Monthly Archives: December 2021

I woke up one day

I woke up one day

I woke up one day and they were gone

The pop stars and rock stars and political bodies 

The styles of cars, and terminated oddities

                          …

I woke up one day after many wake-ups

And drew a line under the hoodies

And crudities – no longer in fashion

                          …

I observed how it all changed

Itemising the things that were no longer arranged

In that popular manner

They even use different grammar

                          …

I woke up another day and remembered the names:

The Presley’s and Lennon’s and Crosby’s and Connery’s

The Bolan’s and Cagney’s and names I’ve forgotten

                          …

I couldn’t see them in the present day

Their vapours had appeared and

Disappeared another way

                          …

I saw in their absence the crushing line of years

Years bumping up together –

At least – that’s how it appeared

                          …

I sneered –

I couldn’t bring them back except on celluloid

I couldn’t stop reminiscing – and concluding

Preparation is impossible to avoid

In light of the facts of corruptible flesh –

                          …

All singing and dancing their candle was lit –

If you think that’s all that matters –

You’re not getting it

                          …

But they represented earlier life – when energy

Aplenty was mis-spent in youth

Grabbing for straws we all together

Went at things – hell-for-leather

                          …

Time was wasted

But it’s hard to duck and dodge

It being so

For answers – we didn’t know where to go

                          …

As I was drifting into retro-reminiscing

Concluding there’s nothing new under the sun

I remembered it was all about having fun

                          …

But I woke up (as I was telling you a moment ago)

To find another name added to the roll call

At the Oscar Dinner, Show or Ball (?)

                          …

People – all those – we all know

Who represent passing time

There are times when I can be – feeling it so…

                         …

I woke up one day and found a mirror

I saw a man there – who was waiting his turn

I hadn’t realised he had grown old

And was supposed to feel it

I didn’t know – ‘cause I was never told

                          …

What am I supposed to do?

I can’t stop the train

Heading for the end of the line

The buffer stops and the buck stops here

Before The Creator – I must appear

                         …

Meantime back at the ranch or lunch

My mind wanders to a pier

A saying – batted about – yesteryear

‘Take a long walk – along a short pier’

                          …

This and similar quips come to mind

“Is he in?” We used to ask

“Who?” Was the scripted reply

“Mr. Norwood”

                          …

No one knew Mr. Norwood –

He had passed away

Looking in the mirror one day

To find he was ‘out of time’

(‘My sweet old fashioned baby…’)

                          …

I looked in a book one day

I found it again

Glancing through – romancing through

I saw faces long gone

Who wore those faces of youth

Just like mine

                          …

I compare the photos in collage

Fresh looking young man I was

Peering curiously at the world

                          …

As the quiet man in the background

I strolled passed everything

Observing – surprising – amounts of forms

“How’s the form?” Greeters would ask

                          …

Greeters long gone

Many and varied deaths they had

The ‘around the corner’ alcoholic

His name was John

                          …

He passed away

A friend of my brother’s

I didn’t know

I knew him one night in a bar – drunk or so

I was with a girl – she wanted to go

                          …

Deal out the memories like a pack of cards

Go on – put them out there – spread across the floor

The floor of your mind

And think to yourself – of all who have gone

They represent your journey – your encounters

With the strange – the normal –

And those above the norm

                          …

Wake up some day and realise it won’t be long

Before we join them beyond outer space

The end we must face

If I tell you the great sequel

You will think me – too strait-laced

                          …

Every generation must face these things

What do you bring to the table?

Your ideas are not enough

Because only enough is enough

                          …

Things – will – are – and – will still –

get rough

And if you don’t find answers that’s tough

                          …

Today I woke up and banged the keys

Today I woke up with a sneeze

Finishing off now – I must go…

                          …

Go home to that photo album

You possess

And have another look

That’s your family – friends –

And acquaintances that mark time for you

                          …

What age are you now?

There’s no need to say

You look around to answer but…

                          …

I’m on my way

Moved…

MOVED

He was moved once

Yea twice

But kept his emotions under wraps

He deflected their noticing looks

With a quip or two – producing doubts

They continued to discuss the matters at hand

After the brief acknowledgement (in civility given)

For not everyone knew the deceased as he did

The organisation got organised

Laying out it’s course of action

Man the boats, hands to the pump and plow

Get on with the business of why we are here

Slowly the many things to be done

Surfaced and swallowed all other considerations

At last the meeting ended

He went out and wept

Tug of War

TUG OF WAR

The man in the team pulling his weight in the tug of war, is helped by the fact that others are sharing the load.

Imagine him against the whole of the other team. No problem of course – if you are Samson.

(Joshua 23/10): One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. 

Spiritually speaking, as Christians we are in a tug of war against the darkness of this present age. And I reckon there are a multitude of ways of dividing us.

There are all kinds of devices used by the unseen enemy, who manifests himself in unbeliever’s flesh, who are used by him to dis-unify, disrupt and weaken the saints of God. II Corinthians 2/

11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Problem is, he will also use the flesh in us (Christians), never mind the unbelievers.

I would love to say we are all aware of this and we all take the necessary action to maintain unity, and to stop this flesh in ourselves and others on the team from dis-unifying the church, and causing us to let go of God’s ‘rope’. But I’m afraid experience tells me different.

Amidst the increased pressure of the day in which we live, we who are not overtly ‘brave courageous and bold’, as the old western song about Wyatt Earp used to tell us – have only one means of maintaining our unity as believers.

That one means is humility.

Being able to talk and communicate in such a way that there is no self-righteousness and oneupmanship, present in our midst.

Because I see little of this, as it is really meant to be, I can find myself despairing of finding like-minded believers to ‘attach’ myself to, who likewise long for the commanded blessing of God, that is promised to those who will dwell together in unity.

But to finish this very short post – we had better get our act together, and as one person put it – be not sworn together in doctrine, frozen together in tradition but melted together in love.

We can’t do that without The Love of God Himself flowing in our midst.

“Lord we are your people and if we will humble ourselves and pray…”

II Chronicles 7/14

The Crowd v The Individual

THE CROWD v THE INDIVIDUAL

Daniel 6:15-17

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

There are many examples throughout history of the crowd versus the individual. Many times the individual has been wrongly treated, mis-judged, wrongly accused, misunderstood and so on.

To mention a few, we could look at: Joseph by his brothers, Lot by the Sodomites, Samson by the Philistines, Paul by the Jews…

There are many examples, but in the New Testament:

We think of Stephen the martyr, preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, that brought him a stoning at the hands of those (the crowd) who wanted to shut their ears to this truth. (Acts 7/57-59).

We think of course, of The Lord Jesus Christ the ultimate example in His sinless perfection suffering at the hands of mankind (the crowd).

The great irony in the case of The Lord, was the fact that though he was taken and crucified by the free-will choices of many – it all played into God’s ordained plan. In the sense that His wisdom and prescience, decided that as man would do this – it would be the very thing that would liberate man from the dominion of sin and eternal separation from God.

It was God giving Himself to meet His own requirements for an eternally efficacious sacrifice for sin.

There is always an inconclusive tension between man’s free will choices and God sovereignly ordaining that certain things should come to pass.

It is of course, the age-old theological debate that will always end in us knowing IN PART.

Whereas for God the knowledge of how this works is, as they say, ‘A breeze’.

Being convinced of the personality, character and deeply benevolent heart of Our Heavenly Father – we ought to prove it, by believing Him even when we don’t understand.

We shall not understand eternal matters fully until fully in eternity.

Daniel was thrown to the lions – the crowd had decided he must be – and used a ‘politically correct’ decree to see him put there.

We are not told what was going on internally with Daniel, as he ventured into that den to face the lions.

The devil since then and before, walks about like a roaring lion…

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Notice the good advice given to prevent his unseen, but real presence, having sway over us – Be sober, be vigilant…

We are to keep a proper watch over our minds as we yield to God – this keeps us insulated from the devourer, as we remain fixed on The Lord. (James 4/7).

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4/4)

Darius wasn’t keen, to say the least, that Daniel should be put as a pigeon amongst the cats, but a law and it’s unrighteous application to Daniel’s case prevented Darius from freeing Daniel.

It was nothing short of a miracle that Daniel was not devoured by the hungry beasts.

Darius issued a decree that ‘he only should be worshipped’ – that’s what it boiled down to.

And his word once written could not be altered.

It’s wonderful to know that if a sinful human king had to keep the word he had written, how much more is the Word of our Heavenly Father, The King of Glory, written forever and cannot be broken. (John 10/35)

He has promised Eternal Life to those who repent and believe and His word cannot be broken – it is decreed forever.

God’s Word is not some whimsical law written to re-enforce God’s ego (He doesn’t have a sinful ego). It is the Word of God that shall never pass away. (Matthew 24/35)

The result of Daniel’s innocence was that the angel of God shut the mouths of the lions. 

And in case we think they had their teeth removed before Daniel got there, here is the result when the false accusers, were subsequently cast into the den by the same King who, as a result of seeing Daniel’s survival – had a demonstration of the power of God Almighty shown to him.

And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

If we read the whole chapter and more, we will discover, as with the whole Word of God, many lessons both for this life and the next.

The crowd versus Daniel – when the crowd seems to win. In the crucifixion of The Lord Jesus, when the crowd seems to win. In the life of Stephen the martyr when the crowd seems to win.

When in actual fact the victors in all three examples is Stephen, Daniel and The Lord Jesus Christ – simply because the eternal purposes of God had been served.

So that whether deliverance in this world – Daniel.

Or deliverance for the next – Stephen.

They both were winners through The One who conquered the crowd’s inflicted crucifixion – demonstrating deliverance in this life, (returning from the dead), whilst releasing the gift of eternal life to all who would believe, thus serving that eternal purpose of God.

Zechariah 3/

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Diverse

DIVERSE

I sometimes marvel, (the older I get – the more it is so), at how diverse the human race is.

Better reach for the dictionary here to clarify in which way I mean ‘diverse’:

Dict.: showing a great deal of variety; very different:

This can be a blessing, or one in disguise, or divisive, or a cause for conflict or violence.

DRAGON’S DEN TV SHOW (English version)

Someone like ‘a Dragon’, loves folks to come across with confidence, with a track record of making money, they don’t like sloppiness, or uncertainty, want pitch-perfect people, and people who are going to make them a lot of money.

They like clear answers to their questions. But don’t always like the answers, if the answers don’t re-enforce their way of thinking.

Suddenly they like your suit, when it is established, that you will make them money. Otherwise you have a rubbish tailor.

Head rules heart – sympathy gives way to cold reasoning and hard facts. 

And of course we somewhat concede to them (The Dragons) in the context of the programme, as their experience in business teaches them to consider angles perhaps, (and indeed it is the case with many of the ‘pitchers’), that others have missed – something important in their business strategies.

But mixed into the Dragon’s business-like voiced-responses there is a spattering of personal everyday-life ‘revelations’.

Sometimes the ‘asides’ are whimsical and nothing to do with business, but expose simply their personal tastes.

And of course we think some of their rudeness is totally uncalled for, and includes bullying.

But if you ever wanted a programme demonstrating a sampling of the diversity of personalities, well this is it.

Human nature, expressing the heart of mankind can be observed in the Den. Yes in the context of earning a living, but with a spattering of non-related subject matter, as we get glimpses into their lives, both Dragons and those pitching.

…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks… (Matthew 12/34)

What I notice to my chagrin sometimes in life in general, is the things that impress some folks.

(Enter – my responses of incredulity) – at the diversity of that which impresses others.

As a Christian I have a built-in morality check, it is called having a conscience.

This means the behaviour of others either impresses me or doesn’t. (My conscience tells me when my own behaviour is not impressive!)

If you examine what impresses others and what receives the accolades of the crowd, you will find that it often is morally reprehensible.

In the admiration of Hitler, back in the day, I would suggest we have an example of that which did impress others, but did not include moral considerations.

And morality can easily be left out of the list of requirements that elicit admiration.

There you have it – without further development. What impresses you? What impresses me? What impresses society?

The things that impress the younger generation usually differ from that which impresses the older.

A lot of this is to be expected, and has always been the case.

My father, when I was enthusiastically responding to pop stars and their sound, would utter these words: “Let ‘em up – you’ve given him enough’!’ By so exclaiming – he was linking the noise they were making (musically), to the noise someone would make whilst being beaten up.

It’s laughable now – but there are far more serious differences that expose the moral decline of both younger and older, that have been embraced, by our world.

A lot of it, is put down to eclecticism – live and let live.

But being convinced of a better way only comes to those who begin with a felt need.

Followed by an examination of big issues, beginning with those in their own hearts. An honest appraisal of what is happening in this world is called for. As we say ‘it’s as plane as the nose on your face’ that something is terribly amiss. And diversity or no diversity, we must seek the permanent answers God has provided.

Should you never cross the door of a Christian church – you nevertheless must be translated into another kingdom now, on the earth, that’s what God is saying to whoever will listen.

Seeking God is prayer-initiated. Speaking to Christians, God says this:

Colossians 1:13

Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Paul tells us – it’s already done (= has translated) – for all who have been converted.

New King James Bible:

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Conveyed or translated – this is a spiritual experience that God brings to those who will believe.

The kingdom of God is Jesus in the heart of those who will believe, as The Holy Spirit enters their life.

We can be as diverse/different as chalk and cheese in our likes and dislikes and preferences – but there is one piece of dogma about Jesus Christ, that applies to all –

Acts 4/

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

At the right time

AT THE RIGHT TIME

For those of us who have been travelling the narrow way that leads to life eternal, and are familiar with all things Christian, know what it is, to sit under – or to give – sermons.

There are all kinds of different approaches to sermonising – sermons in series, prophetic words straight from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration for the moment, Systematic sermons on a given subject, book-study sermons – where e.g. an epistle is expounded from start to finish.

But here’s a word about The Word. It’s found in Proverbs 15/

23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

There is no expounded word for you like the word that comes at the right time.

Perhaps you are going through a time of trouble. Perhaps you are deliberating over a particular decision you hope to make. Perhaps you are downhearted and feeling disappointed. Perhaps you are struggling due to physical infirmities. Perhaps you have been attacked verbally or otherwise by the insensitive and uncaring. Perhaps you are struggling to understand life, or people, or indeed the Bible itself.

Well, God can quicken (make alive) inside you the very Word you need to hear.

Jesus said:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

That’s the word you need in the situations mentioned above.

When God quickens His Word to us – it will always set the Christian Free. Even when He corrects us it is given to set us free – free from the mistakes and free from the condemnation of the mistakes we all make.

So, much as we can continue to appreciate the expounding of God’s Word generally – we must always remember to look for the word – (amidst the Preacher’s word and all he is saying), – that is a ‘word in season’ for you. 

Even if you forget the rest of the sermon but walk away with what The Holy Spirit speaks into your life – the sermon has been worthwhile.

A word such as this, that reaches to the very core of your being, is once again God Himself speaking to you.

We cannot live by bread alone as Christians. We need the Word of God quickened in such a fashion.

How good it is to receive this 

word spoken in due season, how good is it!

Disliking success

DISLIKING SUCCESS

Jonah knew God. Jonah heard God speak. Jonah didn’t like what He (God) said – so he ran away.

We know the story.

He was asked to go and preach to a certain ‘bunch’ of people.

These people were sinners (‘who isn’t’ we might ask?), but they needed to give up their wrong ways and acknowledge God.

They did!

And guess what? Jonah did not like the result of his successful preaching.

This has to be one of the most contradictory stories in the bible. Preachers preach to be successful, to see results, to bear fruit. Having done so, Jonah was not pleased.

First he did everything he could to – not preach.

A whole series of events including a dive to the depths of the sea into an unknown/unspecified species of fish.

At the end of the day – Jonah had God – so demonstrate His sovereign hand in his life, that he could only obey, after much rebellion and refusal to do as he was bidden.

I remember teaching Jonah’s story and perhaps I wasn’t the first to establish that Jonah was on a downer.

He went down to Joppa, down to the harbour, down into a boat, down into the ‘hold’ in the boat, down into his bed, down into the sea and down into a fish.

He came up in a rather sickly but necessary way onto the shore again.

He then decided he had better just do what God asked him to do.

Humility is going down before the feet of Jesus. All who genuinely do so will come up again and follow Him.

As we call folks to obey Christ and accept His salvation – rather than do so, some will set-off on their journey to the depths, or having reached the depths of being on a downer, I hope-they-will-learn from Jonah and come back-up by obeying God.

We all, like sheep, go astray. We think our way is best. There is a way and it seems right to us (it is our own invention) – but the end of it – is death.

There are many plans in a person’s heart but the counsel of God above and beyond our thinking and decision making – will stand.

The biggest part of a Christian’s life is not our performance as in doing good –  but rather with the awareness of our imperfections and shortcomings – we embrace and appreciate with humility the fact that God should choose us to be his sons and daughters, as we exercise faith in Him.

We would have been among those who listened to Jonah’s repentance message, demonstrated by the fact that we listened and responded to Christ’s message.

If you are in any way like myself, you will not be celebrating a life lived the way you wanted it to be. 

One hundred percent pleasing to God would be wonderful. But in my own estimation I fall far short.

Nevertheless I rejoice because Psalm 32 says:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

At that time in history the Ninevites enjoyed the experience of Psalm 32. Regardless of what subsequent generations of Ninevites did.

Every generation is confronted with the same message – a message that won’t be categorised as ‘cool’ or ‘newly current’, because it’s as old as time itself.

It will never change and defies man’s so called intellectual advancement, scientifically or in any other way.

The Message is clear: John 3/16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Jonah probably saw the Ninevites as a threat to his own nation because of their barbarous ways.

They stand as an example illustration of how even the most hardened individual(s) can turn and be changed by the Power of Christ and His salvation.