Monthly Archives: August 2020

The right one?

THE RIGHT ONE?

Think of all the personalities in this world. All the personalities on social media. All the multitudes full of diversity and differences of opinion. All the different cultural backgrounds. All the varying needs, the rich, the poor, the man-made labels of lower, middle and upper classes. The age groups with youthful ambition, hard-nosed business men, older entrepreneurs with their individual ‘empires’.

Think of the crime syndicates, think of the secret organisations, the money pedlars, the inner city crime scenes, gang culture and warfare. Think of the pimps and prostitutes. Think of the elite – the millionaires and billionaires, the movie stars and pop stars.

Think of the dictators, the communist regimes, mis-used democracy, the politics of power and position-seeking, the judicial systems that differ throughout the world.

And so we could go on trying to describe the world in which we live – humanity-wise.

And then there is the description that perhaps fits you and I (?).

It is a term that I think originated in North America – the descriptive term is: ‘average joe’.

I’m not from the USA, but the term sounds like it fits most of us in the Western Hemisphere.

But ‘average Joe’ will also fit in somewhere in the list I started this post with.

Enter stage left – the Christian gospel.

Stating the obvious, the Christian gospel is sent to mankind. Think mankind – and then look again at my list.

How will this gospel sit with those who fit the above categories?

And then factor-in the fact that the onlooker can be forgiven for thinking that in fact there is more than one ‘gospel’.

Think of the observer, the outsider, the ones not involved in Christianity – and listen as they express their confusion over what Christianity is all about.

Just as individual Christians have individual personalities. So churches and church organisations seem to vary immensely to the ‘average Joe’ outsider, in their corporate ‘personalities’. The average Joe who is not involved in it all.

Terms and name tags are bandied about by Christians as they label their own particular ‘tribe.’

The outsider concludes – “But which church is the right one?”

Rather than pursue it – they decides to refuse it.

Giving it a little of his/her time they roughly peruse what immediately hits them. The showcase presentation on social media, websites, Facebook, YouTube, T.V. etc.

They perhaps haven’t the time to enter into a deeper examination of the warp and woof of a particular ‘brand’, they happen to have come across, via google search.

What are we to do if we are to navigate our way to the right church? 

Navigating our way to the church that is right – and thankfully there will be more than one. But unfortunately in some cases – there may not be one near you.

What are we to do when even Christians need to examine each individual group of believers to see if they are ‘sound’, ‘the real McCoy’, and are not as we say in my culture – ‘one stick short of a bundle?’

Well – let’s stop right there, and state that there is no escape from going to the gospel as an individual personality, firstly and foremostly. It’s meant to be that way.

The message is to the individual, before we get to what corporate body of people we should attach ourselves to.

Salvation is about the human heart finding the Only Living and true God.

A corporate body of people who claim to be Christian, or who describe themselves with the Christian label are not automatically the real McCoy, just because the ‘christian’ label is built-in to their PR description.

So individual, who is perhaps somewhere in my initial list above – get that bible open and get reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the four gospels.

Steep yourself in it and hear the message, as you talk to God at the same time.

It is sent firstly and foremostly to you, with divine love from Jesus Christ The Lord of heaven and earth.

Understand that He too ‘can’t believe’ some of the shenanigans His people get up to. Matt. 13/58, 17/17. Mark 6/6, 16/14.

He is flabbergasted by the unbelief (from which all misbehaviour stems), that even those who believe get up to.

He has experienced this from the beginning when He recruited the twelve disciples. But yet, He fully invited them on board without reservation.

Whoever comes to Him they were told, He would never cast out, and He promised to be with them always.

Yep – you heard it right – the believers can do unbelievable things, because you see when we come to Christ and find His acceptance and promise of eternal life, we have only began a journey.

Having believed on Christ as Lord, we still have many areas God has to work on, to bring change. And you might encounter some area in a person, or in the personality of a church – that still needs altered, changed, or overhauled drastically.

You are not to be put off by this, because Christ came to build His church, mature His church, cleanse His church, revive His church, and it doesn’t all happen overnight.

In the words of the song: ‘I owe you some kind of an apology.’

Christians owe the world an apology for the fact that the church universal, is so imperfect in behaviour.

Whereas the world owes God an apology for its rejection of Him.

But of course the church is made up of people who needed a saviour, in the first place, and who haven’t, and never will, stop NEEDING Him to perfect them.

Having found The Saviour, they now need Him to increase their faith more and more, so that they will not disappoint you (unconvinced unbeliever) – with their shortcomings, and areas of remaining unbelief, in the midst of their established faith.

Unbelief is the second original sin, (mankind) the first was self-absorption and pride, resulting in rebellion (the devil).

Mark 9/

Listen to the man (average Joe?) in great need:

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF!”

Normalising Sobs

NORMALISING SOBS

There’s the older guy to the younger woman wed

Helping each other through their daily tread

‘Treading the boards’ is the old-fashioned lingo

But Hollywood calls and to Hollywood they must go

Good at their craft it must be admitted

As they live many lives in character depiction

Times apart, – they agree – relieves any friction

Partners for good – one hopes it is so

The glamour and glitz won’t tell them this – though

Holding their family together – money is the prize

Finance has barricaded-them-in

Bringing life to a manageable size (?)

Trying for normality now

Fame and fortune a brigand who robs

But it’s compensation normalising their sobs

‘A long and healthy life’ they say

As they tread those boards in another Play

Setting all things off against each other

Weighing it all up – a lifestyle of ‘colour’

They decide they are in – for the long haul

Until they make a mistake and drop the ball

The paparazzi move-in for the kill

Choking the wounded with their bitter pill

The Voice kids

THE VOICE KIDS

Those little children

Ages ranging up the scale

Stopping at – still children

They smile and engage

Opening their mouths

with such volume

Sweet sound – deep sounds –

super enhancement

What stars they are

Without being stars

Replacing the term star –

True star that’s what they are

Star-quality in character

They sing their heart out and

With tutoring – expand and grow

Bettering their craft so all will know

That they are all winners

And so it should be so

CHING-CHANG-CLANG

CHING-CHANG CLANG

There’s a ching-chang-clang of heads

In this world of opposing trends

And everybody knows they’re right

While no one knows their plight

And in this – bang crash zoom – swirl

Of opposites that make up a world

You’ll find a world gone wrong

Bringing their mistakes together in a throng

Of mishmash misshapen ideologies

In a storm of verbal cacophonies

As taking sides is the trend

One wonders will it ever end?

All social media outlets

Invented to give display

To the countless tendencies in array

All longing for satisfaction and traction

And stumbling they fall into mismanagement

Of all their brain power devices and judgement

Many grope in the dark for an exit

Shooting-up to kill the pain

And failing to see

You must be born again

What it looks like…

What being a genuine Christian – looks like:

John 4

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Rather than a preamble to set this scripture in context – I want to get to the point straight away:

For all who enquire after the things of God. Seeking some starting point to understand what it is to worship God, or understand God, or grasp what it is to be a Christian believer, what it ‘looks’ like is communicated clearly in this verse.

Worshipping God is not confined to a given vicinity or building. The need for a religious label is not a pre-requisite for acceptance.

It is a 24/7 experience for all those who believe in and accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

He promises to be with us always – ‘us’ being the persons who give their lives over to Him.

This is a spiritual experience involving the heart, soul and spirit of a human being.

It is an encounter spiritually with The Christ of God.

Bob Dylan lyric…

Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind

Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign”

What kind of sign they need when it all come from within…

Reflecting on Mr. Dylan’s lyric we understand that true spirituality is again, to do with the innermost being.

So turning your life over to Christ is not some pie-in-the-sky bye and bye experience – but it happens when we reach out for Jesus at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, right now. Right now because:

2 Corinthians 6:2

For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

It’s a ‘now’ for all those who will believe.

Notice in the verse, first quoted, that the inner reality where we experience the Presence of God is to do with the human spirit.

the true worshipers will worship the Father IN SPIRIT…

But for this to happen we must first expose ourselves to the truth in The Bible.

…AND TRUTH;

for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

These two realities are inseparable in our endeavours to know the Only Living and True God and His Son Jesus Christ.

The truth supplied by the revelation of Jesus Christ will make you free.

As in all blog posts to do with Christian truth, we have space for only touching on subjects. The true seekers must: 

Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

Ask not – am I a baptist, a methodist, an anglican, a pentecostal, etc.-

Ask: ‘am I a worshipper in SPIRIT AND TRUTH?’

As I ask you the same question?

 

Miscellany

MISCELLANY

This blog started as a 3-fold sharing idea. I would share my paintings, my poems and Christian writing.

I stopped sharing my paintings approximately one year or so ago. I post only the odd one.

I have been preaching/teaching the bible for almost fifty years. Not in the capacity of a full-time pastor as they say – but e.g. as a joint leader in various churches, whilst holding down a job in a local newspaper as a typesetter.

I am like most people who are getting on in years, the older I get, the more I realise that life is extremely short/brief, even if you reach the grand ol’ age of Dame Vera Lynn, who passed away recently.

I would like the same amount of years over again. Highly unlikely I’m afraid.

It’s a bit like The Lord Jesus said: …The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few:…

There is plenty of work still to be done, and the privilege of serving The King of kings would create the desire for many more years to come, in which to do so.

I believe we are all unique. What we do – is often the result of what we are. It is meant to be that way.

The scripture instructs us –

Roman 12/6

…Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Though the context is spiritual gifts – I believe it is not ‘arresting’ scripture to conclude that it also applies to our natural/personality gifts.

I don’t think we should be overly concerned with how good or bad we are in expressing our particular gift, but are meant to do the best we can.

I have been painting since schooldays and writing also.

My poetry is a mixture of all kinds. Sometimes personal, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes just playing with words, sometimes (I hope) with the injection of profundity, other times I use lightness.

My painting is the same.

My preaching is always with the endeavour to ‘rightly divide the word of truth.’ Knowing that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

My expectation of what friendship brings, has somewhat diminished over the years. The realities of life are sobering.

If I did not have a friend I have proven – ‘sticks closer than a brother’ [Prov. 18/24] – I fear to think how empty life would be. (His name is Jesus).

Even when I don’t sense a lot in the spiritual realm – I know Christ’s Word is totally reliable, and it assures me I will never be forsaken by this God/Saviour/Friend I serve.

An observation I have made in life is to notice that there are two aspects of friendship-forming. Two ways if you like that we engage in the human experience of forming relationships.

There are the ‘initiators’ and the ‘responders’.

We are all initiators and responders, to varying degrees.

The percentage break-up of these two activities varies from person to person.

Some folks never initiate anything.

Often they communicate in ways such as: “We must get together for a coffee!” They never do. Or “ We must have you round some night.” But the invitation never reaches the date and time stage.

If you initiate the get together, they gladly respond. And they can be the ‘nicest’ people you know, but they are 90 percent responders and 10 per cent initiators.

There can be all sorts of reasons for this. Some folks are just ‘hyper-active’ and they are always initiating events. It has been said that in a church all the work of service is carried out by 10 per cent of the congregation. Probably their initiation percentage is high.

It causes incredulity to arrive on the doorstep of our minds, when we e.g. take someone out for a treat. ‘Wine and dine’ folks as it is referred to, and they assure us of the wonderful time they had, and how they too wish to initiate such an outing in return.

Only to find that months or longer go by and you never hear from them again.

Now of course the saving grace in this is found in the following scriptures –

Colossians 3/

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

And yet another principle:

Luke 6/35:

…lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

This gives cause for rejoicing when we do good to others, or offer friendship. Much as we have their good in mind – our reward, our satisfaction if you like is that it is pleasing to God and it is the answer of a good conscience to The Lord.

Doing it heartily, and hoping for nothing in return, tests our mettle. 

When people say and don’t do, we will experience frustration, (let’s be real) but what we do with that frustration is turn it into prayer and if we need to – into forgiveness.

A faithful friend is hard to find – David found one in Jonathon. It is as Christ changes us from the inside out – that we shall be able to give love when it is not returned.

This is why He, the Christ of God, shone in His perfection to show us how mankind aught to live.

Praise be to His Great Name!

Unaided

UNAIDED

I was listening to a lecturer, who was speaking (more or less) ‘without notes’.

Ad-libbing out of his wealth of knowledge and pre-occupation with art.

As in all communication on any subject we are also on the receiving end of a person’s subjective outlook or stance.

Mixed-in with all the history or theory or facts regarding the subject they are expounding on, is their subjective ‘in my opinion…’ aspect.

We are all the same in this respect. We mix knowledge of facts, with our personal subjective response and opinion based fully or somewhat on those facts, plus other influencing factors, perhaps unique to ourselves.

So that our personal subjective experience is mixed-in with what we are sharing.

Let’s take-in a definition of subjective. This would be helpful, in getting us to read from the same ‘hymn’ sheet.

subjective | səbˈdʒɛktɪv |

adjective

1 based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions: his views are highly subjective | there is always the danger of making a subjective judgement. Contrasted with objective.

In this lecturer I referred to, I perceived a man who was partly spilling his ‘insides’ in a somewhat ‘honest’ and vulnerable way.

This is a modern trend today. Spill all. Whereas wisdom would dictate that we choose carefully what we say and who we say it to.

A fool vents all his feelings,

But a wise man holds them back.

Proverbs 29/11

The honesty or at least candidness that spills out of the inner person, is usually admired. Admired for various reasons.

Some find the person is echoing their listener’s own inner conflicts, problems, conclusions, experiences and so on. And therefore it can be therapeutic bringing us to the conclusion that we are not alone in the world.

That we have – just been listening to someone who understands our conflicts, problems, feelings etc., by virtue of the fact that they just verbalised what we have known or experienced ourselves, – gives a certain ‘solace’.

This person spilling their humanness to all, during the lecture, are empathising with their audience, and this is usually appreciated, because we can associate with their confessed dilemmas, hang-ups, self-doubt, and therefore we perhaps applaud their contribution.

But in all of this it can be, that they provide – few or perhaps no – solutions to those openly confessed problems, shortcomings and hangups.

This  lecture on art inevitably included also this person’s outlook on life, so much of a mixed bag was their talk.

Their opinion on how to live was suggested indirectly or heralded emphatically. And perhaps unbeknown to them many of their utterances were (on closer examination) replete with contradictions.

The thoughts were coming so hard and fast, that giving proper consideration to them, by speaker and listener alike, was lost in the maelstrom of their delivery.

Why are people impressed? Well if, for example, what they say is mixed with humour, sometimes this alone can get the ‘A’ review and standing ovation.

They made us laugh, – take a bow. We enjoyed it.

All such talks or lectures [stating the obvious], are man’s ability to communicate.

It is the result of an active mind. It is the result of the workings of human ingenuity. The intellect has formed conclusions, experienced life, studied other minds, and in the example here – studied and looked at art for a long time.

‘It’s all in the mind’ is an old saying.

This lecture is the result of accumulated knowledge and experience. The experience of ‘viewing art’, and the experience of ‘living life’ mixed together into a subjective-objective soup.

It is a natural mind struggling it’s way through what it is – to be human and what it is – to grapple with whatever the individual has encountered in his or her journey.

They now stand before fellow human-beings and say: ‘This is what I have found – experienced – struggled with – concluded (or not)’.

There is no divine nature in any of this. It is man at his best or worst.

There is no pretence of it being influenced by the divine, even though there may be references to God or gods, in what they say in passing.

Talks can be punctuated by swear words or blasphemy, or spiritual references or terms utilised in their speech, but with no proper understanding of what those words really mean.

For instance today, quite often you will hear references to our ‘personal demons’. But there is no thought for one moment – that there are actual beings, fallen angels, known as demons. The sort Christ casts out.

So we have the use of terms adapted to cause a given effect, or to make some point – that are actually misused, or used without true understanding.

Increasingly in our world, there is an exultation of man’s intellect. The bible references this exultation of the intellect in the following divinely inspired statement:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

This lecturer, although speaking on the subject of art, spent a lot of the time referencing his subjective experience of life, and also his world view.

A king once gave an oratorial discourse and fell ill after it.

And the divine intellect (God’s) tells us the reason:

21 On an appointed day Herod dressed himself in his royal robes, sat on his throne (tribunal, rostrum) and began delivering a speech to the people. 22 The assembled people kept shouting, “It is the voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 And at once an angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not give God the glory [and instead permitted himself to be worshipped], and he was eaten by worms and died [five days later].

In this example, the natural intellect unaided by God, was put on such a pedestal that – the god of this world (satan) and his pride – resided to such an extreme degree in this king, that an angel from God Almighty, was despatched to end his life.

That is scary, but true.

We can satirise this story, make it into a cartoon, rasp at it, and get the applause and laughter from the crowd at the clever way we do it. But God has the proverbial – so called, ‘last laugh’.

As we listen to the many kinds of voices in our world, as human communicates with human, one thing we can say is – it can only be man at his best or worst. There is no divine impetus or inspiration in a lot of it.

That is not to say that it all has no value. Not at all. But rather its  ‘worth’ is usually in varying degrees.

Conversely some of it – or a lot of it – is foolishness to God.

Where is the wise man (philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the debater (logician, orator) of this age? Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom?

And

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The average ungodly person, who does not accept the divine, will quickly pass over the Biblical quotes in this post, and get to the rest of the author’s logic.

Because the ‘interruption’ of these bible quotes will not appeal to their natural mind. It is ‘unnatural’ to them, because it is the divine nature in these verses, which is contrary to their natural thinking.

As an artist I accepted  quite a bit of what this speaker communicated, when speaking of art, but heard the heart of a man who was (by what he himself indicated but not in so many words)…

Ephesians 2/12

…without Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.

Free from the grip

FREE FROM THE GRIP

And all alone

The skeptic in his corner – dim

While I – in my small corner – am lit

 

Dumb before the shearers taking my sin

While I in my small corner look to Him

Despised and rejected – you forget

While I remember daily

 

I can’t hear you – I can’t see you

I don’t know you –

 

no really –

you won’t say hello

 

You heard I am religious

And you don’t want to know

While all the while

I remember The Lamb and

how He freed me…

From dead religion’s grip

Sorted?

SORTED?

Is it possible for two people to say the exact same thing, using the exact same words – and yet mean something different?

It is.

“I believe in God”, says person A. “I believe in god”. says person B.

First question: ‘What god would that be?’

And if it is not the same god – then although they are saying the same thing, they are making two completely different statements.

One way to sort this – is to know the name of the god they believe in.

But if I tell you I believe in God, and your god is not my God, then when you click the ‘like button’ on reading my remark, you do so probably with your own god in mind.

And if the God I refer to, is not your god – you have hit the ‘like button’ by mistake.

Outcome: Misunderstanding.

Outcome: We are not in agreement.

Good I’m glad we got that sorted out…

 

The day it went away…

THE DAY IT WENT AWAY

The phantom aggressor with his Covid name-tag

Gains Purchase on the flesh of man

 

And all is lockdown

Lockdown – the new word

In newly found context

as we all go to ground

 

Never this before

Never known as is

Never catered for

No cure as yet

 

Twiddling thumbs don’t know what to do

Now indoor searchings – seeking to find

New pursuits or old revived

New noticeability of things always there

Appreciation increase everywhere

 

But time wears away resolve taken

As principles are embraced or forsaken

What wins the day – does patience reign?

Or has depression set-in – new ground to gain?

 

Stirrings as by others inspired

Walkers and keep-fitters

Show us the way

Crafters and artists give us their day

 

And on the front line

The brave and constant stay

To provide management and show us the way

Families stay at home

Locked-in or walks in the park

Dodging each other – this stepping aside lark

Others – into closets they run and hide

Television on – most of the time

 

Latest reports gossip and rhyme

News and contradictions and opinions sought

Fermenting anger as jobs are lost

Exasperation but what can we do?

All shut-down – shops, cinemas and zoos

 

Slowly but surely

Except for rule breakers

We emerge from submerge

And seek to embrace the day

The day Covid went away

Strange Times

STRANGE TIMES

It is an understatement to say that we are living in strange times.

Most will agree with such a description. But many will differ in what they consider strange.

Christians will view all that is happening from a spiritual standpoint, and/or an eschatological one.

Others perhaps will consider it strange for a number of reasons such as: job losses, economic catastrophe, domestic abuse, separation from loved ones, absent schooling for children, holidays frozen, limited travel, restricted eating out, unopened venues and so on…

Some might wonder at the many uproars and upheavals across the planet culminating in bombings, killings, riots, violence, never mind Covid-19.

Others find it unbelievably strange when integrity seems to be a thing of the past, exemplified by fake news where the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth is hard to find. In some cases impossible.(?)

Strange times indeed.

Same-sex marriage, increased abortion, acceptance of sex between members of the same sex, increase in sex-change operations – could all be added to many peoples list – Christian and non-Christian.

There’s an old song that has the lines: ‘What’s it all about – Alfie?’

Indeed – so we might ask, whether we ask Alfie or not.

From a non-spiritual point of view – what is going on?

Do the non-religious want us to conclude that it is just the species evolving?

For those who don’t accept that there is such a thing as SIN – we ask “How else would you describe it”. ‘It’ being the bitterness, hatred, the retrograde morality, – the list is proverbially endless.

Perhaps some would look on all this ‘strangeness’ and with a shrug of the shoulders, assure us that mankind is basically good, and that this pandemic has produced more of a ‘community spirit’.

None of us however has any idea of the depths of depravity that is taking place on the planet. Some on the front line, are more aware than the rest of us – e.g.: the modern slavery pandemic, less referred to than for example, the racism against black people.

Regardless of what aspect of the ‘strangeness’ we highlight, in a nutshell – evil is increasing, and we don’t know the half of it.

But many carry on without considering Christ’s answers.

And if there is such a thing as sin (self-evident in my view) – then there needs to be a solution. And just wanting one isn’t enough – that doesn’t begin to cut it.

But the strange thing is that many of the formerly held views of normality that rejected things which are now being accepted, are being cast aside and labelled as intolerant views.

Our theme is the ‘strange things’ happening on the earth – the strangeness of which is further underlined or added to, by the held view that some see it as mankind advancing in mental prowess.

In other words, the existence of the view that man is advancing, makes things even stranger.

Bob Dylan’s lyric goes like this –

People are crazy and times are strange

I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range

Many of us are locked in tight at the moment, and out of range of the strangeness coming upon the earth.

A lot of the strangeness boils down to the idea that it  is impossible for mankind to REGRESS. The foolish idea that everything different is automatically progress.

And that anything new must automatically be right because it is new, not because it is right.

Something is needed that works against sin.

And now I cannot escape the spiritual solution:

In the words of the apostle Peter in Acts chapter 2:

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptised; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

It is more difficult to find things in a blinding storm. 

Yet the need to be rescued increases as the storm increases.

A haven is sought. Where peace can be found.

The strange madness is both subtle and obvious. The solution for each individual is both obvious and hidden.

Prayer is the door – into the ark that we can’t see for the storm. In that sense it is hidden.

Jesus said “I am the door…”

In the midst of this strange storm encompassing the earth – look for the door that leads to eternal life. Life in this world and life in the next.

The door is obvious. But many can’t see it for the storm. Christ is the door:

John 10:9

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

What He said, has been with us for a long time, as recorded, and must be returned to, if we are to find sanity in the midst of this madness.

For those who have not yet prayed the prayer that leads to Christ, and for those who have, the following is a reminder or an offer:

II Timothy 1/

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A sound mind individually – leads to a sound mind corporately or communally.

Only the mind of The Son of God found in all the words He has given, can begin to address the strangeness of minds gone astray.

Christ is the answer to the need of mankind. Study His mind by studying His words, and actions to find out how things should be/could be.

Another Gospel?

ANOTHER GOSPEL? 

There are seemingly quite a few who are offering us – a more updated version of Christianity.

Challenging some of the fundamentals of the faith – confusing the fundamentals with the newly re-contextualised fundamentalism label.

Because there exists dogmatic Pharisees who want everything conformed to their image – they assume that those who hold fast to that which is good, has been good, and always will be good, are dead traditionalists/‘fundamentalists’.

…Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

That which is good is the articles of faith – long established and present in many Christian churches, from which we are never meant to depart, as per the charge of the gospel of Christ.

Those searching for a broader outlook. Those searching for a so-called more ‘enlightened’ approach – are apt to use the fact that we all cannot know all mysteries, and therefore this is a reason to alter, annul and eventually dismiss what is sound and cannot change, and has been established for centuries.

They do this act of watering down – in the name of tolerance, open-mindedness, and all-embracing love. And consider it theological progress.

The result is that they see so many sides to things that nothing ever becomes sure. But at least they reason we can ‘all get along’.

Soon they lead us to the ‘many roads to God approach’ – again in the name of tolerance and being nice.

And then slowly but surely we are meant to embrace every religion under the sun, in the name of tolerance and understanding of how the other half lives. As we partake of the ecumenical soup.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. There is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved and delivered from this corrupt generation. The God of the bible is called Jehovah and His son Jesus Christ The Lord. There is a heaven and there is a hell.

Pretty straightforward and dogmatic – but absolutely true.

To hold to this does not automatically make me an intolerant bigot, out to be rude and denigrate everyone who thinks differently.

The latest truth being tampered with – is the fact that there is a hell, there is a Gehenna.

Some so called ‘progressives’ consider the best way to get rid of hell is not to believe in it.

That way everyone is ok and marching to the promised land of heaven, regardless of what they believe or what lifestyle they practice or what god they serve.

Pan-everything-ism is the new (no, not really new – just rehashed) ‘enlightened’ way, they would have us believe.

And when someone makes a statement like my last paragraph they are perceived as dogmatic stick-in-the-mud fundamentalists who want to condemn everyone to hell. However there is only One who has the power/right/authority to do so –

Jesus said:

Luke 12:5

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

I believe in enlightenment/inspiration, or better put, revelation – but within the guidelines and confines of The Holy Bible.

As a painter/poet/preacher ‘etc’. I like to think I have some imagination. And I am open-minded enough to at least listen to those who have another slant on things other than my own.

I’m aware of dogmatism out of a heart bound-up with bitterness in the name of religion.

I’m aware that there are those who stand with Christ in doctrine, but with the devil in attitude.

But I’m also aware that there is such a thing as truth and error.

The bible is full of warnings (do a study on it – see how many you can find).

If there is no need to warn God’s true people – then there are no dangers.

Here’s a tip – Go for ‘sincere’ in people – rather than ‘nice’. And go for the bible and what it says even more than the preaching of it.

By that I mean – the words themselves, because:

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Notice the EVERY word aspect.

Regardless of whether we have experienced Revelation on every word – the revelation we have already received convinces us that the potential for further revelation comes through every word of scripture.

What has been established by revelation is to be adhered to. For example ‘justification by faith’ as revealed to Martin Luther. Does that mean that he is an infallible guide because he received revelation? No – but the bible is.

Sometimes we must take the word exactly as we find it, not blindly, (i.e. without a quickened understanding) but in trust – first. This leads to more revelation of what we are reading, as God has promised to lead us into more spiritual understanding:

John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

We take it on board first, and then we are free to ask God what it really is saying.

The truth has been established of old. Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, He needs-must die on the cross to offer mankind a way back to relationship with God, there is a Gehenna to escape through Christ, there was a virgin birth and so on…

The exaltation of the intellect of man over the inspiration of scripture will produce all kinds of theories and unbiblical conclusions.

Christians beware.

30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.