If I told you, they were giving away an introductory voucher for a large sum of money down at the new store. And I wasn’t lying. You have two options – suspicious response, or allowing the information into your psyche as you believe me and make your way down to the store for the hand-out.
So it is with the truth – we either respond with suspicion, our minds entertaining all kinds of other information by which we question what is shared with us, by way of comparison.
We don’t wish to be gullible, especially with the arrival of ‘the scam’, and it’s spread in epidemic proportions.
But letting the truth in is more important than simply hearing the truth.
There are many things offered to us, which we do well to refuse to allow in on us.
But at some point we must allow ‘true truth’ to get inside us, we must yield to it, and allow it to effect and change our lives.
The one million dollar question to be asked though, quite clearly is: ‘is it really the truth?’
If we are convinced it is and it isn’t, we are in big trouble.
Especially in light of eternal issues, and in the context of eternal truth.
The truth is a person, the second person of the Godhead Jesus Christ. (John 14/6)
What’s the response? Suspicion and comparison with the collection of information and knowledge you have obtained throughout your life’s journey – or in a child-like way – reception of the stated fact?
Letting this truth inside you, calls for more and deeper examination once it is inside, once it has been received, entertained, allowed space in your brain.
The only thing to avoid is ignoring it.
Ignoring is good if it is not the truth. Ignoring (when it is the truth) is to remain ignorant of the truth.
Paul, one of the major leaders of all time in the church, was a man on a mission to destroy the Christian church, he was as maybe most of you will know – stopped supernaturally in his tracks. It happened on a road to Damascus. (Acts 9/1-7)
After his conversion, and he became a follower of Jesus Christ he had this to say:
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
NOTICE HE PRACTICED HIS RELIGION IGNORANTLY AND IN UNBELIEF.
That’s where, as they say, I rest my case. The truth is the truth, even if I am accused of dogmatism when I share it.
There are recurring questions that have been asked throughout the history of art.
The two simple questions I have in mind are:
What is art? And/or – what is poetry?
Perhaps I am least qualified to ask the questions, or offer an answer, as perhaps I don’t take either too seriously, or should I say: serious enough, as is the manner of some.
I enjoy both creative-expressions, but my spiritual aspirations are inclined to place art and poetry in the shadow category of less importance.
I may therefore, fail to get a listen from you, as you think of the artist or poet or art critic you hold in high esteem, and to whose opinion you turn quickly, and firstly, to help you form your own conclusions.
But in light of seedsinmotiontruthnart – and blogging in general, I thought I might explain.
ART – art for me can’t seem to get too far past painting. Although it would seem that painting almost needs re-defined as it seems it is becoming only antique.
With all that makes up the post-modern conglomeration of art-expression through conceptualism and any other ‘ism’ et al, painting seems to have transitioned from the place ofpremier expression in the upper echelons of the art world, to a secondary place.
Of course the pendulum is always swinging when it comes to ‘art-fashion’, and no sooner has the statement in my last paragraph been made, when it becomes redundant, in our eclectic ever changing hodge-podge art world.
So my: ‘art is painting’ statement is limited, uncool, retrogressive, etc. – however – once again one needs to add: i.e. ‘at the moment!’
For those who have followed this blog from the beginning and are aware of the changeover from ‘posted paintings’, to Christian writing, and for those who might be curious – my art at the moment seems to be pre-occupied in exploring the abstract (see above).
Even though painting in the art world, as in applying a physical substance to a physical ground seems to have taken somewhat of a backseat, it is somewhat paradoxical (though I admit it’s guesswork only, on my part), to state that I reckon that the manufacturers of art materials for painting – have never had it so good?
From what little I do notice as to latest trends – would I be right in thanking New York for keeping painting alive?
POETRY – well, here – I am even less qualified, as I am the exception that proves the rule, namely, that a good reader or a widely read reader, is a good writer. Or that a good poet has to be a prolific reader. I’m not an obsessive reader, by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a widely read one.
Guess I better hide in the same shadow of less importance, that I have placed my paintings and poetry in?
Here I go anyway, expressing what poetry is for me. Poetry is the enjoyment of words. I guess that’s about it – my raison d’être of poetry.
Poetry in my view, is not restricted to definitions of what it should be. I favour ‘words for words sake’ running parallel with ‘art for art’s sake’.
This can be dangerous I realise.
As when I write poetry it could be mistaken for profundity, when at times that is far from the case.
I’m just enjoying the expression of words.
At times profundity will be involved in the poem, but sometimes I will write at the other end of the scale, allowing myself to have fun.
Which will leave me disqualified from being taken as a ‘serious poet’. The other end of the scale verging on Edward Lear type ‘nonsense’.
Then again somewhere in the middle is the goal, but the enjoyment of words strung together, can be a major concern of mine.
Also sometimes I ‘play the part’ of the someone who is mentioned in the poem. Or the poem expresses a concept or view simply because it has emerged un-premeditated (as it were) in the course of writing the poem – as I juggle with the words.
An example would be a poem I wrote entitled: ‘The Biker’s Reunion’ – truth is I have never ridden a motorbike. (Apart from an off-road bike my son owned when younger, when one ride was enough for me!)
The person’s story in the poem may not be my story. The description I use of a particular scenario is simply playing with words. The conclusion one comes to as expressed in the poem, may be the opposite to my own personal opinion.
So what does that make it? Poetic fiction?
And so on…
There has to be a ‘…and so on…’ to cover all the possibilities of the varying ways poetry can be enjoyed and emerge from the pen.
In short it’s all imagination – sometimes with reference to ‘my reality’ but equally just as many times – not.
I enjoy words, and putting them together. That’s about it.
CHRISTIANITY – My Christian writings, however are a field apart. I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I try to write things as I genuinely believe them to be.
I’m thankful to God for His enablement. I’m thankful to God for the ways He has opened the eyes of my understanding in the face of Jesus Christ. I know in part, according to scripture, but the part I know I hold dearly. I know what I have been delivered from.
And if my poetry does not reference directly – my spiritual life, this is because I have too much to say plainly and without apology when it comes to Christian Truth and if the poetic form is not my choice, it is because of my priority which is to make things clear.
Paul The Apostle speaking: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
So in Christian writing – I write to pass on what I am convinced about, and so therefore mostly choose, straightforward language to do so.
I write as a scribe, teaching the Christian Gospel, without an over indulgence in wordsmith-ing.
I enjoy wordsmith-ing mostly, rather, through poetry.
Spiritually speaking – I’m called to be a scribe.
I pen what I come to understand from the scriptures.
But art and poetry are fun and enhance our everyday lives.
I cannot take my Christian writing seriously enough, as it is a matter of life and death.
I cannot take my art and poetry too seriously as it is to do with intellectual, visual and emotional enjoyment of life in this natural world and there is so much more to life – the afterlife.
Of course my poetry can have purpose and meaning, but I always bear in mind that ‘…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God’. (I Corinthians 3/19)
Poetry and literaturedoesn’t compete with the weightier matters of spiritual life – in light of an awaited eternity.
So – suspect that in my poetry, I might have my tongue in cheek sometimes, at the same time you may also find profundity and reference to the truth as it overlaps into the spiritual, – or there again – not, as the case may be.
There is no fixed rule in art or poetry.
But I will continue to obey God and write for Him, while providing you with Poetic Interludes.
So in summary, my Christian writing is written that you might believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and through believing may have life in His name.
My poetry and art follow the dictates of imagination.
Most of us like to hear and live in good news. We all thrive on encouragement. To feel we and our efforts are worthwhile.
Accomplishing goals, perhaps in our work situation, and being congratulated as we advance the business in whatever way, is very rewarding.
We know that children thrive on encouragement, during both their formative and teenage years.
And a lot of us can look back and perhaps surmise that we should have received more of said encouragement, as we grew up. Looking back also on the fact that perhaps we should have encouraged our own children more than we did?
There’s an old doo-wop song (maybe I’ve miss-genre’d it) that goes something along the lines of: “I love how you love me”.
That’s an interesting line. Does it mean I love the fact that you are in love with me, or is it a case of ‘I’m so glad you love me, as I love you’, ie. I love your reciprocation, or is it the particular way that the love is shown?
Everyone thrives when they are treated well.
There are many Christian ministries that make the edification of the believer their priority.
In some Christian cultures more than others – everything must be and remain positive. There is no room for the negative note. It is assumed that any negative sentence in some way negates faith.
Sometimes this lacks reality. It can drift into a sugar-coated smarmy-type message if it becomes insincere.
Conversely – other Christian messages only express what they are against. So much so that we never find out what they are for.
What I appreciate about the Bible is that it only ever ‘says it like it is’.
Both positively and negatively.
The fact that the human race has fallen, and is in need of salvation – is a negative fact. It’s broken and needs fixed.
The fact that God is Love – incorporating His Divine-love (Agape) attributes of love, such as justice, mercy, righteousness, judgement, longsuffering, joy, peace, correction, compassion, empathy, healing, acceptance, eternal life, deliverance, and so on and so on…
Should cause us to wonder why we are running away from Him? The one who is real and only speaks and says it ‘like it is’?
God is sincere.
I was recently preaching, and shared the point that most ideologies have a smattering of truth. It’s only (to use my illustration) when you lick the chocolate from the bar, you find out what the rest of it consists of.
And if it’s marzipan it’s going in the bin, as far as I am concerned.
Now there are professing Christians, who are not the real McCoy. Just as there are charlatans in every other walk of life that we can think of. From con-men salespersons, to rogue builders, from corrupt governmental officials to sport-cheats. Usually what is underneath – eventually comes to the surface, and we find out that the smattering of positives are a gloss for what is below.
Truth(s) on the surface are not enough, regardless of how ‘positive’ and ‘seductive’ they may seem. It’s what is underneath that is important, what is the foundation on which the ideology is built?
As far as the Christian message is concerned – Paul, God’s wise-masterbuilder tells us: 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The same God who says: He so loved the world that He gave His son a ransom for many, is the same God who says He will turn the wicked into hell. (Psalm 9/17)
If He was only interested in sales-talking you into His kingdom and onto His ‘team’ as it were, He would leave the negative realities of life to the side. But He doesn’t, because He is the God of all truth.
So when you are told, for example, to follow your dreams. Stick with it and prosper in whatever you set yourself to do.
All of this kind of talk may well be necessary, and fruitful. But it can pre-suppose that there is nothing wrong in the world that needs addressed and changed.
The broken need positive love. But the negative is: life has taken it’s toll and that’s a fact. For all kinds of reasons people suffer, and not to state that fact out of some kind of perceived performance necessary in positive thinking is to live in fantasy land.
True faith confesses the positive message of Christ’s deliverance and His willing impartation of all that is spiritually positive to see us through this dark world.
So let’s hear the facts of life as they are, but let us fully and completely embrace the positive message of a Loving Saviour, who lays down His life to take it up again in resurrection power. Life-giving life-changing power to transform us internally to embrace the wonderful positives of a walk with Him.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Matthew 14. Mark 6. Luke 9. John 6. John 6/32. Exodus 16.
Jesus had healed sick folk, and now they came for more.
So He healed all the sick in this crowd also. It was getting late – time for food – God knows you need food.
The crowd however were ill-prepared, it had been the excitement of seeing the miracles that drove them to this new place, seemingly without forethought for necessary natural food. So thrilled were they, by the spiritual food that Christ provided.
Andrew said – “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
How far will this blog post word-meal go? Enough for everybody?
Unless God takes hold of it – it won’t go far.
The young boy came to see the celebrity – (but more than a celebrity was here) but the boy had come prepared (food-wise) – he was one of the few, who had done so.
Was he there because he heard that ‘no man ever spoke like this man?’
Why – that fact alone should be examined by all, to see if it is true, – as true it is!
Peter had the perfect-take on the words this God-man spoke, exclaiming that ‘He had the words of Eternal Life’.
Think of it ‘Eternal words’.
Let’s examine the sequence of food provision.
NOTICE THE SEQUENCE –
FIRST – The HUMAN – in this case a young boy, who it would seem had more forethought and practical common sense than the adults – gives what he has to the DIVINE.
God doesn’t ask for something we cannot give Him, He only asks for all! Your body, soul and spirit in keeping with His desire for reciprocal love.
SECONDLY – THE DIVINE does something with what the human has willingly given. He in conference with the rest of the Trinity (the Triune God) (looks up to heaven) and the DIVINE influence takes hold of the natural food, and it multiplies supernaturally.
THIRDLY – He gives the influenced HUMAN PROVISION back to the HUMAN SERVERS (12 of them).
Sometimes God takes things off-us and gives it/them back super-enhanced and multiplied.
FOURTHLY – THE HUMANS give it to their FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS. This is how what the (HUMAN) preacher supplies – becomes something else in the hand of God.
So here’s the order in this instance – HUMAN – DIVINE – HUMAN – HUMAN.
There were twelve baskets of leftover fragments. Where in such a remote place did they get twelve baskets? Well – they came in a boat, usually a fisherman’s boat.
I reckon there were plenty of fish-baskets on such a boat.
But the twelve baskets were ‘waste not want not’. On another occasion (Old Testament) God sent manna (likewise exercising His supernatural influence), from heaven. But if we are to be fed spiritually we need reminded that…
…Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord [a]under the supervision of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread.
6 Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know [or personally experience] the Lord, and the word of the Lord was not yet revealed [directly] to him.
8 So the Lord called Samuel a third time. And he stood and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli understood that it was the Lord [who was] calling the boy.9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and it shall be that if He calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’”
The state of affairs regarding the nation of Israel at the time of Samuel’s birth and during his childhood growth – were not good., to put it mildly. And leadership (Eli & Sons) led the way in failing God.
Just as the times in which we live are not good, to put it mildly.
One could go into the historic aspect of what was happening, but I prefer to sum it all up by saying – the major result of the times they lived in, was that a revelation of the divine, was very rare, if not completely missing, because of the disobedience of God’s people.
Somewhat similarly Elijah, at one time, looked around him and concluded that he only – was left. He only – had any godliness in his life.
I Kings 19/
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword.I AM THE ONLY ONE LEFT, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
Romans 11/4 – But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
God, despite Elijah’s perspective on how things were – spiritually in the country, sees everything and everyone, and had reserved by His divine influence upon human hearts, seven thousand who had not bowed in worship to the false gods of the day.
Despite the spiritual decline – God reserved for Himself many who had not bowed to the prevailing moral perversity.
Mankind leaning completely on his own understanding and clinging to his rejection of anything God-given, without as it were, giving an inch, causes a situation where God seems the proverbial million miles away from any individual or people.
At such a time as the one referred to in Samuel’s youth,God sovereignly chose and began to speak to this young man, who had to learn how to hear and understand the voice of God.
The ageing Eli had failed, but though not up-to-date in his relationship with The Lord God, he nevertheless knew of the reality of God’s existence and the reality of the fact that when God chose to speak and give revelation, He both – had His own way of doing it, and nothing could stop Him.
Eli therefore, was able to instruct young Samuel about how to respond when the voice of God came to Him.
Now – man to this day can easily dream-up Pseudo revelations and make claims that he has heard from God.
However conversely, those who genuinely hear from God – as Samuel did – may find that they are placed in the same category as these false prophets, despite their genuine authenticity.
The Lord Jesus was accused of working with the devil, so the genuine receivers of Divine revelation will similarily be accused of charlatanism.
But the people of the land were dull of hearing, and so today, many don’t have a clue about spiritual matters.
They dismiss true Christianity out of hand. Preferring to exalt and magnify their own intellectual efforts.
Empathetically though, It is difficult to get past our own thoughts and feelings when it comes to spiritual matters. Especially if there seems to be no ‘open vision’, in the land.
In times of moral collapse, God’s influence or intervention seems to be missing, and evidence of His existence or interest in mankind is perceived wrongly, to have disappeared.
Stop and think this over – ‘What is God’s perspective on mankind?’ It’s easier to be conscious of our own perspective on God. But what is God’s perspective on you!
And so in times of ‘no open revelation’, many have a totally limited minuscule viewpoint when it comes to understanding the things of the Living God.
Mankind drifts further and further away from God’s right way.
But what about the seven thousand today? And what about the young man or woman God has His hand upon, and is teaching how to hear His voice?
When this was happening with Samuel, only Eli knew. Elijah didn’t know about the seven thousand, until God revealed it.
Will (this young man or woman today) know when God is speaking? Samuel initially didn’t, yet he grew up to be the man who knew and experienced God’s ‘open vision’ and divine revelation on many occasions.
And many others knew that he could hear from God.
Is God speaking to you? Will you know when He is? Maybe you need an Eli to help you realise that He has already spoken to you on a number of occasions already?
Following my ‘Deluge’ post – I thought of a good follow-up in the words of the piece below:
This hymn was written by James Rowe (1912). I’m not familiar with the gentleman – nor do I sing old style classic hymns, very often, but the lyrics are solid, sound, and summarise true Christianity’s message. I’m told that Mr. Rowe was born in England worked in Dublin, and went to America, he was very prolific in his writing.
In times of extreme flooding there seems little that anyone can do. The floods being so bad that all preparations or precautions taken, are swept aside, so overwhelming is the problem.
That the moral decline of mankind is sweeping the world like a flood is obvious to most reasonable thinking people.
Established norms of behaviour are challenged continuously, whilst all manner of excuses for all kinds of self-indulgence are made.
It seems the defences set in place by God’s Word are eroded, and no one quite knows how to respond to the degradation of morality as it disappears beneath the flood tide.
To go with the flow of the tide, to be swept away by the deluge, is an option given to us all. You must decide. I must decide. Do I hold fast to that which is good – or do I let my life slip beneath the flood?
I Thessalonians 5/20
Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
‘Lest at any time’ – this is such a time.
Let’s find and gather with those who don’t wish to drown!
Freedom of course means different things to different people.
Hostages – there have been many over the years.
My mind goes back to John McCarthy, Brian Keenan and Terry Waite.
Freedom can be entering the western world again, after the confinement and ill-treatment received at the hands of captors.
Freedom if you like, can be moving from one place to another. Getting out of something or somewhere.
Freedom can also be leaving behind an addictive lifestyle.
In history mankind has made heroes and leaders out of persons who have lead the way in delivering nations from the oppression of the enemy.
Freedom therefore can be represented by a figure-head like Churchill for example.
In Colossians 1/13 we read of God’s great deliverance from captivity.
13 Who hath delivered us FROM the power of darkness, and hath translated us INTO the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Here we read of – a being translatedfrom – to.
Delivered from a dark power that hangs over us and being translated into a place of freedom.
Some have the warped idea that becoming a Christian is being translated from an enjoyable carefree holiday of over-indulgence, and anything-goes lifestyle into a life of strict boring disciplines, characterised by an unnatural adherence to straitjacket servitude, through a set of kill-joy rules.
Sorry but that’s not the life I have been translated into.
If you want that kind of Pseudo Christianity – then please look elsewhere.
In Romans 6/18 we also read:
18 Being then made free FROM sin, ye BECAME the servants of righteousness…
So again – ‘free from’ – to -‘ye became’.
Free from one state of being into another.
This freedom is a freedom of ‘spirit’.
Experiencing true liberation within our innermost being. Out of this inner relationship with the Living Christ comes a joy and a peace never before experienced. (John 14/7)
Moving from internal captivity – to inner liberation. (Romans 8/21) (II Corinthians 3/17)
All because, He offers everyone (who wants to receive) – life and life more abundantly (John 10/10).
Oh yes – trials and temptations will come to try to get us to return to the weak and beggarly elements of the fallen race, that bring us back into prison. (Galatians 4/9).
But we are exhorted to ‘stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free’ and this is the order of the day for all true Christians (Galatians 5/1).
May you know perhaps for the first time what it is to move from one state of being to another. The other being – a spiritual experience of real freedom through Christ The Lord.
And if you have already experienced what I speak of – may you return to the best place God has for you – in Him – and may you know the ‘Joy of The Lord being your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8/10)