Category Archives: Clarity

Conundrum (of sorts?)

CONUNDRUM (of sorts)

Some time-a-go a brother in Christ (with tongue in cheek) nicknamed me – ‘Brother Conundrum’. This idea was not based on how he found me – but rather as a ‘synonym’ for my surname: Riddles.

So – true to my name – here is somewhat of a conundrum.

I have noticed folks who hit the like button after reading my posts, those whom I have investigated with a view of reciprocating, – leave me wondering why they hit the like button in the first place?

Because some, not all of course, leave me with the distinct impression that their ‘philosophy’ of life is not in line with my own beliefs. In fact they are worlds apart.

But no doubt I am not alone in this observation, as you compare your own notes with other posts, by other persons.

I guess this poses the question again, ‘why do we hit the like button’? (I visited this some time ago…)

As one blogger put it – ‘he hits the like button to show his appreciation for the effort the person put into writing it in the first place’. Quite a noble reason, I think.

Here are just a few more possibilities –

‘I don’t agree with it – but like the way it is written’, ‘I hit the like button to let them know there is room for us all, even if I don’t agree with them…’, ‘my ‘like’ is ‘points for effort’, ‘I liked one sentence and it was enough to hit the ‘like’ button, but I don’t accept the rest’ and so on…

This might work out as – 

Atheists liking faith-filled posts. Skeptics loving the optimism of a faith blog. People who follow other religions, putting the words through the sieve of their religious beliefs, making my words into something I do not intend.

Again just a few ideas of how people hear things in different ways and having properly mis-interpreted 😳 find something to ‘like’.

All this goes to establish in my mind the need for God’s help, if any of us are to properly understand the scriptures and therefore spiritual matters. Or do we make do with the whole conundrum of things?

The help of the Third Person of the Godhead – the Holy Spirit is needed to enable anyone to understand the things of God, and therefore there is need for His help in order to understand what I write about His Word (The Bible).

Or to be more succinct – His help to understand the Bible.

I wonder are you familiar with…, have you ever read… the following scripture?

I Corinthians 2/

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But 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. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

I draw your attention to ‘nor can he know them’.

And closing this post abruptly – I ask you to please go on ‘liking’, but I…

Ephesians 1/16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

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Religion

Religion

You have heard the saying to ‘squeeze the life out of something’.

This is what religion does.

Of course in order to sound plausible I need to start by defining ‘religion’.

My plausibility is not the type that involves deception, by the way.

‘Religion’ is a term used – in Christian churches that have experienced the life-giving power of Christ, – to highlight the opposite-experience. 

Another word that is used is ‘Legalism’, when describing the opposite to ‘joy unspeakable and full of Glory’.

The Pharisees are usually offered as examples of this negative use of the word ‘Religion’.

They were caught up in the outward appearance of things, they added to the Word of God, with man-made concepts, rules and regulations.

They majored on the minors and minored on the majors.

Jesus speaking of the Pharisees said:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Until Jesus completed God’s revelation to man communicating it in His New Covenant – the law stood it’s ground, as it were, as given in the Old Testament.

Jesus didn’t destroy the law – He fulfilled it.

Forgive my analogy but for me (as an artist/painter) I see the Old Testament Law and its demands as the drawing before the colour was added.

I know – not the soundest of analogies.

But Christ came to give us Life and Life more abundant. Whereas many Christians are like the Pharisees who wish to bind folks with heavy burdens.

One gentleman responding to a gospel invitation to become a Christian – was heard to say: ‘No thanks I have enough problems of my own..!’

You see all he heard was an invitation to ‘religious rules’ and a lack-lustre life of asceticism.

Jesus puts it this way, illustrating lifeless drudgery –

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

God has His laws – but they are the laws of liberty!’

James 1/25

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it…

Not religious servitude to a hard taskmaster. But words of life to guide us in our behaviour.

Speaking of the liberty offered to everyone who will believe – God says:

II Corinthians 3/

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

The Holy Spirit is the life-giver and He then feeds us spiritually with His word/law.

None of this makes sense until we meet Him.

But the purpose of this post is to say that ‘religion’ in the negative sense, in the sense that I have just described, and alluded to, will neither satisfy you or set you free from the influence of sin.

Only a living relationship with the Living God will do that.

There is a proper use of the word religion in James 1/27 (If you care to have a look).

As I write this it crosses my mind that I may well have written on this before? Well, I shall do so again.

But it is extremely important that we are not deceived into a Pseudo-version of Christianity.

As you enter the New Year – please search for the real thing!

TRUE LIGHT

TRUE LIGHT

In mocking tones, sometimes amidst a workforce, I have heard it said: “Oh – they have seen the light…”

What they mean is – they have become ‘religious’. Referring to anyone who starts professing to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly the reference they use to ‘seeing the light’ is usually connected to the experience of one ‘Saul of Tarsus’, who had a name change to ‘Paul the Apostle’.

He had a very dramatic experience on the Damascus Road, where he encountered a blinding light, and heard a voice, all part of a supernatural revelation of Jesus Christ. (full story – Acts 9)

He referred to this experience, later in his life, referring to this encounter with Christ – he adds – as ‘by one born out of due time’.

I Corinthians 15/

After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

So it was Christ and His radiating Glory that he saw.

The terminology used in describing this experience is arrested descriptively by innocent or not so innocent commentators when they discover someone newly come to faith in Jesus Christ The Lord.

And really it is a good description of conversion, whether used kindly or mockingly.

I saw the light in 1970 – 48 years ago.

The bedroom in which I saw the light no longer exists. But I walk in the light every day as I am enabled by the Giver of light.

There is no light without ‘The Life’.

John 1/

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

Christ’s imparted life-giving Spirit to the repentant heart illuminates the inner man in an unmistakeable way.

…The last Adam (Christ Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.

(I Corinthians 15/45).

However there are other ways of receiving ‘light’. 

Unfortunately there is ‘light’ that-is-in-fact darkness. It is offered outside of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is clearly referred to in the Bible in this way:

35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

How can light be darkness – it sounds contradictory?

But it isn’t. It is all to do with your source.

The electricity company supplies electricity and therefore light to my home. There are other companies vying for the business – they too can supply the light.

We could also quote the old adage – ‘all that glitters is not gold’ when highlighting that all ‘light’ is not to be embraced.

Let me sound a warning-shot over your bow – not all light is the true light that has come into the world, to illuminate mankind to the truth of the gospel, namely that there is

…one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

John 1/8-10

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

Luke 11/35-

Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

Jesus could not have made it clearer that all light presented in numerous philosophies and religions can in actual fact be darkness.

II Corinthians 11/14.

And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

May you and I encounter the true light of Christmas – born in Bethlehem – the true light has come.

Storm steadying voice

STORM STEADYING VOICE

Matthew 8/

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marvelled, saying,“Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

In these days there is need, like never before for a steady voice.

By a ‘steady’ voice I mean the kind of voice that expresses a steady heart-and-hand in steering the ship through the narrow gap between rocky waters, without making shipwreck.

The only steady hand we can completely trust and rely on is the hand of God. The hand of Jesus in the boat – to rest His way through the storm.

The storm is only something that can drown or kill in the natural world. But the natural wind and sea obey Him.

So for Him there is no stormy-sea problem in your natural emotion He cannot calm.

But for us no one can boast of the storms of life being ‘water off a duck’s back’ – far from it, we are prone to panic, to discouragement, and to becoming overwhelmed, just like the early disciples.

We are just made that way. The lower nature has made us that way. The storms of life provoke all kinds of reactions. Born out of fear and panic and hurt.

So as we look for a man to steady the ship and to show us the way – we cannot find one.

No man except the one of whom it was said – ‘no man ever spoke like this man…’. The man Christ Jesus. (John 7/46).

There are mature strong leaders in the church. Proven men of calibre, who have weathered many storms and having done-all-to-stand – are still standing.

But many have fallen under the storm of temptation, or failure, or persecution, or pleasure.

No one can set the sinless example that alone will give us complete confidence in them.

The preachers too need to hear the sermon.

The preacher delivering God’s message, must in turn listen to God.

The congregation need to honour  the message, if it is in line with the words of the Son of God.

Taking the bible-based words as a word from God, and not from man.

As we honour the preacher so we must honour his audience.

But we must reserve our worship for God alone, and not for His servants, because His servants are encompassed with infirmity, like all humans. (Hebrews 5/2)

We might say that anyone with ‘half a brain’ can see the increase of chaos and darkness on the face of the earth, working through man’s nature.

As soon as someone stands for the ways of Christ – they seek to discredit him and look for ways in which to catch him out – and brand him a fake, because he preaches Christ. Just like they did to the King of Kings Himself.

…And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. (Mark 12//13)

Pray for ‘Great Grace’ in these days – the church needs it!

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4/32)

The Followed or the followers

THE FOLLOWED OR THE FOLLOWERS?

It’s interesting how persuasion works.

The salesman/woman gives us information in a confident manner, directing our attention to what is advantageous in their product.

They have a goal in mind – a sale, of course.

To that end they exercise persuasion. Persuasion through words.

Often we have done our own research and would not be there in the first place, if we had not already made up our minds to buy. Usually we are at least 90% persuaded already.

Sometimes though, if the salesperson is too pushy and overbearing, I go in the opposite direction, to the point where I decide to buy the same product elsewhere, or even, further my investigations for an alternative.

So their manner, sometimes exercising deceptive ploys, or punctuated with a belittling approach etc. turns me off.

But what if the product is the best one you can buy, the best on the market and at the best price?

If I take umbrage at the salesperson, I am (in this context) according to the old proverb: ‘Cutting off my nose to spite my face’.

But it’s difficult to get past the bad salesperson’s approach.

Nevertheless I must – as I am after value for money and a good performance product.

It would be great if it was otherwise, – but I’m afraid not everyone who says: “Lord, Lord…” is the genuine ‘article’, not everyone is the real McCoy, when it comes to their profession of being a Christian.

And not everyone who is genuinely and sincerely a child of God, is void of bad attitudes. 

They still need to change in that particular area, and need help to see it.

Jesus never finishes perfecting His people.

My point is this – if you want to become a follower of Christ – look away from the shortcomings of those who purport to represent Him, and delve into the Bible, to find the real thing.

Look unto Christ – examine His life and see His perfection, or be drawn to Him further, if you have already called on His name for salvation.

Don’t fall into the trap of using the shortcomings of imperfect human beings, as an excuse not to pursue the Person of Jesus Christ.

Christ is the light of perfection, in Him is no darkness at all.

One gentleman who examined Jesus Christ to find who He was, did so with the intention of disproving the Resurrection.

As one writer puts it – the book ‘Who Moved the Stone?’ by Frank Morison was…

…the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write another.

His persuasion in becoming a follower of Christ was the result of looking into the gospel stories, as opposed to being greatly impressed by Christ’s followers.

Man will always fail. Christ will never fail.

Jesus said to Peter:

22 …“If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Jesus was telling Peter in essence, that he was not to overly concern himself with other human beings, but to get his priorities right and follow Him.

By all means learn from genuine sincere believers in Christ – they should be that example you are looking for. But better still learn from the one followed rather than His followers.

Vulnerable with whom?

VULNERABLE WITH WHOM?

We can talk about what is happening in society. We can talk about what is happening in the world.

But what, (perhaps needless to say), is happening inside us, is what we are most familiar with.

Being self-conscious human beings, means – our self-awareness leads us to personal concerns – first.

Everyone’s aspirations differ, I guess with some overlapping, but never quite the same.

Our mind is pre-preoccupied with the body we live in. First-things-first is usually subjective.

We are fragile flesh. Prone to the same highs and lows.

Body, soul and spirit beings.

Inescapably we succumb to self-interest first, punctuated by a few sacrifices we may have made for others along the way, in order to change our self-oriented daily narrative.

Christians or non-Christians, acts of charity, and good deeds-done are common to all.

Some have been more sacrificial than others, in their service to their fellow man.

I am way down the pecking order when it comes to good deeds done, to the benefit of my fellow man. 

I can only hope that my service of ‘words’ has helped others to some small degree, along the way.

But mankind is housed in flesh, and we all have this earthly tent in common. We live in these corruptible bodies, with all our mutual limitations.

We are prone, as is said of Elijah: ‘to like passions.’

James 5/17: Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months

Despite these ‘like passions’ common to us all – Elijah (Elias) was a spiritual man, able to pray and receive answers.

Many believe in vulnerability. Many believe they should share their weaknesses openly with all who will listen.

This they usually conclude is being real. We should be free to share our innermost weaknesses and needs, they believe, to authenticate our genuineness.

Others consider this to be airing their dirty linen in public.

 Dictionary –  To discuss very private, personal matters, especially that which may be embarrassing, in public or with other people.

When we share such private thoughts, we leave ourselves open to ridicule or unfair judgment from others.

It establishes in their minds a certain outlook towards us.

Even if we grow, and overcome those inner weaknesses, it may well be, they remain convinced, that we have not, indeed, overcome.

And should we fall yet again into negative behaviour of whatever kind, they affirm to themselves that indeed, we have not moved on.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is not the whole answer to finding help. We need to ask “with whom can I, or should I, be vulnerably open?”

Those who are at all familiar with this blog, and this season of Christian-perspective posts, will not be surprised in the least at my next exhortation:

Vulnerability, that is – being vulnerable and therefore usually confessional  – in an acceptable manner is firstly vertical, before it is horizontal.

Prayer to Christ Jesus the one who is seated at the right hand of God the Father, in an unimaginable way, and who ever lives to represent those who want Him as their saviour and advocate, is the vertical friendship that I am referring to.

Proverbs 18/24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Christ Jesus is that friend that sticks closer than a human being/brother, if He is invited into our lives.

He is never surprised at your vulnerability, nor ignorant of your attempts to be and do what is right. He is compassionate and understanding, willing to forgive when you fail, and willing to comfort the downhearted in His presence, where there is fullness of joy.

Be – as vulnerable as you want to be – with Him. Tell Him honestly what you think of yourself. Share with Him your most intimate thoughts.

Having done this – you can then move from vertical communion with Christ to the horizontal, in finding a real, true human friend, to open your heart to.

This is not always an easy task. But don’t give up, there are still some genuine, ethically sound, sincere counsellors who will keep confidence, and lend a helping hand.

You know I’m going to add – Christian ones.

Despite the onslaught of failure amongst people in positions of trust, and despite the hypocritical representation of religion, there are still those who are salt and light.

Men and women dealing with the same weaknesses Elijah, and you and I, contend with, both in ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Like Elijah the prophet – we can still pray and get results, especially in areas of subjectivity.

To finish – I must bind myself to the first part of the verse quoted above:

Proverbs 

A man who has friends must himself be friendly…

I raise my glass of coke –

“Here’s to your friendship”

Plainly still hidden?

PLAINLY STILL HIDDEN?

Supposing there was something absolutely essential to mankind. Essential perhaps to man’s very survival. It was as plain as day. ‘As plain as the nose on your face’,  as they say.

Yet – nobody noticed it or was aware of it. It was in front of them – but they couldn’t see it.

I wonder – to help me complete this short post if you can give me an example?

To give me an example would not be possible. As you then would have already noticed it – and therefore it fails to meet the criteria, of being plainly out of sight.

Although – it is in the realm of possibility, that you alone can see it – and no one else – and therefore it gives you authority in providing the example.

I reckon all the great inventors, pretty much knew something before everyone else. It was hidden to the rest of us, and eventually revealed by them.

So clearly I am referring to something – hidden.

Something plainly needed by the human race, yet hidden, and therefore unseen, out of sight.

There is much that mankind does not know.

When man discovers something for the betterment of, or service to, the human race, it can be embraced triumphantly.

But sometimes embraced, as though now, there was nothing else left to find out.

We should be thankful for any great discoveries in medical science. But refrain from getting on our ‘high horse’. We still don’t have a cure for the common cold.

It’s that ‘high horse’ thing that God most dislikes. Yet many on their high horse (with no real understanding) blame God for being on his!

The original sin was one of pride – Isaiah 14/13-15:

You said in your heart,

    “I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne

    above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

14 

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

    I will make myself like the Most High.”

15 

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,

    to the depths of the pit.

The fall of this spirit took place before mankind followed suit and fell into sin.

The ‘I’ factor is loud and clear in this passage of scripture.

Lifting oneself up is the expression of a proud heart. Taking the best seat at the feast, rather than the lower seat, it being the host’s (not the guest’s) prerogative to ask you up to a higher one.

Those who exalt themselves shall be humbled. 

Thinking too highly of (oneself), is a danger, as pride goes before a fall.

Nowadays the emphasis is on holding on to a good self-image to the exclusion of whether it is based on fact or fiction.

A bad self-image and a good self-image can both be flawed.

A good self-image is self-acceptance, accepting ourselves as we are, without living a life of pretence or with delusions of grandeur. It is thinking of ourselves in a sober manner – not too highly and not too lowly.

Recognising our strengths and our weaknesses, without being morbidly introspective about the weaknesses, nor puffed-up with insolent pride perhaps over some ability we have.

Bringing our weaknesses to Jesus Christ, who converses with His Father on behalf of those who desire Him to do so.

There are many things, (spiritually speaking), that I have yet to see, – yet to find out.

I am thankful for what has been shown to me. Things I have great certainty over.

But I will always be on the road of discovery, when it comes to my relationship with Jesus Christ.

In this life I will always only – ‘know in part’.

But I’m told to hold fast to what I have already received, and to walk by the same rule.

I am also told that the things I have received are hidden to many others:

I Corinthians 2/6-8.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

That thing, that is hidden to many, is the essential thing I referred to at the beginning of this post.

It is a drawn-up and carried-out plan for the salvation of the human race.

Is it plain to you? Or plainly – still hidden from your understanding?

There is coming a day regardless of what theological standpoint we take, – there is coming a day – when Christ will return to take only those who are part of his mystical body (the church) –  still alive on earth – into the air in a rapturous experience.

A day when Christ who is hidden from the sight of the eyes of multitudes today, will return no longer hidden, but in plain view – for every eye shall see Him –

Revelation 1/7:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.

will they recognise Him or will recognition be hidden from them also?

Is the gospel message then, plain for you? To be acted on immediately? Or does it remain hidden even though you can hear it from many preachers?

About that opening paragraph:

Supposing there was something absolutely essential to mankind…It was in front of them – but they couldn’t see it…?

A question of thought

A QUESTION OF THOUGHT

Regardless of the purpose or subject matter of our blogs, I wonder do you ever have the thought that perhaps we should be thinking about more important matters?

Everyday life presents us with many demands upon our thinking power.

I marvel at how prolifically our minds produce thought after thought. Never in the same order, day after day.

Oh yes, there are things our minds return to often, but nothing is programmed en masse to repeat exactly what we have thought before.

The greatest of all ‘computer systems’ – the human mind.

It would be customary, as the subject matter of this blog would suggest in recent posts, to move on now to some profound biblical subject, directing our thoughts to what I would deem of most importance.

But rather, I’m stopping short of this. I simply ask myself the question and therefore you – what should we apply the use of our minds, our cognitive abilities – to?

What should we be thinking about? What is of most importance to you?

We can’t dwell on profundity 24/7, the necessities of life demand that we focus on the warp and woof of daily living, that tax our thought life.

Did you leave the trash cans out? What about that bill you owe – is it paid yet? That couch could do with a new ‘throw’. The cat needs fed. That programme starts at 8.30. Did you call your sister? You haven’t finished reading that novel, where did you leave it? Thinking about another tragedy in the world?

But you are home – the busy working day is over – what now? Thought about what is next? Or has what is next determined your thinking?

TV on? Wow! Six Ads. in a row – telling you what you should be thinking about.

What are you thinking about anyway? Anything important?

Luke 12/24-26

25 And which of you by being overly anxious and troubled with cares can add a cubit to his stature or a moment [unit] of time to his age [the length of his life]?

Pondering

PONDERING

The pace of modern day living (or is it post-modern living?) is great.

It seems to accelerate with each passing day.

When we factor-in the fact that we are all inescapably getting older, this increase of pace is not always welcome.

When we reach a certain age, we become resentful of the increased pace, and simply don’t want to keep up with it.

Staying abreast of all IT developments, becomes boring to those of a certain age. We don’t want to know anymore. Our curiosity has wained.

And unless needing to know the recent developments for our job, we run out of interest and enthusiasm.

But of course I must be fair, and add: ‘personally speaking’ 😎!

In contrast many folks just love the latest gadgets and updates and new discoveries. They can’t wait to engage the cogs of their brain in the latest advancements.

And that’s fine – ‘whatever floats your boat’.

Maybe I’m not so much a ‘technophobe’, as a ‘techno-slob’, ie too lazy to find out the latest.

But my main point in this piece, is the fact that speed sometimes because of greed, calls for mental gymnastics and involvement in business and busy-ness – and robs us of contemplation that may lead to something much more rewarding.

Luke 2/18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Mary had acquired supernatural angelic insight – not directly from the angels, but from the message communicated by a bunch of shepherds. Just like you and I are – in this post.

She had no reason to doubt this news that they brought, simply because she knew about encountering angels herself, and she knew about how special the child was – to whom she had given birth.

But notice what she did with this and no doubt with all that had been revealed to her: she…pondered them in her heart.

Are we too busy to ponder? Especially things of tremendous import? Are we so caught up with the pace of daily living that no time is left to ponder our destiny?

There are some, if not many, blogs that address Christians. Which is fine.

How can this blog address everyone and anyone, in spiritual terms?

Since the spiritual terms are a learnt language only those who have experienced them can truly or fully – understand.

Just like Mary she had previous spiritual experiences of truth given directly from God. And was able to receive and ponder, the shepherds revelations.

So we find then a spiritual principle, if, having received spiritual revelation, it is followed by meditation (pondering), our understanding of what we have received – will increase.

But here is the good news – the reverse is also true – as we ponder the scriptures – revelation, or greater revelation – is given as a result!

In other words it works both ways.

Now all we need is for you and I to mentally slow down, and give enough time to the pondering meditations that bring us to the life of Christ’s revelation.

Jesus speaks to Peter:

Matthew 16/17 – Then Jesus answered him, “Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, favoured by God] are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood (mortal man) did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

 

 

That word ‘church’…?

That word ‘church’…?

You probably know that the word church (Gk. ecclesia) apart from other nuances we might speak of – chiefly refers to those who are the ‘called out ones’.

The word sanctified – is to do with being ‘set apart’.

Called out and set apart.

Hmm?

Now of course men love to enter into all kinds of ‘disputes’ over original Hebrew and Greek words, and are often found to …strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Apparently those who do so are blind guides,

Matthew (Amp.) 23/24 You [spiritually] blind guides, who strain out a gnat [consuming yourselves with miniscule matters] and swallow a camel [ignoring and violating God’s precepts]!

Man loves to step into the debating chamber and skew these and other words to make them into all kinds of things.

One commentator, (Not a ‘skewed’ one as far as I know) writes the following. From which I glean he isn’t too happy with the word Ecclesia, or at least, maybe how he perceives what man can skew it to mean (?)- 

He writes – 

In the earlier Greek It was pronounced “ku-ri-a-kos” or “ku-ri-a-kon.” As you can see, this word doesn’t even resemble the Greek word “ecclesia” whose place it has usurped. In the earlier Greek It was pronounced “ku-ri-a-kos” or “ku-ri-a-kon.” 

The meaning of “Ku-ri-a-kos” is understood by its root: “Ku- ri-os,” which means “lord.” Thus, “kuriakos” (i.e., “church”) means “pertaining to the lord.”

As far as I can see there is nothing wrong with this comment. But neither is there anything wrong with the message, – that the disciples of Christ form a body of folk who are ‘called out’ of the world system of spiritual darkness.

So let’s take both words on board (ecclesia and kuriakos) – what have we now?

Called out ones pertaining to the Lord.

That’s ok with me!

The use of the word KISS – seems appropriate here?

KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid.

Let’s try. The church is the people. Not a building, not bricks and mortar.

The church are ‘called out – ‘ones’. Just like Christians are Christ – ‘ones’.

‘Ones’ are human. Followers of Christ are human beings, apart from the faithful angelic host who remained in allegiance to The Lord Jesus Christ.

The church – made up of individual Christians – refers to every individual on the face of the earth who is/are the true (the real thing) followers of Jesus Christ.

“Hello out there!  You are part of my forever family, if you are a Christ-one. If you are set-apart, and you are amongst those who are the ‘called out ones’.”

Just think of it – you may not see my face this side of heaven – but you might get an invite to my mansion in the heaven of heavens, when we both arrive there! (John 14/2)

In case there is someone reading this who thinks to themselves – “What presumptuous self-righteousness! – to consider himself sure of heaven”

To think of oneself as so righteous and above everyone else that God is somehow obliged to allow such a presumptuous human being – entrance into His eternal abode – bah!

At this point the thought crosses the mind of yours truly –

“I wonder – if what is obvious to me is perhaps completely unknown to some readers”?

Namely my guarantee of entrance into the eternal heaven of heavens, is based on the fact that (metaphorically speaking) I have signed the contract – but God Himself is the one who has drawn it up!

There is nothing in me  – no good work, no impressive noble thoughts, no wonderful behaviour, in fact in my flesh there is no good thing, that God could be remotely impressed by.

And yet I am going to heaven when I die!

Just one thing gives me entrance to His heavenly kingdom. Just one thing gives me ‘membership’ to the world church of Called out ones pertaining to the Lord. Only one thing enables me to enter the place of being set apart, and only one thing has made me a Christ-one.

In a phrase – The cross of Jesus Christ.

But at this point I better end by allowing God to do the talking:

Psalm 107/2

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…

(I just did)! Redeemed and heading for heaven.

Romans 5/9

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Justified – and I’m justified – in saying – heaven awaits me because I am told I shall be saved from wrath through Him. He (and His sacrifice on the cross) is the only thing I’m relying on.

Acts 2/38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(I did repent, I was baptised, my sins were remitted and I did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit)

No wrath to come, God with me now and for eternity, Justified, called out, set apart – and I have nothing whatsoever to boast about. Not even any good works that I do!

When it comes to heaven I simply receive the free gift. 

My mind is blown – at this agreement I have entered into with The Living God!

Ephesians 2/8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

Word in you…

WORD IN YOU….

AMPLIFIED VERSION – John 5:

38 You do not have His word (Scripture) abiding in you [actually living in your hearts and minds], because you do not believe in Him whom He has sent.

The word – ABIDING and as expanded ‘LIVING’, – is very important, in this portion of scripture.

We are told that The Word of God, The Bible, The Scriptures, is something they do not have ABIDING (Living) in them.

You may give lip-service to the authenticity of the Bible. You may read it from time to time – but does it abide in you?

That’s the challenge here.

You see this Word is the most powerful thing on earth – in fact it is more POWERFUL than heaven or earth. For we are told heaven and earth will pass away (in exactly what way I’m not sure) – but …read on in – 

Matthew 24:

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

That’s how powerful this Word is – it will never pass away! That means it is Eternal. If God has said it – it cannot be changed. Jesus said the scripture cannot be broken.

John 10:

35. and the scripture cannot be broken;

Amplified:

35. (and the Scripture cannot be undone or annulled or broken)

That my friends is what you have the opportunity to put inside you, through meditation on this Word day and night (Read Psalm 119 or Psalm 1)

It blows my mind and I cannot live without it!

Shaken or Stirred

SHAKEN OR STIRRED

II Thessalonians 2/1-3

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,…

Soon shaken in mind – This scriptural ‘turn of phrase’, I have highlighted by underlining it, as you can see.

Because, regardless of the subject it refers to – the experience of being shaken in mind is one we have all had.

There are many examples of this – ranging from spilling a glass of milk – to hearing that a friend has been suddenly taken ill.

Momentarily shaken, (spilling milk) or being shook up for a prolonged period of time (struggling over a friends predicament).

We all know that James Bond preferred ‘shaken’ and not stirred.

But there is a good – being ‘stirred-up’ – and a bad.

The bad – being ‘stirred up’ – is when anger, bitterness and resentment takes over and we seek revenge.

The good – being ‘stirred up’ in mind, – is when we sense fresh resolve welling up within our beings to once again set ourselves to do what is right and good.

Christian or non-Christian can experience this kind of ‘being stirred up’.

Athletes failing to win their race, can feel stirred-up to win the next one. A child failing an exam, with good encouragement from a parent, can feel stirred again to pass the re-sit.

Rescuers trying to reach those trapped, can suddenly feel stirred again by a noise coming from the depths of a pile of rubble, and so redouble their efforts at rescue.

Someone whose father or relative was destroyed by some overcoming weakness or addiction, follow in their footsteps, or get stirred up to resolve that such a thing will never happen to them. 

They stir themselves to not be similarly duped.

So when we are shaken, is it followed by being stirred up?

It certainly is a preferable state of mind.

But notice in this passage of scripture that the shaking referred to can come as the result of different things.

The first source is a ‘spirit’.

Many have come under the deception of spirits – unseen – that propagate lies. Often of the most subtle kind.

Part of the deception they are under is to find it incredulous that spirits even exist.

Many sit with an incredulous mentality that is dismissive of anything spiritual.

Such folks are the easiest to deceive, and spirits know this.

After all if I want to do damage to you, and you know nothing about the source of it – then I have an even greater victory, and can expect no resistance.

Next we are told not to be shaken by ‘word’. There are many voices in the world crying and vying for your attention – many speak to shake us up, to harm us, to get unfair advantage over us, to scare us into submission and so on.

Next we are told not to be shaken by ‘letter’. We can mistakenly assume the source of certain messages and mis-appropriate their source to the wrong person(s).

But many times there is no mistaking the source of the venom.

Emails, social media and all the means of 21st Century communication, take the place of plain old pen and paper, in letter writing.

But they are letters just the same, and can shake us with their content.

Being shaken is similar to being under stress. Many people seem to have no inner resources to call upon as an antidote to stress.

Thankfully Christians can appropriate Christ’s inner strength by faith.

But often as a result of mental shaking – a nervous breakdown can ensue, and many Christians similarly prone to such an experience, testify that it was only their faith in Christ that brought them through.

Shaken by spirits, shaken by words heard, or letters read.

This is where a post such as this is limited, in that, I have highlighted the experience of being shaken, but as yet, have only hinted at solutions.

There is much to say on how to stand, having done all to stand, in these days, when things are beginning to be shaken all around us.

Other blogs may need to be written.

But we know as human beings that avoiding the ‘all shook up’ condition is not always easy.

We spill the milk – and stir ourselves with the words: ‘No use crying over spilt milk’, – sorted – we soon forget it, and move on.

Many in the past, and in the present day, have been shaken to the very core of their beings, and no common quip is going to solve their problems.

In the scripture quoted above the Christians are told not to allow themselves to be shaken from the truth. The truth – as it was communicated at that time – was that Christ as yet had not returned.

Concerning The Second Coming of Christ, we are not to be shaken from what the scripture reveals to us.

There is to be a ‘falling away’ first, and a deceiving, plausible spirit with words and doctrinal ‘letters’ will appear and will deceive many.

Don’t be shaken from believing it to be so, but don’t be shaken either by that same malevolent spirit, who has come to steal, kill and destroy, as he works through men.

In light of the anti-Christ spirit already at work – Look up – all you who believe that Jesus is the Christ – for your redemption draws near!