I have always marvelled at the inability of humans to really understand each other in their communications. This spills over into the Church (as in the company of God’s people).
It’s a bit like – you say tomato and I say tomayto – and if it goes on-through to fuller mis-understanding into vehement anger and division – we end up calling the whole thing off. ‘The whole thing’ being our friendship and fellowship.
When we examine examples of this, they are of course, innumerable.
But boiling it all down, I see it, as part of the fall of mankind.
There was a time in God’s perfect creation that mankind did not have the knowledge of good and evil. He only knew life without sin.
However one ‘shall not’ and he ‘did just that’. In Genesis we read:
And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Now as a result of listening and obeying another (Genesis 3/1) – the woman’s and the man’s human spirit fell and mankind became dominated by his fallen nature. His mind began it’s journey of corruption.
And today there are many varying degrees of this fallen nature, this sinful mind, this earthly, sensual, devilish, make-up, manifesting itself in innumerable ways in mankind’s individual or corporate mindset. (James 3/15)
The fallen nature manifests itself in the little ‘white’ lie all the way to murder and rape by ruthless regimes.
Out of the heart of mankind comes:
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
There are other lists of sins in the bible that describe the result of this nature that has inherited the knowledge of good and evil, from our forefather Adam. This is referred to as the ‘Adamic nature’.
But what I want to draw attention to, is this inability to properly communicate.
To properly understand each other.
I have noticed it over the years, and realised that unless Christians having fellowship, take the time to ensure that mutual humility is present, before they communicate, then when misunderstanding arises, it will end-up in some kind of division or parting of the ways.
If we fail to believe God’s truth as it is found (unadulterated), in the Scripture (The Holy Bible) – then as a result, we fail to encounter the One who is ‘The Truth’.
Christ gives us a new nature, as He gives Himself to us and enters us by The Holy Spirit, if we respond to the Word of the Gospel. This new nature is a renewed or born again human spirit.
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
But it is the old nature that has the knowledge of good and evil, that corrupts the true truth of God’s pure word. Man on innumerable occasions has corrupted the letter of God’s word.
Christians meeting to hear the public reading of God’s Word are hearing pure truth.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
The preacher may present this pure truth well or corrupt it with his old nature.
Both things are possible.
The safest possible ground that believers have for communicating with each other is to simply repeat the Word of God from mouth to ear in the assembly of God’s people.
If I speak a scripture to you, and you in turn speak a scripture to me – we have communicated perfectly.
That’s why we read in Matthew 5/
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
It is easy for communications to become confused, divisive, and eventually outright evil as we…
…bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
So apart from necessary everyday communication in the workplace, school, or where tasks are being carried out corporately, being slow to speak isn’t a bad idea.
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
But even yea or nay can be misunderstood.
What are we to do?
We can only talk until things become clear. But sometimes it makes the situation worse if ego and oneupmanship take over, and talking becomes bickering.
The fact that divisions come, the fact that the world is in the mess it is in. And governments are at loggerheads internally and with other governments of other nations – shows clearly that the world is held captive by an inherited nature that can’t find agreement easily.
I’m reminded again of the humorous misunderstanding that took place between my friend’s wife and the weather forecaster on the car radio.
She heard the forecaster say: ‘Mister Fog’ will be about’.
So she made the comment to her husband (also in the car): ‘Who does he think he is addressing – children!?’
What he actually said was: ‘mist or fog will be about.’
If only the results of misunderstanding were as innocuous as this.
This isn’t one of my best
But I digress
Because first –
write the poem
internal jurist speaks
it may turn out all right
But do I feel it ‘coming along’
Or do I sense a failure?
we are only half way there
So why conclude?
– do not fear
All will be resolved in
the person’s ear
It won’t be Shakespeare
It won’t be King Lear
What doth appear?
Why – simply – “There you go”
As I finish here…
Even If I had gone away
You might still hear me say
Words accumulated in this way:
That is – i.e. – in poetic form
Saying things that are not the norm
Spiritual thoughts – to these I warm
But you’re mind is on other things
I may say something spiritual and a bell rings
As your mind thinks of something memory brings
Someone spoke to you once in a biblical way
You didn’t like it – you’d nothing to say
You lived to ignore it another day
There is a time coming
(A day of reckoning – still to come)
“I bled for you”
Said the Only Begotten Son
I Corinthians 11/
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
We are exhorted in this passage of scripture to ‘examine ourselves’.
It is of course in the context of the Christian celebration of The Lord’s Supper.
The Breaking of Bread, as we call it, has been given to us through the Lord’s command, to ‘proclaim The Lord’s death till He comes’.
‘Till He comes’ – As in His Second Coming.
But the examination of our own hearts and minds is, of course, an ongoing daily exercise for all Christians, apart from it being a prelude to partaking of The Lord’s Table.
The Psalmist getting before God in prayer says: (Psalm 139/23):
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
So this expands our understanding of self-examination, including as it does, and as it should be: examination that must take place in The Presence of God, so that He is also the one doing the examination.
To be spiritually aware is a God given gift to all those who are born again, of God’s Spirit.
It is The Holy Spirit who leads us into an awareness of our own sinfulness and it is The Holy Spirit that leads us into a greater sense of The Presence of God, forgiving our sin.
There is a morbid introspection that is constant and unrelenting – this is not the examination God requires. Such an examination is self-filled and that’s all. It does not take into account that God wishes to replace our (sinful) self-life with His own life giving Spirit. It also leaves the door open to the enemy’s condemnation.
The condemnation Christ has removed (Romans 8/1).
Rather the examination God requires, which we exercise as a means of continuing to ‘walk in the Spirit’ (Romans 8/4) – is expressed correctly in this Scripture:-
II Corinthians 13/
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.
So the question is – are we continuing on in faith? The faith that prays no matter what. The faith that acts on the fact that GOD IS! (Hebrews 11/6). Regardless of circumstances, feelings, failures or anything else. It seeks The Lord knowing that He will be found and that His strength will replace our discovered weakness as we look within, or are conscious that we ‘dropped the ball’ today! Pray – find – confess – and…
Rise, let us be going…
RETURNING STRENGTH 2022
The story of Samson’s ‘slippery slope slide’ and eventual demise, is a strange, strange story.
I revisited it for this post.
It got me to thinking how, when we examine stories in the Old Testament, we inevitably compare the lifestyles and happenings of that time with our own, (even unconsciously) when reaching our conclusions.
So that some of the moral judgements we make come from our New Testament believer’s perspective.
We need therefore, to start our examination by doing our best to put ourselves in the time-frame of the persons and events we are examining.
Samson was not (especially in the light of New Testament morality) a paradigm of moral character.
No need to list his misdemeanours and lack of moral strength and integrity.
He – we must also conclude, was (as we all are) the ‘product’ of his time.
The traditions, socially acceptable and unacceptable modes of behaviour, were different to ours today.
To use the most arbitrary and poor example – did they ‘belch’ when having a meal together?
This is unacceptable in most western cultures.
We note how Samson was too easily seduced by women. Having said this – it took some time for his resolve-not-to, – to cease.
We can be seduced by all kinds of things. To prevent this we need to listen and act upon:
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
There are things we can ‘use’ in this world, but must not abuse them or allow them to abuse us and hinder our spiritual walk:
I Corinthains 6/
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
(NB: We need of course, to read this verse in context) – but many non-Christians don’t realise what true freedom is and often are deceived as to what true Christianity is. Often considering that it is only to do with a strict regime of ‘dont’s’.
Samson the lyric of the song says: ‘had the strength of a thousand men, his strength lied in his hair’
It didn’t of course – his hair was an outward sign of obedience to God who strengthened Him to carry out his will – often executing judgment on the practitioners of the occult.
But we are in a completely different time. God we are told winked at previous behaviour realising that man was limited in his comprehending ability as to the perfect way of God. And of course Christ hadn’t yet come to the earth, but was in heaven – not as a man, but as the Son of God.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent:
When Jesus came – that which was as-it-were ‘part understanding’ was completed in Him.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Jesus completed the revelation of that which had a passing glory, whilst He is The Glory that remains eternally.
II Corinthians 3/
11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
He and all His ways remain and He, with The Father, is the supreme authority over the universe.
For heaven and earth shall pass away but His word will never pass away.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
So it’s because of our revelation of the New Testament that we are more fully enabled to conclude that Samson was flawed. But perhaps less flawed in his day, depending on our rule of measurement. (?)
Yet he kept as sacred, the one thing that God asked him to be obedient in.
That was the agreement between him and The Most High. Until he broke the agreement and gave that which was holy unto the dogs.
When any of us grow weak spiritually, violate our conscience and in a place of discouragement grow cold towards our Lord and Saviour, sometimes there is a period of time before we arise again.
Samson is a picture of this. As nearing his demise, his hair started to grow again. And with that, an opportunity to renew his vows. An opportunity to put himself into a yielding place with The Lord God.
He had no eyes, as they were gouged-out by the occult practicing Philistines, but he could feel the pillars and through his prayers of renewal his strength was returning with his hair.
We know the rest of the story. We cannot comprehend all the emotions that this man went through, nor what his communion with God fully consisted of. But the fact that his God-given strength returned, suggests strongly that He had returned in repentance to the author of his strength.
We can surmise…
[based on the fact that we too are subject to weakness, just like the high priest example of the Old Testament given in Hebrews – Hebrews 5/
2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.],
…that a time of refreshing from God’s Presence came upon Samson.
Samson was subject to a weakness that overcame him. He returned to strength in the mercy of God to overcome the alien Philistines.
Samson executed the judgement of God on the heathen Philistines, laying down his own life as a result.
Now the high demand comes to us through the Glorious King of Kings and Lord of Lords – tall order though it is, it remains God’s exhortation to us New Testament believers: Matthew 5/
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well [a]who had been sick.
It isn’t the first time that the question as to ‘what impressed The Son of God so much?’ – has been asked.
Jesus marvelled at this Centurion’s faith.
I’m pretty sure God has never marvelled at me, or anything I have said.
No wonder Jesus was impressed, as he did not find the calibre of this man’s faith anywhere else in Israel (V9).
The centurion was a man who had learned the power of words, by experience.
His experience consisted of verbalising commands on a daily basis, and his words produced his desired effect and results every time.
To one he would say ‘go’ – the result of his spoken words were that the person he was addressing – went.
To another he would say ‘come’ – the result of his spoken words were that the person he was addressing – arrived or followed.
To one he would say ‘do this’ – the result of his spoken words were that the person he was addressing – did what he asked/commanded.
Now he expected this Lord, this person of Great Authority – to do the same.
‘Say the word…’ (v7)
He demonstrates his humility in the previous verses. So humility + recognition of Christ’s authority (that even the wind and the waves obeyed His Words on one occasion) – left Him in no doubt that if Jesus said to this sickness ‘go’ it would go.
Let us put the same faith in the Words of Jesus. Our life depends on what He said. Otherwise we have only this life with an expectation ending at the grave.
Sometimes those in positions of authority carry a certain haughtiness. But this man carried his authority well. He served the Israelite nation:
5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
He walked in authority but also in humility and love for those whose country he had occupied.
…returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
Blogosphere from ear to ear
All that goes on in your head
Treading out your corn
Was it you that said…?
Into the sphere
Not always what
They at first might appear
Blogs written from the heart
Your abundance in advance
For all ‘posters’ to realize
As you make your song and dance
Words one day will cease
Your words – my words gone
Your world – my world
What in the world’s going on?
Some pay heed to what I write
Others fail to find my word display
Others mis-interpret what is ‘wrote’
Some listen – but turn away
Some ‘like’ to my surprise
I don’t get it – as they are of a different ilk
They think I mean what they hold to
But sow’s ear don’t make purse of silk
You see ‘comprende’ ain’t so easily found
As the spiritual is spiritually discerned
So words mean different things
Spiritual things can be wrongly learned
Anyway just thought I’d say
I’m still treading out my corn
I know you are too
But I hope you become –
Second time born