Category Archives: Clarity

Disliking success

DISLIKING SUCCESS

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

We know the story.

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

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

They did!

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

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

First he did everything he could to – not preach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless I rejoice because Psalm 32 says:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

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

And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

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

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

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

The Message is clear: John 3/16:

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

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

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

The Last Jump

THE LAST JUMP

Something can mean a lot to an individual or to a lot of individuals.

In western society it is still (more or less accepted) that all are free to like or dislike, agree or disagree, live together in the same society even though poles apart in opinion. It is taken as a given, that taste is down to the individual. 

Certain individuals are ‘thrown’ together because their tastes match.

Opinions on all subjects vary, but when they coincide and an opinion extends beyond the singular, – groups are formed.

The forming of political parties, or sports clubs, or art societies, or golf clubs, or… and so on and so on.

All these groups of individuals who hold to one common opinion or pursuit, are together adhering to a common manifesto.

Some agree that ‘majority rules ok’ is to be embraced as a rule of thumb. Hindsight they say is a wonderful thing. The Nazi Party became the ruling majority. It wasn’t a good thing.

Dictatorships destroy this commonly held belief in freedom, or so it is commonly held to be the case.

Where am I going with all this?

Inner freedom is exactly that – something inside the individual. One can live in a ‘free’ society, and yet be bound-up inside.

Bound by fear, discouragement, shyness, bound to a particular habit, bound by duty, circumstance, bound (by financial considerations) to a given means of employment, bound by sin.

Inner freedom is to do with the mind and heart of every individual.

The bible in Hebrews 2/15 talks of those who 

…through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives.

Death is the ultimate border to cross. The final experience to be had. The final valley to be gone through. For many this thought of death brings bondage rather than freedom. 

The thought of death for many produces slavery to fear, the fear of the unknown, in the minds of many, as described in this scripture (above).

For the Christian(s) individually and corporately – death as it is for everyone else, can be likened to a metaphorical jump from an aeroplane – the only difference being the Christian has a parachute.

1 Corinthians 15:53-55

53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 

“Where, O death, is your victory?

    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we encounter The Christ of God in this life – and experience His Life-giving Holy Spirit – then we can be assured that there is more of the same to come, as Christ promises to be with us always – into eternity.

II Corinthians 5/5

Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].

What is Your will?

WHAT IS YOUR WILL?

God cannot readily trust mankind with profound and important things to do with His will being done and worked-out in history. I Corinthians 2/14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To trust our fellow-human beings is quite a task – never mind – God trusting us, with divine information.

Think how difficult it is to rely on people – even those of the most trustworthy kind.

The tongue slips, in giving information that should have remained unspoken, facial expressions betray something in answer to an enquiry made by another, regarding something and someone who shared with us in confidence.

We utter words that are actually lies:

‘We must get a coffee sometime…’ but it never happens – the utterance had no substance other than politeness.

‘Oh yes – I will be definitely there, see you then…’ They don’t show up.

‘We will get back to you sir, and let you know…’ They don’t.

‘I will come around on Tuesday and give you an estimate’. Tuesday arrives – no tradesman.

Some will say what they think you want to hear, rather than tell you what they really think. This is a form of lying.

We are taken into confidence with someone’s private information, exclusively (we are told) being shared with us – and we respond with: ’Your secret’s safe with me’.

Until someone else mentions it to us – how did they find out?

Another example could be, when another human being we trusted – just betrayed that trust and blabbed the ‘something’ we shared in confidence.

How could God possibly share with such characterless humans – anything of His plans for the present or for the years to come?

What God does do, is give us scriptures in which we find statements like this: 

[Colossians 2/3 …in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.]

The ‘in whom’ refers to The Father God and Christ His Son.

And it is only as a human being gets into a relationship with God The Father through Jesus The Son, and that relationship is one of proven mutual trust, that anyone can, in any way, qualify for sharing in The things of God, prophetically.

Are there prophets today? Yes, but none will ever add to scripture.

How many secret things concerning God’s daily business, of a prophetic nature, are shared by God, with anyone alive today?

This is known to God alone. But God throughout history has had His men and women. To whom special grace is given. I would add because they have God-developed character.

Conversely it’s often been said if God can use a donkey to speak, then He can choose for reasons best known to Him, someone who has still a lot of maturing to go through. (II Peter 2/16).

He has for instance perfected praise through the mouth of babes. (Matthew 21/16).

So exactly what God is looking for is best known to Himself, the one who sees all things.

He knows the human heart and mind. He knew for example that a *Saul of Tarsus would become one of His most trusted followers, even though he was persecuting the church Christ died to give birth to.

With whom He shared things that were written down as the authenticated and pure Word of God. *Paul the apostle even heard words (God-given) that needed to remain unspoken in this world. (II Corinthians 12/3).

Has anyone reached that place of intimacy with God The Father, through Jesus The Son – whereby God imparts wisdom and understanding that includes insight into His current plan for the earth and all who live in it?

Other than the things already in The Scriptures – this Holy Spirit given insight belongs to those who dwell in the secret place of The Most High, under the (metaphorical?) shadow of The Almighty. (Psalm 91/1)

Also to properly understand Scripture is a call to intimacy with God. There is no substitute for this. No theological degree will take the place of intimacy with God.

This is what we often refer to as the difference between head and heart knowledge.

So what is God’s will for today? What is God outworking amidst this beginning of sorrows taking place upon the earth?

That’s for God to know and for us to find out. Bearing in mind that the ‘secret things belong to The Lord’. (Deuteronomy 29/29)

Paul says ‘behold I tell you a mystery…’ (I Corinthians 15/51)

Only God can open our understanding to mysteries, hidden within the divine counsel.

We are entering into times when that which has been established for many years is going to be challenged, starting with the truth that The blood of Jesus Christ alone, can cleanse from sin.

Starting with the fact that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

Starting with the fact that The Bible alone, contains both the hidden and revealed will of God.

But it (the Bible) cannot be separated from The Hand of The Holy Spirit – otherwise it is the letter that kills.

Mankind can and does corrupt the scriptures with his private interpretations. (II Peter 1/20)

I (perhaps like you?) ask the question: “Lord what is your will for today?”

My biggest query is [and I held an open forum meeting with men of God to answer this]: ‘Lord what do you require of us in light of the days we are entering into?’

That Forum back in 2019, did not produce any earth-shattering conclusions, and I am still asking the question.

There are obvious answers. But what manner of persons we aught to be, and what way should we respond as the church, will be found by those who have not bowed the knee to Baal already. 

The Rest? 

Matthew 7/

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Therefore I ask again: Lord what is your will? And pray ‘let it be done on earth as it is in heaven’.

When believing is seeing

WHEN BELIEVING IS SEEING

Matthew 5/

37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

There is some very significant truth to digest, as we meditate on the above scriptural passage.

First Jesus The Son of The Living God – who agreed with anyone who confessed Him to be so, tells us about God His Father.

He tells us that no one has saw God the Father exactly as He is. But of course the Son of God – did.

Jesus Christ’s Heavenly Father – is also Father to those who worship Him in spirit and in truth – we are told this in John 4/23.

Jesus goes on to tells us that: You (that is we humans) have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.

But is this not the very thing unbelievers set forth as ‘proof’ that there is no God (because – they wrongly reason) He has never made Himself known to mankind as He is?

Their reasoning goes something like this:-

He has never shown Himself. If He wants us to know Him why doesn’t He just show up as He actually is? And speak clearly wiping away all doubt of His existence.

Wow! What folly.

If The Son of God is telling us that we have not seen God’s ‘form’, and heard His voice, and yet He was clearly on a mission to lead mankind to God. Then there must be another way to know God without what some consider the missing requirements necessary before they will believe. Namely, the desire for God to just show up – and we shall believe in Him.

Exodus 33/20 But he added: “You cannot see my face, for no man can see me and live.”

This verse in Exodus reveals to us the fact that the nature of man and the nature of God are total opposites. So much so, that – like the proverbial oil and water – they cannot mix.

God’s nature is holiness. Man’s nature is sinful.

If man sees God’s form as it truly is – then it’s ‘good night man’!!

No man can see God and live!

So to see God the Father in actuality 100% – is out of the question.

That is until a coming day, when those who know Christ the way He has ordained for this scene of time, will come face to face with God, and then we shall know even as we are known. I Corinthians 13:

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Face to face now in this life, could only mean that man would drop down dead.

We see, or experience God by degrees. (If you like – by how much we can handle without dying).

God’s ordained way of knowing Him without seeing Him 100% as He is –  is through the instrumentality of A MESSAGE.

That message is known as The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hear Him! – And follow the instructions – simple.

So it is when we respond to the message and invite God to come into our very being, that we become those who worship the One we now know as described below:

John 4/

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Yes worshipping someone we cannot see completely, but someone who is willing to ‘manifest’ Himself to us if we come humbly and ask. Whilst waiting patiently until He shows up.

John 14/

And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 20/29

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

FARCE – QUESTION…?

FARCE – QUESTION…?

We interrupt this program to ask a question:

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to set your WordPress account up so that it automatically likes every post you receive notification about, from a given blogger?

So that someone who never reads your posts – has it rigged so that he automatically hits your LIKE button?

If so what a farce. 🥸

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).

Elusive certainty

ELUSIVE CERTAINTY 2021

To be absolutely certain about anything in this life, is difficult, to say the least.

I’ve been taking an interest in the political news of the USA. I am not an American, and I am generally not interested in politics per se, but I am interested in truth.

There is contention over the results of the Presidential election. And the perceived evidence of fraud in the minds of thousands of Americans is plainly manifest.

As far as I can determine – the mainstream media either ignore or play down all the conclusions the many Republican followers are convinced of.

That there is fraudulent balloting as in computers set to favour one candidate over the other, is hard to prove. Especially if the forensic examination of the machines is not permitted or ordered by the governing powers that be.

So until there is certain proof of all the claims that are being made regarding fraudulence – we are left with uncertainty.

Even though the many ways fraudulence can take place (as itemised by affidavit testimony etc.) is proclaimed until investigation and proper and thorough examination takes place – we have in the meantime – uncertainty.

Life is full of uncertainty.

John the Baptist is an example of a follower of Christ, who when faced with his imminent demise at the hands of a foolish king – entered into uncertainty. (Matthew 11/2-4)

Our human make-up, our human condition, is fickle. Strong today, weak tomorrow. Beset with uncertainty and doubt.

But there is a difference in human beings who live in similar ‘bodies of death’ as Paul the Apostle describes them. (Romans 7/24).

He for one, had a certainty of faith to his dying day, as described below:

2 Timothy 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The difference between human beings, when faced with the uncertainty we are all subject to – is our response to it – How we face or deal with uncertainty.

The human mind can change – and does change every moment of the day.

Many when offered the Christian gospel message – will listen for a short time and then change their minds and get on with what is at hand – entering back into uncertainty and holding to it, as a reason for making no response to Christ’s claims. The bible calls this unbelief.

The Christian believer, when similarly beset with uncertainty of whatever kind – knows deep within what is taking place.

It is what the scripture describes as ‘the trial of our faith’.

1 Peter 1:7

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

When doubt enters the changeable mind – it is time to:

1 Thessalonians 5:

21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

We hold fast to what we are convinced is truth. God has proven it to be so through the word of truth (the Bible) and through the spiritual experience we have had in encountering Christ. This is the truth we have been convinced of in our past experience, and biblically, will not change.

John the Baptist was sent a specific word from Jesus, telling him how to respond to his doubts:

Luke 7/22

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Uncertainty can precede believing a lie, or believing the truth.

For example what do you believe – was the election fraudulent – or was it honourably executed?

My topic is not the election – my topic is truth and certainty/uncertainty.

How many things are you uncertain about? How many things are you sure about? Maybe we should make a two column list?

One thing is for sure – there is truth and there are lies.

Here is how to find the truth – it may take some time!

Matthew 7/ KJV:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

The Agreement

THE new AGREEMENT

God has drawn up an agreement. He would like you to sign it. But He wants you to sign it willingly. He will not force you to sign it – even though it is the greatest agreement you could ever sign.

He had an old agreement that He improved on. If this old agreement could have given you the ability to be a good person, then no doubt He would not have sought to draw-up another.

But the New Agreement has made the old obsolete, by virtue of it’s greater revelation.

The new agreement is based on better promises that God has made.

In the Old Agreement, God laid out clearly what was expected of you, had you agreed to adhere to it and sign up for it.

The problem was, it told you what was required on your part to fulfil your side of the covenant (another name for the agreement), but the old covenant failed to enable you to do what was required. It told you what not to do – but not how  – not to do it.

It told you what was required to fulfil your side of the agreement – but no one who has ever signed up to the old agreement has ever kept their side of the covenant.

Regardless of how much those who signed up tried, it was impossible to fulfil every jot and title of what was required of them, in keeping their side of the ‘bargain’.

God found it incredulous that they were unable to keep His requirements in this old agreement. Incredulous because He had never experienced the nature your first forefather and mother chose to have.

God had never experienced human nature up to the time of the New Agreement, and therefore couldn’t grasp why human nature could not keep the old agreement.

This was the only thing God had no experience of, as it (sinful human nature) was totally and completely contrary to His nature.

This nature was destructive and potently disastrous for all of God’s creation.

So to understand your nature and it’s corrupt state – He came to earth, took upon Himself your human nature, and although His human body was incorruptible – He allowed it to become corrupted as in loaded with sin in death – so you would not be punished forever, and giving you His divine nature to partake of, you are now able through Him to keep your side of the new agreement.

Will you sign today?

Tendencies

TENDENCIES

I recently found myself agreeing with a Christian Radio host when he said that some believers in Christ tend towards the emotional and some towards the cerebral.

How true – and usually we look next, for some label to differentiate the two.

* The obvious one that comes to mind are the labels Pentecostal or charismatic and evangelical/theological or liberal.

Much as I like the one label for all (Christian), – in reality we are all influenced by these labels*, in forming a ‘picture’ of what different Christian folks are like and what they believe or major on.

This labelling of course is in flux – as everyone searches for a name to crystallise what they believe in, or stand for. So new ones emerge through time.

Spiritual experiences – as in experiencing the Holy Spirit – is not synonymous with emotionalism.

Deep theological thought is not synonymous with no experience of The Holy Spirit.

Someone has put it this way – (speaking metaphorically) too much emphasis on the power of God and we blow up. Too much emphasis on The Word of God and we dry up – but the Spirit and the Word and we grow up.

Paul the apostle had great intellectual ability, but he was first to admit how limited and insufficient this was when it came to spiritual matters.

Philippians 3:

though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:

I Corinthians 2/11

…Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

Galatians 1/

12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual discernment is not emotionalism. Nevertheless when God moves in power you can be sure your emotions will give great response.

As we refrain from leaning on our own understanding and ask God for His enabling Holy Spirit – let’s not limit what He can do, by knowledge uninspired by God Himself.

Don’t allow or use theological knowledge to limit or direct God to fit into our understanding about what He must and must not do.

Conversely when God meets with us in a powerful way – don’t drift into trying to reproduce such a wonderful experience by soulish imitation.

The narrow way leads to life.

Lord help us.

Cult message

Cult message

There you were – just travelling on, minding your own business.

And someone came into your life with a message. 

Ever happened to you? Was it a good – real – genuinely worthwhile message? Offering good news or bad?

As a child along with others in my street – we heard a message offering all kinds of fun and games – baseball stands out – it wasn’t part of our culture, so had the novelty factor.

Next thing I’m given parental permission to visit this large house to partake in these fun and games.

I can’t remember exactly, but I was around the eight-year-old mark.

Fast forward in cutting the story short. And I’m being indoctrinated with some kind of bible stuff? I’m nodding in agreement, because I’m too young to know better either way.

Then I’m changing into white robes and being ducked below the water. A frightening experience, especially as the water stuck in my ears and I couldn’t hear properly afterwards. Frightening for a child of eight.

I was told it was all “ok” with my mum and dad.

Of course it wasn’t, they hadn’t even been informed.

Recreational games with other kids was all they ‘signed up’ for.

The gentleman who had recruited myself and other kids for this fiasco was sending back head counts to his homeland, of how successful his ministry had been.

Of course I never went back, and I can’t actually remember if my parents took any further action.

Back in the day – things were ‘let go of’ more readily.

Today of course, there would be an outcry, and as they say ‘heads would roll’.

I eventually received ex-communication notice from this group of charlatans. Praise God!

Notice I have not mentioned their name, as in their religious label.

Did this experience do any lasting harm? Naw!

But what a glorious contrast when I had a 100% real, conversion experience, when falling to my knees Jesus the Christ revealed Himself to me, as I wept my way into his spiritual kingdom, at my bedside in the house I was reared in.

Colossians 1/13

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

God Himself did the work. I am so thankful that He came looking for me. And I fell under His revelation and conviction.

That was 50 years ago today.

Rich or Poor

RICH OR POOR

Mankind is struggling – to say the least or to put it mildly.

Those who are set on a course of money-making find solace if each deal is going well, or many are purchasing their product.

They are happy with the success that brings a monetary reward.

The Bible says (amongst many) – two things worth mentioning:

Psalm 62

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.

I Timothy 6/

17 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. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…

Notice the heart is set on riches, and therefore they are trusting in riches – this gives solace and a sense of ‘all is well’ drawn from their success, measured by monetary increase.

Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.

A strange virus comes along – and things are not working out as lucratively for many reasons. Now that person or persons is suddenly programmed to be not doing so well.

We all live for various things that seem to make life and living worthwhile.

A lot of these things are good and wholesome and many are not.

I pulled riches out of the hat as only one example of what brings satisfaction to many.

We learn from scripture that it is not riches that can cause problems – it is the love of them.

I Timothy 6/

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Riches are uncertain in an uncertain world, and cannot provide ultimate contentment all the way to the grave, where they end.

However –

1 Timothy 6:6

…godliness with contentment is great gain.

So putting these points together we have – those who trust in money, set their hearts and minds on it above other things, and all their affection (love) is reserved for all things monetary.

Now it’s all very well to point out these ‘financial trespasses’ but if you do not know where your next meal is coming from, or you are about to be  evicted from your home because of financial difficulties – suddenly money becomes a preoccupation.

It does not pre-occupy your heart and mind because you have plenty of it – but rather because you have next to none. Survival therefore becomes your priority, and no doubt that of your family.

So for entirely different reasons the heart is set on finance.

Don’t set your heart on riches or finance is justifiably an exhortation to those who are greedy and who will not lift a finger to help the less fortunate.

But what of those who have very little money?

Well, difficult, in such circumstances, as it may seem – setting our minds and hearts on The Living God in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – is an anchor for the soul. 

So that regardless of what befalls us – we open the door to God’s deliverance as we trust in Him.

For the rich or poor – the call of God is the same –

Proverbs 3/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 37

2I have been young, and now am old;

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;

And his descendants are blessed.

God will not forsake those who trust in Him – even though it takes a lot to stay focussed during lean times. 

But we are told that keeping our soul healthy before God through faith in Jesus the Saviour, will give God the opportunity to work in His own mysterious way, to prosper us according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.

3 John 1-3

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.

Phil. 4/

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.