All posts by ken riddles

About ken riddles

Person - Parent - Painter - Preacher. More info under 'About' on

Youthful nights


I sit and watch the man

Crossing the square – where

No one else is to be found

It’s that time of day

When all have departed

All office workers gone

The silence before

The nightlife begins

Rudderless youth stepping out

Putting on the style

All primed with emotional hope

Ordinarily – boy meets girl

Exchanging glances

Like brand-newness personified

In their latest clothes

Bought in the afternoon

Before it all begins and

The traffic lessens

As that other time is reached

When the clubs are frequented

Clubs of differing kinds

But there my knowledge ends

As I have only my era to reflect upon

And much as youth is equipped

With the same senses

The in-thing is often out

No telling the latest craze

Or slang exchanges

Slang words in new forms

Messages exchanged and understood

Laughs aghast and tittering

Some boisterous horsing around

And girls staring at the foolishness

And underneath the longings lie

And their ‘wondering’ still wonders

And the questions randomly picked

From the question-box of life

Are mostly ignored




I hear the words of the widow’s heart

I hear the words of the wordsmith’s interview

I rewind on both

My choice from one to the other

Creating a strange contrast in full view

Such different spirits I perceive

One with humility to breath

The other still wrangling and living the part


I perceive her loss and saddened heart

I see his tenacity ready to dispute

I see this world of all different types

I see this world still spinning – confused


Things – here today gone tomorrow

The heat of the moment suggesting pseudo-profundity

While the morrow doth bring a different score


I hear the wind outside my window

I see sleep approaching all gentle and peaceful

Because of my link with The Divine


I see the outlaw – perceived to be so

But not so – still they wouldn’t let Him go


I hear the crackle of the flames

Burning the crackly substance

As the sparks fly upwards – a reminder in tow

That troubled man will ever be so

Until the new dawn breaks in spiritual exposé


Many will rise and abide

Others into the soil will go until the angels work


I smell the sweet smell of the popcorn

As the cinema foyer is crossed over

I see the children with boxes of popular corn

They spill out – whilst looking guilty for doing so

With parents paying little attention


I hear the bells now all electronic

Playing their chiming song to half listening ears

I see the diminished congregation

Glad with relief just to be safe


I see all change – but no change at all

Outward conformity by hearts still the same


I see drifting in that wind

Might as well be drifting indefinitely

Until the wind ceases as breath leaves the body

And all embrace the common denominator

Common to man – common to all

‘Common as muck’ we used to say

Meaning something entirely different

Than mud to dust returning


I see the longing for hope buried and forgotten

By everyday endeavours

As the commonplace

Takes it’s place in uncommon parlance

Elevated to a pseudo-sacred place


I’m leaving now – ‘farewell…’

Still in this life

To watch and wait

And see the interesting progression

Of our fate

Don’t Strive


Some Christians aware of the need to be spiritual – can make the mistake of becoming unnatural.

I drifted into this in my early Christian experience.

We can be so zealous about wanting to please God that we are rather like the child who wants to paint the yard like daddy, but ends up with more paint on themselves than on the walls.

By that I mean, we immaturely try in our own ‘steam’ to be what God wants us to be – Paul the apostle has some advice for us:

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

The word ‘frustrate’ is very descriptive here – we end up frustrated because we have not learnt how to avail ourselves of God’s wonderful gift of Grace.

Grace not just for salvation, but for living. Rejoicing in our acceptance and maintaining intimacy through prayer and Bible meditation – changes us – and our behaviour.

The behavioural change is then manifest through the fruits of The Holy Spirit in our lives. Coming and appearing as they do from the inside-out.

A lot of unbelievers perceive Christianity to be only about the do’s and dont’s of a moral life lived.

Their perception is one of constant Straining to keep the ten commandments. The real point of relationship with Jesus Christ is not factored-into their reckoning.

Unfortunately this wrong perception can be true of Christians also.

Romans 7:17-19

17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

It is this consciousness of needing to perform that leads us astray into thinking that there is something good in our flesh and that we can find there, the resources we need to be good.

Paul states the dilemma every human being is in.

Even those who want to do what is right face that dilemma. The more we strive to be ‘good’ the further away it seems to go from us.

For those who ask the Living Christ into their innermost being through turning to Him and admitting they are contaminated by the sin nature, but are willing to give-in to Him receive another life – the very life of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

He it is, that we must learn to submit to. By so doing and allowing His mind, The Word of God, The Bible to replace our thoughts we increase in spiritual maturity and grow to be more like Him, while we maintain our meditation – centred on Christ, having received Him by faith.

We need to be reminded of this daily, as Christians. I’m glad to be the one today that reminds you, in so doing I remind myself:

Hebrews 3/

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

Like passions


There are different types of mentality that people ‘carry’, about spiritual matters, religion, or Christianity.

Consciously or unconsciously they carry certain fundamental conclusions that influence any further thoughts they might have on the subject of spirituality.

When presented with certain Christian thoughts, talks, or articles they have read or conversations they have been privy to – they ‘shoot down’ any presented conclusion that others (e.g. preachers) might offer.

Using their (metaphorically speaking) gun-thoughts, they satisfy themselves that they have reason to dismiss any exhortation the preacher might present.

There are many dismissive thought patterns but here are a few examples:

All religions are divisive and only cause wars.

Evolution has dismissed religion as mythical.

There are too many hypocrites in religion and I want no part of it.

No one has proven God’s existence.

It is impossible to be sure about God’s existence.

There are no absolutes.

Some mythological person living in the clouds will not get my allegiance.

And so it goes on…

If you have been a Christian as long as I have. There is probably not a lot of other products of human ingenuity to be encountered as reasons to dismiss faith and belief in Jesus as the Christ of God.

To engage with those who carry such dismissive attitudes – can be difficult – let’s be real.

However sometimes Christians do not live up to what they call others to follow.

That’s simply because they too – though followers of Christ – are subject to ‘like passions’.

The term ‘like passions’ is found in the New Testament, in James 5.

The King James Version of the Bible, uses this (in my view) very descriptive summary of what we all are:

17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are,

The Amplified version of the Bible expands it more fully –

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings],

But the verse goes on to reveal a remarkable thing – 

and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual].

There is no genuine Christian who would not long to be like Elijah the prophet, as we read of the fruit of his ministry and service to God Almighty.

Yet we also learn of the nature he had. The same nature you and I are born with. Subject to sin – evil desires – unbelief – and so on.

Yet despite the shortcomings of Elijah – he overcame them not through ‘rule keeping’ but through relationship.

The relationship God offers to you and I.

Is it real? – you bet it’s real!

When you pray ‘no rain’ and there is no rain. And you pray ‘rain’ and there is rain. We kinda get the picture – right?

It is real!

Yet it is the same nature referred to here with: spiritual limitations and shortcomings, that stops the rain when the desire is – for rain.

There is only one thing we can do to annul our ‘born in sin’ nature – in order to bring the natural rain or the Rain of God’s Presence.

Here is the key – 

Jeremiah 29/

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Grandmother II


My maternal grandmother, was small(-ish) in stature.

I had more ‘awareness’ of this pleasant lady who outlived my paternal grandmother by nine years.

She lived with my mother’s sister and her husband. The sister was a very pleasant lady also, (just like her mother).

I marvel that the 1970’s saw the demise of at least eight of my relatives.

I can’t say that I spent ‘enormous’ amounts of time with them. Certainly less when I reached my teen’ years. Too busy exploring this world’s offerings of alcohol, discos, girls, and holidays etc., until I met The Person of Jesus the Christ.

My grandmother would visit our home, and one thing I do remember was ‘the password’.

Yes ‘the password’.

As I entered our living room, my grandmother, sitting next to the door, would utter these words, in the form of a question:

“What’s the password?” Intimating that I could not enter unless I verbalised this ‘password’.

She removed my blank look of ignorance, by whispering the said password into my ear, so that I could verbalise it loud and clear, for the rest of the family to hear.

“Up Churchill!” I would exclaim.

“You may enter” was her response.

‘Up Churchill’ was a leftover from the second world war years, and typified her somewhat tongue-in-cheek political persuasion.

Memories of this grandmother although a little vague, similarly take the form of mind’s eye pictures of her wearing her 1940’s long dress attire (still wearing it in the sixties era) She was also quite ‘attached’ to her hat, the kind that has a hat ‘pin’.

(I can picture her also, just as I can – my paternal gran.)

What a person is – usually stays with us.

One could almost say a person’s essence remains after departure, as in the impression they made on us, – their personality etc. 

Of course such expressions (i.e. ‘essence’), are open to all kinds of mis-interpretations. So in referring to this, I make no reference to new age philosophy, which is replete with esoteric or ethereal error.

I do remember seeing her once, during her final illness that led to her demise.

She had a (returning) child-like quality and I remember being left with the impression that ‘this wasn’t my granny’. Something was different and I couldn’t quite grasp what.

Things were kept from me as the junior in my whole family connection, even though I was twenty-one at the time of her departure!

So I had no real realisation of her mental state.

Her husband, my grandfather, died when I was about two years of age. I have a picture of myself in his arms, in a local park.

So a ‘granda’ experience was a limited event for me, whilst growing up. One grandfather I never knew.

The other – only as a two-year-old (short lived indeed).

Generations come and generations go. Mentalities change for the better and for the worse.

My maternal grandfather was always addressed as ‘Pa’, by the family members.

His actual name was Kirkwood, Kirky for short. He worked like the majority of men during that era, at the Belfast Shipyard.

I am ill-equipped to try to do a Wikipedia for you on the shipyard’s history.

There is no shortage of such historical info on the net, I would imagine.

But the shipyard, also referred to as Harland and Wolff’s, was at one point the biggest shipyard in the world. The famous Titanic being built there. 

That whole industry has all but ceased to exist in Belfast.

My grandfather bought a new watch, (so the story goes), and he happened to show it to one of his fellow workmen, who thought it was very nice.

Five minutes later another workman happened to pass by. “D’yi have the time Kirky?” He asked.

“Yes it’s 3.15” my grandfather replied.

Ten minutes passed and yet another friend asked the same question. And Pa dutifully replied, giving him the time of day.

Twelve minutes later another fellow workman wanted to know the time of day.

And so it went on. It took ‘Kirky’, quite some time to realise that he had been ‘set up’ and his colleagues were ‘pulling his leg’ as we say. Or in modern parlance: ‘winding** him up’.

Such a term** especially relevant to this particular round of ‘timepiece’ banter.

The story is also told of how one of his daughters (my aunt), planning a cycle ride meet-up with a boy, was about to leave the house in shorts.

She came under Pa’s scrutinising rebuke and was told to change into something ‘decent’ immediately.

So she dutifully responded, meeting up with a boy a few blocks away, whereupon she removed her skirt, revealing the cycle pants intact, and they cycled-off together ‘into the sunset’.

Pa held amateur talent nights in various halls. My mother played the piano (by ear as they say), and tap-danced along with her sisters.

Well into her seventies, she still was able to show ‘the moves’ that made up her style of tap dancing.

Jane, my grandmother had three girls and one boy.

All of that generation is gone. I lost my last remaining aunt a few years ago.

I was not privy to exactly where my grandmother stood concerning the things of God.

I think of all the things I would like to have asked my grandparents.

When we are younger the big questions, the important questions, are often ignored, and would not be on the lips of grandchildren.

Paradoxically however kids often stop us in our tracks with astute observations/considerations: e.g. What does God look like?

In fact let me quote a few statements of childlikeness that propel us into necessary considerations about life.

Deceptively deep, they were expressed in prayer-letters such as –

“Dear  God, did you think up hugging? That is a good thing.”

“Dear God, count me in”

“Why did you make the sky blue and the grass green. Is that the only colours you got?”

“Dear God why do I have to pray when you know anyway what I want? But I’ll do it if it makes you feel better.”

[Children’s letters to God compiled by E. Marshall and /S. Hample]

My grandparents generation were certainly of high survival calibre – knowing what it was to ‘make-do’ with little.

At worst they had restrictive unnecessary rules, – what we would term legalism. At best they stood for moral principles, our world today is ignoring, as it falls apart at the seams.

Grandmother I


My grandmother was a Christian lady. When I was a little boy (pre-teens) I used to visit with her, along with my mum and her son (my dad).

Her husband, my grandfather, died before I was born, so I never knew him.

How easy it is, when we start to write about relatives, to lose ourselves and those listening, with the necessary jargon needed, when explaining.

[e.g. My uncle’s grandmother’s son, and my cousin’s grandchild on their daughter’s side, or my mum’s mum’s brother – crazy!

Not amazing – just a maze].

So – my grandmother was my father’s mum. That’s simple enough. If you still don’t follow please ask a practicing historian.

She was probably in her eighties at the time of my visits, and was cared for by her daughter, who later became a missionary in Japan, and remained a spinster, until she went to be with Jesus in 2008.

My paternal grandmother would sit very still in her chair. And would ask: ‘if we were never going to make a cup of tea’? She asked this every ten minutes or so.

She would sit with me by her side, looking straight ahead. She couldn’t see very well.

As though unbeknown to everyone else, she would move her arm slowly across to me, and slip a sum of money into my little hand.

The large sum of one penny.

I would sense by the way she did so, that it was top secret, and I fought the smile that would try to break forth on my face, afraid of betraying her act of kindness, and exposing  this great secret.

She would sing a song from her younger days and I always remember the chorus: I did a painting based on the song, it is long gone. I forget who has it.

(As with many paintings a great curiosity comes to me at times regarding where a painting is. Lost in the world somewhere, like a long lost child.)

Here is the chorus, I searched it of course, and found it on the internet. ‘Riding on a load of hay’ (author unknown).

Oh someone stole my heart away

Riding on a load of hay

I looked up and he looked down

Handsome sunburnt Johnny Brown

She told me of her extremely naughty youthful antics. Extreme things like banging on people’s front doors and running away.

Hiding, while she and her co-conspirators, observed the reaction of the house owner, as he or she looked up and down the street, baffled as to the invisible visitor.

And that was about the sum total of her reported naughtiness. (Naughtiness? – My! – how times have changed).

I remember nothing of her passing. I was twelve years old at the time.

As she sang the song, her voice was still as sweet, as when she graced the platforms of Christian Meetings, being the invited soloist.

In Northern Ireland we designate some church buildings as Gospel Halls. And they still exist.

Her daughter went to be a missionary in Japan, as previously stated, and I often reflect on my aunt’s faithfulness in prayer for me.

Indeed I often query with The Lord, just how much a part my grandmother’s prayers, played in my mighty encounter with The Living God, seven years after her passing!

When my dad, was nearing his journey into eternity, though that is for another blog post, I remember him telling me, that his mother taught him how to pray.

How important that young lives are taught the Word of God, at an early age. It will impact them fully or partially – it all depends on how they respond to it as they journey through life.

The bible describes it this way:

Cast your bread upon the waters,

For you will find it after many days.

I’m sure everyone has the experience of failing to ask enough questions regarding their family history, and suddenly it is too late. Those able to furnish us with details are gone, we didn’t ask them.

Nevertheless we can cherish what we do know. And I can still see plainly my grandmother’s facial expression as she sat – ever so still – in her armchair.

I think I must have spent the pennies.

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


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’?


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


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