Monthly Archives: May 2021

My name’s Ken from…

by Ken Riddles

My name’s Ken from…

I have been blogging since 2015. I’m not exactly a technophobe – but can think of better things to do with my time 😎.

By so stating I’m indirectly communicating that I take minimal interest in my ’stats’ regarding followers, viewers, etc. I commented recently to a fellow-blogger that I look at my stats about once a year! ☺️

A bit of a tongue-in-cheek remark but more or less true.🙂

[Notice: that is three emoji’s in a row. A record!]

Initially I posted my paintings more or less – all of the time.

Then I removed all paintings and settled for posting my Christian teachings, and poems, with the odd painting still displayed.

This is more or less how things are at the moment.

My idea back when I starting blogging was to let the work speak for itself. No need to proclaim ‘boring’ details about myself (?).

So that the art, the art appreciation, the poems, the Christian teaching would stand (or fall) on their own merit.

Up until this point little to no, personal references as to who I am, where I live, what I do (daily life), has been revealed.

I’ve decided to share along the above lines. I feel another emoji coming – 💡

My name is…

Well that’s already been revealed

What hasn’t been revealed is that I hail from Northern Ireland, that six county province on the island of Ireland.

[Maybe this ‘whereabouts reveal’ – comes as no surprise – maybe ‘I thought so’ might have crossed your mind – or you remain non-plussed either way?]

What has been revealed before, is that I married my sweetheart from The Netherlands. We celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary back in March.

Other snippets of ‘identity’ can be found somewhere in the fog of old blog posts.

I came to a revelation of The Lord Jesus Christ on the 20th November, 1970, when I was overwhelmed by the Presence of God. And fell to my knees in repentance in my bedroom, in a little terrace house in Belfast. The house and therefore the room no longer exist.

The house was demolished many years ago, as part of the redevelopment of the area.

So I was born in one of the three upstairs rooms. And was born again in one of the two remaining.

[Mostly natural births today, in western culture, are in hospital wards as you know – although don’t quote me].

So what difference does this beginning of further information make?

I’ve no idea.

But I must confess I find the personal story of others – interesting. So maybe time to explore that approach in some writing.

That’s about it – carry on eating your lunch. Any questions?

No? Well, have a nice day.

I sat down…

I sat down…

I sat down to stillness

Stillness before the fingers tap the keys

Let the natural brain find it’s course

To run a race of hurdling words

Or gathering a bunch to make the statements

                          …

The last will and testament of mankind

Written all over the world

On hearts of flesh – in chaos and confusion

The creator undermined incessantly

While man holds his ears and cries out

In pleasure or confusion

Not knowing whether to run and hide

Or run for the hills

Out all night on the hillside

                          …

I see – on a stroll through the town

The vagrant’s-assembly of smoke

And alcohol taken

To numb the mind and

Charter a course of no return

                         …

‘Futility!’ cried the preacher and all still cry

Some with a suppressed-cry all muffled

Below their belly and gut

See a man – head in hands like Vincent’s drawing

Sorrow encroaches on each brow

Whether – well-heeled sorrow –

Or homeless vagabond in dismay

                         …

What vision will lift their life?

What hammer will break the chain?

And launch all to the sea of bliss?

What voices still speak and rage and agonise?

What hope does the mere politician-man offer?

As he tries his best while others know better

What speech will he make now

In his short-lived season?

Is there no word back from the front?

Is there an armistice day to lift the gloom?

“What shall we do?” – some did even ask

Is there a better tomorrow for a stare-mad world?

                        …

Questions have formed from the tapping fingers

As stillness returns

A half formed poetry – of snippets

A fully formed stillness comes

At the gentle touch of the Divine

I find no other hope on this side

You too may look and

Make the mistake of trusting in feet of clay

Erecting your idol Dagon and watching it fall to pieces

While you expect the real God to conform

To your limited outlook and appraisal

Abandon now all your cogitations

And fall upon The Rock

And call upon the same…

Time of Night

Nighttime delivery by Ken Riddles

TIME OF NIGHT

It’s that time of night again

The time when one retires

It’s that part of the day again

When the body speaks and seeks

Sleep – the non-productive vibe

Fight it – you will

If the mind is active still

But common sense must prevail

Care for yourself in being sensible

No more mind-working-’til-you’re-ill

So take your rest all flaked-out

Horizontal repose – I suppose

The watchman many moons ago

Sat in his little wooden hut

While the coke [a kind of coal]

Did send it’s distinctive smell

Across the nostrils of ‘out-too-late’ boys

Who joined him

Enamoured with the red glow

Against the houses in a row

What was the conversation then?

I forget – and can’t visit it again

For I am what is referred to as ‘grown-up’

An adult is my title given

Once told I had ‘made it’ now

But old enough to have more sense

Back when night watchmen were innocent too

And no suspicion accompanied their friendly talk

Now all is black as night except for the stars

Of good hearts who have not bowed the knee to Baal

Let’s sit with the watchman and share his sandwich

No turkey dinner – so late at night

But leave him now we will – for even he needs his sleep

What is ‘being helped’?

WHAT IS – ‘BEING HELPED’?

Sounds like a strange question – one easily answered?

First port of call – the dictionary:

improve (a situation or problem); be of benefit to:

This is only one part of the definition, but perhaps the best part.

‘Be of benefit to:’

When you read one of the posts you follow – I’m sure it is usually ‘helpful’.

Placing money in the charity box – is helpful.

The child reaching out for the toy again, when you are trying to put their shirt on, can illicit the parental response of: ‘John this is not helpful’.

The Beatles gave us ‘Help’:

When I was younger, so much younger than today

I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone I’m not so self-assured

Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors

[Younger – not needing anyone’s help. When really that’s probably the time we need it most].

What do we consider helpful? What remarks/blog post(s) do we find helpful?

Sometimes it can be someone’s post that is mixed with emotion. 

The blogger writes about some experience we have all had, and the person writing the post has an angle on it – that stirs us. Empathy arrives in our hearts and we concur (usually with a like-button-hit).

Help must be appropriate or concurrent with the situation of need.

Sometimes people try to help but their suggestion is not appropriate, lacking in sensitivity to the situation. 

Sometimes people are genuinely moved to help, but feel inadequate and blunder into doing something more unhelpful than helpful.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

In this passage of scripture we read of different mindset-responses to preaching. In simple terms some perceive it as helpful and others?: ‘‘Paul this is not helpful’.

We read that the preaching for some was a Stumbling block (difficulty) or foolishness. This can be the perception of some who read a Christian-themed post, — and the post will get less like-button hits than a painting of a ‘bird’.

The other response is: ‘This is so helpful – please give me more of the same’.

The gospel message, referred to here in the above passage,  is meant to be 100% helpful. It is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

This present post, I believe to be helpful – it might even fit the category of ‘helps ministry’ (I Corinthians 12/28). 

It is encouraging you to hear and respond to the gospel wherever you hear it.

But I know also it is a stumbling block and foolishness to others.

I hope this clarification is helpful?

Dreams in the noggin

DREAMS IN THE NOGGIN

It was called The Saga Of Noggin The Nog

Nothing to do with a frog

                        …

All stretched out on the deck chair

A passing remark made to a passer-by

His headgear on his noggin

A reminder of said Noggin of old

                        …

Now the eyes of me on the chair

Fell heavily closed

Echoing my folded arms in rhyme

I drifted-off into space

The inner space of cranium control

And as usual all images mix to give

An extended view of the world we live in

But too cool to ignore

Some great imaginations running wild

Books should be written

If only the dream can be prolonged

Or even remembered

That would be an achievement

                          …

But topsy turvy – upside down

Cognitive conferences in the sky of the head

Some dreams reminiscent

Some dreams once in a while

But repeating themselves without invitation

Some dreams worth recalling – some dismissing

Dreams of mixed up fantasy-land

Almost nursery rhymes

With disparate fragments making a whole

Another script or dream-novel or poem

To extol the alternative world of sleep

                           …

Once in a while a divine dream

Sent from above like Joseph received

Or Joseph II – to flee to Egypt

A different trance as Peter did advance

To visit the gentiles and share his message

                          …

Dreams it was written are made of sweet ‘this’

Not this or that

For your dreams will not be mine

‘Cause you tell me you have dreams

Of a different kind

Unbelief

UNBELIEF

Our health is paramount. If we do not have good health – and yet we are not depressed – not being depressed isn’t as good as not being depressed in good health.

Now then – I will untangle the above. As I’m in danger of not understanding it myself (sic).

Health – to be healthy in body, but depressed in mind. Far from ideal I’m sure you will agree.

But to have an unhealthy body and an unhealthy mind is more worthy still, of our sympathy and empathy.

Jesus met an innumerable amount of needs, only a small fraction of which, is recorded in Scripture.

We read on occasions that ‘He healed all…’ We often don’t know how many made up the ‘all’. (But a multitude).

Matthew 12:15

But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.

(This is a phenomenal fact if we can only take it in)!

But on one occasion ‘back home on the farm’ – He decided to heal only a few. Because of the unbelief and rejection of his divinity.

Matthew 13:58

Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

So when we ask the question ‘Why does He not heal everyone today?’ The starting place in searching for an answer is ‘unbelief’ – the kind that rejects His Divinity.

Unbelief in Christ is rejection of Christ. At least on this occasion. At other times his disciples exercised little or no necessary faith. But – they did not reject Him.

Faith is difficult to pin down. It cannot  be boxed into a definition. It cannot be squeezed into a formula that is 1-2-3, do-this-then-that and every time – you will have success.

So as a result of their struggle to understand faith – many abandon the idea of having faith and so abandon Christ.

Faith comes – it isn’t always here – it comes to us. We could write post after post after post on the subject.

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It comes through hearing God’s Word – i.e. God speaking to you or me. Whether God speaks directly by using another, as in preaching, or by giving a night vision/dream, or by speaking in an audible voice or by an open vision – or by using the Bible someone has opened and is reading – but God will and does speak to the individual heart.

For that to happen we need to open the book in the first place – and when we meditate on it – by so doing, it gives permission (as it were) to God to speak to us.

Does He need our permission? Yes and no – but It certainly helps!

To give Him permission to speak to you – is an act of faith.

More faith follows because we read His thoughts and that activates the revelation of faith to our innermost being.

But the worst kind of unbelief is to ignore Jesus Christ completely.

All other shortcomings of faithlessness – can be forgiven, to those who ask.

But the unbelief that rejects Him completely, is the unbelief that is not asking for forgiveness, nor hoping for eternal life through Jesus Christ The Lord.

Mindsets

MINDSETS

We all carry certain mindsets.

As the Politicians are apt to say: ‘let’s be clear…’

So let’s be clear about what a mindset is.

Dictionary: Mindset

the established set of attitudes held by someone: 

So that’s what having a mindset means. For good or bad.

This is not a good thing if we are closed to any progression in our thoughts.

This is a good thing if we are convinced and established in what is correct – unshakeable in our convictions.

It is interesting to note the different mindsets of others. We find these out, (in part at least), when we read a post, or listen to a conversation, or hear someone speaking for some cause etc.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…

Once we speak – we are exposed. Once we write we are exposed. At least partially exposed.

But then we have to deal with, the tendency of others to misunderstand us. Others misunderstand our words. And afterwards mis-represent us in passing-on what we have said.

Words and where to place the emphasis in a sentence, can lead us all astray in incorrectly ‘interpreting’ what the heart of the person is really meaning, and consequently where they are really at, in their (as above Dict. def.) ‘attitudes’.

Too short an utterance, by someone, can cause us to misinterpret their heart when for example they say: ‘I don’t agree with charity…’

What we hear and decide is that, they are not in any way a benevolent human being. When what they really meant was: they do not agree with certain Charitable Organisations that have been exposed as corrupt.

They just didn’t give us the full picture when they spoke…

Most (?) folks want to be honest. Even their ‘hard/difficult/cantankerous sides – they feel justified in not hiding from us, in the name of honesty.

And it’s true that ‘what you see is what you get’ is better than feigned niceness, or hypocritical sweetness that says one thing to your face and another behind your back.

As we go through life we encounter all kinds of words, from all kinds of mouths, exposing all kinds of hearts.

And thus we choose our friends carefully.

I sometimes consider my expectations, and standards too high, when it comes to what I expect from friendships. Because I see a predisposition in many to insincerity.

So yes I do seem to prefer the ‘real’ person as opposed to the ‘nice’ person.

Except when the real person isn’t nice to me 😅!!

In relationships of a less intimate kind, we often find ourselves having to ignore, tolerate, or suppress/deal with our negative responses to people we rub shoulders with every day, perhaps in a work situation.

Their ‘attitudes’, of course can give ground for gossip.

When others we work with, compare notes behind the person’s back.

This is how in the eyes of others, reputations unfortunately are indirectly formed or trashed.

Others see the same weaknesses in someone, and the reputation of what their heart is like, is established by ‘gossip agreement’.

Often though, others make the partial picture, regarding the person’s character, into the whole picture.

To get back to mindsets. We very quickly retreat into our particular mindset in given areas. Biases emerge/manifest, when we won’t think twice about the possibility of looking at something another way.

Be on sentry duty over your mind, and see if any wrong conclusions are wanting entry.

Be open to change. But firmly hold to moral principles.

Let our mindsets be formed by correct principles, and not by a careless accumulation of half-cocked conclusions.

The Expert Instructor

THE EXPERT INSTRUCTOR

The blustery weather set the scene

Raincoats adorned plain to be seen

Collars up for determined advance

Through the grasslands – taking a chance

That all would be well

When destination reached

Fruits of apple, plum, pear and peach

In the hidden garden through the secret path

Only ‘special ones’ stayed for the aftermath

A long session of instruction from the man

Who held the manual in his hand

Only the expert-gardeners dare be here today

Specially chosen to learn with partial dismay

Dismay at the expertise of the master-gardener

Once an architect, artist, bricklayer and carpenter

Now more advanced in knowledge of the soil

Than all the others put together (wrapped in tinfoil)

He gave his final grunt and left them be

To remember his instructions

And pull-up vegetables for tea

Our Life

OUR LIFE

Intense feelings as we began our intertwining

Following the book we read of other things

Of virtue and wholeness and worship

Pure emotion with mutual respect

Got us to our decision of covenant love

                 …

We looked to the hills

The hills of our future life

The horizon lost at times for the present

But all in all and in it all

We kept our bond and journeyed on

With children – three in tow

                 …

We spent our times in family gladness

Everyday thing-ness and small crises overcome

Happiness shone even in discontent

For who can be fully with time when eternity beckons

                 …

On through the years

Decades here – decades there – in this – in that

Gathering with the throng around the throne

                 …

Accepting the next with each decade’s demise

Looking together for the prize

Of the high calling – the anchor of the soul

The strength that permeates our weakness

                 …

The vanity of vanities will not overcome

Because of the undefiled harmless and Holy One

And so it will be as we plan – and so it will be

We are led to understand

That all will meet together to see His Return

We shall be like Him – His beauty to affirm

Posting/composing

POSTING/COMPOSING

Roll up! Roll up! There’s plenty to like

If you don’t like anything then – ‘on yer bike’

Who can force you to embrace all blogs?

Some kind of dictator who has gone to the dogs?

                              …

Free speech is fine and good

Trouble is – it’s a licence for many to be rude

That aside – freedom of speech wins

Even though society democratically sins

Good points – bad points in a democratic system

Don’t go for dictator(ship)

Be glad you’ve dismissed him

                               …

You tap your keys and gleefully post

Hoping for likes and comments and a toast

To your efforts anyway – you’ve given your time

To try to make something that will rhyme/chime

With those who check-in i.e. a common thread

All bloggers enjoy – post the one – you misled

Give us a look at that post of yours

The one you found again on your desktop tours

The one you weren’t sure about

But now – you have no doubt

Where am I going as I compose the next line?

(pause for effect)

… I will just stop there – yes – that will do fine

Thought for the…

Thought for the

‘Thought for the day’ is a familiar phrase, especially amongst Christians.

I was contemplating this phrase.

What – only one thought for a whole day?

Is that ‘a thought’, as in a theme for the day?

Maybe I should be fare and admit that it can also read: ‘Thoughts for the day’ (Plural).

‘Thoughts for this day’ – like now – what thoughts, should we be having, in our present day, as we pass through this strange year of Covid?

Is there good thoughts we might have missed?

Thinking is usually preferred over mindless behaviour.

Bringing us to the phrase: ‘Mindless aggression’. Suggesting someone who wants to be mad at the world regardless of any restraining thoughts offered by others to assuage their anger.

Aggression where the voice of conscience is drowned-out in unrestrained abuse, heaped on anyone who stands in the way. We see plenty of that in society – do we not?

Thoughts for the day – hmm – how about: ‘love your neighbour as yourself?’

Or ‘humble yourself under God’s mighty hand’?

Or ‘turn the other cheek’ when struck?

I played the part of Lentulus a Roman courtier, in Androcles and the Lion, by G.B. Shaw, a school production – back in the day.

Do you turn the other cheek when they strike you?” I said to Androcles in my snivelling cowardly voice tapping him weakly on the cheek, with trepidation, per chance he didn’t agree with turning the other cheek, after all.

The play suggesting (in my view) that such ‘turn the other cheek’ behaviour caused consternation, or incredulity. Lentulus looking for some kind of explanation for such extraordinary behaviour.

Who wants tested on turning the other cheek?

But to return good for evil is certainly ‘a thought for the day’ worth embracing.

Thoughts for the day – I marvel at how many thoughts we think in just one – 24 hr. – day.

God also thinks continuously. The difference is –

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Higher thoughts – for the day.

If His thoughts are higher, then there is no point in looking to understand them – using our lower thoughts (minds), alone.

How about having the thought of embracing His ‘higher thoughts’, for our ‘thought-for-the-day?’

Open the book (Bible) anywhere and meditate thereon – and you will find higher thoughts entering the realm of your lower mind.