Bleak House –
never read it
But read the title –
A Bleak title indeed
Bleak future for mankind
All bottled-up with tight corkscrew
Pop goes the weasel or man blows his top
Hair is pulled out at the four
Long-haired lover from Liverpool
Slides down the charts into oblivion
Another crow crows – a lark and a dove
But best of all please let their be love
Spray of lawn spray – wets us all – passing by
Laughter fills the air – we have
Got to get it together now
But there’s always another –
cup of cold coffee and a piece of cake
Sideburns – burnt off now – all gone
No more films – showing on –
The ancient screens of long ago
Bulldozed into – nothing in the air
And blackening the sky
Your careless – my careless – indifference
But what can we do?
One man said: ‘what does it matter anyway?’
The world is well spun 360 degrees-times-many
Anyone dizzy? Life’s busy
And you don’t have time today
To wile away the hours in strange pursuits
Pragmatists say it – like it is
Bleak? Bleak as ever when you meet.
The pessimist – the former undertaker
Who spun on his heels one day
And thought himself – as good as Fred Astaire
So he took up a new career on the dance floor
He was good at it too
He lost all his former bleakness
Set sail on a cruise ship and never returned
to the bleakness of his apartment
above the funeral parlour
He slipped on a tomato sandwich one day
And went overboard into the bleakness
of the ocean below – rescued from the deep
Went into deep depression – seemed
Everything was bleak
What about “have a bleak day”
Instead of “Have a good day”
You may be bleak
But I can see you take comfort in being unique
I’ve often said this
So I will not say it again
Is it hard to be original?
Not really – just don’t complain
Some think it’s a rat-race mess
All this bleakness drives you insane
They’ve named a new Row
Bleakness replacing Skid
You can see what I did
His final bleak outlook is this:
If I could give a forecast for your emotions
And point at the chart of your internal weather
Would I help you by predicting the rain and fog
of melancholy? –
Would it stop you from becoming a melancholic
Addicted to bleakness?
Now if I was to impress you
This way or that
Impressed you were with an impression
As I dreamt-one-up in fake-guise of invention
Pierced through – is this world with un-genuine
Some take the time
to be as false as can be
Inventions and re-inventions
so that they too are confused
As to who they are and what they believe
Confusion not from God’s hand
Barely making it across the roofs
The retreating criminal nonetheless escapes
To ease down from his anxiety
Onto a late night bed
Rising at noon the next day
Living from hand to mouth
Any which way he can
He has lost himself
And cannot tell where to find him
Conscience gone in the pursuit of gain
He hopes to impress the girl
With an air and an impression
Of a got-it-together guy
Flashing the cash from ill-gotten gain
False industry – lazy as before
They marry until the money runs out
And the real man appears
As over and over he can’t support
His overworked waitress
with her constant retort
6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.
(also Mark 6)
As I continue my clear-out/re-appraisal of all things on paper.😎
I came across a sermon of mine entitled – DESIRE.
I have not looked at what I have written.
Desire – have you any thoughts on the subject?
Desire – common to humankind.
The King James uses the word ‘lust’. The dictionary defines this as:-
noun [mass noun]
strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust for her had returned.
• [in singular] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.
- (usually lusts) mainly Theology a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful: lusts of the flesh.
So even the dictionary in directing us to the term, includes theology.
But I’m guessing most folks in the 21st century reserve the word ‘lust’ for strong sexual desire.
So let’s stick to the word desire, good or bad.
We think of King’s sitting triumphantly on their thrones, with their ‘subjects’ doing obeisance.
Perhaps the king waves his hand for all to be silent. And he offers the pleasing servant whatever he/she (the servant) – desires.
I’m sure this has happened quite a few times in history, with various monarchs.
In Herod’s case – “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” [see Mark 6]
Offered to a young lady who had pleased his other desires with her dance.
She in turn – lays aside her own desires in her desire to please her mother. (After all – a murder ‘prize’ instead of half the kingdom?!!)
Outcome of these whimsical desires? – A godly upright man is beheaded.
As any man would – John must have wondered if God would deliver him from his imprisonment? Instead of deliverance he was left with a returned greeting from Christ.
Luke 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
21 And that very hour He (Jesus) cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Many wonder at the loss of the lives of stalwarts, self-denying front-line workers in this pandemic. Laying their lives down in service to others.
I wonder too. God help them all.
The tragedy of lost lives in a Pandemic – into the thousands.
See also below – The tragedy of lost lives at the hand of another sinful tyrant called Herod…
At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod, insecure in his position of authority, commanded that all the male children, under a certain age, be put to death:
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
For many this Pandemic has brought great loss and great pain.
Today is it true to say – society mourns that bit more for the loss of children than adults? I think so.
Usually because they (children) have their whole lives before them. Herod’s desire was power and pre-eminence.
Amidst this pandemic, we desire all tragedy to end. Many desire their loved-ones to recover.
Amongst God’s desires, is the desire, that mankind would listen to Him.
And that we would return to Him and turn from sin that produces the actions of a man like Herod – to mention only one aspect of the manifestation of rebellion against God and His ways.
What do we desire?
We desire this pandemic to go away. And I pray to that end.
We desire comfort for the loved ones who have lost relatives – for this we pray.
We desire a better world.
But what else does God desire?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
REMINISCING IN REST
In my youth I used to paint in a tension-filled expression of emotion.
The clock would ‘disappear’ into the early hours of the morning, as I couldn’t let the painting go, until the home straight was reached.
Likewise starting tasks of whatever kind and staying with them until they were completed, with no rest until finished.
So tasks may be important – but in what inner condition of heart and mind – do we carry them out?
In the Christian context – with years, comes maturity, and an entering into greater spiritual rest.
Christ offers, the child of God, rest from our turmoil.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
And so, as the material ‘clean-up – clear-out’ I have engaged in, continues – I do it at a leisurely pace, stopping to reflect as prompted by the writings of differing kinds, that I had filed away.
Writings I haven’t looked at for quite some time.
Reflecting on the past, sometimes fondly, and at other times with a sense of disappointment.
One of the things I came across was an article I wrote for the local newspaper. A report of my visit to the training centre in Germany, mentioned in my last post.
Also I came across an old ticket for a Bob Dylan/Van Morrison concert, where I had my one and only foray into photographic journalism, representing the same newspaper.
I almost got my camera confiscated, because the word from the platform was that – no photographs were to be taken.
Van Morrison allowed a ten minute ‘snap’-time, when all photographers came forward to take shots.
But Dylan (or his people), prohibited the taking of any photos.
Whilst taking a photo from a distance, even though he hadn’t appeared, I was affronted by a certain lady accusing me of being deceitful, and that I should not have taken any photos.
Suggesting that I hand over the camera. I wasn’t going to do so as it didn’t belong to me, it belonged to the photographer for whom I was the stand-in.
So representing the newspaper for the first time, and unable to take photos?
I have the ticket memento, but won’t tell you how long ago it was 😎.
Next I came across old email addresses of old friends or acquaintances – and wondered ‘where are they now?”
Looking back – I reflect.
Looking forward – I anticipate.
Here is marching orders from Paul the Apostle:
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
In the midst of this spring clean session, I’m engaged in, regarding all things written. Notebooks, polly-pocketed sermons, old CD’s, books, old letter copies – trying hard to be radical in dumping and shredding.
I couldn’t help smiling at the idea, the analogy, of the drowning man. They tell me everything of our past life flashes before us.
Well many things that I have come across have had that movie re-run effect.
Old birthday cards kept. Old schedules for evangelistic trips. Old Cd’s given free with bought newspapers – later bought in charity shops. Old manual from a training school in Germany, where I met my Dutch wife to be. Old instructions to go with old mobile phones, cameras etc. Dvd’s of converted videos of my children when young.
And so on and so on.
It’s an affliction I reckon I have inherited from my parents.
So I continue to clear – but this is only in my house. What about my art studio/shed? I wouldn’t know where to begin.
I can honestly say I have never set my heart on owning a lot of stuff.
And there is nothing of great financial worth in my possessions.
But thank God I have treasure in heaven. In fact I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
He paid the price to supply free of charge all He has for mankind. To the whosoever will – He gives eternal life. And it starts now.
Flesh and blood will not inherit His kingdom – and there will be no hoarding problems.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
[ Our Final Victory ] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
During this time – everyone is perhaps doing stuff they have not previously got around to doing.
I am on a ‘clear-out’ mission. Reams and reams of roughly written notes, mostly prep for sermons or the actual notes I preached from.
I can’t believe I am such a hoarder.
I photograph some and bin the originals. Or I just shred – shred – shred.
I think we, as human beings, should periodically take stock of our lives.
I have found when I tidy-up, my ‘art studio’ (shed), I’m more able and enthusiastic about starting work.
When I tidy-up my inside bringing things to Jesus, I find some things are affirmed and others shredded.
Sorting our thoughts out is a perpetual activity for the Christian. And we are told what to do with our minds in two verses of scripture:
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
…5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
After fifty years walking with The Lord Jesus Christ, I feel often that I have only begun to understand the ways of God.
The more I think I know – the more it is clear to me that I have so much to learn.
But that does not surprise me.
Quite some time ago I came to the realisation that God allows the born again Christian to partake of His divine nature.
…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
All that is in God’s personality. All that is in God’s character. All that is given to the Christian by inheritance as the free gift of God – is partaken of – by faith.
So God’s understanding too, is partaken of.
We continue to partake by faith and a good conscience which some having forsaken, end up floundering like a ship in a storm.
1 Timothy 1:18-20
… having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck…
A good conscience gives us boldness towards God, which, as a result, means our heart condemns us not.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
But I want to stay with, underline, and emphasise the fact that we are PARTAKERS.
IT’S WONDERFUL – to partake of Christ.
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
So each truth we see – in fellowship with Christ, is like looking into a room or a palace where we see all the most beautiful, pure and loveliest things imaginable.
But we are at the threshold, and much as we would love to enter the room and partake of everything all at once. We must rejoice to be allowed to partake of each thing – one at a time. Otherwise it would be overwhelming.
So when I think I know something, I remind myself that it belongs to my Master, and there is much more He has in store.
For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Partaking of the spiritual food Good provides – satisfies.
Partaking of the Divine nature, in relationship with Christ – satisfies.
As the old saying/lyric goes: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim – in the light of His Glory and Grace.
THE GREAT EXCHANGE
There is a saying: God wants us to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.
Now that can be open to different interpretations.
But what I believe it should mean is:
God wants us to be spiritual without being weird. God wants us to walk close to Him in spiritual union – but we are free to enjoy life and the things that go with every day living.
Maybe a list of what I mean would be an idea?
Walking in nature, enjoying a well prepared meal, enjoying music, good humour (that is not at the expense of a friend), literature of a wholesome kind, family life, your own idea of what fits the hobby category (although I always think the word hobby is a poor description of something we really enjoy).
But in all of these things we are called by God to – ‘seek first His kingdom…’.
To put the spiritual side of life – first. When we do, we will, with peace of mind and conscience be then free to enjoy the natural things.
Certain ones in past generations had dwindled spirituality down to rigid rules.
In my culture if you didn’t drink alcohol, sleep around, go to the cinema, gamble and if you refrain from washing the car on Sunday – you had made it.
Failing to realise that you hadn’t started. God wanting us to change inside first, not outside first.
I am so thankful that the Christian’s life is all about EXCHANGE – exchanging our life for His.
As He comes to the welcoming heart – we yield ourselves to Him.
I like the old saying: ‘I can’t – but you can – thank you that you will’.
Christ in us the hope of glory.
Paul tells us – he died daily. Meaning the great exchange takes place every time we pray. Exchanging our life for His.
31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Faith says “I can’t do this Lord, please take over and supply your Life-giving Spirit and live your life in and through me…”
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life–giving spirit.
RISING TO MEET
No weapon that is formed against me
When my flesh melts away
I shall stand on the eternal shore
With untold wonders to explore
And when all is said and done
And I rise to meet The Son
There will be no boasting from me
Except in Grace present and free
With deliverance to spare
And much more of the message to air
I reach for the book where all is explained
Except for the mysteries as yet – not plain
I step up to the ‘hangman’s-noose’ of time
Whose shackles are not enough to hold me down
And – as in free-fall
As in jumping into the air
My spirit will leave – unbound
to meet the Saviour there
GOD LOVES YOU
God loves you!
What more needs to be said?
Paul Simon sings: “Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone…?” And replying to his own question: he sings: “God will…”
Well – God is not really interested in our looks – even though He has our cosmetic count when it comes to hair –
Luke 12:6-8 (NKJV)
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
He has an easier job with me – as my hair grew out completely to make room for my brains.
… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
So God who looks into the heart – loves you!
That’s good news – the only problem is – do you/we love Him?
Now let’s be real: How can we love someone we have never seen, or heard?
Telling me a friend of yours ‘loves me’, isn’t going to make much of a difference to me. It might be nice to know, but that’s about it.
I would need to meet this person and get to know them, before this information meant much.
When we were young, on odd occasions the word would be passed to us, perhaps through an acquaintance or friend, that a particular young lady ‘fancied us’.
Admiration from afar. The message meant they would be open to the possibility of getting to know us more.
Young ladies used to scream and cry over their pop idols.
As someone once said this is ‘puppy love’ – but nonetheless ‘real’ to the puppy.
God loves you – it ain’t no puppy love.
So for me or any Christian to communicate to you that ‘God Loves you’, might be limited in it’s impact?
Limited only because as yet it is only a fact. A piece of information. A conversation starter.
Because unless you explore this possibility for yourself, you will remain at the nodding acquaintance stage.
A nodding acquaintance with a truth some Christian wants you to grasp.
Great as that truth is to hear, it needs to be acted upon, in order that you and the person who loves you can get to know each other.
Having entered into a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, through the enablement of The Holy Spirit of God in 1970, I am still ‘married’ to Him in the sense that I am part of His church – referred to in scripture as His Bride.
I have experienced His Love in a powerful way. Specifically and tangibly on a number of occasions in an extra-dimensional spiritual way. This is described biblically in the following words:
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
This is a literal, tangible, spiritually-discernible experience, overwhelming in it’s import and unmistakable in its impact.
Regardless of how much I think I fail to be all Christ wants me to be – His love for me is undeniable.
Firstly because the message He confirmed to mankind – He confirmed to me personally, by allowing me to experience His Agape love. A spiritual experience – as we say – more ‘felt’ than ‘telt’.
But also because He has responded to me, as I to Him, I can now believe in His love. Even if there are times when I may think I am not experiencing it.
You may not have experienced it – but here you are being reminded of it.
Seek to know personally this saviour I speak of. And if you already know Him – I want to remind you too, that He loves you. Seek for a fresh reminder as you pray. I will too 🙂.
Christians all differ, of course, in their personalities, and you will find they often emphasize some aspect of biblical truth that kind of reflects their personality. A truth or truths they warm to, more often than others.
But this is how God tempers the body of Christ (the church members) together. Using our personalities to express differing aspects of the Life of Christ within.
But the greatest demonstration of God’s personality is His love.
Demonstrated at the cross of calvary.
Ask God to take you there and to open your eyes to His love poured out in demonstration on the cross and later poured out on the day of Pentecost.
Ask Him to manifest His love to you in forgiveness and acceptance.