[Note: The Parsley Report initially appeared on Twitter. It has been transferred to here due to my distrust of the Twitter platform.]
PARSLEY THE LION: Herb research re-engaged! FERN: Beware Freddie, Parsley! PARSLEY: Sent him packing. GREENFEATHER: Nasty brute! A man called his child “Merciless” just after Freddie killed a man in The Ship! He said he was drinking and partying with women when a man had possibly jumped off Beachy Head. FERN: So Freddie was right to rebuke! PARSLEY: But he forgot! “Always protect the little children.” Rule number one for us, Fern. GREENFEATHER: Quite correct, Parsley, and beware the Giants too!
The Apostle Paul speaks in his letters about coming under spiritual attack. He speaks in Ephesians about taking on the whole armour of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit. (ref: Ephesians 6:13-17)
Sometimes our trials and tribulations come from this. And yes, we should do battle, not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual wickedness. At other times our distresses come from a discipline for our own sins or weaknesses which need correction, as the Apostle Peter relates in one of his own letters. (I was told on the journey back from evening fellowship/teaching/prayer that this is likely 2 Peter.)
How do we discern between the two? I suspect that the truth is that they both run alongside each other. Every rod of discipline can be taken too far and received beyond its intended measure. This is an attack from the enemy. Not from people – though the wicked shall love to persecute the believers, especially those who are weak and isolated.
If at all possible seek fellowship at these times. Face to face is by far best, though sometimes a phone call or text is sufficient. If worst comes to worst then online communication is still a recourse of action for those with internet access.
Seek out the brethren, seek God in prayer, however faltering your own prayer life may be, seek to read Scripture, even if you are far from an expert in theological matter and Bible study. It can be quite astounding where help coms from if we prayerfully wait for it and remember the words of Jesus and the saints, especially the words of the Apostles recorded in the New Testament.
(Written on the afternoon of the First Sunday of February, edited during the night the first day and the second day.)
[This was written in the early hours of this morning, before it was light.]
I have had a hard night. A very brief time of sleep before fully awaking around 3 o’clock in the night. I knew sleep would be akin to a sleep of death for me so with my mind and heart thus troubled settling down to rest in slumber was not an option. And so I have been awake; drinking tea, coffee and smoking rollies. And praying.
I have prayed much the past night. Many prayers of desperation, many prayers of joy. And the musicians of Maranatha! Music have been a great blessing to me as I’ve praised the Lord whilst playing one of their albums.
I have just turned to the Bible as dawn is now approaching and, although I couldn’t find the Psalm I thought I wanted to read, I did read three and it was the final one which has really comforted me and inspired me and I wanted to share it with you. It is Psalm 13.
How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
A Comfort for Those With Mental Disorders
I wanted to share how this Psalm is an especial comfort to those of us with mental health disorders.
If we are going through a period of intense depression, anxiety or a psychotic episode it can seem like all are our enemies. Though some may try to understand and help we find that they cannot and their deeds and words only bring us more pain. So many people want to get us to listen to them and comply with their plans of action, making ready for us to be so desperate that we go grovelling to them for their offers of help.
Yet this Psalm comforts and strengthens us, as believers in the Lord Jesus with mental health issues, to take our comfort and our strength from him. Sometimes he does offer help through others, yes, but often that help exacts a heavy price in our loyalty to Christ. We must be firm, comforted and encouraged to stand for the Lord, in love, both in private and in public, even when our distresses are seemingly overwhelming.
In the words of Jesus:
In this world you shall have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!