Category Archives: Clarity

What it looks like…

What being a genuine Christian – looks like:

John 4

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Rather than a preamble to set this scripture in context – I want to get to the point straight away:

For all who enquire after the things of God. Seeking some starting point to understand what it is to worship God, or understand God, or grasp what it is to be a Christian believer, what it ‘looks’ like is communicated clearly in this verse.

Worshipping God is not confined to a given vicinity or building. The need for a religious label is not a pre-requisite for acceptance.

It is a 24/7 experience for all those who believe in and accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

He promises to be with us always – ‘us’ being the persons who give their lives over to Him.

This is a spiritual experience involving the heart, soul and spirit of a human being.

It is an encounter spiritually with The Christ of God.

Bob Dylan lyric…

Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind

Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign”

What kind of sign they need when it all come from within…

Reflecting on Mr. Dylan’s lyric we understand that true spirituality is again, to do with the innermost being.

So turning your life over to Christ is not some pie-in-the-sky bye and bye experience – but it happens when we reach out for Jesus at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, right now. Right now because:

2 Corinthians 6:2

For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

It’s a ‘now’ for all those who will believe.

Notice in the verse, first quoted, that the inner reality where we experience the Presence of God is to do with the human spirit.

the true worshipers will worship the Father IN SPIRIT…

But for this to happen we must first expose ourselves to the truth in The Bible.

…AND TRUTH;

for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

These two realities are inseparable in our endeavours to know the Only Living and True God and His Son Jesus Christ.

The truth supplied by the revelation of Jesus Christ will make you free.

As in all blog posts to do with Christian truth, we have space for only touching on subjects. The true seekers must: 

Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

Ask not – am I a baptist, a methodist, an anglican, a pentecostal, etc.-

Ask: ‘am I a worshipper in SPIRIT AND TRUTH?’

As I ask you the same question?

 

Sorted?

SORTED?

Is it possible for two people to say the exact same thing, using the exact same words – and yet mean something different?

It is.

“I believe in God”, says person A. “I believe in god”. says person B.

First question: ‘What god would that be?’

And if it is not the same god – then although they are saying the same thing, they are making two completely different statements.

One way to sort this – is to know the name of the god they believe in.

But if I tell you I believe in God, and your god is not my God, then when you click the ‘like button’ on reading my remark, you do so probably with your own god in mind.

And if the God I refer to, is not your god – you have hit the ‘like button’ by mistake.

Outcome: Misunderstanding.

Outcome: We are not in agreement.

Good I’m glad we got that sorted out…

 

Hearing

HEARING

Sometimes when we make a point to someone, passing on something we think they aught to think about or do, we hear the response: “I hear you…I hear you!”

Sometimes there is a reluctance, exposed in their tone of voice – but at the same time they know what you shared is applicable.

Revealing a certain kind of hearing. Let’s just call it reluctant hearing.

Spiritual hearing, can start in a similar way – reluctantly. But deep down we know it is applicable.

Hearing begins in the natural – our natural faculties hear words in a message, a communication.

And we respond accordingly.

Our response is individual. Sometimes others agree and we respond corporately to what is communicated.

Everyone wanted to agree that the Health workers in the front line for us all – should be shown and assured of our deep appreciation for their valiant efforts.

So – many responded and stood at their doors and applauded, hoping the echo would resound throughout the community and be received as encouragement by these dedicated servants.

But if some stay indoors and don’t applaud, is this because they didn’t hear or don’t agree?

Or did they hear the call alright – but had a reason not to respond?

Unavailability – would be a possible reason for not taking part in the applause, i.e. engagement elsewhere, in some important activity.

Otherwise human reasoning – annulled their hearing. Because the hearing of the call to corporate applauding – demanded response.

They heard and didn’t hear, at the same time. Because they did not respond.

So it is with the gospel message, or any message of truth that calls for a right response.

In the corporate applauding situation, it’s easy to conclude that those who heard are non-appreciators.

We conclude they didn’t hear by virtue of their lack of response to this small act of appreciation, because they didn’t join in.

This is an illustration of how to hear and yet not hear.

So hearing and understanding can be two different things, in this instance. 

Usually understanding provokes your will to do something, this affirms that you heard and understood. Understanding usually calls for response of some kind.

Where am I going with all this?

Well not to disappoint your expectation of the spiritual point.🙂

Jesus said:

Matthew 13:19

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

What way are we meant to hear and respond to spiritual truths?

If there is no response – does that reveal that we have heard and yet not heard? Heard – according to this verse and not properly understood?

If you don’t like the idea of being a person that doesn’t ‘get it’, one who doesn’t properly understand – you can examine it further until you do.

In the verse above – those referred to, didn’t hear and understand – I submit to you – because they did not act upon what they heard, even if the response was to simply explore the thoughts and words of the gospel further.

Jesus said:

John 8:

43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 

So hearing/understanding/believing/responding with action/ are inextricably linked.

True spiritual hearing is followed by understanding and by a choice of the will to believe.

Jesus said:

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

You and I – MUST be born again – according to The Lord Jesus Christ.

MUST is pretty emphatic.

Do we understand what this means? Then we shall take the necessary ACTIONS  to prove we understand in the truest sense.

 

 

You ran well…

You ran well…

Galatians 5:7-9 (NKJV)

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

Paul the apostle is addressing the believers in Galatia.

‘You ran well’ he reminds them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul talks here of ‘persuasion’.

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

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

Galatians 3:2

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

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

Always returning to communion with the lover of our souls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 6:37

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

 

Change

CHANGE

Imagine a lift/elevator going to the top floor. It’s a gradual process. As is a kettle coming to the boil. As is a petrol tank being filled with petrol. As is a young child growing through the years.

In this world It doesn’t reach rock-bottom in moral degradation before a gradual decline

Conversely a society in moral decline doesn’t reach the top floor of moral revival before a gradual rising up.

Are you – am I – on the way up, or on the way down? Remember it’s gradual.

What about change? Well it can be sudden or gradual.

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus.

In this instance Jesus changed in His appearance. We might say the divine nature within the man Jesus completely took over.

Prayer brings change. Sudden or gradual.

As the divine nature works in the Christian believer, He brings change suddenly or gradually. Both are wonderful.

I wonder at what stage of change are you – am I?

2 Corinthians 3:18

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Completely trustworthy…

COMPLETELY TRUSTWORTHY…

Truly people’s opinions are innumerable.

An obvious statement (considering that the world’s population is estimated at 7.7 billion/April 2019).

Every subject under the sun can elicit a response from us all.

We might ignore the subject because it doesn’t interest us – or we launch into an exposition of our opinion, if not by our initiation, then in response to the questioning of others.

We have a new (not so new now) phrase coined for us – and we talk of ‘Fake news’.

Which can be either – news mixed with factual inaccuracies or simply lies.

Think of it – a world full of opinions. Left right and centre – from all sides – opinions, arguments, points of view, political stances, differing views on morality, political correctness, ideologies, philosophies, – no perfect unity of opinion.

Friends today – enemies tomorrow. And so the world spins on.

People look for meaning in it all.

Sometimes we have a closed mind to certain turns-of-phrase, or language we equate with certain ideologies. And sometimes we do not take the time to investigate and study what is really meant by the use of the terms.

In all of this we are either part of a group of adherents to ‘whatever’ or we plough a lone furrow.

Some are ‘loners’ by nature. Some run away and escape from the world, from society as we know it. Isolating themselves in some foreign land or island in – as we say – ‘the middle of nowhere’, just to escape the rat race.

Stated simply I have found that the only concrete and 100% reliable set of thoughts and opinions, on earth is found in the Bible. I set myself to give it my full trust, as I have found all else and all others to fall short of the bestowal of my complete trust.

Aware that this can receive a barrage of ‘put down’s’, either by intellectuals, atheists, or those of another religion other than Christian, I simply add that having listened to, or read such ‘put down’ views, I remain convinced that:

New King James Version – 

Proverbs 30:

Every word of God is pure;

He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Do not add to His words,

Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Amplified translation – 

Every word of God is tested and refined [like silver];

He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him.

Do not add to His words,

Or He will reprove you, and you will be found a liar.

For any man or woman to look to the opinion of a book that they know little about, and to build their whole beliefs and desire for what they hope to get from life – is a tall order, if it’s only a book.

But to become convinced, like I happen to be, calls for more than mental accent, because the Bible read on a purely intellectual level is like having a balloon with no air in it. You don’t get the full picture until you blow it up, until it is air-injected.

A rather poor analogy don’t you think?

It will have to do – the point is – unless you are enabled by God Himself – you miss the whole point of the book. You miss it’s unique category as a read.

It is God-breathed. Without His breath our conclusions are misshapen, not fully formed, incomplete.

Even when we think in our skeptical brains that we have stumbled on some great ‘error’ within it’s pages, we have brought it down to our level, and have relegated it to deflated balloon status.

Because we have not approached it as a spiritual book in the first place, but approached it rather, as we would any other natural piece of writing.

The breath of God’s Presence must breath upon the pages. Which leaves us with the conclusion that all the intellectual gymnastics we can enter into by way of analysis is insufficient as we negate or reject the claims of the book before we start. By bringing it down to an earthly level.

All other ground is sinking sand – and boy are we sinking. The old hymn tells us – 

I was sinking deep in sin

Far from the peaceful shore,

Very deeply stained within,

Sinking to rise no more;

But the Master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry,

From the waters lifted me,

Now safe am I

Christ’s Life Manual is God’s revelation to man, the sacred writings of scripture. The classic hymn goes on to say – 

Love lifted me!

Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

Love lifted Me!

We read of His Love and see it demonstrated throughout His earthly journey. Without His Word breathed into the heart of mankind, we are left to our own devices. We can’t know His love without hearing of it first.

There is a statement in my culture – often used in jest. 

It’s an exchange between husband and wife where the husband says concerning his wife or even a child: “One word from me and she does what she likes.”

The joke being that the husband’s authority is somewhat deleted or ignored…

Kind of describes the human condition though – that God’s Word the most trustworthy and wisdom imparting journal on earth is ignored and we do what we like.

Hear the words of Peter concerning the eternal aspect of The Word of God:

BUT SIMON PETER ANSWERED HIM, “LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE”.

Authority

AUTHORITY

The Son of God – Jesus Christ – walked and talked like no other (God) man.

Compared to the religious leaders of His day – ‘never man spoke like this man’ – because He talked as one who had authority. (John 7/46).

So did that mean the religious leaders – the Pharisees, Sadducees etc. – didn’t have authority? After all they were in positions of leadership.

Positions of leadership – but many of them, if not all, did not have the authority He had.

The authority with which Christ spoke, is divine authority.

That authority and power of God is not readily shared with men or women. There is no willy-nilly distribution of this power, given at random to whoever happens to be in leadership. Certainly not if only appointed by man.

God knows the hearts of men. And only the hearts that He knows are in love with Him, will He allow his authority and power of the authoritative Holy Spirit to dwell with or upon them.

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

The man who loves God we are told – is known of him

God knows us all. He knows exactly where we are-at in our relationship with Him. And He not only has the facts of our walk or lack of walk with Him.

But He knows how intimate our relationship is with Himself. He knows putting it simply – who really loves Him.

God cannot share His secret things with just anyone.

He cannot reveal all the intricacies of His plan for mankind and the unfolding of history to be played out before and after the Second Coming of Christ. It is all there, but hidden in the pages of the scriptures. And unless He chooses to reveal these things, we cannot know them.

In other words man cannot contain the infinite insight God has, because he (man) has not the capability within himself to be able to carry it.

Man’s nature cant comprehend the things of The Spirit of God. God however will reveal secret things to certain men and women. But it calls for an intimate relationship with God first, before He will unfold the things of His Spirit.

We talk of trusting God – but can God trust any of us?

God’s nature, His plans, His truth, His wisdom, His understanding of future events can only be partaken of, rather than owned 100%. Because man is not able to hear these things or handle them. It is too much for human flesh. And he can only know glimpses of the totality of God’s counsel.

Only those who have received Grace enough to enter into that deeper relationship – of loving God – will begin to have insight into the mysteries of God.

We (as true Christians) are allowed to partake of the divine nature of God. It is God the Holy Spirit who is the authority. And to receive Him into our lives as we accept Christ Jesus as Lord of all, is how we partake of His authority.

To as many as have received Him to them He gave this authority (power/right).

John 1/

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Amongst the things we could say about the ‘talking authority’ that He carried – is the fact that His words were perfect and pure. Pure in the sense that they were not contaminated by sin, not weakened by the flesh, not tinged with lying subtlety.

They were not just words of ‘theology’ but words spoken in demonstration of God’s power to heal and deliver.

These were the same words that He released before the world was fully formed, calling into being the planet as we know it.

Needless to say – He was not a man at that time of beginnings. But was in situ with His Father, as it is written –

He was in the beginning with God. 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.

When He spoke 

Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

He was 100% different than anyone else who ever walked the planet.

Sinful man tried desperately to ‘catch Him out’ but His superior wisdom could not be successfully spoken against or resisted.

They tried to latch on to the  things that came out of His mouth, so that they might accuse Him falsely, or prove Him wrong or prove Him a deceiver, which of course He was accused of being.

When they could find nothing against Him – they had to start inventing things.

We have only an inkling of how perfectly Christ was able to judge a situation. The depth of His wisdom and knowledge is phenomenal. How perfectly He knew what was in men’s hearts and minds. Think of it – able to say the perfect word every time.

I stand back and marvel at this – and yet those who run from His light, preferring their own pride and self-righteousness – will still try to pick holes in His words, even today.

Matthew 22/

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”

So they brought Him a denarius.

20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”

21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.

You and I have our own lives. Our own stuff. It is in the power of our own choice – what to do with it.

(Of course some have had that privilege taken from them by tyrants of one kind or another e.g. people traffickers)

But as we hold fast to our own lives, free to make our own decisions, free to look after our own families. Will we in rendering to Caesar the things that are his, – and the government – the things that are their’s…

…Will we render to The King of kings and Lord or lords the things that are His?:

The worship He is due. The obedience we know He asks for. The love and honour due to His name?

Prayer – Lord help us to render to you as a Loving Saviour who moves in the authority of His love – the things that are yours. Let it be our hearts first, – that we give.

Confusion

CONFUSION

As human beings we can get terribly confused.

As a result of – innumerous scenarios we experience in life. We end up confused about all sorts of things,

When in a state of confusion with our thoughts spiralling left right and centre, not knowing what to do for the best, – how to respond, who to talk to, how to find answers to our dilemma, we must seek truth.

Truth as it stands alone. Truth that is not contaminated by our emotional state.

A tall order indeed.

Also in the mix is the diverse opinions of others. One advises this, and another – or others, come from a completely different angle than those we previously sought advice from.

We may read things – visit online testimonies of others in a similar situation, and how they came through.

It’s true there is ‘safety in many counsellors’, – but the counsellors must be of a sound character, having obtained wisdom by reliable means.

There is one thing that provides concrete and reliable wisdom. And those who visit this blog will know that I’m about to mention and highlight the desirability of The Word of God (the bible).

The thing about the word of God is – it becomes a starting point that is totally reliable.

Not everyone will believe this of course. And that’s why their alternative conclusions regarding a course of action is often faulty, not being based on God’s infallibility. No one else is infallible except Christ.

But if we start with what cannot be broken or changed (the word of God) – and start to subject all our thoughts, experiences, words and deeds, hurts, emotional traumas to the scrutiny of this word. Then this word of God will provide a reliable rock in the storm. A safe haven in the midst of the earthquake. A place of quietness and confidence amidst the turmoil, and so on.

But for this word to be all that it can be – we must first be convinced that it is inerrant (incapable of being wrong) and that every other word of advice is potentially (at least) out-of-sync, except for this word.

Many are so tossed to and fro by every wind of opinion, that they continue in that state having nothing concrete and reliable to totally rely on.

If they do not believe that the word of God is inerrant how can it be inerrant to them?  And how can it provide the refuge and direction that will lead them out of their confusion, if they don’t believe it?

In a confused situation. Part of the confusion is knowing what is right and what is wrong. What’s the right thing to do and what isn’t. Where do we begin to find a solution?

Well, look at this truth for instance:-

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Now God can do anything and of course He can cause His enemies to be driven back which may result in them being confused.

Psalm 70:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

70 Make haste, o God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord.

Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.

In situations that seem impossible, God can send deliverance supernaturally, influencing circumstances, often with the sending of angels, so that those opposed to Him and His children are left confused as the small triumph over the big, the few triumph over the many.

There are many examples of this in scripture. So though God isn’t confusing them, His help for others – leaves them confused.

David against Goliath, Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, escape of children of Israel from Egyptians at the red sea, feeding of the five thousand, Elijah with the prophets of Baal and so on. All examples of God’s deliverance through His word to the hearts of men. Causing His enemies to be defeated and left – well – confused? 

But evil in varying degrees, is present in violent conflicts, and God can favour whom he sees fit to favour according to the divine dictates of His own wisdom.

In my view divinely intervening at times and at times not.

But in the church (which is the context of the above verse) when confusion creeps in – it is man-made and demonic. And man-made in most other situations and scenarios, in life.

And God rather than causing it – provides stability and a way out of the confusion.

That’s why when His truth ‘goes marching on’ into our hearts – it produces freedom. Freedom in this context from confusion. John 8/32

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Often ‘where to start’ is lost in the milieu of adversity. A big part of the problem is who or what do I rely on, when all around seems like sinking sand?

There’s a story/illustration given by The Lord Jesus, in the scriptures, of a man building his house.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, (God’s word) and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

One person (let’s say confused person) built on the ‘rock-sayings’. 

Whilst another took no heed to the certainty of Christ’s Words and he continued in confusion, taking on board the ‘sand-sayings’, from wherever and whoever – instead. 

With the ‘sand sayings’ a sinking will take place, because there is no absolute certainty about these man-made philosophies.

Whereas the ‘rock sayings’ can be trusted completely. Often the lack of instant answers as we act on the rock sayings, causes many to doubt and to turn to the sand again.

There are often complex situations full of grey areas that people find themselves embroiled in. And to find a way out or through these, is challenging or disconcerting or even devastating mentally and emotionally.

In the midst of these complex scenarios, what can be trusted, when everything is in array and confusion rules the day?

I offer you The Word of God.

You/I must find the right word for the right situation.

Starting with it – we move out into answers through prayer and perseverance of faith.

Knowing we love God – there is light at the end of the tunnel. But it takes time to get through the tunnel. Dark and ominous though the tunnel may be – God’s Word – Psalm 119/105 –

… is a lamp to my feet

And a light to my path.

If we love God – here is one of those words – 

Romans 8/28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

All things working together for good – doesn’t exactly seem like a solution to a given, specific problem situation you may find yourself in. And it calls for a lot within – to cling to such words.

But it is a promise.

First condition – love and trust God, whilst second – persevering with the ‘rock saying’ til the light dawns.

What else or who else can be trusted implicitly? The only thing on earth that doesn’t lie is God’s word.

But it isn’t a press button solution. Instead of going through options about what to do. Let the option of God’s Word go through you.

Even if the circumstance doesn’t change – you will, by clinging to this word of God, have a rock to stand on, keeping you from slipping further into despondency.

This word of God provides truth, strength, purity, single-mindedness, and is life-giving. But it must be clung to tenaciously.

Prayer – Lord thank you for this wonderful Word of God. Write it indelibly on my heart and mind.

What’s Happening

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

There are things (in my lifetime) – that Christians have taken for granted for years.

I guess I speak mostly of Christianity in the Western World.

Freedom to meet for worship, for example. Freedom of democracy etc.

We realise that the powers of darkness can take hold of a community to varying degrees. Depending on the spiritual blindness and godlessness that a people-group decide to allow individually into their lives, producing a corporate effect.

In most cities there are ‘no go’ areas noted for their danger and (a commonly held opinion) – to be avoided at all costs.

Even non-Christians are aware of ‘degrees’. Degrees of callousness, degrees of hatred, degrees of lying, cheating, backbiting, violence and so on, and so on. Different degrees of evil.

Conversely there are degrees of Christlikeness present in a community of Christians. Degrees of charity, empathy, righteousness, peace, joy, fellowship…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…

The question can be asked of a person’s life and particular community: To what degree are these Christlike fruits present?

It’s safe to say – that there is no such thing as there being too much of these things in a community of people.

There can be too much of the opposite, as examples listed in the sixth paragraph above. Without any constraint being imposed, that community would end up in anarchy and would self-destruct.

We have seen film maker’s attempts to portray this in the typical Hollywood western. Where the town is oppressed and dominated by the tyrannical rule of some ‘big boss’ figure who wants everything for himself. Who employs a gang of ‘hoodlums’ to perpetuate his dictatorial rule.

Then the hero or heroes arrive. There eventually is a show down, a ‘deciding’ gun battle and decency and normality and wholesomeness returns to the community, as good triumphs over evil.

How many can hear the truth though, that good will eventually and ultimately triumph over evil after the game is played-out to the end of time? And it will not be sorted by the arm of flesh.

A society that is filled with unrestrained evil, violence and fear, reaches the Sodom and Gomorrah place of no return.

It doesn’t take a blog post from an unknown like myself to make us realise our world has gone pear-shaped. Just look around or watch the news.

If we reach desperation point in our city, town, village, community, because of the evil that is rampant – it can drive us to prayer.

That is my simple point in this post – does what is happening not wake you up (Christian or non-Christian) to the fact that evil is on the increase?

Wake up call? What response? Is there something in this Christian gospel after all? Such I’m hoping will be the dawning realisation of anyone reading this post, who as yet, does not recognise Christ as Lord, and that the gospel holds the ultimate answers.

Take a look at David Ettinger’s last post for the statistics regarding persecuted Christians to help establish the fact that iniquity abounds and any half-right-thinking person, must say within themselves: “What am I going to do in the midst of this world mess..?” (David’s Post – A Brief Reminder about Our Persecuted Family)(EttingerWriting.com)

If we can’t change the whole of the society in which we live – let’s seek to have ourselves changed individually, and allow the mess to call us to prayer.

Isaiah 55/

Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

Extremes or…

 

EXTREMES OR…

There are many extremes in life. Extreme cults, extreme doctrines, extreme sinful behaviour, extreme fanaticism, extreme politics, indeed – extremes in everything.

Proverbs 11

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.

Balance is a word we could use to describe the antithesis of extreme. However, the opposite to extreme in a dictionary definition may not include the word balance.

But in the context I wish to use it – usually extreme views allow for none other, and are completely unbalanced or imbalanced.

There is a closed heart and mind in extremity, that is obsessed with a particular aspect of something, to the exclusion of all other considerations that might be presented as just as, or more feasible.

A just ‘weighing-up’ in considering a given view, is necessary.

A willingness to allow for – another aspect, without leaving already held convictions, which you are in no doubt about.

To come to a balanced view on a given subject in the context of biblical truth, we need to search the scriptures.

Understand that we cannot contain all of God’s understanding.

Job chapter 36/25-26

All humanity has seen it;

    mortals gaze on it from afar.

How great is God—beyond our understanding!

    The number of his years is past finding out.

Romans 11/32-34

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,

    and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

    Or who has been his counsellor?”

It is difficult to remain true to something or someone when we don’t understand that persons attitude, opinions, behaviour, words, etc.

But the character of God communicated in the pages of scripture – if we seek them out diligently – will inform us of the fact that ‘God is love’.(I John 4/8) His character is revealed clearly – and He can be trusted!

But we must not mistake what love is.

And the poets have been trying to tell us for centuries.

If we are to hold a balanced understanding of God and his attributes of love – again – we need to make a study. Many form lifelong conclusions on little to no knowledge of the Word of God.

Vehemently denouncing God as simply a tyrant who is out to destroy us all.

Lack of knowledge or the desire to seek it out – leaves us with an extreme view.

Yes God is long-suffering forgiving the humble who request that forgiveness.

Yes God will eventually judge the world and destroy evil, and whoever chooses to remain in rebellion against Him.

Yes God does not always reveal things He knows we cannot handle.

Yes even when we don’t understand He asks us to trust Him.

When all hell breaks loose – let us remember:

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

…and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand…

There we have it – Paul by God-given revelation still spoke of some things that even the Apostle Peter admitted were some times hard to understand.

But the balance to this is there are things clearly shown to us – upon which we can trust – guaranteeing our eternal future, if we embrace them and the giver of all truth Himself.

Prayer – Help us with hard things, and assure us more – of the certain things.

Spiritually natural

Spiritually natural

It’s difficult to write about many of the wonderful things of God – in the present climate, when so much needs fixing.

There needs to be a turning wholeheartedly to The Only Living and True God, through His Son The Lord Jesus Christ.

There is nothing new under the sun. In simple terms good and evil is in conflict, and has been since the beginning or before. 

The rise and fall of evil men will go on. The Rise and Rise of good men will also continue.

There is an event we term The Rapture, when Christ will return, but no man knows the hour or the day. That will be the greatest ‘uprising’ in history!

Meantime evil men grow worse and worse.

There is a scripture that encourages those who carry precious pearls to not throw them before swine:

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This is a snippet of wisdom communicated by The Lord Jesus. Clearly informing us that there are precious and beautiful things God is willing to reveal to mankind. But these precious things are not to be shared with animalistic natures, who will have no discernment as to their beauty, and who will trample them under foot.

Treating the things of God’s nature with disdain, ‘like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding….’

John 2:24 Amplified Bible:

24 But Jesus, for His part, did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people [and understood the superficiality and fickleness of human nature],

Superficiality and fickleness will not receive the things of God. God will not entrust His precious hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge and revelation of Himself to such.

This teaches us that to even begin to understand, experience and prove the goodness and self-evident existence of the creator of the universe – we must first approach Him with a heart that desires to depart from evil, whilst honouring and respecting the things of God.

All around us is animalistic and ungodly defiance. But read ‘the book’ to see how it all pans out.

Most genuine preachers, feel their own inadequacies when it comes to the things of God, desiring to be a more worthy expounder of His truth.

If only we could walk flawlessly before Him, practicing everything we preach.

God does not however require an unnatural ‘holier than thou’ attitude, cloaked in false humility, whereby we unrealistically take on some kind of pseudo ‘holiness’ – as one preacher put it becoming so heavenly minded we are no earthly use.

Conversely however – some are so earthly minded they are no heavenly use.

God wants us to be human and spiritually-natural, able to laugh, be normal, have fun and talk about everyday things.

But at the same time holding close to our hearts the things of Himself He has revealed to us.

Allowing His thoughts (Bible) to fill our minds – giving them priority over the natural things of life.

There is no holiness without The Holy Spirit!

Balance – a great word to keep us on track.

To sum up we are to mind the natural things as in for example: culture, – with the enablement of God – who gives us spiritual discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. So that we can enjoy those everyday things of life because our minds, hearts and spirits are fixed on God.

As a painter and a poet (as far as I know 😎) I cannot enjoy any of these or any other activities for that matter, unless my heart is right with The Lord. Then I experience His promise:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Helped and energised to enjoy all the things that make up life – He has given us – to enjoy.

I Timothy 6/17

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Continually in conflict…

Continually in conflict… 

There is a ‘turn-off’ button or mechanism in every human being with regard to the things of God. This tendency can be recognised or ignored.

We are so far removed from God’s likeness, so different in nature than He is, that we do not immediately relish anything to do with God’s nature.

God’s nature is the divine nature of course.

It’s like hearing of a far-off land where we have never been. We have never experienced what it is like. It is contrary to what we are used to. It’s a land that we can only be told about, without ever experiencing it. So it is with our insensitivity and plain ignorance regarding God almighty’s nature, we haven’t been there.

Until we are – or if you like until we do!

That’s the difference between the true Christian and the unbeliever. Christians have encountered the divine nature.

So the nature man is born with and the nature of God – do not ‘co-habit’ in harmony.

Galatians 5:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

Change therefore is necessary, change to enable the two natures to become compatible. And the onus is on us to get into line.

Even after such a statement – the natural man can rise up and give us all the old cliche-negatives about not bowing to this ‘big ogre’ in the sky. Misrepresenting God and His true nature.

If God was to fully manifest His nature to us individually – we would die.

Exodus 33/

22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses privileged to encounter God (and His divine nature) in a powerful way, nevertheless could only experience a manifestation of God that would be described as seeing God’s back.

When the New Testament time had come – God found a way of showing His nature to man by taking upon Himself – human (in His case sinless) nature, in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

Mankind initially was made in God’s likeness – but that likeness or nature was lost when mankind chose to carelessly believe a lie, from another spirit.

Some say Eve was deceived into this – but Adam simply did not exercise proper judgement (discernment). He chose without due consideration.

The likeness of God that man was born with, was marred and increasingly lost, and was replaced by a fallen nature. Subsequently inherited by the human race, inasmuch as we can only reproduce after our own (fallen) kind.

Because we are contrary to God in our very essence, i.e. in simple terms – our minds and human spirits, we cannot appreciate properly just how far removed we are from the divine morally-perfect nature of God.

So everything man contemplates in the arena of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, is born out of man’s own spiritually-unaided intellect, unaided by the divine nature.

Unless that enablement is sought and found, through relationship with Christ and His Word.

So on subjects such as abortion, same sex marriage, gender, heterosexuality, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, Civil rights, to mention but a few. Man can only lean on his own darkened understanding, and try to be guided by [the/or/a] moral law. But man tends towards making up or changing the rules/laws as he goes along.

So that potentially man’s nature is able to take whatever comes into his head and present it as acceptable. Finding ways to justify everything and anything.

Given enough rope he will hang himself. An example would be to ask the question: “will man cross the ‘final frontier’ and justify child-molestation?” Dreaming-up and legislating so that it becomes morally acceptable?

We recoil from such an idea – but at one time man recoiled at things God finds unacceptable – which man now accepts as part of the fabric of our society.

Rather like children at school, who are given a subject in the debating society. Sometimes they are given what side of a given ‘argument’ they must defend. They have that side of the debate thrust upon them, and they must defend that stance.

They are instructed to present a case for or against the motion, depending on what their teacher gives them to represent.

There is in such an exercise – no conviction-starting point from which to offer their ‘arguments’ in the debate, it having been allocated by a teacher.

They can present arguments on both sides, as asked to, arguments obviously stemming from their own calculated reasoning powers.

But in preparing for the debate – there is no concrete unchangeable reference to begin with, when deciding moral issues, if it is a debate entailing the question of morality.

Rather – research, history, other personalities and their views, codes within people groups, and so on, comes to the aid of the teenager in trying to form his/her argument, regardless of whether they believe it or not.

They can debate well – something they have put a case together for, having been given no choice but to do so. In other words man can find ways of justifying almost anything, if he puts his mind to it.

And according to the nature we are born with – we will desire certain things – and seek justification in indulging in those things.

As the result of many cooks spoiling the broth, and no acceptance of an authoritative God-standard the result is ultimately confusion and every evil work.

So rather than conforming to the divine law – we change it so we are ‘free’ to indulge the lower nature, in whatever form it manifests. Self-justifying our actions according to human nature, but not according to the divine nature.

There are therefore (in matters of morality) many disagreements on many different subjects, because everyone bases their formed opinion on conclusions that have come, unaided by the divine nature.

Someone skilled in persuasive argument or speech – will probably win the day.

But rather – a starting point must be found that we put first – in all our reasoning.

An inerrant guide must be sought. This inerrant guide might be mis-interpreted, but it is the only means of reference, because it contains the words of eternal life. (John 6/68)

The words that are birthed in the divine nature, rather than the flawed human nature. That guide of course is The Bible.

A lot of the conclusions we come to are marred, not taking into account realisations or conclusions that can only come into our minds, through encountering God Himself and partaking of His divine nature in contrast to our own.

II Peter 1/4:

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

So here we have the majority of the human race who have never encountered God and his divine sinless nature, trying to come to right conclusions on sex, abortion, fairness in trade, human relationships, etc. etc.

As a result mankind is left to his own devices. We alter God-given norms, trusting in our own intellects, we are blind to the fallen nature, that remains untouched by God. Untouched because we refuse to let Him do so.

Mankind then, uses the attributes he possesses that are faulty and inadequate to say the least.

So two things – Regarding the fallen human nature of mankind:

1) Mankind can justify and defend anything he wishes, as being morally acceptable, as there is no (he concludes) flawless standard to contradict him – only the opinions of others.

2)   Mankind has no idea of how abhorrent to a Holy God the terrible acts of sin that are taking place to an increasing measure, on this planet. Therefore he fearlessly continues on in his stubborn way.

Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding…(Psalm 32/9)

Mankind has no concept of this. One encounter with The Living Holy and Loving God and man will immediately know how abhorrent and unacceptable this sinful nature is, and as a result he will cry out for salvation.

Paul the Apostle did that very thing:

“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

There are periods of time when God seems unreachable. But the fact is He is never unreachable. There are degrees of encounter, as Grace provides.

His promises are true – 100%, but we must know what we are asking for, and how God works to provide that divine encounter that opens us up spiritually – in a way that is incomparable.

James 4/

9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

He will lift you up in spirit – that’s an actual, supernatural, spiritual experience! When it happens we know for sure that we have encountered the divine nature, by encountering The Lord himself.

In these verses we find the instruction as to what to do – and with it the promised result!

The result is an encounter with God and His divine nature that changes us forever!