The Biggest Revelation Yet…I have no friends...

The Biggest Revelation Yet…I have no friends

By Stephen L France

It’s a very painful epiphany to realise you have no friends.

I don’t mean this in the sense that I’m some sort of social misfit, but rather that wounds of the past have not allowed me to receive people with the love that solid friendships should exemplify (God shows us true friendship in 1 Samuel 18: 1 – 5).

This week of February 20, 2017 has been testament to just how far deception can go, because although I knew I had an inability to receive love, I didn’t KNOW it.

A friend asked me a series of questions with a revelation she’d received from God about me.

The dark truth came out.

I confessed: I actually didn’t consider anyone my friend.

I knew with unadulterated clarity that it was a very powerful lie that had been sown into my heart from all the betrayals in my Primary School days; but it had become my living truth.

I’d allowed the deception full authorisation to monitor and ‘protect’ me from further pain, contrary to the Holy Spirit's healing power.

God's Word says in Ephesians 4:31-32: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Since I constructed my life on a foundation of these hurts mentioned in the first line, it’s no better than behaving as such.

I followed what the world instructs of us.

I took the pain and created a method by which the hurt could never reach me again. In fabricating this defence, I unwittingly shook hands with the enemy, and unknowingly blocked myself off from love, unable to receive it or give it.

My behaviour over two decades has exhibited the results of this ‘handshake’ with absolute clearness and yet, I have chosen to abide with the deception over that period, thinking it will keep me out of harm’s way.

I have erected all the necessary defence mechanisms to keep hurtful people out like the surveillance system at a covert military base. But alongside hurtful people, no one’s getting in!

  • I don’t phone close friends to see how they’re doing because I don’t really believe anyone cares for me
  • I don’t message people unless it’s with a specific purpose or task in mind
  • I don’t like hugging people very much – though I’ve become accostomed to it in the last few years
  • I constantly suspect and expect the worst of people so as not to be surprised
  • I don’t sign off any messages for family with kisses
  • I actually dislike the word ‘love.’ My mind has only ever known the opposite, provoking my resentment and jealousy of the word

Even though speaking truth and transparency comes easy to me—like telling individuals about my weaknesses, failings, flaws, and sins—the missing ingredient, is the ability to be vulnerable to people, and most importantly to God.

This absent component is fundamental to SURRENDER and HUMILITY...being vulnerable...a brutal challenge for a stone heart.

Like many people in this world, I have been broken for quite some time and now, more than ever, I’m ready for Jesus’ full healing ministry.

This week, it was both disheartening and uplifting to accept this revelation. It also appears completely impossible to change my mental state on this darkness, but the great faith we have recognises that the Lord does the impossible.

When I think of the ‘Rich Man’ and Jesus's words: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God," [Mark 10:25], I find my situation parallels the difficulty here.

I'm not a rich man, but I can identify with how impossible it appears for me to recieve God's full blessing.

However, I'm always hopeful when I read this verse.

Why?

Because Jesus also said: "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [Matthew 19:26]

I'm also reminded of the famous verse that is used in abundance because spiritual warfare is in the mind: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. [Romans 12:2]

And so somehow—I don’t know how—somehow, God will allow me to embrace my identity that's been hidden under a deceptive self-defence strategy.

I will finally know what friendship and love really are.

Do you struggle with ‘being vulnerable?’

COMMENTS BELOW PLEASE

See more from Feeding Faith HERE

My life was a performance

My life was a performance

By Stephen L France

It’s a jolt to the system to know that most of my life was an egotistical performance, founded on mental wounds of the past, and psychological defence mechanisms intended for self-protection (– I will present an example of this later).

It was harder still to recently read some journal notes of my time living abroad.

Here I rediscovered tangible evidence of my naivety, ignorance, and self-delusion; my ego resurrected through Word documents within my computer archives:

“If there is a major lesson I have had to swallow recently, it is one of humility. A simple truth that I personally have resisted since the dawn of my time in Tortola: Accepting that you need assistance to endure the mass turbulence on this Caribbean roller-coaster.”

This extract from an internet blog post was a lie.

I was desperately trying to convince myself that things would get better when it was blindingly obvious I was in an awful predicament. In essence, I was performing, deceived into thinking I knew humility and desiring the world to believe I was making progress contently.

I really wasn’t and looking at the time stamp of the journal entry, I KNOW this to be fact…

Perhaps it sounds like I’m being excessively self-critical, but it’s simply blunt honesty about my life before Jesus found me. I can fearlessly say He's transformed my mind; I am a different person.

All throughout Jesus’ ministry, The Gospel’s words talk about denying self [Luke 9:23], self-sacrifice, and dying to self.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12: 1 – 2].

These verses use simple words, but relate the great struggle within those of us who have chosen God’s way;

The battle of:

Pride – manufacturing my own personality/ performance

VS

Humility – allowing my natural identity to form through a life given to Jesus

On the surface, it appears very basic; I’m not to boast, be arrogant, or ostentatious [Ephesians 2:8 – 9], and I’m to allow a humble, meek character to develop through my relationship with the Holy Spirit. I’m not to ‘produce’ my own personality, but allow Jesus to fashion my identity [Psalm 40:4].

As I’ve meditated more on the Scripture’s teachings about pride, the Word has revealed that this is an area of intense deconstruction that never ends, especially when you’ve been in and of the world [John 17:15 – 17].

It starts with traumas in childhood; the best example I can provide of the pride VS humility battle’s depth, is through exploration of one of my own mental wounds.

When I was in an infant, I experienced an ample amount of bullying across primary school, play centres, and even Sunday School. The trauma of the antagonism instilled a motion in my heart to learn self-defence.

At around eleven years old, I remember walking out of the library with numerous books on Karate, Aikido, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Judo, etc. The librarian said, “looking to become a vigilante?” or something of the like. At fourteen, I began building up my muscles and took up martial arts in multiple disciplines.

To a secular audience, this reaction may appear like a positive, healthy resolution; after all, I was aiming to protect myself from potential, future harm; however, it’s in this decision that I was ‘performing,’ which is why it was a deception; the root problem/ damage wasn’t tackled at all.

Proper healing of the wound was concealed by an action I adopted to control the outcome of future events in my life; the original wound was unattended and instead a ‘performance’ was created.

If tackled through God and His Word, a more comprehensive form of healing would’ve been founded, perhaps producing a question like: why was the bullying traumatic? This could subsequently have led to full healing of the wound as opposed to my ‘sloppy bandaging.’

The more I pray, reflect on the Bible, and live in this world, the more I realise that Jesus needs to be the foundation of every single aspect of life, because He offers complete truth [Matthew 6:33].

This means focusing everything I do toward God’s will.

Narrowing such a lifestyle to its core—and this is a simplification—is defined in living selflessly.

It means that any opportunity I receive to share God’s grace—which could be in the form of speaking truth, offering time, using my skills, and/or donating money, etc.—I give with sincerity and good cheer [2 Corinthians 9:6-7].

It means I don’t expect a reward for passing on my blessings as my duty is to serve the relationship I have with God – do His will; everything I possess, He has bestowed upon me freely and therefore, I should grant the same to everyone else freely [Matthew 10:8].

After all, His almighty will is for all of us to know salvation [2 Peter 3:9].

Nevertheless, pride will wrestle against us in a multitude of extremely creative ways, to the degree where even humility can be a prideful endeavour if it’s being performed.

Do you struggle against pride and how so? COMMENTS BELOW PLEASE

See more from Feeding Faith HERE

Is God Real?

By Stephen L France

Is God real?

It’s January 2, 2017 and for the last few days, this question has emerged as one of my first thoughts when I wake up.

It’s arisen as a reflection of 2016’s many unnatural deaths in the News, the extreme changes within our world, and the seemingly impossible trials of life.

When I say trials, there is vast diversity here.

We have the obvious challenges of financial troubles, maintenance of good health, and responsibility to uphold a stable life. But in moving toward a Christ-like life, other mental debates materialise, bringing a distinct clash between pride and humility.

One of my own personal situations over the Christmas period, was understanding ‘loving selflessly.’ It really tested my mind as I read and meditated on the attribute in 1 John 4 – especially when faced with a hateful individual, who I’m called to love because it’s God’s way.

In the two years I’ve known the Lord, I’ve observed a multitude of trials that have grown progressively challenging.

My selfish questions have been:

When will I get to relish His blessings?

When will the excitement I used to gain from secular lifestyle be replaced with the joy that He promises?

This funnels into my central mental discussion – is God real?

Sometimes I need to remind myself of the practical parts of faith in order to re-engage with God’s spiritual clarity.

Both reading the Bible as well as the transformation of my mindset, continue to show me that He is indeed real, and His Word is the Way, Truth, and the Life [John 14:6] – here’s why…

The Word of God

As a literature student and an avid reader of motivational books, the very Word of God has more wisdom than anything I’ve ever examined.

In a single verse, one can find all they require to live; I’m sure this is why Jesus called Himself ‘the bread of life’ [John 6:35]. For example: “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” [1 Thessalonians 5:15]

God addresses the natural urge inside us to balance the scales when we’re hurt, but commands us to take a different path, contrary to our pride. If this wisdom spread throughout the globe, it’s clear it would improve the world dramatically.

Behaving this way is a fierce challenge to pride and a part of life that I’ve been tested on quite thoroughly, but it’s these many controversial laws that have shown me that this particular Book is of the supernatural.

Transformation of Mind

Transformation spoken of in Ezekiel 36:26 and more commonly known in Romans 12:2 talks of changing our subconscious; a process that I always thought was impossible. However, in the last two years, I’ve noticed a comparable difference in my behaviour, that has not required any concentration or effort.

My question by the end of 2016 was:

How is it that a book translated into old, fragmented English, has had a powerful transformation on my mind

in comparison to

a multitude of modern, motivational books that had temporary effects?

A perfect example is that most comprehensive motivational books offer the advice, “live in the present,” or “be in today.”

A Bible verse for this particular life lesson is: ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.’ [Matthew 6:34]

Digesting this verse has subtracted a great deal of anxiety from my life and compelled me to sincerely appreciate every single day as it comes.

I often ask myself why I haven’t been able to live like this before – I’d read this type of lesson many times over in alternative philosophical books with much easier English to comprehend; yet, the Bible has somehow stapled it in my heart.

That said, Christmas and New Year was a period where things grew proverbially hot and I could almost feel the ‘dark forces’ smashing against an invisible barrier around me; hence the question – is God real? and the egocentric queries comprising it.

Nevertheless, with the Word of God coming to life through the transformation of my mind, I’m consistently shown that God is making His presence known and that my next step is very simple.

After having ample proof for our Lord’s existence (which would be an entire dissertation – a little too much for a blog post), I’m to now do what He says during the storm:

Be still and know that He is God [Psalm 46:10] – a solid and challenging principle to abide by as I journey into the new year.

See more from Feeding Faith HERE

[Video and Photos] I Never Thought I would do this (Final Part) and Being a Lump of Clay

I Never Thought I would do this (Final Part)

By Stephen L France

*See previous parts to this testimony in the links below

Alone in my room, nights in India were filled with tears and thanksgiving.

There were tears because famous soundtrack Amazing Grace’s words became real in my understanding of how much of a ‘wretch’ I am; and there was thanksgiving to the Lord because he’d allowed me to see the deceptive beliefs in my soul, that He intended to transform [Romans 12:2].

For our days spent in India, leaders Femi Sofolarin and Mona Lisa, Shalom, Lydie Joanna, Tayo Igbintade, and I, played our parts as a team. The group dynamic was as perfect as everything is when walking in tune with the Lord’s ways [2 Samuel 22:31].

All of us did what Christian Mission traditionally compels one to do; step out of our comfort zones and serve the Lord by faith alone, allowing His grace to preserve us through our various trials [Ephesians 2:8-9].

Chennai’s reception of us won my heart; the sincerity in the smiles of the poor, showed me joy and peace in the most arduous conditions.

Amid our diverse duties, we served food at soup kitchens, saw Haven of Hope Handicaraft Centre where women of poverty are blessed with an opportunity to work, visited and sang songs at the orphanage, toured Bethany Nursery, Primary, and Higher Secondary School, conducted a huge prayer session for Rainbow Ministry of Hope – HIV and Aids victims, gave the Word, testimonies, and worship at girls’ and boys’ rallies with the Street Children’s Ministry, were shown the victory of Bethany Health Care Centre, and met our sponsored children – a truly touching time.

Perhaps most bright among my memories were the moments we were suddenly called by God to act.

At the Leprosy village, Shalom was asked if she could play the guitar to which she responded:

“I haven’t played for a long time. Do I get time to practice?”

But there was no time. The CMCT staff handed her a guitar, rung the rations delivery bell, and everybody from the village was in our assembly room within minutes, ready for worship, prayer, and testimony from us.

Shalom played and led song like she’d never been separated from the guitar.

Then there was the moment that Femi was asked to give a third sermon, because his preaching was so nourishing to the congregation. His response:

“I’m not getting any sleep tonight.”

He went at preparation all night long, constructed a sermon, and in the early hours of the morning just before he was to deliver his well-prepared Biblical lesson, God told him to scrap it, and give another message. This Holy Spirit inspired sermon was a success as CMCT staff all over the headquarters approached Femi to thank him.

On our bus journeys to the various CMCT ministries in Chennai, our mission team would take turns in prayer. On Lydie’s first turn, she surprised us saying:

“That was my first time praying in public.”

The words she was inspired to give had sounded like she regularly conducted prayer with an audience.

Both Tayo and Mona Lisa were tried with relaying their testimonies and the Word of God at unexpected moments; both handled themselves flawlessly with the knowledge that God was with them, not appearing phased in the slightest by their new challenges.

And then there was my own trial of public speaking when I was called to retell the story of Jonah to 50 children in a very unexpected change of plan.

However, in every activity, we came through as a team, reflected on our teachings from the mission, and in the evenings, enjoyed lively conversation about God’s work in our lives.

CMCT’s mission is a Godly one. Full stop.

They are completely dedicated and organised in helping the poor of India; a ministry of vision, faith, and action.

Seeing all this in physical form was witnessing Jesus Christ’s phenomenal work – nothing less. In the bright light of God’s triumph, my sins were brought under the magnifying glass, not for condemnation, but for the perfecting of my faith [James 1:3].

This specific mission trip is a journey we should all take at least once in our lives – it will impact you.

Being a Lump of Clay

So where has all this landed me at the close of 2016?

Where have two years of faith and a Christian Mission to India taken me to?

What has ‘making my life a living sacrifice to God’ meant? [Romans 12:1]

As I write this on Sunday December 18, 2016 after Westminster Community Choir performance weekend—of which I was a tenor and had a fantastic time—I confess that I am now a lump of clay.

That’s right, I said it. A LUMP OF CLAY [Romans 9:21].

After two years of holding faith in loving obedience to His Laws, my life feels as if it has been reset.

Of course, this has not been easy at all. My fallen nature/pride is still attempting to struggle as I understand it will for the rest of my life on Earth [James 1:13 – 18], but what occurs next—as in tomorrow—is now in God’s authority…

All the wounds that my memories harbour have been exposed as the spiritual strongholds and deceptions that they are. In addition—and perhaps more significantly—all the prideful measures I took to repair these wounds have been unmasked as the lies they are.

I have literally been left with nothing that I can do, because all I can do in my own strength won’t work. I have one wise choice – to pray without ceasing for God’s love and grace.

As a man who was secretly proud of his own self-righteous ways and morality, this is a tough place to be, but simultaneously, an exciting position to experience.

I go into 2017, ready to be moulded by the Lord. Ready to be fashioned into His soldier. And most importantly, ready to know what real love actually means [1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7].

So I ask you this as someone learning about love for the first time; what is it like to be loved by God?

Please Comment, Like, and Share.

See Part 1 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-1/

See Part 2 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-2/

See Part 3 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/video-photos-i-never-thought-i-part-3/

Full Photo Collection Here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100966922753712.1073741831.286103077&type=1&l=410044551f

See more from Feeding Faith here: http://stephen-l-france.com/category/feeding-faith/

[Video and Photos] I Never Thought I would do this (Part 3)

I Never Thought I would do this (Part 3)

By Stephen L France

I would be astonished to find anyone untouched by a visit to the poverty of Chennai, India.

Regardless of background or belief, everyone I know—absolutely every single individual—would do themselves a great service to take the excursion that I’ve returned from.

There’s an immense diversity of activities available in the world today, all with vast marketing budgets to push their guarantees of self-improvement, bliss, and pleasure. These promises are often short-lived, utilised within months, weeks, days, or even hours, only to open the door to the next venture.

But the EEC India Mission Trip in November was a unique journey, that has permanently shifted the workings of my soul.

Arriving in Chennai for the first time, I did as my faith commanded, listening and observing in my uncharted surroundings [Proverbs 18:13].

Our India Mission team’s introduction to Christian Missions Charitable Trust (CMCT)—the organisation we travelled out there to work with—and the subsequent visit to the Leprosy village, where we preached the Word, sang hymns, gave personal testimonies, and distributed food rations, were the two impactful events of the first few days.

Below: EEC India Mission – Video by Shalom

IMG_0441.JPG
CMCT Headquarters 

CMCT Headquarters 

I examined the CMCT headquarters with intense scrutiny, reviewing the transparency, the devotion to prayer, patience to ascertain God’s response [1 John 4:1], the diligence, the excellent level of communication, their accomplishments in aiding the poor of Chennai, the very structure of the HQ that houses a chapel, hospital, orphanage, school, and handicraft centre with ministries to tend to the sick, wounded, poor, and outcast [Proverbs 14:31]; the real working Body of Christ [Romans 12:4-5].

Overall, I appreciated the amazing standard of administration to have nurtured a staff environment where the poor are employed to help the poor – a perpetual and progressive cycle of benevolence.

All this was achieved through the power of prayer, exemplified in times when the financial well dried up and tangible, miraculous resolutions occurred, in a location where there is an abundance of lack.

Attempting to rationalise the situation, I was left with one conclusion about the impossible feats that had been made possible through their meticulous work; this was a tangible example of the Holy Spirit’s awesome, supernatural power brought into our physical world.

CMCT Founder Colleen Redit 

CMCT Founder Colleen Redit 

Meeting CMCT Founder and Managing Director Colleen Redit, an instant sense of conviction was upon me. This person is an inspirational example of God’s grace; an individual who embodies the meaning of Romans 12:1; a person who’s allowed the Holy Spirit the freedom to work with her in fullness.

However, when Colleen first visited our church last year (2015), my major question was: is she happy with her life in choosing God’s plan of singleness?

This question dissolved in the presence of CMCT’s phenomenal operation and the query was replaced with more trust in my heart for God.

I was observing the fruits of obedience to God’s commandments in full living colour; the results of an individual who authorised the Holy Spirit to use her and her own proactivity in prayer.

This ‘modus operandi’ was pursued for over 50 years and continues to this day to create a charity that exceeds the message of ‘helping the poor.’ I was in the bright shining light of Christ’s victory.

If this is what one person can do through the Holy Spirit’s power, imagine what a few more could achieve with such faith?

Like the climate temperature increase between London and India, the furnace heat of purification was turned up on my soul [Psalm 12:6]. My senses were shattered and internal spiritual warfare grew loud. My walk with God fell under deep examination from ‘the other guy below,’ who sought to nourish those condemning thoughts about my own character.

My memory flashed back to seeing the youthful and the elderly at the Leprosy village, all relying on the food rations that we were distributing on behalf of CMCT’s great efforts.

Everything ugly inside my personality – every sin, every prideful thought, every fear, every anxiety emerged.

We had seen the graceful hand of God among the poor. They were grateful. They were appreciative. They smiled sincere smiles of joy and peace. It didn’t feel real – how could they smile while living day-to-day in such challenging conditions?

That night, I woke at 3:38 am – Bible reflection time brought my soul deeper into God’s shining light. All my fears and prideful thoughts were being flushed out – every fault, weakness, and flaw.

I’m seeing the ultimate power of Christian spirituality manifest in physical form, I thought. I’m witnessing the impossible made possible. I’m seeing Christianity in action. This is God’s love. This is His grace.

The thoughts conflicted with doubts, stemming from past wounds in life and it felt as if the triviality of my pride taunted me as it was compared to the magnitude of what God does through those who truly obey.

You’re worried about never finding the right person for marriage. You’re worried about your physical appearance. You’re worried about your career. You’re not spiritual enough for this. You’re not doing enough for the Kingdom of God. You don’t even pray in tongues. You’re not a good man…And you NEVER were.

It was at this moment, that I knew I had to be vigilant [1 Peter 5:8].

God’s chastisement and holy conviction to heal my past wounds could slowly be stolen by the devil’s accusation and condemnation.

To be Continued…

Please Comment, Like, and Share.

See Part 1 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-1/

See Part 2 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-2/

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I never thought I would do this (Part 2)

I Never Thought I would do this (Part 2)

By Stephen L France

You know Christianity in the mind. Now, you’re going to see it in action.” – Pastor Peter Loo

How does someone get you to do something you never thought you would do?

Sitting in Gatwick Airport Terminal, it was Fri Nov 4, 2016, and I was about to embark on an excursion I’d never ever desired.

I thought about what Pastor Peter of EEC had said to me the evening before – see Christianity in action – what does that mean?

My spirit was calm – almost like this was an inevitable part of my life, but my flesh was whispering thoughts that jumped between:

What are you actually doing here?

And

Let’s just get this over with, shall we?

Being absolutely transparent, I must stress yet again, I never wanted this.

When I’d asked God on a Monday afternoon in February 2016: Lord, Cyprus Mission or India Mission? I’d wanted Him to answer “Cyprus.”

Between these two trips that my church offered, this mission was set for April 2016 which was nearer, timewise; it was also cheaper, less distance, less days out there, and I would be able to tick it off my Christian bucket list; never to have to go on mission again.

EEC Restoration Course. Tick.

EEC Identity Course. Tick.

Go on Christian Mission once in my life. Tick.

…but I’m sure you all know, our walk with God just doesn’t work this way at all.

“India Mission” was the answer He gave and like Abraham—though not as epic—I obeyed. [Genesis 12:1]

Stationed in Gatwick, the mission team were set – it was myself, leaders Femi Sofolarin and Mona Lisa, Shalom, Lydie Joanna, and Tayo Igbintade.

We’d shared fellowship, worship, the Word, testimonies, and prayer for the previous eight months, but I still didn’t know these people, what we’d be doing, or what India as a country was like – this experience would be new on all fronts.

The only concrete information I possessed, was that this was the very first action in my walk with God in which I was trusting Him with all my heart. [Proverbs 3:5 – 6]

I’d held anxiety about the flight for about a week and half prior. I feared God might try to bring the plane down and make a martyr of me. I’m aware this is a very strange thought, but this is where the wounds of the past come into play, and the enemy’s use of them.

As I mentioned in my previous post—at eight years old—I’d formed the belief that God the Father had betrayed me. In my twisted conception of the impending flight to India, I was thinking:

For the first time in my life, I’m actually loving the way things are. It’s just my luck but what’s going to happen is all my friends have seen this transformation; now God is going to make a martyr of me…

Apologies, I can’t even finish writing this thought. The whole idea sounds preposterous as I put it to paper. Suffice to say, I was fearful and I don’t possess a phobia of flying.

I then thought about the enemy wanting to stop our evangelical efforts as well, considering that when one embarks on mission, they are taking the literal meaning found in Matthew 28:19. If only I’d known Psalm 91 better, perhaps that time of fear could have been avoided, but a miraculous thing happened on the plane that enabled me to overcome this irrational apprehension – and we know that God can turn anything evil into good [Romans 8:28] [Matthew 19:26].

Besides trying out the concept of Matthew 7:7 and receiving three full meals and two desserts – a banquet of quality cuisine that I’ve never experienced before on a flight – the journey was the most pleasant voyage across the skies that I’ve ever relished. Midway through the flight, I told the others that I would be coming back to India again…

I don’t know what made me say this; it was so peculiar. But I just knew I’d be returning. I can pinpoint that this moment was where I FINALLY accepted that God the Father is on my side – this has been a 24-year old wound in my heart from the moment my parents divorced when I was eight. I’d believed in God’s existence for all that time, but felt He was the force that continually hurt me throughout my life; it’s a relief that the Lord has freed me of that deceptive stronghold [1 Corinthians 10:4].

It was also great to see that even though I hadn’t arrived in India, the mission was already having a phenomenal impact.

To be Continued…

Please Comment, Like, and Share.

See Part 1 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-1/

See more from Feeding Faith here: http://stephen-l-france.com/category/feeding-faith/

I never thought I would do this (Part 1)

By Stephen L France

I never thought I would travel to India in my life – I never believed I’d journey there for the sake of obeying a still, small voice in my mind that had simply said, “you know you’re going to India…”

I never imagined I’d find myself on the streets of London, speaking about the greatness of Christ.

And I’d never thought I would be a Christian…not in this lifetime.

But all of this has occurred in the space of 22 months…and I can say with humble confidence, it’s been the greatest experience of my life so far.

This is not to suggest it’s been easy – there have been various challenging trials that have tested the words found in scripture, but God’s voice is clear in relation to life’s troubles:

“You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.” Deuteronomy 5:33

“When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honour him.” Psalm 91:15

I have professed to many individuals that 2016 has been a year of healing as I’ve been led to examine all my wounds of the past and establish true restoration, deconstructing the prideful strongholds and ‘masks’ I’d created to protect myself, to progress with a strong, humble foundation in Christ.

The prideful strongholds and masks were created by wounds like:

  • At six years’ old, being told by three Caucasian girls that my skin colour was dirty and God didn’t clean me

  • At eight years’ old, experiencing my parents’ divorce; a critical point that formed a living hatred inside me for God the Father (I still liked Jesus the Son)

  • My teenage years of deep depression when I so desperately wanted out of the single gender secondary school I attended; I endured consistent bullying from a group of black guys who called me ‘coconut’ (black on the outside and white on the inside) and a cluster of ‘grungy’ kids who repeatedly taunted me

  • My ultimate disappointment that after 10 years of hoping for a dream, I did not meet the self-prophesised future wife at university

  • My first crushing heart break at 24 that confirmed to me that being a good man was irrelevant and solidified the deception that God the Father and the world hated me

  • My five years in the Caribbean—a place revered as paradise to the western world—that laid a gauntlet of unbelievable experiences, rendering all morality that remained in me obsolete

  • And at 30 years of age concluding that having not had a girlfriend, I was unlovable and fully rejected by the world

Having faced these wounds in a continuing healing process, by the end of October 2016, I was on the streets of London evangelising and learning profound truths about strangers who—for the most part—just wanted an ear to listen and sought answers to the many troubles they had.

Finally, by November 4 this year, I was flying to India for Christian Mission not knowing what I would be doing or seeing; but definitely not expecting that I would receive so much more than I was giving…

(To be continued)

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Do you dare to speak the name of Jesus?

By Stpehen L France

Do you dare to speak the name of Jesus?

As Christians, we are often told that actions speak louder than words. But before we even get to the actions, do our words make the cut?

It’s one thing professing faith in ‘God’ or declaring belief in ‘spirituality,’ but do we speak for Jesus?

I say this because by today’s standards, the words ‘God’ and ‘spirituality’ have so many connotations, possessing a variety of man-made definitions.

It is only by Jesus’ name that we can establish the distinction of our faith when speaking in public; His Word is where real healing and freedom occurs. John 8: 31 – 32

I’ve found that our mission as Christians—which simply defined is to spread the word of Jesus Christ—arrives with a challenging choice. Do I choose to speak for my invisible, intangible Father in Heaven about Jesus’ way? Or, do I appease the physical world’s mass consensus and stay quiet about my faith? 1 John 2:15 – 17

Evangelism or simply discussing my faith has come to me through spiritual awakening. What I mean by this is last year, I was fearful to say anything about my growing faith because of what people might think of me.

Stephen’s gone crazy.

He’s lost his mind.

He’s under some form of trauma.

He’s been brainwashed.

He’s in despair.

When I opted to start speaking about God publicly, it wasn’t so much a conscious decision as it was a natural movement in my love for Christ; a spiritual transformation that happened to me without acknowledgement of it in the first instance.

It remains a matter of my God-given free-will choice whether I speak about Jesus, but the constraints of protecting my image or wanting to portray myself in a specific way, are no longer influencing my decision.

Vigilance is present in making certain I spread the Word with compassion, avoiding initiation of debates, arguments, or confrontation – I’ve learned that the rise of these situations is usually an indicator that an individual wants to hear the sound of their own intelligent voice, disproving the existence of God rather than engaging a discussion where they truly listen to what is being said.

However, a healthy debate between a Christian and non-Christian can be fruitful, or at least provide food for thought; it is out of my control whether listeners become aggressive, but I know I must always speak in love and humility, alert to pride tripping me up.

Although there could be other complications in speaking Jesus’ name; I may cause offense, I may annoy people, I may not look cool – it still comes down to the following questions:

  • What do I seek: the joy of my God, the King of Kings? Or the appreciation, admiration, and adulation of my peers?

  • Do I want to live Heaven on Earth through obedience to the Word? Or enjoy the world’s pleasures?

  • Do I focus on the profoundness of the spiritual realm? Or relish the temporary solutions of the physical realm?

Speaking the word of God through Jesus has grown easier, but it’s been a very natural process; it didn’t need to be forced or channelled. One day, it just arrived and before I could know it, I’ve spent entire weeks talking to friends and family about Jesus.

I cannot deny that I still find it leaves me feeling small sometimes, which stems from pride, but I know with patience, God will remove this.

How have you found it talking about Jesus? Or hearing about Him?

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