Category Archives: change

Put away…

PUT AWAY

Much as I could do

 – I won’t complain

If I was to complain that would be 

 – getting into the blame game

Much as I obviously disagree

 – it makes no difference

 – ‘Tween you and me

Oh by the way

 – I like your ashtray

It’s the first time in my life

 – to like an ashtray

It’s all that goes with it

 – that sends me away

 – Into a spiral of disgust

                  …

I’ve never liked that poison

Since I had to breath it in

                  …

Parenthetically –

[During the shifting sands

The sinking sands

Of popular opinion

Versus what the experts did say

Until one day

The world woke up and

put the cigarettes away…]

I as you

 I as you

And now I am in your shoes

Looking at me – this religious oddity

And in your shoes I see me

As utterer of strange language

And in your boots I be

And kinda get how you see me

In your coat – I see

I’m a purveyor of strange things

I – as you –

see me

and my strange persistency

See

Some kinda crusader?

Wondering why I bother

repeating myself

As you –

I see me

As a one-track-mind(er)

Who has consistently

shared the same message

I step back into me

And realise

I will never be you

And you will never be me

But you can become as I be

Because I was as you be

We can both meet at the cross of calvary

Real as real can be

REAL AS REAL CAN BE

Acts 21/10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”

12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

Ok – so you may have ‘stumbled’ upon this Post.

Grab your seat and don’t move – you, who quickly pass on uninterestedly from any thing Biblical.

This passage is about Paul the apostle and his response to a prophet and his Christian companions.

Paul is warned that if he goes up to Jerusalemn – he is in for trouble. He will be ‘handcuffed’ and delivered to the Gentile authorities.

Imagine with me, what Paul could well have said:

Thank you God for warning me about this, through this prophetic utterance, I can now escape by some other route! How faithful you are in giving me a means of warning and therefore deliverance.

I can now testify of how God protects His children, just like you protected me through this warning prophesy. Just like you did Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus on a few occasions. Enabling him to go elsewhere out of danger’s reach.

However his response instead, was to accept the warning as true and to go to Jerusalem anyway, – prepared to suffer.

Why? Because he was convinced that God wanted him to go there.

Acts 20/22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

His was the destiny of a martyr.

From his first supernatural encounter with The Risen Christ on the Damascus road and immediately thereafter – he was informed that he would suffer for Christ.

Acts 9/16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

This causes us to realise a few things. First the encounter He had was so real, so powerful and so ‘out of this world’ that nothing could cause him to forget it or deny it. It was as real as real as could be. 

So powerful and real was the tangible Presence of God in this man’s life He needed no other intellectual persuasion as to the fact that Jesus Christ (whom he had before opposed in his head) was indeed the Son of The Living God.

He had just encountered Him on the Damascus road – blindingly! (Acts 9)

The existence of the afterlife, having invaded his world, was so real, he saw no alternative but to obey implicitly, everything He was instructed to do.

Which was exactly what he did, so that he could, in his latter years, make this statement: II Timothy 4/For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

You and I – have to take the word of a man who had this powerful assurance through this powerful experience – that Jesus and His claims MUST be taken seriously. It’s a matter of life and death.

You may not have had as powerful an experience as Paul – yet he pleads with you to obey his words. The words of the gospel he preached.

So here we are – those who may not have had this blinding experience, this tangible indisputable encounter with God – being asked to give our lives to Christ through prayer.

Before we leave this world and have the ‘Damascus road experience’ of heaven itself.

Provided that is – we accept Christ as Saviour according to the message that Paul preached.

Foolish

FOOLISH 2021

Galatians 3:

v1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so [c]many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain

Paul the Apostle is addressing this Galatian group of believers.

But of course it is ordained of God that, when one of His Specially Chosen Early Apostolic leaders, writes to a particular ‘branch’ of God’s church – it is more than meant for, or sent to – just them.

It is sent to all believers throughout history who follow on, by inheritance, from the early formed church/churches.

The Word of God will never pass away. Anything that the Holy Spirit  has placed His indelible fingerprint upon – will remain as His Word forever.

Jesus said:

Matt. 24/

34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Paul, saddened, grieved and a little perplexed, is addressing a fundamental problem pervading the Galatian church.

This problem can, or has, pervaded the lives of believers ever since, and indeed at one time – knocked me off-course for a couple of years in my Christian life.

Paul is very straight with them, out of love and concern, trying to wake them up to spiritual reality. Wake them up to the completeness of Christ’s Salvation.

“O Foolish Galatians…” – exclamation mark!

“Who has bewitched you…”?

Without even going into the original meaning of the Greek etc. as we can do, when seeking to expound some aspect of God’s New Testament. Let me instead pass on what the dictionary means by the word ‘bewitched’:

to attract or interest someone a lot so that you have the power to influence them:

to put a magicspell on someone or something in order to control him, her, or it

Either definition will do – First – attracted and therefore distracted. Distracted from the real wonderful message, into their own ideas. (Manmade gospel)

Second – (bewitched)  – Coming under the control of something, someone, or a spirit not of God.

That was how Paul found these believers. They got away from the wonderful New Testament message of Salvation by Faith – through God’s Amazing Grace – and their whole focus was on themselves and their own performance.

He spends most of the rest of the epistle addressing and correcting this legalistic distraction, in order that the Galatians will become re-focused on Christ.

We must look to Christ in prayer for everything to do with the spiritual life.

The following is a spiritual seeing:

25 For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,

For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;

Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

This was the spoken spiritual reality of someone staying on course by faith – seeing the invisible God – (see also e.g. Heb. 11/27) so as to walk pleasing to Him, without wrongly, losing sight of Him completely and then trying to live like Him. It doesn’t work. The Galatians were trying it and failing.

Paul put them right.

Are your eyes on God in prayer? Will you respond (by the hearing of this encouragement) – in faith? (see verse 2).

Dry Bread?

DRY BREAD?

‘Dry bread’ – can be a metaphorical description of something that is not appetising.

We read a blog, a book, an email, a news item, and it seems dry to us – consequently we remain ‘unfed’.

But then in favour of the communicator –  ‘you can please some of the people some of the time but not all etc…’

Dry bread for one person however, can be a happy meal for another.

And that’s why pleasing: ‘all of the people all of the time…’ is an impossibility. Because the meal/message  will be ‘dry bread’ to some.

In the Old Testament the people of God, collected fresh manna (food) each day.

But to them it became stale, even though it wasn’t.

And so staleness can be in the people – not in the food.

Stale people spiritually – do not respond to fresh spiritual bread. It doesn’t appeal. It isn’t appetising because their palette is not sympathetic to it.

Their palette is corrupted. It’s like salt …’but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’.

(To slightly arrest the scripture) To those who have no taste for it, the food has lost it’s savour.

But the food has not lost it’s flavour/savour – instead the palette of those who are offered the food, can be non-appreciative.

[We see this in Numbers 11/4-6]

This is an illustration of the truth we find in…

I Corinthians 2/14

…the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To be able to get the natural man who has no taste for the things of Jesus Christ, – to stop, listen, learn, and respond is impossible. Unless – unless – God touches their heart and mind.

For those who want God to touch them. They must deny their natural appetite (as in earthly thinking) and put themselves in a place where God has their time and attention. It is called prayer and bible meditation.

In that place – low and behold – spiritual food becomes an acquired taste.

In which place, He (God), will eventually serve-up a spiritual meal.

Such folks entering into real prayer will suddenly find the things of God extremely appetising – and such a meal, will change their whole life.

It may not happen straight away – but with patience it will happen. (See also Luke 5/39).

Oh, TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

(Psalm 34)

Noahician

NOAHICIAN 2020

It is difficult for the Christian preacher – to find the exact and correct sermon to address the worldwide dilemma we are in.

Difficult, that is, if it is to have a great effect on the population.

Not just because of Covid-19, but in light of all the other changing ‘elements’ taking place in the world’s downward spiral.

If such a comprehensive message were to be found – it would be of no profit unless mixed with faith in those who heard it. (Hebrews 4/2).

Everything is being shaken. Manifest in the declining moral fibre of society to the chaos and confusion of nations, politically, financially, mentality, etc.

As a result the atmosphere is Noahician, in type and proportions.

Noah in his era experienced the same and more of the decline we are seeing today.

How did Noah feel and respond in such an atmosphere?

Well, Noah found God’s Grace to help, in the midst of a totally extreme godless and degenerate culture (Genesis 6/8).

As far as we know – no one else was directly hearing God’s voice in those days. On hearing God’s voice he (Noah) responded by building a large boat.

He still heard from God despite the declension of the society all around him.

But the atmosphere in the unseen realm could not have been worse.

Man invites the powers of darkness to take up strongholds, by virtue of rebellious behaviour. The more he (mankind) gives himself over to his lower nature of sin – the more contaminated the spiritual atmosphere becomes.

Noah’s message fell on spiritually deaf ears.

Then as God saw fit – the time came to destroy what destroys – thus the deluge sent by God.

But a boat of provision was built. Today the church of The Lord Jesus Christ, the body of Christ as it is referred to – is the new ‘ark’.

Thus: one application of the old hymn/chorus/spiritual lyric – ‘get on board little children get on board…’

(Originally a gospel train).

Getting on board’ is through salvation in Christ alone. God has a portion of His manifold Grace for every human being on the earth

1 Timothy 2:3-5

who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Through salvation in Christ we ‘get on board’ and become members of the company of people known as the church.

But the proportion of the population who got on board the crazy preacher’s wooden vessel was miniscule.

Eight out of..? (We are not told but) a small percentage indeed.

Because of rampant unbelief – the message didn’t do it – didn’t sweep multitudes into the ark.

Will this short post even stir eight to respond by seeking Christ’s salvation offer? Any chance of eight out of 7,763,035,303?

Luke 17/

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Immature

IMMATURE

I Corinthians 3/

However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ! I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. You are still worldly [controlled by ordinary impulses, the sinful capacity]. For as long as there is jealousy and strife and discord among you, are you not unspiritual, and are you not walking like ordinary men [unchanged by faith]?

To the skeptic, the unbeliever, the discreditor, the anti-Christ who is looking to disqualify and dismiss Christians and their faith. The kind of things that the Corinthian Christians were failing in – gives the necessary ammunition for verbal castigation by accusers.

These words of Paul, under the enablement of the Holy Spirit, do a number of things. Firstly they dispel the myth that when a person becomes a Christian, they are perfect in thought, word and deed from that moment on.

And of course we are, (as is often said): positionally. That is we are accepted in Christ by the triune God.(Ephesian 1/6)(Hebrews 10/14). 

However in raising our children, we cannot expect perfection from them. They are immature, born sinful – sinful from birth, and we never have to teach them how to be insubordinate or throw a selfish tantrum.

So Paul aware of the corporate immature dissension and division amongst his spiritual children in Corinth – refers to them as babes/infants – as they failed to demonstrate spiritual maturity, the maturity that comes through time and handling of the Word of God.

Some folks have of course never experienced what it is to be spiritually born again – born from above. 

But for those of us who have – we now must adjust to this new life in Christ.

When Lazarus came from the tomb after Christ had called him forth from death, after life came back into his (it was perceived – stagnant body) others needed to remove the ‘wraps’, the grave clothes, he was still bound with.

When we come into new life in Christ we must grow up spiritually. And as in the natural there are stages of growth all the way to adulthood, so it is with new spiritual life.

We need others at times to change our spiritual diapers, just like others were needed to remove Lazarus’s grave clothes, so he could walk in newness of life.

So Paul tells the Corinthians that he cannot speak to them about deeper things, while they still indulge in their childish, spiritually immature ways.

Notice he describes their spiritual immaturity as being ‘dominated by human nature’.

On a different occasion he reminds other Christians elsewhere that when we are new born babes in Christ – old things pass away and all things become new.

New in the very core of our beings. New from the regenerated human spirit out into outward behaviour, in thought word and deed.

Spiritual feeding is the feeding of the human spirit and mind of the believer by ‘masticating’ the Word of God.

And the deep things revealed in this Word of God cannot be grasped by those who are infants, and learning how to be and in the process of being, – all God has made us in Christ.

The immature live half in God and half in themselves. So Paul feeds them with milk. Although the Galatian’s epistle brings us the deep things of God, just like any other epistle, it needs to be grasped in a greater way than they could manage, at that time.

The mature partaking of the divine nature, will be fully matured when they reach heaven. Meantime varying levels of growth, revelation, inner development will exist amongst believers.

I often say that we don’t learn spiritual things off pat, but often the same things over and over again, but at a progressively deeper level.

The accusers of those who profess to follow Christ will pick on the areas of immaturity, but in all accusations, the Christian has the advantage of being able to respond in the words of the epistle to the Romans:

Romans 8:33-35

33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Trade-in Exchange

TRADE-IN EXCHANGE

There are many people who cannot see themselves being at all religious.

It just doesn’t ‘float their boat’.

They have a mental concept of what being religious means, and it just doesn’t appeal.

They haven’t taken the time to find out what true, pure religion is.

James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

James tells us (as above) what true, pure religion is.

But this is one verse in the bible – we must incorporate all of scripture in any conclusions we come to – on a given subject. That’s why we must search and study it.

A short post in a blog is unable to do this.

Religion is not a favourite word of mine, as it can mean all kinds of things that has nothing to do with the true meaning.

But true Christianity begins with a trade-in experience.

We exchange our life for – Christ’s Living tangible Presence, – that we experience when He comes to dwell in us.

John 14

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

God is a Spirit and He is omnipresent. He is everywhere. But He is not with or in everyone  in a relationship sense.

He must be invited into your life and mine if such a relationship is to start and continue.

He must be invited in.

Those who have invited Him in – in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – now must live their life by inviting Him also into every part of their thinking, and invite Him into their circumstances good or bad.

Our part of the deal is to trade-in our selfish, sinful nature and ask Him into our lives to live His divine nature in us.

This calls for a giving-up and a giving-in.

Prayer is where the transaction takes place.

Talk to God. Invite Him in. Ask Him to take the nature that causes all your pain, and replace it with Himself.

Acts 3

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,…

Not getting through

NOT GETTING THROUGH

Now there ain’t much extra I can say

Cause I’ve been talking since the beginning of May

You’re a mystery and I can’t catch the full picture anyway

At least that’s – what I now feel to say

 

The other full picture is far far away beyond the clouds

The clouds of more than night and day

And as I mystically stand to pray

You are out the door – hurriedly on your way

 

And when we meet up again you don’t engage

When I speak – you say:

 “I don’t wish to know that – kindly leave the stage”

I’m – taken aback by your coldness – I feel under siege

 

You want to say destructive things

While a posy of peace is what I bring

You don’t hear a word of my attempt to assuage

The anger you are dishing out like some kind of plague

 

Your human heart is seized-up and bound

All packed together and hard as the dusty ground

To disentangle the fishing line – best to start in your prime

All confused and fussed-up and breaking down

 

Try to get some help as you let out another yelp

And I dash for your shoulders to keep you on your feet

I knew there was a purpose in my words as we meet

Eventually you have to listen –

you think my spoken words are deep

 

At least we have become half-friends

We might never meet again

I give you a piece of paper with some kind of message

Plus my address – email – telephone –

but still you won’t let me – meet your need

 

I put my arm around you one more time

Look you in the eye and see everything’s still not fine

You half heard all I had to say

There’s love waiting when you get back

I hope you find peace and get on the right spiritual track

You ran well…

You ran well…

Galatians 5:7-9 (NKJV)

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Paul the apostle is addressing the believers in Galatia.

‘You ran well’ he reminds them.

Followers of Christ have a personal relationship with Him – through prayer.

And all Christians at some point in their experience will fail to ‘run well’.

Shortcomings will ‘take over’, to hinder the race they are called to run.

The conscientious, must quickly return to their advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the righteous. (I John 2/1)

The whole epistle to the Galatians should be greatly appreciated by all believers. As it warns us of the dangers of falling into legalism and dead religion.

In a nutshell the problem is that the believer ends up with their eyes totally on themselves and no longer on The Lord Jesus.

I’ve been there, and can smell – a mile away – the grave clothes of legalism resulting in morbid introspection, a sense of constant failure, and the curse of the law. (Gal. 3/10-13)

In my early Christian walk, I too went through a period of bewitchment (Gal. 3/1). But Jesus set me free again!

Paul talks here of ‘persuasion’.

They, the Galatians, were persuaded and drawn-away from the true gospel. They had a form of godliness, but where not experiencing the presence of The Holy Spirit as they should.

That’s why, Paul asks them this question in a later chapter: 

Galatians 3:2

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

God wants us to simply believe and act on our belief, in humility and adoration of the King of kings.

Always returning to communion with the lover of our souls.

I suppose we all run our race, at a different pace than fellow Christians.

At times we all become spiritually lethargic and need a fresh spiritual impetus.

We must never forget and always act upon God’s offered acceptance and forgiveness in The Saviour.

He is exactly what He says He is. And His mercy endures forever.

To arrest an advertising slogan – (God is) and does exactly what it says on the tin.

Be encouraged to take Him at His word and act upon it!

John 6:37

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

 

The Great Exchange

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

There is a saying: God wants us to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.

Now that can be open to different interpretations.

But what I believe it should mean is:

God wants us to be spiritual without being weird. God wants us to walk close to Him in spiritual union – but we are free to enjoy life and the things that go with every day living.

Maybe a list of what I mean would be an idea?

Walking in nature, enjoying a well prepared meal, enjoying music, good humour (that is not at the expense of a friend), literature of a wholesome kind, family life, your own idea of what fits the hobby category (although I always think the word hobby is a poor description of something we really enjoy).

But in all of these things we are called by God to – ‘seek first His kingdom…’.

To put the spiritual side of life – first. When we do, we will, with peace of mind and conscience be then free to enjoy the natural things.

Certain ones in past generations had dwindled spirituality down to rigid rules.

In my culture if you didn’t drink alcohol, sleep around, go to the cinema, gamble and if you refrain from washing the car on Sunday – you had made it.

Failing to realise that you hadn’t started. God wanting us to change inside first, not outside first.

I am so thankful that the Christian’s life is all about EXCHANGE – exchanging our life for His.

As He comes to the welcoming heart – we yield ourselves to Him.

I like the old saying: ‘I can’t – but you can – thank you that you will’.

Christ in us the hope of glory.

Paul tells us – he died daily. Meaning the great exchange takes place every time we pray. Exchanging our life for His.

31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Faith says “I can’t do this Lord, please take over and supply your Life-giving Spirit and live your life in and through me…”

1 Corinthians 15:45

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a lifegiving spirit.

 

Matter of Life and Death

Matter of Life and Death

It’s a matter of life and death

We are bereft of life and know death

If we do not move from our present position

Death reigns in us – if life we forsake

When all calamity encompasses us round about

We are left struggling in despair and doubt

Faith will arise only when the gift is given

Not faith in our surmise

But faith when we are forgiven

The gift is in the fog of our own reason

Seeking to find us amidst our armed resistance

We totter on the brink of further despair

We do not know where we err

We go about in stedfast iron-curtain mode

Can’t find the door through reasons-wall

But the gift is offered: faith in the One to come

Faith in the Messiah – faith in the Only Begotten Son