So I’m working on a song for my PhD project. This song is basically about the conversation I had with Jesus whilst I was on my hospital bed when I had to take time out from my studies.
Here’s a snippet of what I’m up to enjoy!
Listen to Work in Progress – Hip-Hop (follow this link or play in the embedded player below)
Love Catherine x
A short one today I’m v. busy. Two days ago I was very tired after doing a lot and praying a lot. So when it came to bedtime prayers I was very tired. (Every morning I pray and read the Bible before getting out of bed and every night I pray and read the Bible before I go to sleep).
So I decided that that night I would try something different as I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I invited Jesus to come and sit on the bed with me and listen to Christian music with me. Music that I wrote actually and just meditated on the lyrics, what they mean, what I can do better, how can I use these, the themes, reflecting on my relationship with Jesus, where we have been and asking Jesus questions.
I found it refreshing just to meditate in Jesus’ presence. The stress just washed off me and I don’t remember when I fell asleep!
Try it. Put on some Christian music, if you write Christian music and it’s recorded put it on! Invite God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit to come and sit with you, meditate on God, ask Jesus questions and bask in the Holy Spirit.
I watched the film King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword and God used the story as a spring board to speak to me about suffering in general, as well as my own personal suffering. Arthur went through suffering which enabled him to defeat his enemy and save his people. I enjoyed the film. The soundtrack is really interesting! I’ve been through a lot in my 27 years, not as much as others but enough.
I struggle daily with my blood sugar, exhaustion caused by mental anguish due to my health, dyslexia, dyspraxia. Because of them I have to focus so hard when reading that reading a couple pages sends me to sleep and I’m doing a PhD lol.
There’s also the Aspergers which also makes me exhausted, being around people makes me feel exhausted. I pretend like it doesn’t but it does lol. Like many autistic people I struggle to sleep because my mind won’t slow down at night so I have a habit of waking up exhausted.
On the plus side, peoplee with the above issues tend to be very creative and Jesus had made me creative. I play the: Penny Whistle in D, Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Alto Saxophone, Lever Harp, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and I sing. I also own but do not play very often the: Soprano Recorder (the common one but that’s just it’s proper name), Ocarina and a Pan Flute! I also enjoy Sketching and Painting and composing music and photography! I’ve got many hobbies.
Now what I feel God is saying is that our characters and formed through suffering, low level suffering like a child wants a PS4 and the mother says wait to high level like you maybe develop a disease or something like that.
Reading Romans 9 it seems as though God actually chooses some people to cause trouble just to show His power and then He does away with them later?
Romans 9:11-23 NLT
 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes;  he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”  In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”  Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not!  For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”  So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.  For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”  So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.  Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”  No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”  When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?  In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction.  He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.
How interesting! For scriptures relating to Pharaoh’s hard heartedness see Ex 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 11,10, 14:8 read chapter 14 top the end to find out about what happened to Pharaoh. Also, looking at the story of Joseph, God also uses tragedy to help people as Joseph said:
Genesis 50:19-20 NLT
 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
And through Jesus he did! Read on till Exodus 1:7.
God is given an opportunity to show off through adversity. He also teaches us humility in the face of his sovereignty. How can you have a Tesimony without the TEST? As Paul writes:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT
 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Also, I think our “sinful natures” are tamed through adversity. Anyone recognise the following scenario?
Romans 7:14-24 NLT
 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.  I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.  So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  I have discovered this principle of life-that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
But you see there is hope for us with dealing with our humanity as Paul writes further in Romans:
Romans 8:1-14 NLT
 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.  Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)  And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.  The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.  Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Even though we try very hard to do good sometimes we just do the wrong thing. However, the difference between a child of God and someone from the world is that we will repent, recognise we are wrong accept God knows best and try our best to do what He wants us to do. Eventually we will become perfect!
John was exiled on the island of Patmos but then in his exclusion that’s where he received the revelation from Jesus that we today call the book of Revelation:
Revelation 1:9-11 NLT
 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.  It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast.  It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
So isolation is a tool of suffering that God used in order to speak to us and other people as well.
Another thing God broght to my attention is that He uses adversity to separate his people from the world. This is a special kind of suffering the bible teaches that will happen at the end time, this suffering is eternal. Jesus talks about it in the Parable Of The Wheat And Weeds:
Matthew 13:24-30 NLT
 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field.  But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.  When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.  “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’  “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.  “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.  Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'”
[JESUS THEN EXPLAINS THE PARABLE LATER]
Matthew 13:36-43 NLT
 Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”  Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed.  The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.  The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.  “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
I feel like all I can say is to “fight the good fight”:
1 Timothy 6:11-14 NLT
 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.  And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate,  that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
When bad things come your way, the devil thinks he is doing it to break you but God is using bad things to show His power, to save other people, to humble us and help us recognise God’s sovereignty, to help us to recognise and deal with our “sinful natures”, to give us revelation/speak to us and to separate us as His own in end times.
I wrote a song about holding on in times of adversity and performed it at church, it’s called ‘We’re Holding On’ 🙂
Lots of love Catherine x
Just keeping you up to date with what I’m doing regarding my PhD.
So two weeks ago I visited a church that my friend goes to called The Gospel Centre in Wood Green N8. Yeah it was totally great I had a really good time the people were friendly as well.
Here’s what I learned:
- The person who greeted me at the door was a man
- The people who greeted me the most were men
- Their lead pastor was a man
- They have male as well as female worship leaders
- Their worship sessions are split into two sections
- They will happily have a male lead one section and a female lead another section
- The worship leader is not necessarily placed at the front of the ensemble
- They had two female singers, neither played instruments
- All the male members of the worship group I saw that Sunday played instruments
- There were more male than female members in the group that Sunday
- The female members were placed in the centre of the ensemble
- They had no bass guitar but the lower end of the piano, the EQ on the rhythm guitar and the trumpet covered the wavelengths that the bass guitar would have otherwise occupied
- After church the female worship leader lead and rehearsed the choir
- The female worship leader did not play any instruments when leading the choir
- The female worship leader relied upon a male musician to accompany the choir
- All but 1 of the soloists were female
- The choir contained more women than men
- Possibly because this was a musical opportunity that did not require the participants to play instruments and from going on what I saw it appeared as though more men played instruments than women and I was told that the church in general was enthusiastic about music but lacked lacked musical ability
- The women were more timid singers than the men
- The male members of the choir led the female members, as the females relied upon them to know when to come in
- The female members of the choir were better singers than the men
- Despite the above point and there being less men in the choir, then men sang the loudest
- No women played instruments that Sunday
- The female worship leader knew how to operate the sound desk, typically a job done by men
- The female worship leader, although lacking in practical musicianship skills had good management skills, accompanied with a reasonable level of musical knowledge of harmony and timing, making her still an effective choir master
- The female worship leader was personable and I was reliably informed that she worked very hard with the choir to get them to the standard that they were.
- The female worship leader was assertive, wore trousers and was African-Caribbean.
- The female worship leader was educated and had a job
- The ethnic mix of the church was about 50:50 Caucasian to non-Caucasian
- All of the melody instruments were played by Caucasian men and all of the rhythm instruments were all played by African-Caribbean men giving in to ethnic stereotyping.
- They had times of ambient worship, where there was no singing but giving people space to commune with God, in their own way. I liked this and I will try and incorporate this into worship sets at my church.