Monthly Archives: September 2020

Marvellous

Galatians 1/

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul the apostle, former rejector of Christ, now ardent follower – is speaking here, under God’s inspiration, in this passage of scripture.

And guess what?

He is marvelling.

Have you or I ever marvelled – ?

All kinds of things can cause us to marvel. Some good, some bad. Sometimes the things little children say can have that effect.

Like the time my middle daughter at the age of three or so – asked a friend of ours who was visiting with us, why his skin was so dark? 

Fortunately as a gracious Christian – his answer was gracious – and he (with a twinkle in his eye) informed her that God had just left him in the oven that bit longer than her 😇.

Being present to witness the miracles of Christ or to hear His words – caused many to marvel.

I can truly say I marvel that God in Christ can accept me and bestow love upon me.

3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 

A child of God – who me?

I don’t have to look far – to realise that in myself there is nothing that warrants acceptance by God, in light of the fact that His nature is so completely different than the one I was born with.

His divine nature described as follows:

…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

His unapproachable light – in whom there is no darkness at all – speaks of His absolute uncontaminated purity, and holiness.

 Enter yours truly – along with the rest of the human race and you have the complete opposite.

All boasting of any righteousness of our own is excluded – and the thing we need to marvel at is THE GRACE OF GOD!

His marvellous unmerited favour – He is willing to bestow on every sinner – Paul marvels here (Gal. 1/6) at the foolishness of not receiving and remaining in that grace – as was the case with the Galatian believers.

God imparts Himself to those who are willing to give their lives up to Christ. He favours us for this reason alone. We seek Him, call upon Him in prayer and ask for that unmerited favour, turning from sinful behaviour.

On sincerely doing so, He comes to us and The Holy Spirit imparts something wonderful and supernatural to us. That is why He is described in the following way as-

…the Spirit of grace…

Strangely enough this tail end of a verse of scripture is in a negative context, which doesn’t serve my purpose here. I simply want to make the point that The Holy Spirit of the Living God comes to us to impart this marvellous Grace that brings forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God. He is the Spirit of Grace’.

But it doesn’t end there. He as The Holy Spirit of Grace is present 24/7 to continuously remind us that we are accepted by God and loved by Him.

This is motivational and we enter more and more into fellowship as we keep coming on the basis of the bestowal of His unmerited favour. So that we can be continuously forgiven and accepted on the merits of Christ and not our own faltering failing nature.

In so doing 24/7 the faltering failing sinful nature is subdued and kept ‘under’ as we enjoy life and life more abundantly in Christ.

This is MARVELLOUS – or in the words of the hymn this is – AMAZING Grace!

Disappear

DISAPPEAR

(Extract from the novel never written)

………………….

Overcoat collar raised – hunched

Abrasive wind in-tow

Stepping out – toes cold – but responding

to periodic stomping

………….

Off now to the ‘Netherworld’

Of inner feelings

Submerged in inner heat

That’ll do

…………….

No need to examine the weather –

just get through it

Choose it – that’s right

Someone left a scarf over a branch

………………

Extra layer – run now – as you would

A player on the field of a stadium

Quickly now – through the park

The gates at the other end beckon

………………..

The car is parked waiting for me

So begins a different kind of adventure

The pseudo-chauffeur nods

Leans over and opens the door

…………………

A cold chill of a different kind

Suddenly wafts against the soul

No – I won’t do this

This is madness of the first order

……………….

I tell him to stop for a moment

And forcing the door open

I climb out and disappear

PROTEST

PROTEST

The galloping obstinates heading for the fray

Make a placard – to display what they say

Roughly written words hoisted on high

Conglomeration of puns most of them cliche

Cliche or not they reason

This is the season to make our voice heard

A deeply embedded cause

Wrapped in philosophical thought

They hope will hold sway

Marching – marching on – to the square

See you there – is it Tiananmen or Trafalgar?

With one voice all agree

Until the opposition arrive gleefully

Someone shouts ‘I predict a riot’

Somebody shouts ‘let’s all clash together’

One old man is back to mods and rockers

One young woman can’t see the connection

But they stay on the outskirts of the crowd

They talk together as he reminisces

Their strongly held views suddenly

Disappear as they don’t like violence anyway

So they go for a coffee and she marvels

At his stories

While he is glad of the company

“Can I be your Granpa?”

“Yes” she says –

So they live to fight another day

Some other time maybe?

Rich or Poor

RICH OR POOR

Mankind is struggling – to say the least or to put it mildly.

Those who are set on a course of money-making find solace if each deal is going well, or many are purchasing their product.

They are happy with the success that brings a monetary reward.

The Bible says (amongst many) – two things worth mentioning:

Psalm 62

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.

I Timothy 6/

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…

Notice the heart is set on riches, and therefore they are trusting in riches – this gives solace and a sense of ‘all is well’ drawn from their success, measured by monetary increase.

Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.

A strange virus comes along – and things are not working out as lucratively for many reasons. Now that person or persons is suddenly programmed to be not doing so well.

We all live for various things that seem to make life and living worthwhile.

A lot of these things are good and wholesome and many are not.

I pulled riches out of the hat as only one example of what brings satisfaction to many.

We learn from scripture that it is not riches that can cause problems – it is the love of them.

I Timothy 6/

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Riches are uncertain in an uncertain world, and cannot provide ultimate contentment all the way to the grave, where they end.

However –

1 Timothy 6:6

…godliness with contentment is great gain.

So putting these points together we have – those who trust in money, set their hearts and minds on it above other things, and all their affection (love) is reserved for all things monetary.

Now it’s all very well to point out these ‘financial trespasses’ but if you do not know where your next meal is coming from, or you are about to be  evicted from your home because of financial difficulties – suddenly money becomes a preoccupation.

It does not pre-occupy your heart and mind because you have plenty of it – but rather because you have next to none. Survival therefore becomes your priority, and no doubt that of your family.

So for entirely different reasons the heart is set on finance.

Don’t set your heart on riches or finance is justifiably an exhortation to those who are greedy and who will not lift a finger to help the less fortunate.

But what of those who have very little money?

Well, difficult, in such circumstances, as it may seem – setting our minds and hearts on The Living God in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – is an anchor for the soul. 

So that regardless of what befalls us – we open the door to God’s deliverance as we trust in Him.

For the rich or poor – the call of God is the same –

Proverbs 3/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 37

2I have been young, and now am old;

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;

And his descendants are blessed.

God will not forsake those who trust in Him – even though it takes a lot to stay focussed during lean times. 

But we are told that keeping our soul healthy before God through faith in Jesus the Saviour, will give God the opportunity to work in His own mysterious way, to prosper us according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.

3 John 1-3

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.

Phil. 4/

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Frustration

FRUSTRATION

Frustration – a common experience to all – in all walks of life.

Frustration occurs in different contexts.

Waiting on a shop to open – twenty minutes past it’s official opening time. A feeling of frustration.

The repeated bad habit of someone else, that effects you adversely – but which they seem to constantly repeat when in your presence. A feeling of frustration.

People telling you they will do something – which they repeatedly fail to do. A feeling of frustration.

A person you have hired to do a job and they keep postponing to another day. When the day comes – they postpone again. A feeling of frustration.

Someone in a car in front of you – who dilly-dally’s – at 20 miles an hour in a forty mile zone. A feeling of frustration.

When a flea – yes a flea – you know those things you rarely get but expose their presence when that itch starts and the lump appears – you want to get that flea out into the open to end it’s life. (Do they still exist? 😊)

So we need to get those thoughts of frustration out into the open and…

Regardless of the problem that causes frustration – often it has a devil on it’s back.

So trace and destroy. Really know what it is that is causing the frustration and take God’s remedy for it.

For the Christian it is turning to the Word of God and

letting… 

Colossians 2/

5 …this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

We are called to constantly give way to God The Holy Spirit as we appropriate His mind found in His Word. His thoughts kill frustration. Back in the day when people dropped ‘acid’. It was a common exhortation from Christian to Christian – ‘hey man drop some Matthew, Mark Luke or John’.

That takes care of your woes!

Job tells us…

Job 23/

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Frustration is an emotion, but commonly besets us all. It is having the presence of mind to draw upon The One who supplies all our need through His life-giving, frustration-destroying Word.

Philippians 4/

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Attributes

SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES

I Corinthians 16/

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

To the unbeliever the words of this verse from the Bible may as well be in a foreign language.

They probably could make something of it. But within the confines of their own natural experience of life.

Firstly – all words in scripture are given by God – in that He is inspiring and influencing and empowering the person who is penning the Word(s) – and they are not describing natural experience(s) but spiritual.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

And if you have not had the spiritual experience of encountering The Living God – then the words can only be interpreted with the natural mind and in reference to common-to-man experiences.

For instance: ‘stand fast in…faith’ (leaving God out of the equation) could be wrongly interpreted as simply ‘don’t give up’.

Everyone knows they shouldn’t ‘give up – but rather – see-the-thing-through’. Whatever the ‘thing’, or exercise is, in which they are engaged.

That is natural ‘faith’, faith in yourself, stickability, natural empowerment and so on. Same with the other words, – brave, strong, love.

But it isn’t the faith spoken of here. It isn’t the strength spoken of here. It isn’t the courage spoken of here. And it isn’t the love spoken of here.

In simple terms it refers to faith in Christ Jesus. Kind of obvious right? When the whole bible is an exhortation to believe in God.

He, if we truly know Him, supplies the enablement necessary to maintain these attributes in our lives.

Of course we can all, (with self-effort), be strong, brave, have self-belief, and have loving feelings, Christian or non-Christian.

But the difference is – the existence of a relationship with God.

So the question is – What or who is the source of our strength? Is it natural or spiritual?

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul clearly knew the source of his strength, clearly stated in the above verse. And perhaps like no one else in the New Testament apart from The Saviour Himself, Paul needed that strength to see him through the hardships he suffered as an apostle.

Christ is the source and supply of all the Godly attributes we need in our lives, appropriated by faith and supplied by the supernatural enhancement of The Holy Spirit.

Some know of this. Many don’t. Comprehending or accepting what I speak of – is not the result of philosophical argument-winning or convincing, but rather is the result of encountering God.

I Corinthians 2/

…5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Double minded man

DOUBLE MINDED MAN

Fifty jobs later he thought to settle down

He tried to dive

Belly-flopped instead

He tried to strive

But strove in vain

Did his best

That was plain

He climbed the ship’s ramp

Said ‘Farewell’ but didn’t explain

Then walked back down again

He got a job – enthused in full – ’til noon

But ran out of steam like a deflated balloon

Left the premises and went to a bar

Let the alcohol sozzle his brain

Left the car there – didn’t take it home again

He liked a band – wore the vinyl thin

But hasn’t listened to them since and never will

He loved a girl it was ‘forever’ he said

He walked out on the engagement never to wed

Fifty jobs later he thought to settle down

So he settled for unemployment in a one-horse town

Poetry or football?

Poetry or football?

He was going

to make some poetry 

He stood staring

hand on chin/mouth

studiously thinking 

about

What he would say

Anyway

he went on his way

To his little room

and banged some keys

Producing

and reproducing

Letters words and phrases

on pages

Pacing himself

in semi-rush

with pauses

Contemplations

and elations

liking some – hating most

Stopped for Sunday roast

Climbed back into that chair

the one with the spare

neck brace

Was a bit of a disgrace

he couldn’t keep up the pace

And got lazy

And wrote no more

Out the door

onto the grass for

a kick-about

Him…

Colossians 1:28

28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Notice the apostle – the one writing, under the revelation of The Holy Spirit, tells us that it is not so much a message he is preaching but a person.

Him we preach….

Some other religions give some kind of respect to Jesus Christ – but do not acknowledge Him as Lord, King of kings, Lord of lords, God manifest in a human body, The Only Begotten Son of God…

They don’t preach Him.

It’s important that Christians stop, every now and again and remind themselves that we should be careful not to become ‘doctrinally distracted’ – and lose our first love.

The Holy Spirit will always witness to the paramount focus we must maintain: 

Matthew 3:16-17

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”

The Father God, loves The Son

John3/

35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

I believe that Jesus Christ is The Son of The Living God.

Prayer:

‘Lord help me to love you more.’

Rising Up

RISING UP

Rising up to climb the hill

Thinking he was going to a superior place

Where the wind would challenge him to fall

Hands in pockets as though that would help

He ascended with momentary pauses

The landscape increased it’s comprehensive vista

But his expectation diminished

As no rainbows appeared

No community of little people scurried about

To Gulliver-ise him with their ropes and stakes

No beanstalks about

No wooden horses of Troy

Not a different thing did appear

Just grass and shrubs and stones

And imagination

Back and Forth

BACK AND FORTH

Once long ago I stood in the street

And heard the coal-train-trucks clinking together

Coal transported – as I am transported

– Back

I looked long ago at the Gas Tower

Grey and brooding in it’s changing shades

I shake myself – all is gone – I’m back to the

– Present

In times gone past I ventured over the bridge

Homeward bound – with sideburns and hair

And an insulated world of music and fashion my

– Adornment 

I look at the children now

And know they must make their journey

To the land of memories-recalled and

– Contemplated

Like I do now