Monthly Archives: June 2019

Seeing the Invisible

SEEING THE INVISIBLE 

There is always the mysterious side of prayer.

When it comes to what actually happens in the unseen spiritual realm.

As Christians we are called to see into this realm.

How much we do – or don’t, depends on the Grace we have been given individually, it depends on our measure of faith. It depends on our own dedication and faithfulness to God.

After we release our prayers – usually through inner desires communicated to The Lord Jesus, (our representative before the Heavenly Father), or that which we audibly and visibly release from our beings in a prayer meeting with others – what happens after that?

Indeed we have limited knowledge of what this ‘triggers’ in heaven.

Having released our words into the spiritual invisible realm, sending them to our advocate, – it is interesting that we often set about immediately to judge the results by what we see or don’t see in the visible realm, the natural world.

And yet the scripture says: …7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

We are told in the following scripture that Faith sees the invisible:

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

“Seeing Him who is invisible”

That about sums up the difference between the two realms – or worlds – if you like.

In fact we hold a privileged and blessed position if our faith does not depend on seeing things in the natural world – Jesus communicating to doubting Thomas says:

29 …“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What’s it to be, are we to walk looking at the visible or the invisible?

Paul came to spiritual visions and revelations and expected more.

You and I at least need to look in the spirit – indeed, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Prophets could often see the invisible – that’s why of course, they were referred to as ‘seers’.

Who agrees that it is a piece of cake to walk according to the visible world we live in?

Where all our senses respond to the natural.

So when we release our prayers – we are exhorted contrary to our natural senses – we are exhorted to look at the invisible to see our prayers answered.

Jesus did this consistently and into the natural came the answers.

At least we of little faith – can look into the word of God that speaks of the invisible things to see, the spiritual realities.

We must cultivate our inner life with Christ.

We need to realise that there is a seeing literally – a God-given vision with our eyes closed or open. It can be an ‘open vision’, but also it is – we must realise – our understanding that gets to see. 

‘The eyes of our understanding are enlightened’. This too is seeing the invisible. But spiritual things are spiritually discerned. They are more than words on a page. They are more than some form of dead theology.

There are obvious examples from scripture of ones who needed their inner eyes enlightened so that the invisible was made visible. 

What they saw remained invisible it’s just that now they could see or see into the invisible.

2 examples –

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Elisha could already see into the invisible, now the young man received grace and help to also see what was invisible.

Any glimpse we get into the spiritual realm, helps our faith. Calling and causing us to realise that Jesus came to make the invisible father – visible. But now He calls us to see Him in the spirit.

All we can do is keep looking in prayer and into the eternal word, and be open to God according to His word, and only according to His word – granting us sight to see what the natural eyes cannot, or understand what our natural understanding cannot comprehend.

Let’s not pretend we see things, vainly puffed up by our fleshly minds – but at the same time – let us not sell ourselves short. As Christians we have this privilege bought-for-us at the cross of calvary, after which the Holy Spirit was given to lead us into all (therefore more) spiritual truth.

We are already blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (the unseen realm) in Christ Jesus.

More Lord we pray!

The problem with the law

THE PROBLEM WITH THE LAW

In my last post I set about establishing the need for the law, now I want to look at the limiting factor to it’s effectiveness.

We looked at the need for the law to highlight right from wrong, good from bad.

The law was given by Moses, but the first law we ever see in scripture was communicated to the first man and the first woman.

Later God wrote the ten commandments on stone, delivered ‘downhill’ by Moses.

That first ‘law’ given to a man named Adam and a woman named Eve was:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[c] shall surely die.”

For mankind’s highest good a prohibition was instituted by God. A law, in other words. “You shall not eat etc…”

Woman and man violated that law, with catastrophic consequences.

God’s created mankind were now in rebellion, having inherited a fallen nature.

Fast forwarding, we understand that the giving of the law previous to the New Testament, as in the ten commandments and as in Leviticus etc. was half the answer.

It was incomplete as a way of addressing the sin problem. If you like it was the first half of a whole.

There was a divine order of things, first the law was given, then the second covenant arrived in the timing of God.

That’s why Christ came to fulfil/complete the law. Not only pointing out the problem, but providing the answer as to how it (sin) could be defeated and righteousness restored to the human race.

Speaking He says: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

However, although the law is pure and holy, something more was needed than pointing out the sin problem. What was needed was the impartation of the ability to overcome sin.

So the law was limited until the bringing in of a better hope took place, in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He fulfilled the requirements of the law and offered His power, the power of an endless life, to His disciples, thus providing the enablement necessary to overcome sin’s dominion in our lives.

The law called for the perfect standard of God. But it was rendered ineffective by man’s fallen nature (flesh), and our inherent inability to respond to the law’s demands:

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh…

The law can only accomplish it’s life changing work in the hand of The Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God alone, who takes the word of God and instead of it being written on stone – He writes it on the human mind and spirit.

But He must be invited to do so by mankind.

This enables us to have the mind of Christ, and with it, His enablement to live like Him.

Because we still live in this body, we often fail to attain Christ’s standard and are become transgressors of the law again, when we stop relying on The Holy Spirit and the Living Word of God, to keep our minds pure and free.

We are told that the law on it’s own was an incomplete answer by the expression here, of ‘For what the law could not do…’

So there was something the law could not do. Regardless of what that was, it reveals the truth that it was not complete as a solution to the problem, due to the fallen nature of man and his inability to keep it.

The law did not change man, but remained to educate him as a schoolmaster, teaching him he was wrong, and pointing him to the coming solution.

We are told that it was the fallen nature of man, that rendered the law ineffective (weak through the flesh), when it came to overcoming sin in our lives.

Christ came therefore to fulfil the law by taking the punishment for sin that the law demanded, becoming the required sacrifice for sin – it (the law) – also demanded for justice to be done, and forgiveness and atonement through Christ The Lamb of God – came to be released.

Restoration of the sinner could then take place – with release from the law’s penalty – then following, to the repentant sinner who believes.

His sacrifice provided forgiveness, because our sin was now atoned for. Forgiveness must be sought, and the gift of His righteousness received by a willing heart.

So the law is good and acceptable, but because of the fallen nature we each live in – it is unable to change us. Only Christ working in us by The Holy Spirit can change us.

The New Testament, the New Covenant, the New Agreement, God wishes us to enter into in partnership with Him – is joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is freedom from the dominion of sin, it is life and life more abundantly, it is the inner spirit of man coming alive.

The cross of Christ is the place and time in history when this New Agreement was released to mankind for the receiving.

Refuse to receive and we are left under the law – condemned and guilty.

This is a vast subject, it is part of the mystery that was hidden from man until the appropriate time.

There is much to say.

But a post is limited in it’s content, nevertheless those who have ears to hear will hear!

Right and wrong – good and bad?

RIGHT AND WRONG – GOOD AND BAD?

You’ve heard it said: “There’s good and bad in everyone…”

(as an aside – check out Paul McCartney’s song: Ebony and Ivory)

* “There’s good and bad in everyone…” Now there’s a statement for you.

What does it mean?

Have you got six weeks, while I address the whole subject?

The following will have to do as we make a start anyway.

Concerning our opening statement* we can take the easy route – and simply agree, and leave it at that. Most people think they know what is meant by this statement.

But then, is it also right that there are varying degrees of good and varying degrees of bad? I would say it is self-evident that there are.

However that the human – nature is intrinsically and mysteriously flawed is also self-evident.

I could go for my preacher hat straight away and lay some scriptures on you.

But instead I’d like to lead-up to that possibility.

Firstly where does our personal idea of good and bad come from i.e. in our individual experience?

Well – keeping it simple – it comes from our inner knowledge.

We may feel philosophically highfalutin and hold the view that – really good and bad is subjective and there are no absolutes when it comes to the subject.

But then things happen.

Your house is broken into and your possessions stolen, or worse still your house is burnt to the ground.

The person holding the view that good and bad is a subjective thing only, are suddenly flabbergasted by this event.

Rightly offended or devastated by this intrusion and assault upon their sensibilities.

So can we say then that it is universally subjective, i.e. common to us all to feel this response? I think we can.

So it’s not too big a statement to say that we would all feel the same violation in this instance.

Good and bad is more than simply something dependent upon our subjective perspective, but based on what the law reveals to us all.

Even those who reject the law of God, as in the law provided by Jehovah, as in provided by Christ The Lord, have – we are told – a form of the law written within the human psyche.

Romans 2:14-15 King James Version (KJV)

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

This is something that is inescapable, unless we hold to some kind of nihilistic anarchistic self-destructive philosophy. We cannot escape the sense of right and wrong that we all have.

Now of course in certain things, what is acceptable or not acceptable varies from culture to culture.

But let’s start by acknowledging that there is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the first place.

And to simplify the whole discussion – I hold to the law of God as revealed in the Old and New Testament. I believe it is the supreme guide for all of mankind.

Those who do not see the Bible as inerrant, have reason to hold the view that certain immoral practices are morally acceptable.

After all who or what has the right to challenge their point of view? If there is no supreme being who makes His will clearly known to mankind and has given a law to inform us of what is acceptable and not?

The Bible is an inerrant divinely inspired pure guide to all behaviour, telling us clearly what is right and what is wrong.

If you want to discuss a particular way of acting or living you consider acceptable i.e. ‘right’, but I find it ‘wrong’ – my reference straight away is to the bible, as I state my case.

But If you do not accept it (the bible) as the perfect guide – there is no need for further discussion. That’s where we disagree.

No need to argue. The bible plainly says it is wrong, but you feel we have somehow moved on from what it says. Whereas I consider it (the bible) inerrant and there is no moving on from it that does not end in disaster for the human race.

The bible is not open to private interpretation, and can’t be twisted to suit our self-created, self-centred preferences when it comes to behaviour.

We all need to understand it better but when it says: ‘you shall not steal’ it means it.

Too simplistic?

No – not when we are looking for a foundation on which to build before we discuss nuances.

If we do not have a starting point, we have only multiple human-dreamt-up preferences described in scripture as:

…but every man did that which was right in his own eyes

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…

So a world full of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes is confusion personified.

There is a higher revealed order. There is a universal guide found in the world’s best-seller. The so called contradictions man finds in the book, are the result of man’s unaided conclusions as he exalts his own intellect above that of The Most High, and lays aside weightier matters whilst ‘straining at gnats’ with his own ingenuity. (Matthew 23/24)

Thinking himself superior than the divine wisdom revealed in the New Testament.

A call to humility is God’s first requirement. Then we have a chance of change and have a chance of the eyes of our understanding being enlightened.

We read Paul The Apostle, as he starts us on the road to understanding law, in the epistle to the Romans saying: Romans 7/

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

So sin exists – it is the universal affliction in the nature of man – and in case we are in any doubt about this – the law keeps us right.

But this is only part of the story of the good news of the gospel. Nevertheless in an increasingly lawless world, it seems man does not want to be corrected, by any kind of law.

But in the governments of all countries there exists an implementation of law, whether they implement the righteous law of God, or what is the dictates of a dreamt up regime that seeks to rule with an iron hand, calling for bondage and servitude to their selfish demands.

Breaking the law of God – and we look for punishment. Sincere confession of having broken the law and The God of all grace is willing to forgive and receive us as sons.

There is good and bad in everyone? Maybe, but perfection? – No.

That’s why the gospel offers us salvation as a free gift, if we acknowledge the scripture: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

No one escapes the punishment of the law, unless someone else takes their punishment.

Thank you Jesus for taking mine!

‘Corporate Mentality’

‘Corporate mentality’

There’s a world of bloggers out there, as you know. And all kinds of variations regarding levels of involvement.

Some are well and truly ‘clued-in’ on the technical aspects of being part of the internet fraternity. They maximise their noticeability-factor by operating the best ‘business plan’ to do so.

Some read much. Comment much. Post much.

Others, well, their involvement goes up or down the quantity scale of communication.

I’m well down the scale for a number of reasons.

Maybe it’s a generation thing? But I am more interested in lifting a paintbrush to paper, than I am in all the workings of the internet. All the ‘how to’s’ of blog promotion. I may need a proverbial kick-up the backside, as you tell me to ‘keep-up’.

Whilst earning a living in a newspaper office, as a typesetter – I had of course to daily familiarise myself with the latest techno-new-workings, as they applied to page make-up and layouts, typesetting et al.

But now I have moved on from that job, and no longer need to stay abreast of the latest developments.

I choose not to, for no other reason than lack of motivation. It just doesn’t float my boat. I could set myself to once again take an interest, and would even concede that after a kick-start, I would actually find it interesting. But all this takes time – my thought is – too much time. I prefer doing other things.

But with self-imposed limitations, I kind of – only learn and do what I must. Minimal in other words.

I don’t do facebook, I am not on twitter, WhatsApp – never heard of it.😎 (perhaps I should add – pre-kutb)

I don’t use blogging ‘tricks’ to promote, get noticed etc. as much as others do.

So where am I going with all this?

I’m leading up to mentioning the fact that the human race is changing in (perhaps I’m arresting the term) it’s ‘corporate mind-set’. But not for the better. The internet and subsequent new language is only one example, of where things are changing dramatically. 

Yes changes are inevitable, but is change – simply because it is new – automatically worthwhile? I don’t think so.

The digitalisation of the world – some would say – is becoming digitalisation of our brains.

Apart from the whole technical side of the internet – it’s influence upon our lives must also be factored-in when asking questions on the subject of morality.

At times, it would seem, no one, considers that ‘new’ could possibly not be better.

Anything that bucks the trend of any kind of innovation and suggests that perhaps it is retrogressive as opposed to the blind acceptance by many that it is ‘all wonderful’ – because it is new, gets dismissed out of hand, and labelled draconian or victorian.

Unfortunately this logic is applied to morals too. Which is my main point.

So that ‘join the 21st century’ is how others dismiss any suggestion that the world could be going backwards by going forwards into anything and everything the mind of man dreams up.

And so I slide on to moral issues – but slide off again, in the sense of attempting anything in-depth.

As, this short piece is simply to ask the over-excited child in us – if the maturation of our moral-mentality is suffering from stunted growth?

Can we learn that not everything new is good, demonstrated in the violation of unchangeable  moral precepts for new concoctions where the unacceptable now becomes acceptable in the name of progress.

Is there some kind of alien force influencing our minds and rendering us slowly incapable of knowing right from wrong?

There is.

You should have grasped that I do not refer to the need for The Dummies Guide to the Internet – but to the Dummies Guide to Morality.

Another thing is that the ‘success’ of being popular is the yardstick many use to measure whether something is worthwhile or not. We want to go with the crowd.

Mistake.

It’s one thing to wake up to the fact that many are becoming robots – succumbing to the acceptance and dictates of popular unquestioned culture and pseudo morality – it’s another thing to do anything about it.

I of course offer the real gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer. If you can wade your way through certain wrong pre-conceived notions as to what that is – you are on your way to examining the story as it really/truly is – in the bible.

Will we realise that bending the rules that merges into breaking the rules – needs to hit the buffer stop before we begin to put the hell train in reverse?

The scripture says: Romans 12/

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The renewal of the mind as opposed to zombie acceptance of anything new into your mind, is what is required if we are to see the flood tide of warped mentality halted.

But only Christ can provide the example and the teaching we all need to begin to understand what this renewal is all about.

In a short post – we can only begin the journey of understanding by saying that renewal of the mind comes from spending time with God, and ‘eating’ His thoughts (Bible) so that His mind is in us as a result.

Someone once communicated that non-Christians had accused him of being brain-washed – to which he replied “Ah yes. But I had dirty old brains anyway.”

Where is your mind-set and where is your mind headed (if you’ll pardon the pun)?

Is the baby being thrown out with the bath water when it comes to morality? Is there any real progression in the human races moral-mentality?

The facts speak louder than words if we need convinced we are in steep moral decline.

As I finish writing this, I hear on the news of another disgraceful slaughter of human lives.

Let’s seek that moral and mental renewal that comes from Christ alone.