Category Archives: Clarity

Good and evil

GOOD AND EVIL

Good and evil

Your perception is askew

You try to get it

And don’t know what to do

Is it right or is it wrong?

You reason – and try to work it out

You see it for a moment

But you’re mostly filled with doubt

You see the world’s abnormality 

When weighing this with that

Think you’ve found the answer

But it turns out – tit for tat

Faith in The One True God eludes –

God is a moving target

Like a doubting man called Thomas

Faith? You don’t know where to park it

Faith in this – faith in that

Many advisers – abysmal advice

From pillar to post in your mind

Whilst left to your own device

Now as one whose been there too

Let me say – we all go astray

Until the man Christ Jesus

Is invited in to stay

We can’t make God…

WE CAN’T MAKE GOD…

God is so good, so loving, so holy, so perfect, so intelligent, so powerful, so omnipotent, so omnipresent, so omniscient, so righteous, so just, so long-suffering, so gentle, so kind, so strong, so mighty, so everlasting, so merciful, so truthful, so…so…so…

The problem is – our awareness of these things, is small… small… small… or zero.

Initially we can only have such awareness in truth. We only have these realisations in words. We can’t see Him. He is not on the earth as a man anymore. He cannot be accessed through natural means.

He cannot be known in terms we dream up. We can’t make Him fit our laboratory test tube. We can’t reason Him into existence as a figment of our imagination.

We can’t make Him in our image. We can’t get Him to toe our party line. We can’t get Him to obey our invented theology. We can’t see Him through our telescope regardless of how powerful it is.

We can’t make Him conform to our idea of how He should be. We can’t make Him to blame, for all the evils in the world, even though we blame Him (!).

He will not be harnessed by what our thoughts decide He must be.

But we can seek Him through His ordained means of prayer.

We can find Him, if we seek Him with ALL our hearts – notice His stipulated condition for finding = ALL. (Jer. 29/13)

We must begin with the realisation that God…

24 …is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Glad we can clear up the idea that there is some other idea of who or what God is.

We rule-out the ‘natural seeing’ idea, as we embrace who God really is.

So advancing then, to finding God – the field of ‘research’ is narrowed to the internal realm of the human spirit.

However what spirit have we received? The ‘million dollar’ question.

Jesus Christ is Lord.

We seek Him internally through prayer. And must receive none other than He, in acknowledgement of the scripture….

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

So our starting point is not your opinion versus mine. Your idea of God being right and mine being wrong. Or vice versa. None of this works – in producing the way to God.

Science increasingly backs-up the facts that God has created all things.

But proving it all came from God – doesn’t work in finding God personally.

We must start with what He says, not with what we invent.

That’s why when reading the scriptures – if we are to realise them – we must believe them.

Believe and act on them. Respond to what they say.

Read them until they make sense and their truth penetrates our innermost being. Hebrews 4/12:

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

He asks you and I to believe what is written. He gave His power to men to pen the Holy Scriptures.

The New Testament is the Gospel. 

John 20/31

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Spiritual realities

Spiritual realities.

Spiritual reality tells us –

A man can know Christ’s illumination(s)

Like the epistle writer who said:

I will come to visions and revelations…’

                        ***

That was the Noble Paul who did write

Inspired by The Revelator – Jesus the Christ

As the pen strokes across the page

It would take more than this age

Yea eternity will not be enough

To express the inexpressible (it’s tough)

                       ***

Regarding –

Matters of – life – death – or the heart

There’s coming a day

When sheep from goats will be set apart

                       ***

All spiritual blessings in heavenly places

Obtained purely on the calvary basis

No eye nor heart can see or say

The hereafter things all on display

                      ***

Falling at His feet – best place to go

As He enters your heart

To sanctify and set apart

Waiting at His feet –

Have you chosen the better part?

Blogging communications

BLOGGING COMMUNICATIONS

Most bloggers – to state the obvious – feel they have something to say.

They want to pass on to others – some angle on a particular subject that they consider others should hear or receive.

The subjects bloggers share about – are of course numerous.

But everyone wishes to communicate or pass on their ‘findings’.

Is anyone ‘convinced’?

They are – if they buy the product, put the given advice into operation in their life, put into practice the health suggestions, take on board the ‘how to’ demonstrated, learn from an instruction, enjoy the communication and store it away in the grey matter, implement some lifestyle change – and so on.

This is part of what makes the world go round. We humans want to communicate. Share our lives in more ways than one.

We all follow certain interests. That’s what clubs are for. That’s what organisations are about. Communicating and sharing and agreeing that certain things are worthwhile, important, or just plane good fun.

Then there is political beliefs. So, some, in the party of their persuasion, join the campaign at elections. Throw their ‘lot in’ with a given crowd of fellow adherents.

Then there is sport and the teams we support. We all like to be part of a particular ‘clan’.

So to be part-off, to give one’s opinion, to ‘present our case’, to seek to influence – is common to all (we hear the term ‘influencers’ more than ever).

All of this is part of the human race’s mental make-up.

Then perhaps in recognition of this, and with a desire to be ‘different’, – some looking for the alternative – go for seclusion. 

‘Let’s get out of here, ‘let’s leave this rat race’. So the path of non-communication and social escape is sought through reclusiveness. (Off grid etc.)

Various religious orders accommodate this approach to life.

But one thing we can say is that God Himself has always communicated with mankind. Even after mankind chose to disobey what He said, God still communicates through His leaders and prophets, and ultimately through His Son. (Heb. 1/2).

So the desire to communicate, is part then, of God’s personality also.

What is the most important thing one person could communicate to another? Do we need to know a particular scenario first, in order to answer such a question?

i.e. the most important thing will be whatever the given scenario calls for?

For Christians the most important piece of communication in existence is John 3/16-17:

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

This covers all scenarios, problems, or difficulties. All catastrophes, illnesses, heartbreaking experiences. All loss, all hurt, pain, disappointment, turmoil and confusion.

This is the most important communication in existence – in all life or death situations.

Conversely there are communications to be shunned and rejected.

I Timothy 4/

But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

I have highlighted in bold, in this verse the reason John 3/16-17 is the most important communication on the planet:-

having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

Nothing but…

Nothing but …

I’ve been thinking that after 3 years of Covid (or thereabouts), I’ve been living a more reclusive life, than before. (Join the club do I hear you say?)

As those years have passed – and maturity increases (using such terminology is a way of avoiding the idea of old age) – I suddenly am more fully awake to how much more of the ‘rope’ of normality has slipped through our fingers. Like some released anchor plunging into the sea.

“What are we plunging into?” would be the question.

The world is embracing more and more abnormality. The tragedy is, regardless of how it is packaged ‘positively’ (as something to be desired), presented with words of man’s fallen reasoning – the new normal is the abnormal.

I’ve always been slightly fascinated by man’s inability to communicate. Communicate in a perfect way. So that I know exactly what you mean and you know exactly what I mean.

Nuances in each others communications, are missed by us all.

I may have written about this before – but I know by the odd comment I receive, purporting to agree with what I have written – that in fact, the person is not on the same ‘song sheet’ as I.

I noticed this lately when I commented on one person’s blog post. Asking in essence the name of their ‘god’.

The name and title of my Lord and my God is: ‘Jesus Christ The Lord.’ Acts 4/

Jesus is 11 “the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Notice the ‘no other name’ part. In my mind it is easily established that ‘no other’ means ‘no other’.

Not ‘no other plus – other no others’. Just plain simple ‘no other’. Not hard to grasp is it?

He – The Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour (as in ‘no other’) – He came to give mankind – lost and at sea – drowning in sin – and in the sorrow it brings – a way back to intimacy with God.

There are many so called ‘gods’ but…I Corinthians 8/

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

Sometimes I think I prefer folks who disagree (maybe as in atheists or agnostics) – than those who think I am speaking their language – as though God is the god of all religions or new age philosophies.

It is my ‘duty’ as a Christian to embrace with respect all human beings. But I am also called to hold fast to what is good and true. I Thessalonians 5/

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

To test all things and the necessity to do so, tells me that not everything is acceptable and I am to reject all lies and embrace the Person who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. (John 14/6)

It may seem to be a pleasing and seemingly reconciliatory idea to embrace and love all, and their points of view, regardless of their religious beliefs or particular creed. But how is that possible when there is only one truth?

‘You have your truth and I have mine’, sounds worthwhile and agreeable.

But one and one will always be two.

We can be friends and show respect to each other, but I cannot agree with you if your truth says: one plus one is three.

Sorry – hope we will not fall out and reject each other as fellow human beings. But the fact is, we do not speak the same thing.

It may seem like we are on the same page – after all (we might reason) it’s all mathematics anyway –  but no, sorry, we don’t agree.

I notice therefore, after this ‘reclusive’ time, that I seem to be coming to a greater realisation of how much the language used by Christian and non-Christian may sound increasingly similar, but in fact has basic fundamental differences which cannot be reconciled.

Pilot at the crucifixion of The Lord Jesus Christ said ‘What is truth?’

There – in front of him – stood the personification of all truth and he couldn’t see it, but nevertheless, had to admit to the perfection he also observed in The Christ. (…“I find no fault in Him at all). John 18/37:

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all”.

Lines of communication are becoming increasingly blurred with the use of similar words but which do not have the same meaning.

Deception is increasing. Believing lies is becoming the increasing norm. Separating truth from error is becoming a bigger and bigger task and challenge.

Thank God for His Word – the purest and truest communication on earth.

My final illustration and example of this dilemma is the fact that I now need to say:

“When I speak of the Pure Word – I am referring to the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible”.

All the above may grind/grate on the ‘pan-everything-ists’ (Pantheists) – as utter dogmatism – but I’m afraid dogmatically – one and one will always be two.

Born in…?

Born in….?

Depending on the moral state of society, the subject of God is either to the fore or perhaps rarely referred to.

In the west – countries, cities, peoples, have been (generally speaking), morally honourable or reprehensible, depending (I suppose) on what part of history we examine.

This reprehensible moral state, grows out of what the bible clearly tells us, is the result of mankind being ‘dead in sin’.

Ephesians 2/1…who were dead in trespasses and sins,

Unless we accept that mankind is born with an inherited sin-nature, we can find no sense in the above statement/scripture. (Nor indeed can we make any sense of the atrocities in the world, taking place right now).

As a result of mankind being ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ – we can ask the question: How can living people be described as dead?

Likewise the term ‘born again’ – is not understood, unless we receive or experience the explanation.

This term (born again), has been ‘stolen’ from Christian jargon and applied to mean, all kinds of different things, in the present day. None of which uses the phrase as originally intended by The Son of God.

There was a gentleman, a religious Pharisee, who likewise didn’t grasp what Jesus meant by:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

In not understanding Christ’s statement, the Pharisee gentleman provided his own response to the ‘born again’ reference from Jesus, in the form of a Question:

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

This gives us an example of – how spiritually insensitive, unaware, uncomprehending, human beings can be when it comes to spiritual matters, spiritual truth and spiritual reality.

His question exposed that He did not understand what Jesus meant by the statement He (Jesus), made.

We can safely conclude that this inability to comprehend spiritual matters and reality, is the direct result of the fallen nature all mankind is born with, again referred to as being: Ephesians 2/1

…dead in trespasses and sins…

John 3/6:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

So being dead in sin, (born of the flesh) – is clearly referencing man’s nature as the statement is made to humans who are walking, talking and thinking on planet earth to this day. We might borrow a phrase from movie culture and refer to us as ‘the living dead’.

The idea that we are born good – or morally fine, is a big mistake, in light of this verse and the rest of scripture, that in so many places, affirms that mankind is indeed born with an inbuilt tendency to do what is wrong and evil. An inbuilt ‘bias’ towards sinning.

It is something that comes naturally, because it is in the very make-up and fibre of our minds. 

We are born that way, and have inherited this nature and tendencies from our forefathers, all the way back to the first human being.

Upbringing and it’s experiences, can effect or feed this nature, this sinful nature is not the result of our upbringing, but is the result of an inherited nature we are born with.

Of course an underprivileged background whether financially, morally, or as a result of cruelty in those who raised us – contributes to the greater formation of bad behaviour in the life of the person who suffers in such an upbringing.

But that ‘ability’ to sin comes from the nature within. The nature inherent in each of us.

Cultivate it – or run to the foot of the cross in prayer and behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1/29).

Bowing we speak with Him, bowing we take Him at His word:

…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (John 6/37)

On receiving The Lord Jesus Christ we receive His divine nature, to which we yield, causing the sinful nature to become subservient. And so our journey begins unto eternal life.

Revive Revival…

Revive Revival… 2022

Habakkuk 3:2

O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

It is a principle – that if we give-out to others, what God-has-given-to-us – we bring ourselves into The Reception area of God’s office. 🙂

A reception area is where you meet the owners of the firm (or their employees) – but also they meet you.

But God’s reception area – is also a place where you receive from God Himself. God loves to give. Mankind is somewhat slower at giving, to make an under-statement.

God says: 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

There are many things in this world that would distract us, and cause us to lose sight of the fact that God is a giving-Person.

Here is a scenario that we as believers, if we do not exercise due diligence, can drift into:

Hard times, bad times, perilous times, doom and gloom all around, a great falling away in moral standards, evil men getting worse and worse.

Because of all of these things we start to believe that God doesn’t care and certainly doesn’t want anything to do with a world of grossly misbehaving humans.

So we stop looking for Christian Revival. Revival as in firstly God moving in His church again, amongst His people.

Some think themselves Biblically correct when they conclude that there will be/is – a great falling away. That fits into their eschatological position, and they feel firmly justified in saying there could not be a revival.

Wow! God has lost His ancient power then? He can no longer save? He is powerless to do anything about this state of affairs?

In fact let’s just accept this and tell others the bad news. At least we are biblically correct, right?

Wrong. As unbelief increases, (because all sin begins in unbelief), we as Christians are not called to simply accept the inevitable, when the inevitable flies in the face of all that God is, and stands for.

God is the God of ‘the more’.  There is never a Time when God does not want to save.

When He is not moving, and saving and filling, it is not because He has ordained the falling away – or wants things to get worse and worse, it’s because He knows that rebellious man will fall away in increasing measure.

But that does not mean we abandon every revealed principle concerning who and what the God of our salvation is, in thought, word and deed.

Go to sleep church, don’t seek me anymore, I will not bless, I will not save, there will be no revival, I will leave you and forsake you.

How does that sound?

And so we stop. We simply stop. We have got (so many may think) the eschatology right – so do nothing because there’s nothing we can do. Wrong again.

God calls us to seek Revival – 2 Chronicles 7:14

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We need God to move in power, if souls are to have the real thing in a true salvation/conversion experience, and God tells us nowhere that He is no longer interested in saving souls.

World wide Revival? If The Lord Jesus was on the earth still in the form of a man – and He prayed – could He bring worldwide Revival?

Only if He went to a cross, …

And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Having triumphed and done what was necessary – Revival can come. And has – many times throughout history.

He doesn’t need to return to earth, become a man and do it all over again. ‘It is finished’. (John 19/20). Now anything is possible to those who believe. (John 14/12).

But if revival doesn’t come – it is not that God has ordained it to be so. It’s that His people stop looking for, or expecting it,  either in faith or hope.

Let’s seek The Lord for more of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as God builds His church – one without Spot or Wrinkle, or any such thing. (Ephesians 5/27, Matthew 16/8)

The Manifestation of The Holy Spirit, is given for the profit of all. (I Cor. 12/7)

Is salvation by the convicting, convincing power of the Holy Spirit – often with signs following – not for mankind anymore? (I Corinthians 12/7) (Mark 16/17).

Of course it is – it is not God’s will that any should perish. (II Peter 3/9).

Let’s shake ourselves and hold forth/fast the Word of Life knowing that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. (Philippians 2/16) (Ephesians 3/20).

In conclusion when nothing of revival is happening – are we those who look away from The Saviour or are we those who look upon Him without distraction? 

Hebrews 12:2

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jude 1:21

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Consisting of…

CONSISTING OF…

The Christian life consists of thought – word – deed – spiritual experience – and doctrine. (No particular order intended).

Spiritual experience – John 3/

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

– Acts 2/

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Thought – II Corinthians 10/

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Word – Colossians 3/

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Deed – John 3/

21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Doctrine – Titus 1/

9 …holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

All the above is sound medicine incorporating the nature of God.

Incorporating God’s ways, (doctrines) and the fact that in thought, word, and deed, He wants  human beings to experience Him in their lives, He will come to you and I, by invitation only, as we remember that…

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

(Hebrews 13)

Unrestraint

UNRESTRAINT 2022

In many ways in our world, restraint is being cast off. 

Restraining oneself from bad behaviour, is at a premium.

Instead mankind is giving in – to the lower nature that every human is born with.

This is manifest in many and varied ways when sinful indulgence is practiced.

The conscience everyone has – is eroded, or obliterated, depending on how much or how little a man or a woman listens to, or ignores, their conscience.

The killer – kills one person defying the restraint of their conscience. Having denied conscience they lust to kill again. Until by casting-off restraint time after time, their conscience becomes seared with a hot iron, and they become a serial killer.

I Timothy 4/

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

Every Christian is called to live up to the dictates of their conscience. But there is more at work than just their individual conscience. The Word of God informs the conscience in the mind of the believer.

Also The Holy Spirit Himself responds to the believer who obeys their conscience.

Paul speaks of this in the following verse:

Romans 9/1

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit…

The New International version says:

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit…

The Holy Spirit of God working in and with the believer’s conscience.

The conscience obeyed – restores or maintains restraint.

Many ignoring their conscience minute by minute daily, and we are on our way to anarchy rule. Here are three separate scriptures you can search for yourself:

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

(Including the counsel of the correctly informed conscience).

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.

(God sees every violation of the conscience – every heart that has disobeyed conscience, – that’s why He is The Almighty).

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Their conscience tells them this (whatever ‘this’ is) is wrong. They choose to ignore their conscience, to serve selfishness.

Selfishness leads to more selfishness. A life led casting-off restraint. Finally two more scriptures to be found in your concordance:

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast-off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law

The law of God when obeyed through the inner workings of The Holy Spirit in a person’s life (Christian) – keeps our conscience clean and clear. Happy is the man who maintains a clear conscience.

We need the ongoing revelation of God through His Word to keep a clear conscience.

As the world drifts more and more away from the Revelation of Christ – more and more is restraint cast-off.

All the ills of the world are the fruits of departure from The Only Living and True God and His Son Jesus Christ and His teachings.

As I, as a sinner, obeyed the work of The Holy Spirit upon my conscience and admitted my sin, – Christ came into my life, in an unmistakable way.

Just as it was hard for Paul the apostle (previously Saul of Tarsus) to kick against the promptings of a God-influenced conscience – so it is hard for anyone to resist, when God takes a dealing with them.

Recognise the voice of God in your conscience, repent and confess your sin. The result is Emmanuel – God with us, God in us the hope of glory.

What a glorious salvation He offers!

But He waits to be invited. He will not force His way in. He will influence us to find the right direction, but we must comply wholeheartedly.

Cast-off the power of darkness and receive Christ as Lord – your conscience is trying to get you to agree.

Toma(ay)to

Toma(ay)to

I have always marvelled at the inability of humans to really understand each other in their communications. This spills over into the Church (as in the company of God’s people).

It’s a bit like – you say tomato and I say tomayto – and if it goes on-through to fuller mis-understanding into vehement anger and division – we end up calling the whole thing off. ‘The whole thing’ being our friendship and fellowship.

When we examine examples of this, they are of course, innumerable.

But boiling it all down, I see it, as part of the fall of mankind.

There was a time in God’s perfect creation that mankind did not have the knowledge of good and evil. He only knew life without sin.

However one ‘shall not’ and he ‘did just that’. In Genesis we read:

2/19

And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

2/17

but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now as a result of listening and obeying another (Genesis 3/1) – the woman’s and the man’s human spirit fell and mankind became dominated by his fallen nature. His mind began it’s journey of corruption.

And today there are many varying degrees of this fallen nature, this sinful mind, this earthly, sensual, devilish, make-up, manifesting itself in innumerable ways in mankind’s individual or corporate mindset. (James 3/15)

The fallen nature manifests itself in the little ‘white’ lie all the way to murder and rape by ruthless regimes.

Out of the heart of mankind comes:

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

There are other lists of sins in the bible that describe the result of this nature that has inherited the knowledge of good and evil, from our forefather Adam. This is referred to as the ‘Adamic nature’.

But what I want to draw attention to, is this inability to properly communicate.

To properly understand each other.

I have noticed it over the years, and realised that unless Christians having fellowship, take the time to ensure that mutual humility is present, before they communicate, then when misunderstanding arises, it will end-up in some kind of division or parting of the ways.

If we fail to believe God’s truth as it is found (unadulterated), in the Scripture (The Holy Bible) – then as a result, we fail to encounter the One who is ‘The Truth’.

Christ gives us a new nature, as He gives Himself to us and enters us by The Holy Spirit, if we respond to the Word of the Gospel. This new nature is a renewed or born again human spirit.

Ephesians4/

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

But it is the old nature that has the knowledge of good and evil, that corrupts the true truth of God’s pure word. Man on innumerable occasions has corrupted the letter of God’s word.

Christians meeting to hear the public reading of God’s Word are hearing pure truth.

Proverbs 30/5

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

The preacher may present this pure truth well or corrupt it with his old nature.

Both things are possible.

The safest possible ground that believers have for communicating with each other is to simply repeat the Word of God from mouth to ear in the assembly of God’s people.

If I speak a scripture to you, and you in turn speak a scripture to me – we have communicated perfectly.

That’s why we read in Matthew 5/

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

It is easy for communications to become confused, divisive, and eventually outright evil as we…

Galatians 5/15

bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

So apart from necessary everyday communication in the workplace, school, or where tasks are being carried out corporately, being slow to speak isn’t a bad idea.

James 1/19

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

But even yea or nay can be misunderstood.

What are we to do?

We can only talk until things become clear. But sometimes it makes the situation worse if ego and oneupmanship take over, and talking becomes bickering.

The fact that divisions come, the fact that the world is in the mess it is in. And governments are at loggerheads internally and with other governments of other nations – shows clearly that the world is held captive by an inherited nature that can’t find agreement easily.

I’m reminded again of the humorous misunderstanding that took place between my friend’s wife and the weather forecaster on the car radio.

She heard the forecaster say: ‘Mister Fog’ will be about’.

So she made the comment to her husband (also in the car): ‘Who does he think he is addressing – children!?’

What he actually said was: ‘mist or fog will be about.’

If only the results of misunderstanding were as innocuous as this.

Disliking success

DISLIKING SUCCESS

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

We know the story.

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

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

They did!

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

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

First he did everything he could to – not preach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless I rejoice because Psalm 32 says:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

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

And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

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

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

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

The Message is clear: John 3/16:

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

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

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

The Last Jump

THE LAST JUMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where am I going with all this?

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

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

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

The bible in Hebrews 2/15 talks of those who 

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:53-55

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

55 

“Where, O death, is your victory?

    Where, O death, is your sting?”

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

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

II Corinthians 5/5

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