Category Archives: Clarity

Spiritual Matters

SPIRITUAL MATTERS

When it comes to Divine matters, like a soaking cloth eventually wrung out to stiff dryness, we are comparatively barren in spiritual knowledge.

If someone tells us the message of the gospel – that message, if we get well into it, talks of things that are not easily understood. Not because the person doesn’t use plain English (or Greek?) when sharing the message, but because of the content of the message and it’s deeply spiritual nature.

Concerning Paul the Apostle we read:

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

One of the lessons from this is that, when we have questions we can’t answer, or see injustice in the world we don’t understand, – we must not blame the God of the Bible. The ‘untaught and unstable…’ can (to their own detriment) in their spiritual ignorance foolishly accuse the God of the Universe wrongly.

Our lack of true spiritual insight poses a dilemma. Not only to be faced by the, as yet, unbeliever, but also by the believer, who is also limited in his revelation of these deeply spiritual matters.

We talk of short attention spans in children. But it’s the same for adults. And especially in matters of a spiritual nature, spiritual attention span can be lost quickly.

The disciples of Jesus had been there and bought the T-shirt regarding the supernatural feeding of thousands, but failing again to understand The Lord, they illicit His response, and He said: Matthew 16/

Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

They had experienced the supernatural, but quickly losed the reality of it.

Life is either too busy – or offering all kinds of things, to distract us, and we initially would prefer these things over spiritual truth and experience.

No man we are told in the Bible – straightaway desires the new wine of God, for he says that the old is better. Wine can be a metaphor for various things, keeping it simple – let’s say in this context – it is spiritual matters. (K.J.V – Luke 5/39: No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better).

We do not warm immediately to spiritual matters. There are hurdles we need to jump, hurdles of sin and unbelief, before we start to get to the finishing line and receive the prize of spiritual revelation. This cannot be done except with Christ’s help, help we must ask for.

It is true that we can mentally comprehend truth up to a point – even spiritual truth as in understanding the things of God. But this is a limited understanding.

We can liken this to reading the authors book without meeting the author, and therefore failing to get a developed insight into the story, by getting first hand knowledge straight as they say – from the horses mouth.

This conversation and the getting to know of the author adds greatly to the understanding we have of his work.

Comprehending The Lord Jesus Christ as The Son of The Living God – is a revelation.

Jesus told Peter and therefore us, that God the Father Himself, had enlightened Peter to the fact that regardless of who other men said Jesus was, Peter had received a revelation that this was indeed the Son of the Living God, the Christ, the Messiah.

K.J.V – Matthew 16/17: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

John in the book of Revelation received the book ‘…in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.’ (Revelation 1/10)

The book is entitled Revelation and spiritual revelation is needed to understand it.

Men love to debate doctrinal issues, and intellects vie for pre-eminence.

However the things of The Spirit of God, knows no man, except for The Spirit of God who lives within him, (He either does or doesn’t live in us, depending on whether we choose God’s offered gift of salvation in Christ, or sadly reject it). (I Corinthians 2/10-12).

Only The Holy Spirit of The Living God can open our eyes to spiritual matters. Only He can enlighten us to the meaning and application of Holy Writ.

Every Christian especially those who teach the Word of God, must periodically examine themselves, to see if they are becoming more dependent on their concordances and commentaries, rather than the sought help of God.

The bible, when it comes to the recipients of spiritual teaching, refers to babes, young men, sons, fathers, wives and so on.

Just as there is growth from the womb to maturity in the natural, so it is in the spiritual life.

It is possible for a yielded vessel of what man might consider a lesser intellect, to actually walk in greater revelation than those of superior natural education and intellectual prowess.

Paul (a man of good/great intellect) refers to those who are the called of Christ: 

For ye see in your calling, brethren, how not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

Notice the key expression here: wise men ‘…according to the flesh…’

In other words those who have strong natural abilities of intellect and perhaps educated understanding, are not automatically superior when it comes to spiritual understanding.

Often those intellectually capable beyond their fellows, can inform us beneficially regarding the ‘about’ of Christianity. 

Helping us through Greek or Hebrew scholarship or historic research to grasp an expanded view of words, or the culture of a given time. But this is only beneficial when we have first received spiritual insight, as given by God Himself.

Scholarship helps re-enforce any revelation we have received, but revelation is not dependent upon it.

The opposite is true also, that those with good or great intellectual capacity are not excluded either, if their intellect goes through the dealings and/or purgings of God, as He strips them of self-dependence, self-reliance, when it comes to spiritual matters.

Some of the men used of God to see Revival were men who knew God. They had intellectual ability. But they recognised their dependance on The Lord God, they knew the reality of the scripture that says:

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Paul counted everything he had gained with his natural ability, as rubbish, in exchange for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, that flesh and blood had not taught him. (King James version):

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

He also tells us of how dependent he was on God’s revelation:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Conversely the gospel message in essence is simple. It has to be – in order to be understood by all men, so called high or low.

But the key to all spiritual understanding, is the influence of God upon the mind of the person hearing the message. 

When God ‘gets on your case’, though we do not straight away desire the ‘new wine’ He offers, His patience and long-suffering causes Him to continue to speak to us through His ordained means, namely the preaching of the gospel.

But the deep things of God, if they are to be revealed to us – must come as The Holy Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. (I Corinthians 2/10)

The regenerated spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, and in the human spirit, God works to reveal Christ and His knowledge to us, but always in harmony and accord with The Holy Bible. (Proverbs 20/27)

So the human spirit receives light, of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4/6).

If you have not yet grasped or received the spiritual revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and received Him as Lord and Saviour. Start by asking for His help.

If you are a babe in Christ, a ‘teenager’ in spiritual years, or a mature follower of Christ – be reminded, as I remind myself, that we really need God’s enablement, if we are to progress in our spiritual life.

Let’s unitedly ask for His help as the body of Christ, the church, on the earth.

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Mis-Non-communication

Mis-Non-communication

I have been reflecting again on the communication dilemma that besets mankind.

Mankind is greatly handicapped when it comes to understanding his fellow man/woman.

I believe – that man is born with sin ingrained in his nature. And although it’s somewhat of a mystery, it is clearly seen by it’s fruits of death. It greatly effects his ability to discern and judge properly.

I realise that not everyone takes that view.

Let me start by being overly-simplistic in my illustrations of what I would like to share in this post.

The number 4 – is what I mean. But you think I mean four. And someone else thinks I mean IV.

The same thing only different?

I saw a beautiful blue sky the other day – I meant cerulean but you thought I meant ultramarine.

Two friends sitting conversing, while the radio weather forecast is being shared. One friend heard: ‘Mist or fog will descend…’

The other friend was aghast at the weatherman treating us as children in sharing the forecast:

“Imagine…” she said – “referring to Fog as ‘Mister’…”

I speak of the resurrection of the dead, a fundamental belief in the Christian Faith – but you read into my statement – the idea of coming back from the dead as in re-incarnation, something I do not believe in. You have misunderstood my words.

I talk of freedom of spirit – you think I mean a so called: ‘free spirit’ – someone who dabbles indiscriminately in every experience under the sun, eventually experiencing the negative consequences. No I meant Christ setting us free.

‘Jimmy’ tells ‘Carol’ he loves her. Poor Carol goes away on a high, looking forward to the future romantic interlude with Jimmy. Failing to realise he should have added ‘As a friend…’

A lot of verbal argument is not so much to do with disagreeing as it is in misunderstanding the other person in the argument.

He thought you meant this – when you meant that.

Mis-communication is common to man.

‘Put the bin out…’ meant – for refuse collection. You ran for the fire extinguisher.

When it comes to sharing the Christian faith, many think what is shared is A-ok and even hit like buttons – when they have in actual fact misunderstood.

I was largely guilty of ignoring the signs, when God was trying to get through to me. Every prompt He sent my way I dismissed with my own reasoning.

This was not always a conscious act on my part.

I misunderstood.

Paul the apostle tells us of his pre-conversion days that the wrong he committed was done ignorantly and in unbelief – actually going way off-track – in that he thought he was actually pleasing God.

When any kind of message is sent our way – it can either create fear, indifference, annoyance, or we misunderstand it, and wrongly conclude what it actually means.

Think about this. Why do we so easily misunderstand? And misunderstand each other?

Man’s condition.

Just part of the result of a fallen world under the limitations of human flesh, the natural mind forms all kinds of wrong conclusions.

I love Candy.

No not the girl – the sweets – the confectionery. What did you think I meant?

Ephesians 3/4

Who am I addressing?

WHO AM I ADDRESSING?

The subject of ‘How to live the Christian Life’, occupies the ministers of God’s word in their capacity as Pastor, Minister, Padre, Teacher or whatever job description they choose for themselves.

The ‘How to’ covers the outworking of thoughts, words and deeds, rather than just the ‘academic’ aspect of bible study, which is not what it is all about.

God gives His word to change us.

To live the Christian life, is – in the eyes of most fair-minded people – to do with being good.

You profess to be a Christian – you therefore, it is assumed – profess to be good.

However “I’m a  good person”, can be an oft repeated phrase from the mouths of Christians or non-Christians, alike. It would take another post to expound and examine the scripture that tells us: They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Christian Blog posts offer encouragement in this ‘How to live the Victorious Christian Life’ endeavour, i.e. how to live as a Christian should.

How to overcome life’s problems, how to have confidence, how to think positively, how to handle adversity, overcome fear, share the faith – one could continue the list of topics. All relevant to Victorious Christian Living.

Prophesying as described in the New Testament must include edification, exhortation and comfort. (I Corinthians 14/3)

And who doesn’t need those?

Christian writing attempts to edify the believer, exhort them to better things, and provide the comfort that the Christian needs in an alien environment, where Christianity is mis-understood and maligned out-of-hand.

However, there is a saying about ‘putting the cart before the horse’. And I sometimes question that when it comes to Christian posting this can happen.

I have asked myself the question when posting: ‘Who am I addressing?’ And of course it is, in one sense, a limited audience, and we cannot answer the question exactly.

But it does need to be stated that Christian teaching apart from the preaching of the message of ‘Salvation through Christ’, is not always for everyone.

By that I mean that children in Primary school are not taught adult themes, unless the teachers are mis-guided and unwise.

There is ‘growth level’ to be considered, before many subjects can be approached. If a child asks an adult-themed question, then of course paring-it-down to their level, without too much incomprehensible detail, should be done. 

Rather than dismissing the subject and rejecting the child’s genuine enquiry. This calls for wisdom of the first order.

So when handing-out different exhortations to Christians, it might be fair to ask: ‘who is listening in?’

The Christian life can be lived on a natural plain, by good-living people. Humanists perhaps claim to be just as good as any Christian, and they don’t see the need for all the ‘super-spiritual’ stuff.

So what do they do with the teaching on ‘how to live’ from the Bible?

Leave out the supernatural aspect of Christianity and there is nothing left.

I can teach you ‘person of the planet’, alive and well on planet earth guy or gal, how to live a morally correct life, without you being a Christian!

But what a contradiction! I’m simply informing your humanist quest for good or moral living. Appealing to your sense of moral fair-play, but in all of this you remain an unbeliever, relying on your own self-effort and attempts to – be good, overcome, be positive, fulfil your dreams, be confident – all of this can be equally un-Christian as Christian, for one reason only:

You have not yet received, encountered, met or had a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So who is my audience? To whom do I address my posts? To whom are Christian posts directed?

To stand a chance of getting what is said, there must be what the scripture talks of as a starting point, a place of first principle(s):

Referring to Christians who should have matured more than they had – the writer says:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food…

First is first – we can’t benefit as we should from all the other principles ie. the second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on principle, until we have embraced the first principles of repentance from dead works and faith in Christ as Saviour.

The good news is however, that the work of conversion to Christ is not the work of man’s hand, but God’s. That means He has His own way of feeding your mind with truth, and there is no set formula, or learnt mantra that you must possess in order to grasp the things of God.

There is a progression, as there is in most things, but if you get chapter six read-to- you in a book, without the first five chapters, you may in fact still get the gist of what is being written, ie. get an idea of the story.

God can use any Christian teaching to penetrate the human heart, and there will be something, even though addressed to Christians, something in there, that He can use, to bring you to Himself. So I encourage you to read Christian posts.

But coming to first things first we read in the bible:

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Dogmatic as this may seem to the unbeliever – it is true-truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Get this and your understanding begins to flower in the things of God and Christianity.

Those Christian blogs then begin to address you as a believer who has a relationship with the one who has the words of eternal life.

I pray for blessings in your quest to find Him.

Uncool language

UNCOOL LANGUAGE

The next generation considers the last generation uncool.

Nothing new under the sun.

That’s just how it is. Mindsets change in art, fashion, culture, taste, etc etc. and if we do not conform to the majority’s take on things – we are relegated to the ‘uncool’ waste bin by others.

Then the pendulum swings and certain things return – back in vogue again.

The traditional ‘whatever’- has a certain appeal and many are interested in everything historical, but they don’t think of using a gas light to light their bedroom, or wash their clothes by hand to save electricity. I speak generally of course – western world – and all that.

So we visit museums, and read books to re-enforce our interest, if it happens to be in the things of the past.

What about religion?

Because two thousand years has passed since Christ walked the earth – there is the inevitable historic-context-aspect of all things Christian.

Don’t let the historical context deceive you into thinking it is not relevant for today. We are talking eternal truth here!

In a previous blog I drew our attention to religion as a label for things not necessarily desirable. To sum this up – Isaiah 29/13:

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honour Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

That for me sums up the bad aspect of religion. We look for bad religion personified in the Pharisees, and Pharaisical hypocrisy. It’s a paying of lip-service only, to spiritual matters.

An outward conforming to rituals and a system, but one void of compassion, tenderness, heart or spirit, and relationship with God.

But sometimes when we encounter in a piece of writing – an old fashioned means of expression, it can rob us of the relevant content of the utterances, simply because we straightaway relegate the wording to a bygone era, and dismiss the content as uncool, and irrelevant in today’s world, simply because of it’s tone, or it’s King James English.

We too-quickly overlook the message because the wording smacks of a dead and buried past.

There are many different expressions of Christianity – and if we are wise we will bypass the awkwardness of the language, or the off-putting phrases and ambiguous language and seek the heart of the message.

Receiving or rejecting it on it’s content only, not on it’s choice of words.

If the heart of the message is good then listen more attentively. If the message is true-truth, then embrace it.

Pilate with The Lord Jesus Christ standing before him, asked the question: ‘What is truth?’.

Well – he missed it completely! But of course, there is nothing wrong with the question.

Pilgrim’s Progress is full of truth (circa 1678). For those who don’t know, it is a book written by John Bunyan. 

There have been re-written, more modern, versions of the book, as far as I know.

But grab a copy of the original – sift your way through it – to find sound, revelatory truth – good for all peoples.

It’s about a journey, the journey we are all on. And it is based fully on Biblical truth.

Read of Pilgrim’s progress through the many obstacles that stand in the way of those who sincerely, one hundred percent, want to know true-truth.

You are fighting against the odds increasingly in these days, but find the ancient message in ancient language or otherwise. Sift your way to the true-truth of Eternal Life!

Truth must get inside

TRUTH MUST GET INSIDE

If I told you, they were giving away an introductory voucher for a large sum of money down at the new store. And I wasn’t lying. You have two options – suspicious response, or allowing the information into your psyche as you believe me and make your way down to the store for the hand-out.

So it is with the truth – we either respond with suspicion, our minds entertaining all kinds of other information by which we question what is shared with us, by way of comparison.

We don’t wish to be gullible, especially with the arrival of ‘the scam’, and it’s spread in epidemic proportions.

But letting the truth in is more important than simply hearing the truth.

There are many things offered to us, which we do well to refuse to allow in on us.

But at some point we must allow ‘true truth’ to get inside us, we must yield to it, and allow it to effect and change our lives.

The one million dollar question to be asked though, quite clearly is: ‘is it really the truth?’

If we are convinced it is and it isn’t, we are in big trouble.

Especially in light of eternal issues, and in the context of eternal truth.

The truth is a person, the second person of the Godhead Jesus Christ. (John 14/6)

What’s the response? Suspicion and comparison with the collection of information and knowledge you have obtained throughout your life’s journey – or in a child-like way – reception of the stated fact?

Letting this truth inside you, calls for more and deeper examination once it is inside, once it has been received, entertained, allowed space in your brain.

The only thing to avoid is ignoring it.

Ignoring is good if it is not the truth. Ignoring (when it is the truth) is to remain ignorant of the truth.

Paul, one of the major leaders of all time in the church, was a man on a mission to destroy the Christian church, he was as maybe most of you will know – stopped supernaturally in his tracks. It happened on a road to Damascus. (Acts 9/1-7)

After his conversion, and he became a follower of Jesus Christ he had this to say:

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

NOTICE HE PRACTICED HIS RELIGION IGNORANTLY AND IN UNBELIEF.

That’s where, as they say, I rest my case. The truth is the truth, even if I am accused of dogmatism when I share it.

Buy the truth, and do not sell it,

Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Proverbs 23/23

Art/Poetry/Scribing

abstract
Untitled by Ken Riddles

ART/POETRY/SCRIBING

There are recurring questions that have been asked throughout the history of art.

The two simple questions I have in mind are:

What is art? And/or – what is poetry?

Perhaps I am least qualified to ask the questions, or offer an answer, as perhaps I don’t take either too seriously, or should I say: serious enough, as is the manner of some.

I enjoy both creative-expressions, but my spiritual aspirations are inclined to place art and poetry in the shadow category of less importance.

I may therefore, fail to get a listen from you, as you think of the artist or poet or art critic you hold in high esteem, and to whose opinion you turn quickly, and firstly, to help you form your own conclusions.

But in light of seedsinmotiontruthnart – and blogging in general, I thought I might explain.

ART – art for me can’t seem to get too far past painting. Although it would seem that painting almost needs re-defined as it seems it is becoming only antique.

With all that makes up the post-modern conglomeration of art-expression through conceptualism and any other ‘ism’ et al, painting seems to have transitioned from the place of  premier expression in the upper echelons of the art world, to a secondary place.

Of course the pendulum is always swinging when it comes to ‘art-fashion’, and no sooner has the statement in my last paragraph been made, when it becomes redundant, in our eclectic ever changing hodge-podge art world.

So my: ‘art is painting’ statement is limited, uncool, retrogressive, etc. – however – once again one needs to add: i.e. ‘at the moment!’

For those who have followed this blog from the beginning and are aware of the changeover from ‘posted paintings’, to Christian writing, and for those who might be curious – my art at the moment seems to be pre-occupied in exploring the abstract (see above). 

Even though painting in the art world, as in applying a physical substance to a physical ground seems to have taken somewhat of a backseat, it is somewhat paradoxical (though I admit it’s guesswork only, on my part), to state that I reckon that the manufacturers of art materials for painting – have never had it so good?

From what little I do notice as to latest trends – would I be right in thanking New York for keeping painting alive?

POETRY – well, here – I am even less qualified, as I am the exception that proves the rule, namely, that a good reader or a widely read reader, is a good writer. Or that a good poet has to be a prolific reader. I’m not an obsessive reader, by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a widely read one.

Guess I better hide in the same shadow of less importance, that I have placed my paintings and poetry in?

Here I go anyway, expressing what poetry is for me. Poetry is the enjoyment of words. I guess that’s about it – my raison d’être of poetry.

Poetry in my view, is not restricted to definitions of what it should be. I favour ‘words for words sake’ running parallel with ‘art for art’s sake’.

This can be dangerous I realise.

As when I write poetry it could be mistaken for profundity, when at times that is far from the case.

I’m just enjoying the expression of words.

At times profundity will be involved in the poem, but sometimes I will write at the other end of the scale, allowing myself to have fun.

Which will leave me disqualified from being taken as a ‘serious poet’. The other end of the scale verging on Edward Lear type ‘nonsense’.

Then again somewhere in the middle is the goal, but the enjoyment of words strung together, can be a major concern of mine.

Also sometimes I ‘play the part’ of the someone who is mentioned in the poem. Or the poem expresses a concept or view simply because it has emerged un-premeditated (as it were) in the course of writing the poem – as I juggle with the words.

An example would be a poem I wrote entitled: ‘The Biker’s Reunion’ – truth is I have never ridden a motorbike. (Apart from an off-road bike my son owned when younger, when one ride was enough for me!)

The person’s story in the poem may not be my story. The description I use of a particular scenario is simply playing with words. The conclusion one comes to as expressed in the poem, may be the opposite to my own personal opinion.

So what does that make it? Poetic fiction?

And so on…

There has to be a ‘…and so on…’ to cover all the possibilities of the varying ways poetry can be enjoyed and emerge from the pen.

In short it’s all imagination – sometimes with reference to ‘my reality’ but equally just as many times – not.

I enjoy words, and putting them together. That’s about it.

CHRISTIANITY – My Christian writings, however are a field apart. I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I try to write things as I genuinely believe them to be.

I’m thankful to God for His enablement. I’m thankful to God for the ways He has opened the eyes of my understanding in the face of Jesus Christ. I know in part, according to scripture, but the part I know I hold dearly. I know what I have been delivered from.

And if my poetry does not reference directly – my spiritual life, this is because I have too much to say plainly and without apology when it comes to Christian Truth and if the poetic form is not my choice, it is because of my priority which is to make things clear.

Paul The Apostle speaking: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

So in Christian writing – I write to pass on what I am convinced about, and so therefore mostly choose, straightforward language to do so.

I write as a scribe, teaching the Christian Gospel, without an over indulgence in wordsmith-ing.

I enjoy wordsmith-ing mostly, rather, through poetry.

Spiritually speaking – I’m called to be a scribe.

I pen what I come to understand from the scriptures.

But art and poetry are fun and enhance our everyday lives.

I cannot take my Christian writing seriously enough, as it is a matter of life and death.

I cannot take my art and poetry too seriously as it is to do with intellectual, visual and emotional enjoyment of life in this natural world and there is so much more to life – the afterlife.

Of course my poetry can have purpose and meaning, but I always bear in mind that ‘…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God’. (I Corinthians 3/19)

Poetry and literature doesn’t compete with the weightier matters of spiritual life – in light of an awaited eternity.

So – suspect that in my poetry, I might have my tongue in cheek sometimes, at the same time you may also find profundity and reference to the truth as it overlaps into the spiritual, – or there again – not, as the case may be.

There is no fixed rule in art or poetry.

But I will continue to obey God and write for Him, while providing you with Poetic Interludes.

So in summary, my Christian writing is written that you might believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and through believing may have life in His name.

My poetry and art follow the dictates of imagination.

Please call again. 😎

Said like it is.

SAID LIKE IT IS.

Most of us like to hear and live in good news. We all thrive on encouragement. To feel we and our efforts are worthwhile.

Accomplishing goals, perhaps in our work situation, and being congratulated as we advance the business in whatever way, is very rewarding.

We know that children thrive on encouragement, during both their formative and teenage years.

And a lot of us can look back and perhaps surmise that we should have received more of said encouragement, as we grew up. Looking back also on the fact that perhaps we should have encouraged our own children more than we did?

There’s an old doo-wop song (maybe I’ve miss-genre’d it) that goes something along the lines of: “I love how you love me”.

That’s an interesting line. Does it mean I love the fact that you are in love with me, or is it a case of  ‘I’m so glad you love me, as I love you’, ie. I love your reciprocation, or is it the particular way that the love is shown?

Everyone thrives when they are treated well.

There are many Christian ministries that make the edification of the believer their priority.

In some Christian cultures more than others – everything must be and remain positive. There is no room for the negative note. It is assumed that any negative sentence in some way negates faith.

Sometimes this lacks reality. It can drift into a sugar-coated smarmy-type message if it becomes insincere.

Conversely – other Christian messages only express what they are against. So much so that we never find out what they are for.

What I appreciate about the Bible is that it only ever ‘says it like it is’.

Both positively and negatively.

The fact that the human race has fallen, and is in need of salvation – is a negative fact. It’s broken and needs fixed.

The fact that God is Love – incorporating His Divine-love (Agape) attributes of love, such as justice, mercy, righteousness, judgement, longsuffering, joy, peace, correction, compassion, empathy, healing, acceptance, eternal life, deliverance, and so on and so on…

Should cause us to wonder why we are running away from Him? The one who is real and only speaks and says it ‘like it is’?

God is sincere.

I was recently preaching, and shared the point that most ideologies have a smattering of truth. It’s only (to use my illustration) when you lick the chocolate from the bar, you find out what the rest of it consists of.

And if it’s marzipan it’s going in the bin, as far as I am concerned.

Now there are professing Christians, who are not the real McCoy. Just as there are charlatans in every other walk of life that we can think of. From con-men salespersons, to rogue builders, from corrupt governmental officials to sport-cheats. Usually what is underneath – eventually comes to the surface, and we find out that the smattering of positives are a gloss for what is below.

Truth(s) on the surface are not enough, regardless of how ‘positive’ and ‘seductive’ they may seem. It’s what is underneath that is important, what is the foundation on which the ideology is built?

As far as the Christian message is concerned – Paul, God’s wise-masterbuilder tells us: 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

The same God who says: He so loved the world that He gave His son a ransom for many, is the same God who says He will turn the wicked into hell. (Psalm 9/17)

If He was only interested in sales-talking you into His kingdom and onto His ‘team’ as it were, He would leave the negative realities of life to the side. But He doesn’t, because He is the God of all truth.

So when you are told, for example, to follow your dreams. Stick with it and prosper in whatever you set yourself to do.

All of this kind of talk may well be necessary, and fruitful. But it can pre-suppose that there is nothing wrong in the world that needs addressed and changed.

The broken need positive love. But the negative is: life has taken it’s toll and that’s a fact. For all kinds of reasons people suffer, and not to state that fact out of some kind of perceived performance necessary in positive thinking is to live in fantasy land.

True faith confesses the positive message of Christ’s deliverance and His willing impartation of all that is spiritually positive to see us through this dark world.

So let’s hear the facts of life as they are, but let us fully and completely embrace the positive message of a Loving Saviour, who lays down His life to take it up again in resurrection power. Life-giving life-changing power to transform us internally to embrace the wonderful positives of a walk with Him.

Romans 8/31:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Still listening?

STILL LISTENING?

The saying goes like this: “It takes all sorts to make a world”.

No doubt you have heard that saying?

There are sweets (candy) you can buy that go by the name of Liquorice AllSorts.

Guess what? Everybody has a different favourite.

And we all have our favourite ‘kind-of-person’.

Some folks we warm to immediately.

With others, – in our tolerant desire to embrace all – we have more of a struggle.

There are those who are so full of their own opinion, that they can’t hear yours. There are those who have had an academic grounding far beyond your limited sphere of study. Sometimes however, they don’t have the lessons that can only be learnt from life-experience(s).

We can have favourite friends. Friends we more readily confide in, due to their proven track record.

We automatically listen much more attentively to certain individuals, because we have observed their life for years perhaps, and have admired the way they live their lives.

Others because we have observed their shortcomings, will rarely be on the receiving end of our private thoughts.

So we switch-off much more quickly from listening and really taking-in what they say.

At this point I am asking myself to stop and think over, what this blogger has said up to now.

And I am calling myself to alertness – and to revisit the whole idea of hearing. Remember (I am saying to myself, and therefore to you), to switch your hearing mechanism up to its fullest capacity.

Perhaps you have a hearing aid? Well it’s the inner ear of heart and mind I am referring to. It is easy to switch off and to not pay attention.

God has been speaking since the beginning of creation. His voice is not in the flowers or the mountains, even though He could make the stones cry out, or sing His praise.

He has chosen to speak through men – that’s His chosen method.

Not my idea – His.

Hebrews 1:

1.God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

The difference in the New Testament is that His final way of speaking is through His own Son. He took upon Himself the ‘form’ of a man. He walked the earth and spoke His words, recorded by other human beings, specially chosen for the task.

How’s our hearing?

The Lord Jesus,  is my favourite person, and the strange thing is, sometimes even though He is, I begin to stop listening. Now to raise the volume in my heart and head.

How about you?

Philippians 2/ (Amp.)

but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man].

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,

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)