Over and above and beyond
Anything I have ever seen
I hear her again saying:
About – above – according to
Below – beneath – betwixt
My dear mother of
19th April 1919
She stood in-between tall and small
She rested and dozed and smiled
I’m falling asleep
Gasping for breath
Her breathing routine
Deep breathes to inhaler press
Gaining her equilibrium
Hanging clothes on the clothes line
Mangled-through with dexterity
Dinner for the man
On the table
Gulped down by same
Everton mints on a Saturday night
As they took in – on the black and white
Another shirt ironed
On the treadmill of being a wife
A gentle spirit all my life
Throughout history, messages for their time – have sometimes made a resounding difference to what took place subsequently.
Most of us ‘ordinary’ folks, are not going to make such speeches or write such messages.
One immediately thinks of Martin Luther King. Television has given us snippets of his famous speech, periodically, ever since it was delivered.
As I am not from USA, I hazard a guess that the message means more to Americans than the rest of us. Even though we can appreciate it’s contents, and how historic etc. it was.
Churchill’s famous radio speech(es) during war time, is/are another example.
Perhaps the best speech you have ever heard was when your teacher drew you aside and gave you an exhortation about behavioural matters, or presented you with a different mental outlook than the one you carried up to that point in your young life. You were never the same again.
Maybe a circumstance arose that meant you had no choice but to travel a certain career path, and it led unbeknown to you at the time – to a lucrative lifestyle. And the proverbial ‘haven’t looked back since’ came into play in your life.
Maybe you were going well astray into crime, and a caring policeman went the extra mile in showing you interest and concern. So that through his counsel you found a path to wholesomeness.
A good example was the influence the Preacher Man David Wilkerson made on a young Nicky Cruz. You can read the whole story in the famous book: The Cross and The Switchblade’.
Different deliverers of the message, different content, different times, words in season, when you needed to hear them.
A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
“The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.
So is there a word for you in this season? Think of the enormity of the messages flying around the internet. Think of the enormity of the messages being posted as we speak.
Think of the ‘Likes’ you will hit, if you spend time reading posts. Each blog a different message.
Messages, photos, communications, philosophies, religions, teachings on ‘how to’, humour, zaniness, etc. etc.
All come at a certain time, or season.
According to Proverbs 15/23 we can have joy by what we say, by what message we pass on. Even ‘Hello how are you?” Given at the right time to the right person, can help.
In Isaiah the writer tells us that God can actually give teaching to us. Messages from the heart and mind of the Creator, written in the many books compiled into what we have named the bible.
The writer, given the tongue of learning. With the purpose that he should speak the right word at the right time.
Now all we need is a willing heart ready to act on what we have read or heard.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer…
THE MARRIAGE RING
The van is dented here and there
There is dust in the air
Climb on board and start things up
Get on board – you and the pup
Now you’re talkin’
Now we are on the move
Things are bound to improve
You and the mutt
Get away from the ‘tut tuts…’
‘No smelly dog’s coming in here’
That’s what they say
So you disappear
Now your travelling
Now you’re on your way
To a new destination
Where they will say:
‘All dog’s welcome here’
They won’t greet you with a sneer
They will smile a doggy lover’s smile
As you walk down the aisle
A wife to receive as your dog stands still
The best man’s place to fill
At the reception he might even sing?
On the end of his nose I suppose
Is the best place for the ring
ALL STAGGERED TO COMPLETION
So here you are looking for hope in all this
Your engine has wound down to a standstill
And your frustrations have burst in steam
from your carburettor
Your well-oiled inner mechanism
Has rusted to the tune of your seeping lubricant
I’m adding insult to your injury
By using metaphors to seal your plight
You rise –
Hands pressing your head on either side
You can’t abide this anymore
You don’t need a shrink to explore
The inner frustration your life has made for itself
You stagger across another floor
Ten times wider than the one’s before
Like a drunken man in an amusement arcade
You press all passing buttons but the jackpot evades
You roll and rock your way past oncoming shoulders
Avoiding a punch – you hit the street
Sunlight contrasts in blistering heat
Your eyes on fire and screwed up to meet
A breath of semi-fresh air hanging about
This is your lot – all mental and felt
You must find help
You want to help yourself
Another stagger – a stumble – and a fall
– A crawl
Into a corner in the shade
This will have to do – to park your doubt
You join the throng of the thoughtful down-and-outs
Get to that agency of help
Find that pastoral hand outstretched
There you can moan and shout and yelp
Letting it all spill out – clean clear and without a doubt
Your full inner-self out on the floor
You won’t be needing it anymore
A new self you must find –
One washed and renewed and set on high
I speak of no earthly solace
And certainly not one in outer space
I speak of One who gives Amazing Grace
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
The above scripture meant a lot to me when I first encountered Christ. (still does).
It showed me clearly that, whether by my own invention or the influence of others who had ‘invented’ before me – I had been cheated and robbed of the answer to life and the after life.
‘Cheating’ can involve fraud or deception.
Deceived into holding on to the theories of mankind, birthed in his own imagination alone.
What Paul describes here as ‘philosophical’, is the fruit of ‘empty deceit’. That which comes out of the very basic principles of the world, the unspiritual, the unaided intellect of man. The outcome being the concealing or misrepresentation of true truth.
The result too, that man is left to his own devices with that which he affirms as being correct having no infallible certainty.
No supreme authority to arbitrate between opinions. Only opinion versus opinion versus opinion.
Beware lest you are cheated from true spiritual reality, beware lest you are cheated and robbed of true-truth, as provided by and in the Person of the Son of God.
Don’t let anyone deceive you, or rob you, or cheat you, from pursuing the source of all wisdom and knowledge.
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Notice – ‘seems right’. Most of us will stand for something we believe. We affirm most emphatically at times, that we are right.
We are good at this.
But though it seems right. We can be completely wrong because what we conclude and affirm regarding spiritual matters comes out of our fallen intellect.
We are no different than all those who have gone before. We have the same minds used in the same way to ascertain truth.
We think we have dreamt up something completely and totally new, but really it is simply history repeating itself.
Someone, somewhere, before you and I, has come to the same conclusions in keeping with the traditions of men,
We need a higher authority than man to step in and give us something.
Guidance, spiritual revelation, demonstration of Divine Power, only this affirms what is absolute.
All the philosophies that clutter the internet or as it used to be the bookshelves, fall short miserably, if they are [in the words of this telling phrase], of scripture:
…not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily
We are on sinking sand, with our conclusions outside of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Whether you or I like it or not – unless, when it comes to spiritual matters – our conclusions are based on and according to the words of Christ we are cheated, and robbed of what only He can supply.
STRENGTH of HUMILITY
Now the scribes and the authors have
given us their words
And man exults in their earthly jive
All – holding out hands to affirm –
‘See there it is… and there you have it’
As though they are uncommonly wise,
Rather than servants of corruption
They accompany their ideas with a smile
But the fairy tale queen in disguise
suckered Snow White
And we too by giving too much import
Will die on sinking sand as we bow to their pride
For no man should offer a full
five-star response – if he is wise
Hold in reserve to realise that
man at his best is vanity
And besides, though catering to your need
Man’s solace ends at that place –
where it is engraved on a stone
No man ever spoke like this man –
that’s a different matter
That’s a different kettle of fish,
He spoke the words of spirit and life
He gave the words to end all strife
Peace that passes all understanding
As He stoops low – going to all lengths
With perfection – compassion and with humility
He shows us – He is The Rock of all strength
I have been reminding myself of what is most important in life.
Two different bible versions tell us the following:-
33 But SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God…
33 But FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTLY SEEK (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God]…
I have purposely left the rest of the verse out…
For I want us to hear the main thrust of the verse when it comes to action we must take.
There is something that comes FIRST – and how easy it is, for it to be pushed into second, third, fourth or whatever place – down the list of the priorities of life.
And the result is – every negative thing one can think of happening on the earth.
Nations will not seek FIRST the kingdom of God. Cities will not seek FIRST…
Individuals will not seek FIRST…Churches will not seek FIRST…
Gangsters will not seek FIRST…
The kingdom of God is quite a comprehensive phrase when it comes to itemising the things of God.
THE KINGDOM refers to, or includes in the understanding of it, –
- The King of the kingdom
- The subjects/inhabitants of the kingdom
- The rule of the kingdom (The Bible). One could add to this list.
Certainly the kingdom cannot be experienced without PRAYER.
Perhaps you will pray tonight – for the FIRST time?
Perhaps you will renew your priorities to include prayer FIRST.
Paul The Apostle tells us:
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
It’s not rocket science to realise that unless we are FIRST across the finishing line we will not receive the winner’s prize.
And the beauty of it is, there are no other competitors in this race. Inasmuch as it is not a competition. We run or fail to run – that’s it.
We run our own ‘Priority’ race – and we can still fail, if we do not seek FIRST… the kingdom of God. So run to God in prayer to obtain the prize.
We all, Christian or non-Christian start to miss out on priorities and allow things to slip.
That’s the body we are living in, we are prone to wander from God’s priority for us.
So perpetually it’s ‘back to the drawing board’ of learning, and a fresh commitment to SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD…
Care to join me?
GOSPEL AND DISTRACTION
No one notices their own distracted mind
Lay out the plan from God’s hand
And watch how distraction takes them away
You look them in the eye – (oh preacher man)
And notice they again avoid your gaze
‘Can’t listen to this’ – their demeanour portrays
‘I half-hear what you say’ body-language reveals
‘But it’s time again to go astray’
I want you to stick with the programme
And study this through
‘No sorry I have too much to do…’
You cannot grasp that there is a distracting influence?
You say ‘you don’t believe in influences’
Are you influenced – not to believe?
You don’t like being corrected
Which is why you are distracted
The Word must find good ground
Your ground needs fertilised with the gospel sound
But you turn-off the rain
By walking away
for another day
All in the head (?)
Twigs on the trees waving like a wave
Tension in the air – like it’s gonna break
Calypso tunes in the background
Conflicting – as inappropriate to the mood
Scarecrows silhouetted in the dark
Nobody about in the deserted park
Begin to hurry as the tension builds
Fear is a factor like a burning grill
Sizzling aspects of rhyme
Bring the elements together
In a surge of overwhelm –
Can’t get to tomorrow fast enough –
to escape the bother
It seems quite clear
It’s all in the imagination
As underground spies and cohorts
Matter of Life and Death
It’s a matter of life and death
We are bereft of life and know death
If we do not move from our present position
Death reigns in us – if life we forsake
When all calamity encompasses us round about
We are left struggling in despair and doubt
Faith will arise only when the gift is given
Not faith in our surmise
But faith when we are forgiven
The gift is in the fog of our own reason
Seeking to find us amidst our armed resistance
We totter on the brink of further despair
We do not know where we err
We go about in stedfast iron-curtain mode
Can’t find the door through reasons-wall
But the gift is offered: faith in the One to come
Faith in the Messiah – faith in the Only Begotten Son
All couched in dark language
You swing from paragraph to paragraph with ease
You look to see if you’re understood
Surveying the looks on the faces of friends around
To see if your words are falling to the ground
Slowly they get on board without you trying
to capture members for your institute
They seem to warm to your manifesto
But you are not the Count of Monte Cristo
Nor that Elusive Pimpernel
You are less than you project
But they need a plan to follow
And yours is so matter-of-fact
You can’t get out of it now
You have talked too much
You have been hoisted on the shoulders
of their mind – made into a Che Guevara
You only liked listening to your own voice
But would never be a hero/anti-hero by choice
At the last minute you try to shy away
But the lots have been cast
And you are thrust to the throne
“Be our leader oh wise-words-one”
“I’m only a song and dance man”
Quickly trying to find an escape
Or jet aeroplane to the sky
The pen is mightier than the sword
They applaud and cheer and pedestal-ise
Your words are immortalised
The songs go on and save your hide
As legendary status is realised
At last left alone with your prize
You stutter to a close
And escape the lime
Shut away here – outa sight
Playing with paint and iron works
is to materialise –
The money you need to survive