Monthly Archives: November 2019

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.

Failure

Failure

I think it is safe to say that every human being suffers from a sense of failure in their life, at some point.

We can say that this is real or imaginary.

Questions get ravelled-up together. Questions such as – what is the purpose of life anyway? Or what have I really done with my life? Why have I not been more successful? Why do I not get invited to the party? Why can I not pass this driving test?

And so on…

Most of these have a sense of failure pending or following.

Not wanting to be boastful/big headed – we can be the first to admit that others seem to excel where we have failed.

But if we are at all logical – then we can add to the mix – ‘well what is success anyway?’

We have raised two or three children who are all doing well, who are solid and not neurotic or dysfunctional, but who perhaps themselves, lead a good home with balanced offspring.

Whereas over here the head of a multi-million pound/dollar conglomerate – a millionaire – well, his children are rebellious and in rehab.

So who has been successful in this scenario?

We learn then that success is comparative.

Truth is, we are all failures. And can still find acceptance in Christ. Who clears the conscience, and loves the unlovely me.

But in these days what is put forward as important and representing real success, has changed. And will go on changing. Not for the better – in it’s abandonment of what is of real value.

The predominant values of the society we live in are the result of the majority-held views. Views that build up in the psyche of the citizens of the place we dwell in. Then there is the world view.

There comes a mental blindness with this. When common decency is replaced with something else, building up to confusion running rampant.

The words of the old classic hymn come to mind:

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

I stand appreciating The Victor who took my place on a cross, and who offers the gift of His success and acceptance, making such as I, a king and a priest unto God.

Revelation 1/6

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Blowsy

blowsy copyBlowsy – (Watercolour)

In light of the necessity to find answers to the hereafter question – everything else, in my life is ‘relegated’ to second place.

Fully embracing that we are to enjoy our lives in this world, and live in appreciation of everything that has been created – or that we can create, I nevertheless see the necessity of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God…’. (Matthew 6/33)

Some – one or two years ago I decided to stop posting my paintings and share Christian subject-matter and teaching, ‘interluded’ with my poetry.

But I have decided to drop the odd piece of artwork onto the blog, for your consumption.

When we were kids we played a game called blowsy. ‘Bubble-gum’ cards were collected, and we each placed one of our cards face down on the window-sill. Each person contributing one of their cards (perhaps a card they had more than one of). The idea was to blow the two cards and get them to flip to right side up. If this was done successfully our opponent forfeited their card.

Thus the above depiction.

Deceived…

That word ‘deceived’…

Colossians 2/

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Paul’s desire is that these fellow believers are not deceived.

Most folks have a rough idea of what being deceived is about.

The salesman who seeks with persuasive words to talk you into something you do not really need, – I guess, is one of the most obvious examples of the possibility of being duped, deceived, or scammed.

Perhaps by exaggerated claims for the product which we later find out in practice are just plainly not true.

Then there is the child who tries to deceive the parent, by claiming through some dreamt-up excuse that they didn’t eat the pastries set aside in the fridge for Sunday.

Or there is the manufacturer’s claim that the biscuit has no sugar, when taste discovers differently.

I often wonder (as a bald person myself) why others try to deceive us into thinking they have hair, by combing long strands of hair from the side or back over the bald top. One deception that is easily detected, in a gust of wind.

But of course there are many deceptions far more serious than these few examples.

Paul was concerned that their minds be not deceived and corrupted by what was not true.

He was a genuine minister of the gospel. His intimacy with God is indirectly described in this verse as he mentions the reality of his spirit being alive to God.

He is able to discern with God’s enablement and discernment that the believers to whom he is writing are in fact in good spiritual health.

Good spiritual health is to be free from deception. Deception entails believing lies of some kind.

We can deceive ourselves by not being honest with ourselves. Lying to ourselves, and believing the lie.

Or by believing false doctrine, false principles. Half truths can lead us astray also.

I don’t know about you – but I do not want to be deceived. Are we – deceived in any way?

There is much that could be said on this subject of course.

In the last days Paul warns that many shall depart from the faith and he ends with this:

giving heed to DECEIVING SPIRITS and doctrines of demons,

I Timothy 4/1:

(Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith), giving heed to DECEIVING SPIRITS and doctrines of demons,…

…spirits perpetrating lies in the form of sets of thought patterns forming principles that are lies, and that prompt the action of departing from the truth of God.

Often channelled through mankind:

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,…

In response to the possibility of this happening we set ourselves on course – for finding the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Broken part

Broken part

The guy looks cooler in shades

The shades get warm in the sun

The sun beats down on our nervous frame

And we wonder – if we’ve lost or won?

 

The shade protects us in dark tree nook

Screwing up our face for another look

At the vastness of nature’s intricacy

With incomprehension – sad you might say

 

But peace has been found in The Son

All confusion ebbs to the beat of His drum

And standing as a stalwart before the by-and-by

I – press-on to the mark allocated beyond space or sky

 

It might seem that my poem has taken a strange turn

Mankind sits uncomfortably – at any prospect of burn

But it remains hidden to the blind man who can’t see

You can always ask if you want –

if you want – ask me

 

We all perform our song of life

Singing our tune of happiness or strife

Our story unfolds – all that is within

Some people listen thumb on chin

 

By the end of this piece you may wonder

What the point might be

This is a car engine that stutters and won’t start

So I will leave it in the garage

with a broken poetry part

 

The missing bolt out of the blue

Solders the parts to make something new

A complete picture comes into view

As – to your own surprise

Thoughts of the Son of God arise

Strange things…

STRANGE THINGS…

Here they all are – arrayed before me

There was a time – yes, there was a time

When such things did not exist

But now with their – at’s and dots and coms

They are part of life

Taken-over they have – from the stamp-addressed

Here they all are – arrayed before me

In a special folder – set apart to hold

their strung-together-look

Their spaceless in-between

To take my communications across the ether-world

I stop – I stare – at their part in my life

These that once did not exist

All embraced – differently by me –

than the younger generation who have them

Embraced as ‘second nature’ interludes

like burps or pauses

Or as real as clothes they wear

Essential codes oft-dreamt-up to just be different

My eye scans old ones – now defunct?

Mailer daemon – may be their destiny or fate

As I reflect on the persons behind these syntax mates

– Old friends long since not seen

I wonder if I can reach them – all thirteen

And to my chagrin – none of these email addresses

Bring me warm greetings in return