastor and a few other people were viewing over zoom. It was a beautiful day. We set up the lounge room with fairy lights, flowers, and greenery. It was romantic and very personal. My whole attention was on my bride and God, maybe the glitches of technology as well. If I had a choice of going back and changing anything; I would not!
When the pandemic began, I had to stop work due to works financial state. I was off work for 6 weeks, no income support what is so ever. I started to get anxious, anxious about the wedding, work, and finances. When the Victorian Premier stated that our state is going into lockdown; fear started to creep in, anxiety grew stronger, emotions and thoughts of the past started to take hold of me.Being in lockdown for so long has brought up remarkably similar memories to when I was in prison for a period of time. When the prison went into lockdown it meant we were literally locked in our units. Currently, even though I have my freedom of going outside, I still have the thought of having no freedom; the feeling of being out of control; something has been taken away from me.
Why is it that people, including myself, start to feel anxious when we feel like situations are out of our control? I believe it is because people want to always have their hands on the steering wheel. They want to make the choices for themselves, steer the car in the direction they want to go, rather than being told what to do. I believe this brings them to a feeling of helplessness when control is taken away. When I was in prison, I felt helpless, out of control, being dictated too. These are the feelings that I have experienced during our current lockdown.I honestly thought God had dealt with my past regarding being in prison; I may have been a little naïve. The current pandemic has caused me to lean on God, as I have done that, God has brought healing and restoration to my heart.
Yesterday when I was walking with my wife. We saw a lady in her car full of her possessions. It looked like she was living in her car. My heart sank. I felt to pray for her within my heart, so I did. As I was praying; I felt a lot of empathy for her, I know from personal experience what living in the car is like. As we continued to walk, I started to thank God for what He has done in my life, and my wife and I began discussing the ways in which we had been blessed through this pandemic.I cannot imagine what it is like losing a loved one through this time, or not being able to visit a loved one who has cancer in hospital. I have no words. What I do know, God is with you; to strengthen you, heal your heart of grief, and pour His love upon you. For God to able to do this, you need to reach out to Him. For some people this may be difficult, I know when you do, the love that you will experience is overwhelming.
God is waiting for you.
Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh
Why on earth would Jesus say blessed are those who weep? We could look at it two ways. The weeping could be the mourning of natural pain and suffering in our own lives or it could be the realization of the sin that is in our lives and it has caused us to weep over it.
Firstly, I want to share with you three stories in the bible with different forms of weeping. I also want to share with you my experiences and how God has caused me to laugh, be joyous and happy through my roughest times of weeping.
In Matthew chapter 26, Jesus predicted Peter was going to deny Him and Peter claimed that he wouldn’t deny Jesus. Jesus was so in tune with the Spirit that He foretold what Peter was going to do.
34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”
Then we read that Peter denies Jesus. Everything Jesus said came to pass.
Matthew 26:75 Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So, he went out and wept bitterly.
Weeping to me means pain, suffering or a realization of doing wrong and coming to that point of forgiveness. Peter wept bitterly, he was ashamed and felt guilty for denying the one who he was closest to. His weeping came from his gut, a deep cry out with a realization of his sin. He was grieving for what he had done.
I have had plenty of moments of weeping. It is not just a cry; it is a heart-felt gut wrenching cry. It came from deep within me. I believe this type of weeping is part of the healing process, and it is a realization that we have done wrong. It is a time for forgiveness and to let go of the pain.
The season of weeping can vary depending on how deep the hurt or sin is. Sometimes I have felt the weeping went on for days; I never thought it would end. Eventually it does and that’s when Jesus turned my ‘mourning into dancing, He turned my sorrow into joy’.
When you are going through a time of weeping, the key is to allow the Holy Spirit to work within you. Ask God to open your heart towards Him to help start the healing process. God has given you an opportunity to move forward and grow in Him. You will continue to be tempted by the sin you’re dealing with! It is important to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and pray when tempted, stand your ground with the devil, and tell him who you are in Christ. If you continue to go through a cycle of sin which I did for many years, you will find it hard to get out of that momentum of weeping. From my experience, this cycle of sin will cause you to struggle in life, spiritually and physically.
When Jesus says for “you shall laugh”, you have come to that point of forgiveness. The weeping is no longer a setback, you are looking forward to the joy of the Lord. You have been forgiven because you have repented through the weeping with the realization of doing wrong.
When did Peters weeping turn into laughter, a joyous time, or you could even say a time of victory? In John 21 it talks about Jesus restoring Peter. This moment was Peters Joy, and satisfaction. When we go through a time of weeping because of sin, God will bring us out on the other side when we have repented of our sin and recognize what we did was wrong in the eyes of God.
In Mark 5:38-39
38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.”
A tumult is a noise or uproar from a group of people. This would be the hardest thing to lose a child. I cannot imagine the pain that people feel when their child dies before they do. There would be so much pain. I remember when my Oma died. I wept quite hard. She meant something to me and now she is no longer with us. If I felt that towards my Oma, the feeling of my own child dying would be heart wrenching and that is what these people were going through.
Later in the chapter, Jesus raised the child from the dead, and it says they were astonished, surprised, impressed. At this moment it was their moment of laughter. Even though it does not say much regarding their reaction, I do believe there would have been a shout of joy, a cry out maybe. If I were in that position I would have shouted out, jumped around in joy.
Luke 7 states:
37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
I love this verse. It shows the love, power, and authority of Jesus. It also shows the tenderness of Jesus and the forgiveness He has for anyone who comes to Him at the cross.
The women wept because of the purity of Jesus. Her sin was exposed because of Jesus’ love was being out poured. She knew what she was doing was wrong and so she wept. That weeping would have been guilt, shame, repentance, humility, and an expression of love towards Jesus. She would have already heard about Jesus and she wanted to use this opportunity to come before Him and repent.
You must understand this was a house full of men and she came into the house knowing that all those men were aware of her sin. She pushed through the natural and wanted something greater, and with her faith it brought healing into her life. It brought a form of laughter. In verse 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” That was her time of laughter.
When I overcame sexual sin, or looking at pornography I had a joy within me, especially when I was tempted. I could say ‘no’ with great victory, I practically laughed because I knew God strengthened me and God gave me the strength to overcome. I defeated the temptation of the devil.
When you are going through a time of weeping remember its only for a short time. Through that time, it will bring healing to you, it will also bring you closer to God and mature you spiritually. Those times of weeping are remembered because God carries all your tears, Psalm 56:8. When you reach that time of laughter you can look back and see how God has changed you. When you go through another period of weeping you can laugh through it because you have learned to be joyful in your sorrow. Jesus knew what he was saying when He said;
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
Spiritual Hope . Joyful Faith . Trust in God
Trusting the Love of Jesus Christ, One Day at a Time - Psalm 13:5 NIV, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”