Monthly Archives: June 2022

Destination confidence

DESTINATIOIN CONFIDENCE

I’m considering how it is a common experience of many – to fail to see/understand/appropriate/grasp/acknowledge etc. – the truth of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus found it incredulous that often mankind could not comprehend what He shared. Matthew 16/11:

“How is it you do not understand…? “

In the following scriptures: we read of ‘not enduring…’ as in not accepting or tolerating SOUND DOCTRINE, i.e. sound truth as inspired by God Himself.

II Timothy 3/

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. 

II Timothy 3/

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them…

I wonder have you ever been in a strange city and you needed to catch a bus?

You are hoping that the bus stop you have chosen is the right one, as you are confused over the unclear information you have, or there is no information at all – perhaps just a number. Is it therefore – the right number?

Then a bus approaches – will it stop? Perhaps it isn’t the right bus? Perhaps you should not wave it down. As it approaches you have but a few moments to take in the sign on the front. What if it is the right bus, but he doesn’t stop, as the driver is confused by the fact that you have stepped back, not knowing what to do?

You miss the bus. That’s a picture of how folks can view the gospel. While they are hesitating the bus has passed.

Best to go to the bus station and get all the necessary info you need, in order to explore the city.

Go directly to the Word of God to get the correct information that you need. Don’t remain trying to grasp your eternal destination with momentary glances at passing information.

THE LAW

THE LAW

This might get through to you

At least a word or two

You see – I will understand

If you don’t ‘get’ The Law’s demand

The evidence is plain to see

The law cries ‘foul!’ over you and me

We have broken it thoroughly

Like many before us and still to be

We fall short but it slips our mind

We don’t like what it’s telling us

We don’t ask or seek to find

The law is thunder and lightning

We can’t handle this – it’s frightening

But ‘submit to it’s analysis’

The law will constantly insist

And when we do – as falling down

Under the guilt and shame

After our momentary pain –

The good news is – we rise again

Because the judge is also 

The Saviour

“You’re guilty!” The Law cries

“I love you!” is His follow up

“You have failed miserably!”

Is The Law’s decree

Jesus says:

“But you can have peace in me”

Good and evil

GOOD AND EVIL

Good and evil

Your perception is askew

You try to get it

And don’t know what to do

Is it right or is it wrong?

You reason – and try to work it out

You see it for a moment

But you’re mostly filled with doubt

You see the world’s abnormality 

When weighing this with that

Think you’ve found the answer

But it turns out – tit for tat

Faith in The One True God eludes –

God is a moving target

Like a doubting man called Thomas

Faith? You don’t know where to park it

Faith in this – faith in that

Many advisers – abysmal advice

From pillar to post in your mind

Whilst left to your own device

Now as one whose been there too

Let me say – we all go astray

Until the man Christ Jesus

Is invited in to stay

Paint True

Musical Still Life – Acrylic – by Ken Riddles

PAINT TRUE

Most artists need an audience. Whether entertainers of whatever kind, or visual artists – all must (even reluctantly) admit they ‘do art’ for the eyes of others.

We tell ourselves we are being true to ourselves and (in the fine art genre) are only painting what we want to paint.

Now of course there is truth in this. Because if the artist him/herself doesn’t find any kind of fulfilment in what they do, then we can ask: ’what’s the point’? We therefore as a result – paint what we feel is a true expression of our own ‘vision’.

A graphic artist once referred to as a ‘commercial artist’ has however, to work to please the client.

So there is more to-ing and fro-ing of communication to ascertain if what is being created meets the criteria of the Client.

In this we have the artist using his creative ability to realise the clients ‘vision’.

We know there’s a whole history to how art has changed over the years, nay centuries, and what it’s raison d’être is – presently.

Originality has certainly climbed to the top of the list, of ‘must haves’ when art is judged today.

The enjoyable thing (for me anyway) about art is – there are no rules. There, I believe, should be moral censorship. But no rules in the sense that it’s an open field of endeavour.

There have been, and there are, so many schools of thought as to what art is and what it should be. All can’t be wrong and all can’t be right.

It is a very individual thing – to choose – what you think is good, bad or indifferent in art. That’s part of the freedom of art. 

At the end of the day – you ‘know what you like’ – right?

Because of technology and the digital age – art skills, have changed. But the basic ability to design is the one remaining factor that cannot change in visual art.

Drawing, and painting skills, have been superseded (to some degree anyway), by the digital means of producing fine or graphic art.

Sculpture cannot but be – hands on. It is not sculpture when on a screen, because of it’s inherent requirement for solidity.

But no sooner has a pronouncement like the above been made, when someone will contradict it and somehow a computer screen will find it’s way to being accepted in the world of sculpture.

And that’s how it should be. Art is always changing. But in another sense cannot escape being the same as it always has been.

I haven’t fully ‘sussed’ why artists feel the need of praise for their work. Certainly it may help.

Satisfaction at the end of the process of production, is one of the legitimate pleasures of life, enjoyed by the artist.

Sometimes that will have to do.

Needs

NEEDS 22

To respond to every need on the planet is an almost impossible task.

Think for a moment of the multitude of needs (such as): Financial need, emotional need, mental need, housing needs, food shortages, illness and ailments, needs in marriage, in organisations, in businesses, in the NHS, in the inner city, in drought-effected countries, needs in the midst of war, needs in mental hospitals, needs in prisons, needs in disaster struck cities as in earthquakes, or tornados etc., needs in government, needs in the environment, needs of the elderly, needs of parentless children, needs in relationships falling apart…

Then the most important need of all, but not immediately thought of or embraced – the need we all have – concerning the spiritual aspect of life.

This for many, is the least and last thought of need, not readily addressed.

It is not an outer need – it is an inner need. 

However – that this inner need exists is outwardly clearly seen and demonstrated.

Clearly seen by the awful state of humanity when it comes to morals. Moral corruption running rampant, and unaddressed directly.

All kinds of sin. I could provide another list of my own invention. But I will settle for the one given, in Galatians 5/

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The needs of mankind are so plainly seen, to address them, as though it is ‘new news’ – is slightly superfluous, unless we are providing either the answers as to how they can be met, or the wherewithal to meet them.

And no doubt you feel as helpless, as I do,  in the light of my list in paragraph 2?

Many commendably, try to be part of the answer in practical ways.

Such commendably, try to be useful in providing relief in at least some way, in some area.

By choosing and addressing, at least one need, is better than total indifference, we would all agree.

But conversely to morbidly dwell on them all (back to the list again), leaves us with a sense of total discouragement, and a sense of inadequacy in light of the overwhelming aspect of their immensity.

Some reach a place of perceived ‘no way back’ – overwhelmed by their own needs, never mind the needs of others, and so they take their own life.

You might be well aware of your own needs. And quite overwhelmed by them. It is your inner need that will effect how you handle your outer needs.

Some businessmen, who live in the higher echelons of the financial world, suddenly lose everything.

Their financial world of support collapses and bankruptcy and overwhelming debt sends them to a place of melancholy, as they perhaps contemplate prison, amidst the lose of £millions.

Suddenly their source of identity and self-worth tumbles.

Here this NEED is highlighted and the solution provided: I Timothy 6/

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.

Such, as I’ve just described, made the mistake of trusting in uncertain riches, and when their trust, having been misplaced is betrayed – their world tumbles-in on them. They have great NEED.

But the solution is to trust in the Living God. There is nothing uncertain about Him. This we shall especially find out in the hereafter, if we trust in Him this side of eternity.

When there is an ongoing increase in the awful state of mankind – it creates in the light of helplessness – a forlorn and numb outlook on life.

A lose of hope seems to prevail. Survival only – becomes the individual’s mindset, or unfortunately they throw-in the towel, and take their own life.

The heavy weight of overwhelming mental agitation is described in scripture.

I mention only one descriptive term related to the point above – found in Luke 21/

25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

The fear factor easily besets us all. Fear drives mankind mercilessly and is perpetuated by the demonic.

Great need can produce great fear. The fear that agitates-us to a place of hopelessness.

If you are like me – I have to bring my thoughts into captivity – when I scan the horizon of madness in our world. I have to…look up for my redemption draws near. (Luke 21):

27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

I John 5/4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

We can’t make God…

WE CAN’T MAKE GOD…

God is so good, so loving, so holy, so perfect, so intelligent, so powerful, so omnipotent, so omnipresent, so omniscient, so righteous, so just, so long-suffering, so gentle, so kind, so strong, so mighty, so everlasting, so merciful, so truthful, so…so…so…

The problem is – our awareness of these things, is small… small… small… or zero.

Initially we can only have such awareness in truth. We only have these realisations in words. We can’t see Him. He is not on the earth as a man anymore. He cannot be accessed through natural means.

He cannot be known in terms we dream up. We can’t make Him fit our laboratory test tube. We can’t reason Him into existence as a figment of our imagination.

We can’t make Him in our image. We can’t get Him to toe our party line. We can’t get Him to obey our invented theology. We can’t see Him through our telescope regardless of how powerful it is.

We can’t make Him conform to our idea of how He should be. We can’t make Him to blame, for all the evils in the world, even though we blame Him (!).

He will not be harnessed by what our thoughts decide He must be.

But we can seek Him through His ordained means of prayer.

We can find Him, if we seek Him with ALL our hearts – notice His stipulated condition for finding = ALL. (Jer. 29/13)

We must begin with the realisation that God…

24 …is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Glad we can clear up the idea that there is some other idea of who or what God is.

We rule-out the ‘natural seeing’ idea, as we embrace who God really is.

So advancing then, to finding God – the field of ‘research’ is narrowed to the internal realm of the human spirit.

However what spirit have we received? The ‘million dollar’ question.

Jesus Christ is Lord.

We seek Him internally through prayer. And must receive none other than He, in acknowledgement of the scripture….

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

So our starting point is not your opinion versus mine. Your idea of God being right and mine being wrong. Or vice versa. None of this works – in producing the way to God.

Science increasingly backs-up the facts that God has created all things.

But proving it all came from God – doesn’t work in finding God personally.

We must start with what He says, not with what we invent.

That’s why when reading the scriptures – if we are to realise them – we must believe them.

Believe and act on them. Respond to what they say.

Read them until they make sense and their truth penetrates our innermost being. Hebrews 4/12:

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

He asks you and I to believe what is written. He gave His power to men to pen the Holy Scriptures.

The New Testament is the Gospel. 

John 20/31

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Spiritual realities

Spiritual realities.

Spiritual reality tells us –

A man can know Christ’s illumination(s)

Like the epistle writer who said:

I will come to visions and revelations…’

                        ***

That was the Noble Paul who did write

Inspired by The Revelator – Jesus the Christ

As the pen strokes across the page

It would take more than this age

Yea eternity will not be enough

To express the inexpressible (it’s tough)

                       ***

Regarding –

Matters of – life – death – or the heart

There’s coming a day

When sheep from goats will be set apart

                       ***

All spiritual blessings in heavenly places

Obtained purely on the calvary basis

No eye nor heart can see or say

The hereafter things all on display

                      ***

Falling at His feet – best place to go

As He enters your heart

To sanctify and set apart

Waiting at His feet –

Have you chosen the better part?

Sought crowns

Sought crowns

People

Exchanging words

Grimacing

Pointing it all out

Nodding –

Shaking heads in doubt

‘No’ you say – ‘No’ I say too

People with voices

Mincing words – when

No words to mince –

A mince-steak sandwich

Up and running now

With a bucket of ice

Covered twice

All over: that craze

As they win the title

Moving to the next dance

Shiver-me-timbers

As the goal goes in

Celebrating cowboys

Who – out-of-their-skin – to win

On that horse – that stallion

Champ afterwards (with scallions)

Now as we observe this world

– We spin around

Now as we duck behind

The screen – not seen

We stop for a breath

In this busy – busy-ness

Living is the business

Trying hard to impress

Give it up – give it up

For them all…

Triers try – so try

In your sport

And wonder why

The competitive urge

Gets a hold of all who emerge

Winners –

Living to win another day

Living to have

Their competitive say

Failing leads to remorse

All Par for the course

But what is that

That keeps them coming back

Living to fight another day

For a corruptible crown

That will fade away?

Sleepy human landscape

Sleepy human landscape – Markers by Ken Riddles

SLEEPY HUMAN LANDSCAPE

(Coloured markers) by Ken Riddles.

There are all kinds of things happening in this imaginative landscape. There are no hidden narratives or messages in it. It is simply an exercise in imagination.

The foreground chap asleep has his arm resting above his head and his hand-fingers become the legs of two ladies. Where his inner elbow joint is at the bend of his arm, is a footbridge. Or it could be the arm of the chap to the right.

A lady in the background has covered breast-hills from which grow a few trees.

The sleepy chap to the left has a river running past his nostril, as though it was depicting an old Bisto advertisement (whiffing the aroma).

The clouds are asleep also. The chap to the right has a fence acting as a laurel crown. The two ladies are growing leaves from their arms.

Judgements

JUDGEMENTS

I will put the word ‘judgement’ in quotes throughout, to simply draw our continued attention to the word, and prompt us to think of how we individually think of or define it

It is ‘uncomfortable’ to make pronouncements about another person’s spirituality or lack of it.

We shy away from passing ‘judgement’ upon their lack of moral fibre or faith.

In other words if they die having lived a non-Christian lifestyle, or one with no profession of any kind of faith, we nevertheless will not pronounce their reward (wages) as Gehenna/hell. Romans 6/:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Why is that? Why do we still restrain our pronouncements when the person has lived a life of obvious, either debauchery, deception, or violence, perhaps resulting in others, losing their lives? Mass shootings being an example.

Or is it only me that is reluctant to form any opinion on an individual’s final destination in the life hereafter?

Well the truth is, there is only One Judge of all the earth and He will do what is right.

Genesis 18/

Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

We want to hope the best for everyone who will one day stand before God Almighty. But let’s be clear – Christ and the finished work of calvary is the only antidote provided as a means of escape from the afterlife ‘judgement’, and sentence as a result of unrepented of sin.

Life without ‘judgement’ is impossible. Everyone makes ‘judgements’ every day. Of course defining the kind of ‘judgement’ we are speaking of, would be helpful.

So when you want to jump from a wall onto the ground – you weigh-up the consequences, you look at the grassy escarpment and consider how far off the ground you are – and then having made your ‘judgement’ you will either jump, or seek some other means of removing yourself from the wall.

When the salesman is sales-talking you – you are constantly weighing up his ‘patter’, and using your own ‘judgment’ as to the veracity of his presentation, this ‘judgement’ will end in a sale or not.

When the police catch a criminal seemingly red handed. The red bag stolen – is the red bag he is holding. So they make a ‘judgement’ and arrest him or let him go.

When someone lies to your friend and you know it is a lie – you make a ‘judgement’ call, and inform or warn your friend.

So daily ‘discernment’ is exercised by all – it is unavoidable if we are to see our way through life. This ‘discernment’ is – by another name – ‘judgement’.

However ‘to pass sentence on’, is usually reserved for court judges. Who hand out punishment ‘judgements’ to those found guilty.

Some falsely accuse and ‘judge’ others. ‘Judging’ them and passing sentence, because it suits their own ends. This is unjust ‘judgement’.

They ‘judge’ based on a few mis-informed – therefore pseudo facts.

They accuse the person of thoughts and actions, which they deem – prove them to deserve their condemnation, when in fact, they are ignorant of many other necessary facts, one would need, to make a proper ‘judgement’.

‘Passing sentence’ on people for things they have done, that we ourselves are guilty of – almost always, disqualifies us from the role of judge.

But ‘discerning’ and ‘judging’ a situation involving the behaviour of an individual or individuals, that is detrimental to the well-being of others, or even ourselves – is a necessity.

In short there is right ‘judgement’ or righteous ‘judgement’ or there is false or wrong ‘judgement’.

Everyone engages in ‘judgements’ of people etc., – reports, conversations, encounters, articles for sale, holiday offers, wallpaper, behaviour of celebrities, or paparazzi and so on and so on, in all these things we make a choice to ‘judge’.

We come to conclusions based upon our own ability to perceive, be it wise or unwise perception.

Often you will hear the sentence from the lips of another: ‘Don’t judge me’.

What they usually mean is: “Please accept me and don’t reject me or call me a bad person, because of what I am about to tell you, or for what I have done”.

This is usually preceded by some action that is questionable, (perhaps to say the least), and they still want your acceptance and friendship, despite what they said or did. And so ‘Don’t judge me’ is their first request.

To avoid ‘judgement’ especially to have sentence passed on us, is the desire of some folks, if not the wish of everyone.

We desire to be thought of as right in many things. 

When we are guilty, we still try to avoid the ‘judgement’ of others, simply because it can be harsh and violent, and we don’t wish to experience the vitriol.

To remove ‘judgement’ from the planet and it leaves us with total anarchy.

That there is poor ‘judgement’, bad ‘judgement’ and unjust ‘judgement’ whether from an individual wrongly ‘judging’ us – or a government exercising foolish ‘judgement’ – we still cannot imagine life without it.

Unless we live in a perfect world where sin does not exist, we must have ‘judgement’.

The great news of the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ is that He took upon Himself on the cross, the sentence passed on every person on the planet (because of sin and consequential guilt) – (over 7 billion of us – last count), – and of course all of mankind throughout history.

He died – the just for the unjust – to remove the penalty of all the wrongdoing we have participated in by thought, word and deed.

We need to make a proper ‘judgement’ of this glorious fact.

The ‘judgement’ we make will decide where we stand when we come before The Almighty, in the hereafter.

If we pay lip-service to the above idea, assuming that we can intellectually give ascent to the fact that Christ took our ‘judgement’ for sin, but then think we can continue to live like the devil – we will encounter an ‘awakening’ experience in the after life – to say the least. This is where Gehenna/hell comes in.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

We could reference the original words (Greek Hebrew etc. for the words ‘discernment or judgement’).

But suffice to refer to the ‘judgement’ we use in discerning and forming a correct assessment, and differentiating it from the ‘judgement’ that passes sentence on others rightly or wrongly. This will put us on the same page regarding our subject.

Here is just one scripture where Peter and John the apostles, are exhorting their listeners:

Acts 4/19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

So he is asking others to make a ‘judgement’ here. 

Discern, weigh-up what I am saying, and make the right ‘judgement’, – come to the right conclusion about what I am telling you.

Some are skilled at ‘judging’ situations, scenarios, and the actions of others, so as to form true ‘judgements’ and come to proper conclusions.

But we live in a world where great confusion increases, and false accusers abound. Opinions are continually in opposition and half-truths reign over the truth.

To find a wise person is an increasingly difficult task in this self-opinionated world. Wrong ‘judgements’ are constantly made and voiced in and on all kinds of social platforms.

Some are heard to cry out: ‘Don’t judge me’ while they themselves, ‘judge and condemn’ left right and centre.

Sentence passing, false accusations, bad behaviour being justified by those who want selfish freedom to do as they please, without ‘judgement’ and so on, giving us this hodgepodge mix of unrighteousness and permissiveness in all departments of human – being.

Then there are those who foolishly tell us God is not a God of love if He ‘judges’, finds guilty and condemns to an eternal prison all those who continuously, persistently ignore Him and set themselves up in rebellion of whatever kind they choose.

Also Jesus said:

John 7/ 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Notice He doesn’t say: judge with ‘self-righteous’ ‘judgement’.

He also tells us that how things might ‘appear’, does not provide enough knowledge to properly discern, and form a correct ‘judgement’.

There is only One who ‘judges’ righteously. And He has left us a book full of the principles essential in making a correct assessment of all things human.

Before any kind of ‘judgement’ can be entered into by human ‘court’, we need to ‘hear Him’…

Matthew 17/5:

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”