Who are we addressing?

WHO ARE WE ADDRESSING?

When it comes to any kind of communication whether a blog post, a speech, an open letter, a sermon, a lecture, etc etc. – who we are addressing has to be considered.

However blogging and indeed, whatever means we use to address the public, is like casting a net into the sea.

We do not really know who we are addressing, unless it is a bunch of students in a lecture hall, who are studying the particular subject we have been asked to speak on.

Then we can at least be sure that they have some glimmer of understanding as to the information we are passing on. We certainly know about one part of their life – that they wish to put major time into the subject they are taking their degree on.

Even then, if the lecture is released on YouTube or such similar ‘devices’ – we do not know who is tagging along, or looking-in on the address we are giving.

Stop and think this over for a moment. The subject is: who are we addressing – or who do we want to address?

Is there any way we can be sure we are addressing the right people? The right people being those who understand enough of the subject to at least begin to understand and appreciate it, or who even want to listen in the first place.

Also – do we not desire in some cases – to reach those who, we hope, have never heard of this ‘stuff’ we are passing on – hoping therefore that they will latch-on-to our important message, as they are the ones who need it the most?

All the so called ‘followers’ of our blog whose avatar we see or never see, even if they drop by, once in a blue moon, have a rough idea of the kind of writing we engage in.

Those who have been here (Seedsinmotion…), at least once in their blog viewing life – know that I share poetry, paintings and Christian teaching. 

Emerging birds by Ken Riddles

I have short seasons when you get more of one than another.

Who is my audience? – well, besides the ‘like hitters’ I do not have a clue. I rarely check my stats page to try to get an idea.

And so I suppose I have failed at the first step, in ‘how to promote and increase traffic on your blog’.                                         

There is a spiritual element in reaching others. A principle attached to gospel communication: I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

We learn that God ultimately is the influencer when it comes to the spreading of His gospel message. He it is who changes the heart of a man or a woman and convinces them of His truth, regardless of who spreads it through blog or speech etc.

So what about response to what we share on our blogs?

You are hoping for a particular response in the context of your subject matter. You imagine how you would like things to be – lots of comments? Lot’s of ‘likes’ – will that do? Many products sold? Fame and fortune for you as a result?

I’m suggesting that we can only have a rough idea of our readership.

There are many profound things to share. But if we do not reach sincere listening ears, perhaps it is wrong to share those things (?).

An extreme example (in the Christian blogging context) of when not to share, would be:

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This refers to those who do not appreciate, but in actual fact, reject, mock, or ridicule you or what you share.

Rejecting what is precious to you. Too precious to be thrown to the dogs. But what of those who appreciate and concur with the profound truth you are sharing? Well – back to the original problem. How do we know they are listening?

So I refrain from sharing a lot of the spiritual truth that I would share if I knew for certain that the Christians who would benefit from it, are in fact listening.

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Jesus told His disciples that He had many things to say to them, but they were not yet able to receive them.

So all Jesus knew, was not all He shared.

The reason I share poetry and art is because they give life an extra enjoyable edge, as far as I am concerned.

They are creative activities.

There can be however, a leftover from past eras that lingers in the psyche of some Christians who consider art and poetry that is not directly concerned with biblical matters as being ‘of this world’ and best ignored..

This is the kind of narrow view that turns many non-Christian would-be seekers of truth, away from the Christian faith. Concluding that Christians, seem cold and detached and in their Pharisaical bubbles.

‘Holier than thou’ individuals who do not fulfil the law but are under it and it’s curse. In Galatians we read:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

The antidote/solution to this is also given in Galatians:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Someone has, I believe correctly stated: (I would imagine somewhat with tongue in cheek) that some Christians are so earthly minded they are of no heavenly use, but some are so heavenly minded they are no earthly use…

                                          …

When I write poetry it is with an open-ended approach, by that I mean, it can be profound or ‘light’, about real or imagined things, to be taken seriously, or humorously, as having real meaning or none.

It is not always spiritual, in the strictest sense of the word. It is written mostly because of my love of words.

Christians aught to understand that they must remain insulated from the spirit of this world. When we engage in cultural activities, we run the risk of our insulation becoming worn-thin. When we sense this, we must run into the shadow of the Almighty – or the name of The Lord which is a strong protective tower – in order to abide there and receive fresh sustenance. Renewing our minds in the Presence of God and His Word.

For the sake of the kingdom of God – I have often abandoned all creative activity for a season, in order to give myself to spiritual life, the life  of the kingdom. Serving God in praying, preaching, or witnessing to Christ’s saving Grace.

However, walking with a healthy spiritual life, means creativity enhancement.

When I paint, it is rarely about Christian subject matter. 

Jazz by Ken Riddles

Many Christian artists feel they can’t paint anything else, that they are obliged to paint Christian subjects. I am not of that persuasion. Everyone must respond to their own inner promptings.

To be naturally-spiritual and spiritually-natural, kind of sums up what I’m saying.

Again – I don’t have a clue who I am addressing. And try to strike a balance in giving vent (as all bloggers do) to what we consider worthwhile to share with others.

With regard to the need to communicate – that all bloggers have, – I would suggest we are simply – built that way!

Bounce back

BOUNCE BACK

‘To try or not to try?’ that is the question

Whether it is better to try and fail or never try at all

– That could possibly be – another question

                                …

That God loves a trier – is an oft quoted axiom

But triers run out of steam…

                                …

Before they try try again

If at first they don’t succeed of course

                                …

They can succumb to discouragement

Which in the bigger analysis of things 

  • [worldwide I mean]
  • can mean

There is a world full of discouraged triers

All trying to bounce back

Triers who succeed might never need to try again

                               …

I should explain…

                               …

But if it’s all the same

However

I won’t bother…

‘Cause some would say:

What’s the point of trying…?

Put away…

PUT AWAY

Much as I could do

 – I won’t complain

If I was to complain that would be 

 – getting into the blame game

Much as I obviously disagree

 – it makes no difference

 – ‘Tween you and me

Oh by the way

 – I like your ashtray

It’s the first time in my life

 – to like an ashtray

It’s all that goes with it

 – that sends me away

 – Into a spiral of disgust

                  …

I’ve never liked that poison

Since I had to breath it in

                  …

Parenthetically –

[During the shifting sands

The sinking sands

Of popular opinion

Versus what the experts did say

Until one day

The world woke up and

put the cigarettes away…]

More than just a man

MORE THAN JUST A MAN

As the teachings of The Lord Jesus Christ go out

into the ears of the world

Hands are raised to block those ears

and minds are filled with doubt

                         …

They want a new and different gospel –

One that will leave them alone

As they continue to use their free will

To do as they please – unbeknown

                         …

I cannot beat you up

With my perfect heavy touch

I have failed and remain impaled

Upon the cross of my total failure

                         …

Left there – dead in sin – alone

Separated from a Saviour

Destined for experiences still unknown

When justice is dispensed at the throne

                         …

But look – see what has happened instead

I have been saved from the dead

‘Cause someone else has taken my place

Thorn clad and pierced in the side

                         …

So that I can be free – forever to abide

In the One who did all this

Taking my place on the tree

Full of pain – to give me life abundantly

                          …

All I do is stretch out my hand

His grace sufficient

To make me one of His band

A disciple forever learning

So I say ‘Behold the man…’

                          …

You will see – looking closer than before

That He is more – than just a man

He is The Son of the Most High God

Fully God, fully man – please understand

                          …

Take your blindfold off your eyes

And give yourself time to realise

That to see the man is to see the One

Who pleased the Father as the Only Begotten Son

I as you

 I as you

And now I am in your shoes

Looking at me – this religious oddity

And in your shoes I see me

As utterer of strange language

And in your boots I be

And kinda get how you see me

In your coat – I see

I’m a purveyor of strange things

I – as you –

see me

and my strange persistency

See

Some kinda crusader?

Wondering why I bother

repeating myself

As you –

I see me

As a one-track-mind(er)

Who has consistently

shared the same message

I step back into me

And realise

I will never be you

And you will never be me

But you can become as I be

Because I was as you be

We can both meet at the cross of calvary

…Dillinger

Did they get Dillinger…? by Ken Riddles

Did they get Dillinger?

The story behind this painting:

I held an exhibition when I finished with my day to day job as a typesetter.

The exhibition sold well.

Amongst my guests on the opening night was my elder brother.

There was eight years between us.

He suffered from a heart condition and passed in 2015.

We used to meet up once a month for lunch, and these were enjoyable times, with banter about whose turn it was to pay etc.

When we were young, he was always kind to his little brother, especially at Christmas, when I waited with anticipation to see what present he had bought me. He never disappointed (e.g. when I was 8 y.o. – he was 16).

I had two ‘not for sale’ drawings in the show. And he liked these because they were depictions of the street of our childhood upbringing.

As I would have explained – not topographical depictions. A drawing of a memory, not a drawing from memory. (Some of you might ‘get’ the difference).

But I wouldn’t let these go. So his eyes lit upon the painting above, and just before someone else wanted to buy it, he was able to stake his claim and it ended up on the living room wall of his home.

He too, like me, was ‘weaned’ on the old black and white gangster movies seen on TV.

He had three of my paintings in his home and joked about how when I was gone – they would be worth so much more. With reference to the old adage about an artist not being worth much until he was dead.

These paintings have been inherited by his son and daughter.

Be great to have my brother back – I would paint him as many ‘Dillingers’ as he wished (RIP).

Curtains

CURTAINS 2021

Have you ever thought about curtains? Of course you have – although the ladies perhaps more than the men?

But curtains – not as in room decor – but as in that which divides, separates, shuts out, covers, stops.

We have all heard of the iron curtain.

[The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

The term symbolises the efforts by the Soviet Union (USSR) to block itself and its satellite states from open contact with the West and its allied states].

So in real life, as in history – dividing and separating.

There is another curtain/veil mentioned in the Bible.

The curtain/veil that separated the holy place from the holiest-of-all place in the Old Testament description of the Temple.

However in the New Testament we are told that…

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (Acts 17/24)

This is very much a New Testament statement. Because of course it was a different story/dispensation/time under the Old covenant.

In the Old Covenant only the high priest could enter the most holy place (holiest of holies) – once a year. That was it – no one else could enter the Presence of God Almighty.

He is the intensely Holy God of light and perfect righteousness, who Presented Himself in the holiest-of-all place in the temple i.e. e.g.David’s tabernacle, or temple of Solomon.

One of the things the preventative curtain/veil represents is the extremely antithetical nature of God in contradistinction to the nature of man. 

They must stay separated. If not – and we see this on a number of occasions in the Old Testament – God can only consume, judge and eradicate the carrier of sin, who ‘stumbles’ into His Presence. (e.g. I Samuel 6/19)

We do not have the slightest notion of how perfect God is and of how awful and despicable sin is to God.

I have tasted how sinful my own heart is in the Presence of God – on quite a few occasions.

And – but for the Grace and Mercy of God as the scripture says: Psalm 130:

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You.

There is no standing before Him. Thankfully there is a veil to keep us out!

However – and this is the good news: If God can find us righteous – we can go beyond the curtain and dwell in the Presence of God without the fear of destruction. But He can’t find our nature anything but sinful – that’s why He must IMPUTE righteousness to us, as a gift to be received or rejected.

That veil that keeps us out of God’s Presence, is taken away in Christ. Now all that remains is for us TO COME TO HIM, ASKING FOR MERCY.

Receiving Christ as our Saviour ‘enables’ God to find us IN His Son – He now sees that acceptable, holy and righteous nature is with us, which enables us to enter into His Presence without fear of retribution. 

Because we inherit a new nature, that takes away our sin, and makes us righteous in Christ, we can enter and dwell continuously in God’s Presence, – with us always – even to the end of our life or the world itself.

We become – by accepting Christ – righteous enough to enter the holiest of holies.

Those who do not accept Christ have a remaining veil over their minds, the veil of the sinful fleshly natural mind. That cuts us off from spiritually experiencing the Presence of God, or appreciating the bible.

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

The veil that separates us i.e. our own fleshly nature, our sinfulness, with all it’s tendencies, is no longer the irremovable obstacle that previously prevented us entering the Presence of God, and indeed His Person entering us.

So that every believer in Christ becomes a temple not made with hands, but one that allows God to dwell within.

Christ’s flesh on the cross, represented the destruction of all that separates us from God’s Presence. As His flesh was ripped so the veil in the temple at that time was rent in two at the same time:

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

The reality of the complete opposites, as found in God’s nature and ours – is never diminished. It never changes from being so. That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of The Holy Spirit is spirit.

THE BIGGEST TRUTH THAT MANKIND CANNOT GRASP when considering God – IS HOW COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DIFFERENT GOD’S HOLY NATURE IS IN COMPARISON TO MAN’S.

That’s why man can blaspheme, ridicule, accuse, mock and reject the God of the bible. He hasn’t a clue as to what he is doing in rejecting Christ.

He cannot grasp what all the fuss is about – when God corrects or punishes sin.

God is some big ogre who is out to condemn and bully mankind – is the perception of the unbeliever. He never stops to think that he is a sinner and deserving of punishment because of how ugly his nature is.

The same veil on his mind, the veil of unbelief also stops him seeing the love, mercy, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, life-giving, all-wise and forgiving God who wants to come and give us spiritual life and life more abundantly! The One who has made a way for the nature of sin to be replaced with His nature in our lives.

Acts 16/31

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”

Posting

POSTING 2021

Choosing what to post, is an exercise that all bloggers obviously and necessarily go through – pre-next posting.

Do we consider our ‘audience’ when doing so? We might ask: ‘What’s the point of posting on a topic that is contrary to the world view of the majority of our ‘followers’?’

Are we posting in order to sell snow to the inuits? Or e.g. In the politics of a certain nation – Are we posting to ‘Republicans’ sharing ‘Democrat(ic)’ things? Or are we perhaps breaking into everybody and anybody’s world view in order to direct them to our own? Are we out to convince them? Are we simply wanting to share what is – a joy to, or at least of interest to – us?

And so on… we could reason, as to the what’s, when’s and wherefore’s of our decision making process, in the context of audience.

How about we all agree as bloggers to give each blogger a day, and on that day we shall all visit their blog, and refrain from posting anything ourselves, on that very same day?

Wow! – they would get some traffic right? 😎

At this point I have to confess – I am not sure where this preamble is going…

So let me change gear and include the introduction of a change of thought, but related.

THE ‘OLD POSTS’ dilemma?

I’m sure someone will answer this. What do you do with OLD POSTS? Do you delete them?

Are we realistic about the fact that people will not take the time to search through our blogs to find them?

Old Posts have had their day?

No – not if never read by someone before…

But there/here, they ‘lie’ unattended to, like paintings in an art gallery vault – locked in the basement and never seeing the light of day.

What shall we do? Delete them?

Well, someone might tell me what they think?

Before I hit the delete button….

Perfectionism (tyrant?)

THE TYRANT OF PERFECTIONISM

I don’t know if you share such conclusions, but I often think of, time I have wasted in my life.

The thing is – I can, but won’t be – terrorised by that thought-tyrant.

The thought that we could have done better, been more profitably employed, accomplished more, been a better servant, given more, took a right turn instead of a left at a particular juncture in life, been more adventurous, stepped out in faith more and so it goes on.

And unfortunately I too readily, become a candidate for the deposition of such thoughts. This is borne out of a basic desire inherent in most ‘normal’ people – the desire to do well, be morally upright, accomplish something, and so on.

The most important motivation for the professing Christian is to please God and to be in obedience.

But when you are overwhelmed with your own failures one aught to inoculate oneself with a good dose of reality.

Because such shortcomings, are common to all humans.

To be perfectly free from such conclusions of sinfulness or imperfection is impossible. 

There was only One who fulfilled the call of perfect timing and the perfect use of time, coupled with His morally perfect life.

An examination of the life of Jesus, should leave us aghast at such perfectionism!

I however, am easily disappointed in yours truly, sometimes a justified disappointed for a real reason, sometimes not justified, because of the perfectionist tyrant, trying to unfairly discourage.

One needs to know the difference between legitimate desirable self-examination and awareness and morbid introspection.

One needs to keep one’s conscience healthy – yes. But also be aware – 

II Corinthians 2/

…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

You can become aware of this perfectionist tyranny besetting your moral aspirations, when you examine your own thinking. It is by your own contrivance, as you are overwhelmed by a ‘million’ (imaginary?) things you are not doing.

You can also realise that it can be the result of a dark power that is engaged in sending fiery darts into your mind.

Ephesians 6/16

…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

So your sense of imperfection and disappointment with yourself, can be the result of your own invention or demonically inflicted.

There is a whole biblical teaching too long to go into in this post, that establishes the alien-workings of darkness summed up in the apostle Paul’s words to us:

Ephesian 6/

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

The Only Living and True God is not such a tyrant, but at the same time, is only too aware of our shortcomings.

His desire for us is firstly and foremostly that we engage with Him in relationship. Then as any good Father – He then starts to help us to mature and grow out of our immature behaviour.

And – as a by-product – make better spiritual use of our time.

We cannot live in perfection or spiritual maturity straight away after we have encountered and submitted to Jesus. In the sense that the Christian life is an ongoing growing experience.

That’s why we account that His long-suffering is our salvation.

Christ offers us perfect acceptance when we choose Him as Lord. This is our perfection. It suffices God’s requirements, that we ask Him into our lives.

II Peter 3/

15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

Most(?) people want to live right. Do good and be a follower of what is right. But they can’t find the ‘how to’ of the whole thing. And all of us are blind to many of our shortcomings. 

Until we meet Jesus and allow Him to start to change us from the inside-out, we shall remain the same – unchanged.

So yes we do need to be perfected, but not by the dictates of the perfectionist tyrant.

Footnote: It could be suggested that the last thing this secular world needs is to be reminded that perfectionism can be a tyrant. Some might suggest – no one is the least bit interested in moral perfection. But is excusing any and all behaviour, else why still indulge in it?

Callers

CALLERS 2021

When the preacher comes

They don’t let him in

They stay submerged

Hiding behind

sofa or wheelie bin

            …

When the Electricity woman comes

Seeking to read their meter

They open up the door

And are happy to greet her

            …

When the Rent man arrives

In his long pale coat

If they don’t have the money

They’re ready to take him by the throat

            …

When the window cleaner knocks

They bargain with him for a price

If he only charged a fiver

That would be nice

            …

When the pest-control man calls

And their anxiety subsides

They offer him some tea

Glad to see – the rats flee

            …

When the preacher calls yet again

They thought they had made it plane

That preachers are not welcome here

They don’t need eternal life it would appear