You search…

You search…

Someone shared a story with me, some time ago. I will probably get the details wrong, but remember one part of the story. I’m sure someone out there could relate the actual story better than I.

To summarise – it went something like this: Someone bought a piece of land and spent a number of years drilling for oil. All to no avail. So they gave up and sold the land.

A new owner, not long after the purchase, drilled once more and struck black gold, immediately.

Preacher’s could use the story to teach us to ‘never give up’. Others could tell us ‘anything worthwhile takes time and effort’. Yet another could bring out the truth ‘that we need to get below the surface and the obvious – to find the true riches of truth buried in the bible’.

I like that one best.

Proverbs 23/23: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The amplified version of the bible gives us this helpful footnote:

The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.

But it is possible to be taught the truth and ‘entertain’ it in our lives on a superficial level, rather than giving ourselves – to it – in prayerful meditation, so that we do not fit the category of those described by The Lord Jesus: 

John 5:38-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Such students find all kinds of truth on some level, but fail to realise that all scripture points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God – to be believed and received as the personification and embodiment of all of God’s truth, and indeed the Saviour of The World.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

All scripture points to the author who revealed it to the hearts of chosen men, who in turn penned it under God’s special visitation and influence.

But also it has the redemptive thread throughout it’s pages from Genesis to Revelation. And to search these books and fail to discover by a living encounter, that Christ is The Living Word, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – is to search and miss eternal life. 

Again Jesus said: You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;…’

The point being that this is not enough. But the true searching of the scriptures as God intended – is to encounter Christ:

‘and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

We must come to Him and not just the pages of the book to find eternal life – in/through the pages of the book.

Lining up

Lining Up

And one man said to the other

And the other said to a friend-connecting

And it was printed in notice form

And a text was exchanged about the death

Two passed within a few days

A generation dwindling – while others line-up

For departure – they have no ticket

And it’s treated with laughter

Side-stepped with a quip

Forgotten about

Going about

All engage in their daily business

Then another procession to slow down for

As the cortege makes its winding progress

And over dinner the mind thinks again

About the departure all must face

Then the bill is paid

And life goes on – getting into the car

The business of the day continues

At night lying below sheets

The mind wanders through

The orders taken – the stock ordered

The lunch bill paid

– the cortege

Human effort

HUMAN EFFORT

As human beings our lives consist of three things:

Things we think, things we say, and things we do.

I don’t know of any others – do you? Things we see, hear and smell – yes.

But these – activate the mind or open the mouth or cause the response of action.

As we look back at our lives – have we thought some good thoughts, said some good things, or carried out some good deeds?

In my self-analysis mode – I’m afraid if it were left to me to judge my ‘performance’ in this, it would be of miniscule achievement. Judging by my perceived standard of ‘good’ that is.

‘Don’t be too hard on yourself.’ I hear that empathetic person say.

No? I’m not being too hard on myself. It’s just that the standard I have in mind I have only seen in one person. And I always fall short of His example. Fall short because I am still trying to give way to Him. I’m still learning how to let His life reign in me.

How much harder must it be for those who have not invited Him to be their friend and mentor.

Most who have glanced at this blog, know of whom I speak.

Here’s what He tells me: 

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

This completeness is achieved by accepting the gift of Himself. Free fellowship in spirit and truth.

I am complete, not because my thoughts, words and deeds satisfy, but because I have believed in the One who satisfies my desire to know His goodness and mercy. They shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in God’s house forever.

(Psalm 23/6)

Hero

HERO

The heroine could – no hero find

She looked around –

and encountered every day

Nominees for the laurel crown

But no one worthy could be found

She looked with a long take

Or glimpsed for a short time

The behaviour and way they moved

How they treated ladies

And how they cut a caper

How they studied and searched the paper

How their frowns were worn

And how their clothes were crisp or torn

What they cared about

And if confidence was deserved

Or prideful arrogance

caused their loss of doubt

She continued her search

Until the dawn of a new year

left her quest undone and unwon

No hero was to be found –

it proved an uneventful task

Having reached the end of her tether

And having given up her study

A young boy lent a helping hand

To his mother

As she shuffled across the

cobblestoned street

This at last was her hero

as his heart was in the right place

And he gladly lent his hand

Without the mother’s demand

Though young – he knew –

and didn’t need to be told

That his precious mother was

his best friend indeed

So our heroine went to shake his hand

And asked “Will you be my hero?”

“Of course” was his reply

Without even asking why

The few-and-far-between’s of Art Conversation

The few-and-far-between’s of Art conversation:

‘Converse intelligently’ was what he said

That’s what he was looking for

Nothing like that around here

Nothing remotely like intelligent conversation

on art – it’s maxed-out at that puerile comment:

“looks just like a photograph – and how long did it take?”

No nuances of observation in that field of looking

No appreciation of Van Gogh breaking new ground

“Just marks on a piece of paper”

is an intelligent observation or the voice of ignorance

all depending on the context of the remark

about the marks made

“A child could have done that”

said to prohibit an adult from doing so

No room here for a perfect rhyme in paint

Painted with the eye of the adult

who manages to reclaim his lost or dying years

or taps into his childhood innocence

The art critics of the uninformed

Prosaic eyes in unstudied heads –

from plain-wallpapered minds

No hope of stirring further interest –

They think originality –

a misnomer of a dictionary definition –

so thought – 

as made up by thoughts of stunted growth

Some just won’t take the time

And sure it doesn’t come naturally to them

So what can they do?

Don’t be too harsh or hard on them

It’s in you – or it isn’t – will have to do

Go some place else to talk your nuances

Withdraw into your chosen class of three or four

Pick those who have been smitten by the where’s and

why-for’s of art and all it’s wonderful debate

Remaining Option

REMAINING OPTION

Sometimes we encounter a person who seems totally insensitive, regarding how they treat their fellow human beings.

We could mention – i.e. explore – delve into – the many reasons they have ended up like this in their character and lifestyle.

The challenge when we are on the receiving end of their folly and they treat us unjustly, unfairly, without due consideration of where we are at – is to ask the above person(s), questions in an attempt to find reasons (usually underlying unresolved hurts) why we are receiving their unacceptable attitude and behaviour.

Empathetically responding when we are on the receiving end of their immaturity. This ain’t easy to do – is it?

We, left to our own devices will react and put them right. An angry exchange usually takes place as we unnecessarily defend ourselves in response to their false accusations or attack.

At the same time we must consider the possibility that some folks are hell-bent on not changing. They don’t want help, and don’t perhaps even see the need for it.

From a Christian point of view when they refuse to entertain our helping hand or calm reason – we have one remaining option. 

Pray for them.

Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Persuaders…

Persuaders…

After four poems in succession, my pendulum swings again to spiritual matters:

God in Christ wants all men to be saved/delivered/set free – indeed all of the above. He desires to make Himself known to us.

But not everyone (needless to say) is going to see things that way.

History has unfolded the proof of this. It has always been so. The gospel of Christ is not readily accepted, and is just plain rejected by many. Just as Christ Himself was rejected.

The world is full of different belief-systems, faiths, doctrines (call them what you will) that people adhere to – the old saying has application: ‘but never the twain shall meet’. This summarises how these ‘faiths’ will never agree. Indeed it cannot be, and is not meant to be.

Light has no fellowship with darkness, would be one way of describing why doctrines don’t gel, in ‘faiths’, they are simply not the same.

Still, adherents to whatever belief, mostly feel it part of their ‘duty’ to spread their message. Spread the message to an often unheeding public.

An offer of a free £1,000 spending spree in a local store, will make most ears prick-up. First thought? Is this a scam? Having proof of it being a genuine offer – who in their right mind is going to reject, ignore or refuse the offer?

So the gospel message, if it is to be ignored, is ignored perhaps on the false premise that it is a scam?

The exponents of this gospel message are only after your money, it is thought? Not hard to know where this impression comes from through the mouths of TV evangelists. The gospel message is very balanced. But if we hear only one aspect repeatedly, it isn’t hard to understand how folks get a lop-sided view of things.

Or (it is sometimes thought) this message is to do with servitude, manipulation and control where everybody bows to some cult figure at the helm?

Or some – not having examined thoroughly the cross of Christ and what took place there, beyond the visible – see it wrongly, as some kind of ‘blood religion’. Some ‘gory’ horrible story of no significance?

Then again some reject the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some so-called adherents to this gospel of christianity. Not stopping to consider that there are false gospels, in the name of christianity, that we are warned about in the scriptures.

In a different vein – some just plainly don’t ‘believe’ in God full stop, the God of any ‘religion’.

And so we could go on laying out reasons for the ‘gospel of Christ’ being rejected, or reasons many refuse to give it their attention.

Maybe some ‘clergy’ have failed miserably and have been guilty of the abuse of others. And this is taken as a reason to reject not only them but the biblical message?

How can we begin then to give it our attention, or tolerate any kind of preaching? When so many reasons arise in our minds that stop us on the journey before we even begin.

Is this where we, the adherents of Christianity step-in to persuade you differently?

Or are we better leaving you alone – after all it is often quipped: ‘Religion is a personal/private matter’?

So no gospel for you? You will tolerate those who wish to believe that stuff – as long as they leave you alone?

And yet is it not true that some enthusiastically expound how worthy their soccer team is to be followed. Or how the car they have is the best on the market. Or the area they live in is excellent. Or the best way to cook the meal is to add particular ingredients, to give the best possible results, for the taste buds. Or their favourite politician should be voted for – because etc. etc.?

Maybe all those things should be kept to themselves? People will tolerate you if you keep your mouth shut and leave people alone?

Why are people blogging, they wouldn’t be wanting us to like their stories, opinions, or share in their experiences would they?

Truth is – we are all persuaders.

Paul the apostle was a persuader concerning the true-truth of the gospel message, and having opened His mouth with God’s enablement he got the following response, as he fulfilled his ‘duty’ by sharing the Christian message to a certain king:

Acts 26:27-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am…

So next question? What’s it going to take to cause you to realise that the Christian gospel is God’s communication to mankind, as it is, in it’s preserved written state, for the salvation of mankind from the tyranny of an evil spirit?

Maybe you are amongst those who are already persuaded?

Shopping Young

SHOPPING YOUNG

The shoe-shop experience

Calling all lads

In your prime of youth

Just ignore me

If the criteria is twenties thirties

I’ve nothing to say – you might say

But cast your mind back

To the – ‘I too’ time

When I was looking for fashion

Mind you…well never mind…

But here’s the thing – you get your kicks

On shop excursions into the unknown

Eyes light on new stock

Time flies by – as you are self-absorbed

And absorbed with what’s before your eyes

You ponder and try-on and waltz around

You put on / take off and generally spy upon

All delights of shape and pattern

Of feel and length and size

Changing the light – seen-in –

And looking sideways and leaning-in

You perform some fun-caper

While your friends banter back

You want your wage packet to stretch

a week – non-stop spending spree

No thought for frugality – just the need to get

Who – you are trying to impress

Starts with you – before others

Part of being young and handsome?

Or not so handsome needing the help of clothes

Anyway either way – it’s a pastime of yours

Spending on-line or off

You still prefer that wander and dander

In-and-out of stores

On your day-off

Coffee offered in some

You have bought –

Orange, green or gold

You fit the mould

Of youth looking for love

Mr. Jones

MR. JONES

And regardless of your generation

Regardless of your notched-up years few or many

You know for a second or two

Or for hours into days

That something is amiss

But you can’t quite put your finger on it –

Can you Mr. Jones?

 

You try to be different – set a path of no confusion

Maybe stay in the background even at the office party

But you are drawn-in and spat out

Hurt again – second set – of ten times

Maybe the answer lies within – but within you find a prison

So maybe outgoing – from scene to scene

Is where the answer is – that you hope to glean

Determined not to lie down – you lie-in – instead

Sleeping through till a new task alarms your rise

This person is wandering on through –

Life’s journey on track – but mostly – askew

They are giving away their years in pursuit of happiness

Over there is the side of the pit

The quarry has been dug – but

you’ve enough sense remaining

to give it a miss

Haven’t you Mr. Jones?

 

The old Ecclesiastes is suddenly by your side

With nothing new under the sun

You’ve tried it and bought the T-shirt

But you are still confused

You’ve done that too – far flung journeys I mean

To find your place – but it wears-off

Like the sole of your shoe

You think you are all washed-up

Don’t you Mr. Jones?

 

But there’s a light on the horizon

A horizon comes into view

You haven’t seen it before

And It’s dimensions are unfamiliar

I tell you now it isn’t cool as cool defined is known

So let me easily knock you off-course

As you find no fellowship to explore

You just have to settle for the status quo

Don’t you Mr. Jones?

The Countryman

The Countryman

Cutting down the thorny bushes

splitting wood right up the middle

takes it’s toll in huffs and puffs

Progress made in stacked piles

Places cleared and looking new

like new surroundings lost and found

The country man – man of the soil

Thrusts his daily scythe

and digs his spade in sods of dirt

The countryman is a half-townie-lad

Likes a beer and a monologue

“That will do” he often says

Climbing back on tractor seat

Starting up

he can hear above it’s crackling shiver

Dirty clothes in daily grime

He reasons: “I’m clean” – if jacket left-off

Clean-shaven once in a blue moon

Sleeps in a rocking chair

Then back to the sheep

Intellect buzzing on cow techniques

Amusement creeps-in on the stage of farms

Funny mishaps and the odd alarm

He’ll be glad to converse about hay and history

History of hay that is…

And if he smokes –

he raises a pipe to panting puffs

And leans on the byre with studious look

As though these moments

were time stood still

Early mornings and late nights

He’s content to mix his pleasure

With his work

And to take a brew of tea

If you’re offering

Brought in a can

To the countryman

Here and elsewhere

Here and elsewhere

Jesus the personification of all truth – assured his people that He was ‘going to prepare a place for them’. That place would be where He is. So they would ever be with The Lord. (John 14/2)

But where is He now? Well He is in heaven at the right hand of His Father. (Ephesians 1/20)

The other Person of the godhead – The Holy Spirit of God – is still working and moving on the earth. He is here to carry out God’s will and fulfil His promises.

God’s promises are many and varied. But the one I have in mind is this:

Lo I am with you always even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28/20)

So Christ is both with us and somewhere else, because of the incomprehensible unity and working of the Godhead.

I say incomprehensible with a smile, when the lesser examination of the myriad of planets and stars in the outer space universe is enough to affirm His incomprehensibility, before we even begin to examine the invisible kingdom of heaven. (Colossians 1/16)

Salvation is simple when boiled down – the world is under the dominion of another spirit – not of God’s nature. Despite this, Christ is willing to come to you – but on His terms. Terms that establish in your life the acceptance of His divine holy and pure nature.

So that you too with other believers, will have a place prepared by Him, prepared where He is, in His Father’s ‘house’ where there will be many dwelling places (heaven).

At the same time He promises to come to those, where they are, who call upon His name in sincerity and truth.

With us (the Holy Spirit) and at the same time, away from us (in his Glorified form as the King of kings), at the right hand of His Father.