Category Archives: correctness

Prophesying today

PROPHESYING TODAY

It is dangerous to ‘generalise’ when we have limited information.

Limited information can cause a limited conclusion. A faulty judgement can therefore be made about a given scenario.

Jumping too quickly to conclusions.

However, in some situations in life, in extenuating circumstances, a decision needs to be taken quickly, because

of how a particular scenario will or might play-out and effect us personally.

This ‘deficient information factor’ makes that decision hard to make.

We do our best – and proceed to make the decision, even with inadequate information, because if it goes a certain way, it will perhaps effect us personally.

I would imagine those who deal in the stock market, find themselves in that situation daily (?).

It can be, that we may not have the time to make full enquiry. And our decision as a result can be a good one or a bad one – as time will usually tell.

We can best hope that by our necessary decision making, no one gets hurt or damaged, as we make the decision.

I’m thinking of how people resign from a particular position they occupy, in perhaps a company, a political party, a Medical Practice, a church etc.

Making their decision, but not basing it on full knowledge, sometimes just suspicion.

It is still true to say, that unless one undertakes a thorough comprehensive research study, our lack of information can cause us to form the wrong conclusions.

The Bible says in James 1/So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; . It’s easy to reverse this – speaking with limited knowledge and without proper discernment, and in self-righteous anger (quick to wrath), making wrong judgements.

Biblically we are exhorted in different ways to be careful about judging given situations or people. 

Some make the mistake of thinking we are never to judge anything. The bible doesn’t teach this – but it does call us to ‘judge righteously’ according to the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus said: John 7/

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The spirit in which we judge is also of paramount importance. Anger and bitterness in our hearts and we have judged wrongly already, and must hear ‘judge not that you be not judged’.

Matthew 7/ v1“Judge  not, that you be not judged.

It may seem now that I am about to change tack to a different subject, but that’s not what I am doing.

Because I am thinking of the discernment necessary and the full knowledge needed, of what is said – before judgements can be made in response to modern day prophetic utterance.

Prophecy in the bible in it’s basic definition is simply ‘inspired utterance’. Jesus spoke with supreme wisdom and perpetual inspiration/revelation. 

Those who penned the scriptures were given Grace of an unequalled kind. No one (as in ‘ordinary’ Christians) prophesying since the Apostles and prophets, chosen by Christ, will be given that same calibre of Grace. Therefore they will not speak as authoritatively.

That does not mean that someone with a true gift of prophecy (inspired utterance), will not speak with authority.

Just not of that particular unique kind that penned The Word of God.

The Bible cannot be added to, it remains perpetually in the hand of The Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever God sends it to accomplish. Isa. 55/

11 

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Whether this ‘accomplishing’ takes place in the individuals heart or in accomplishing the task of giving to mankind foreknowledge of the future, in prophesying what is to come.

But modern day, inspired utterance, still calls for men and women to be in touch with God.

We are exhorted to speak as the ‘oracles of God’.

1 Peter 4:11

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

Some Christians live more incomplete lives than others, when they exclude from their experience the possible exercise of Spiritual Gifts, as found in I Corinthians chapter 12 etc..

Even those who believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and therefore accept the ‘manifestation of The Holy Spirit’ doctrinally, (another way of saying ‘the gifts of The Spirit’) – even so, may not fully manifest those gifts.

Certain cessationists dismiss the Gifts of The Holy Spirit – as not being for today.

If the manifestations of The Holy Spirit, are not taking place today – it is not because God has turned the tap off, or that such a thing is not possible, but rather for the reason, that  they are not sought for fully, or not allowed in the assembly of God’s people, usually as a result of cessationist theology or limited revelation/experience in the leadership.

The lack of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit may also be because of the ‘falling away’ that is happening on the earth and even in the churches. We read of a somewhat parallel time in the time of Samuel the prophet: 

I Samuel 3/1…And the word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open vision.

The gifts are not as manifest as in previous eras. (This can also be the result of how much there is – full or limited pursuing thereof): Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 

Those who accept the gifts, rightly so, as being for today – may not, however in practice, manifest them in the church.

Prophecy is for every member – we may all prophesy one by one.

All may speak ‘inspired utterances’.

These utterances of the spoken gifts are as follows – prophesy, speaking in different tongues and interpretation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge.

There are other gifts, or manifestations of The Holy Spirit, but the above are the spoken gifts.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

When it comes to prophesying – we are told: 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 

All prophesying’ does not make us all prophets.

A prophet is someone who has a proven track record in words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophesying by forth-telling or fore-telling.

The fruit of which gives help, direction and deliverance to the church.

It may entail foretelling, but must include:

 3 (But he who prophesies speaks)… edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

Except, on the rarer occasions when it can contain correction or rebuke, depending on the situation. Such correction should come from an established proven Prophetic ministry, that God has set in the church.

The rest of the church present, where a prophecy is given, are meant to engage in discerning if the prophecy is brought by The Holy Spirit and does not violate the principles of God’s Word.

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 

We must be careful to:

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Unfortunately some dismiss anything prophetic, when we are told we can all prophesy, (and the Word of God cannot be broken).

We must judge firstly the prophecy – and after this depending on the fruit in their lives – if need be – then the vessel who brought the prophecy.

If what they are – in themselves, clearly shows them to be false prophets, or carrying a wrong spirit, or disrupting and damaging the people of God, then they need to be subject to the sanction of the church.

But – and this brings me back to my original point – full or limited knowledge…

If a foretelling prophecy does not come to pass, being of a foretelling nature, the first thing to establish is – is it completely wrong? Genuine prophets can make mistakes, but this does not mean they are to be dismissed as charlatans.

To dismiss them out of hand, is to get the cart before the horse. We are to judge the prophecy, as to it’s correctness or otherwise. But if it is wrong, we should not automatically disqualify the prophet.

Unless he/she has a track record of damaging the church, causing confusion, and perhaps obtaining a ‘following’ through dishonest gain.

Titus 1:

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 

The Gifts or manifestations of – The Holy Spirit are for our profit as the Church. 

And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

There can be a lot of ‘hype’ in televised prophesying, especially in a certain country. But we need to see-through the hype and ask the question ‘Is this of God?” Secondly is this person a true servant of Christ – who loves The Lord.

Not easily or immediately discernible sometimes. But we must not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.

Regarding foretelling and not the less consequential type of prophesying, (edification, exhortation, and comfort), here is the safeguard:

Deuteronomy18

21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

There is both warnings for those who hear the prophetic word, in this passage:

 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

And for the prophet who prophesies:

20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

However these warnings aught to be heard in the light of the greater Covenant of The New Testament.

Elusive certainty

ELUSIVE CERTAINTY 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is full of uncertainty.

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

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

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

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

2 Timothy 4:6-8

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Peter 1:7

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

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

1 Thessalonians 5:

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

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

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

Luke 7/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 7/ KJV:

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

The right one?

THE RIGHT ONE?

Think of all the personalities in this world. All the personalities on social media. All the multitudes full of diversity and differences of opinion. All the different cultural backgrounds. All the varying needs, the rich, the poor, the man-made labels of lower, middle and upper classes. The age groups with youthful ambition, hard-nosed business men, older entrepreneurs with their individual ‘empires’.

Think of the crime syndicates, think of the secret organisations, the money pedlars, the inner city crime scenes, gang culture and warfare. Think of the pimps and prostitutes. Think of the elite – the millionaires and billionaires, the movie stars and pop stars.

Think of the dictators, the communist regimes, mis-used democracy, the politics of power and position-seeking, the judicial systems that differ throughout the world.

And so we could go on trying to describe the world in which we live – humanity-wise.

And then there is the description that perhaps fits you and I (?).

It is a term that I think originated in North America – the descriptive term is: ‘average joe’.

I’m not from the USA, but the term sounds like it fits most of us in the Western Hemisphere.

But ‘average Joe’ will also fit in somewhere in the list I started this post with.

Enter stage left – the Christian gospel.

Stating the obvious, the Christian gospel is sent to mankind. Think mankind – and then look again at my list.

How will this gospel sit with those who fit the above categories?

And then factor-in the fact that the onlooker can be forgiven for thinking that in fact there is more than one ‘gospel’.

Think of the observer, the outsider, the ones not involved in Christianity – and listen as they express their confusion over what Christianity is all about.

Just as individual Christians have individual personalities. So churches and church organisations seem to vary immensely to the ‘average Joe’ outsider, in their corporate ‘personalities’. The average Joe who is not involved in it all.

Terms and name tags are bandied about by Christians as they label their own particular ‘tribe.’

The outsider concludes – “But which church is the right one?”

Rather than pursue it – they decides to refuse it.

Giving it a little of his/her time they roughly peruse what immediately hits them. The showcase presentation on social media, websites, Facebook, YouTube, T.V. etc.

They perhaps haven’t the time to enter into a deeper examination of the warp and woof of a particular ‘brand’, they happen to have come across, via google search.

What are we to do if we are to navigate our way to the right church? 

Navigating our way to the church that is right – and thankfully there will be more than one. But unfortunately in some cases – there may not be one near you.

What are we to do when even Christians need to examine each individual group of believers to see if they are ‘sound’, ‘the real McCoy’, and are not as we say in my culture – ‘one stick short of a bundle?’

Well – let’s stop right there, and state that there is no escape from going to the gospel as an individual personality, firstly and foremostly. It’s meant to be that way.

The message is to the individual, before we get to what corporate body of people we should attach ourselves to.

Salvation is about the human heart finding the Only Living and true God.

A corporate body of people who claim to be Christian, or who describe themselves with the Christian label are not automatically the real McCoy, just because the ‘christian’ label is built-in to their PR description.

So individual, who is perhaps somewhere in my initial list above – get that bible open and get reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the four gospels.

Steep yourself in it and hear the message, as you talk to God at the same time.

It is sent firstly and foremostly to you, with divine love from Jesus Christ The Lord of heaven and earth.

Understand that He too ‘can’t believe’ some of the shenanigans His people get up to. Matt. 13/58, 17/17. Mark 6/6, 16/14.

He is flabbergasted by the unbelief (from which all misbehaviour stems), that even those who believe get up to.

He has experienced this from the beginning when He recruited the twelve disciples. But yet, He fully invited them on board without reservation.

Whoever comes to Him they were told, He would never cast out, and He promised to be with them always.

Yep – you heard it right – the believers can do unbelievable things, because you see when we come to Christ and find His acceptance and promise of eternal life, we have only began a journey.

Having believed on Christ as Lord, we still have many areas God has to work on, to bring change. And you might encounter some area in a person, or in the personality of a church – that still needs altered, changed, or overhauled drastically.

You are not to be put off by this, because Christ came to build His church, mature His church, cleanse His church, revive His church, and it doesn’t all happen overnight.

In the words of the song: ‘I owe you some kind of an apology.’

Christians owe the world an apology for the fact that the church universal, is so imperfect in behaviour.

Whereas the world owes God an apology for its rejection of Him.

But of course the church is made up of people who needed a saviour, in the first place, and who haven’t, and never will, stop NEEDING Him to perfect them.

Having found The Saviour, they now need Him to increase their faith more and more, so that they will not disappoint you (unconvinced unbeliever) – with their shortcomings, and areas of remaining unbelief, in the midst of their established faith.

Unbelief is the second original sin, (mankind) the first was self-absorption and pride, resulting in rebellion (the devil).

Mark 9/

Listen to the man (average Joe?) in great need:

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF!”

Another Gospel?

ANOTHER GOSPEL? 

There are seemingly quite a few who are offering us – a more updated version of Christianity.

Challenging some of the fundamentals of the faith – confusing the fundamentals with the newly re-contextualised fundamentalism label.

Because there exists dogmatic Pharisees who want everything conformed to their image – they assume that those who hold fast to that which is good, has been good, and always will be good, are dead traditionalists/‘fundamentalists’.

…Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

That which is good is the articles of faith – long established and present in many Christian churches, from which we are never meant to depart, as per the charge of the gospel of Christ.

Those searching for a broader outlook. Those searching for a so-called more ‘enlightened’ approach – are apt to use the fact that we all cannot know all mysteries, and therefore this is a reason to alter, annul and eventually dismiss what is sound and cannot change, and has been established for centuries.

They do this act of watering down – in the name of tolerance, open-mindedness, and all-embracing love. And consider it theological progress.

The result is that they see so many sides to things that nothing ever becomes sure. But at least they reason we can ‘all get along’.

Soon they lead us to the ‘many roads to God approach’ – again in the name of tolerance and being nice.

And then slowly but surely we are meant to embrace every religion under the sun, in the name of tolerance and understanding of how the other half lives. As we partake of the ecumenical soup.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. There is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved and delivered from this corrupt generation. The God of the bible is called Jehovah and His son Jesus Christ The Lord. There is a heaven and there is a hell.

Pretty straightforward and dogmatic – but absolutely true.

To hold to this does not automatically make me an intolerant bigot, out to be rude and denigrate everyone who thinks differently.

The latest truth being tampered with – is the fact that there is a hell, there is a Gehenna.

Some so called ‘progressives’ consider the best way to get rid of hell is not to believe in it.

That way everyone is ok and marching to the promised land of heaven, regardless of what they believe or what lifestyle they practice or what god they serve.

Pan-everything-ism is the new (no, not really new – just rehashed) ‘enlightened’ way, they would have us believe.

And when someone makes a statement like my last paragraph they are perceived as dogmatic stick-in-the-mud fundamentalists who want to condemn everyone to hell. However there is only One who has the power/right/authority to do so –

Jesus said:

Luke 12:5

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

I believe in enlightenment/inspiration, or better put, revelation – but within the guidelines and confines of The Holy Bible.

As a painter/poet/preacher ‘etc’. I like to think I have some imagination. And I am open-minded enough to at least listen to those who have another slant on things other than my own.

I’m aware of dogmatism out of a heart bound-up with bitterness in the name of religion.

I’m aware that there are those who stand with Christ in doctrine, but with the devil in attitude.

But I’m also aware that there is such a thing as truth and error.

The bible is full of warnings (do a study on it – see how many you can find).

If there is no need to warn God’s true people – then there are no dangers.

Here’s a tip – Go for ‘sincere’ in people – rather than ‘nice’. And go for the bible and what it says even more than the preaching of it.

By that I mean – the words themselves, because:

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Notice the EVERY word aspect.

Regardless of whether we have experienced Revelation on every word – the revelation we have already received convinces us that the potential for further revelation comes through every word of scripture.

What has been established by revelation is to be adhered to. For example ‘justification by faith’ as revealed to Martin Luther. Does that mean that he is an infallible guide because he received revelation? No – but the bible is.

Sometimes we must take the word exactly as we find it, not blindly, (i.e. without a quickened understanding) but in trust – first. This leads to more revelation of what we are reading, as God has promised to lead us into more spiritual understanding:

John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

We take it on board first, and then we are free to ask God what it really is saying.

The truth has been established of old. Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, He needs-must die on the cross to offer mankind a way back to relationship with God, there is a Gehenna to escape through Christ, there was a virgin birth and so on…

The exaltation of the intellect of man over the inspiration of scripture will produce all kinds of theories and unbiblical conclusions.

Christians beware.

30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Wisdom responses

(see John 4)

WISDOM RESPONSES

It’s an interesting study to note Jesus’ response to various situations and scenarios.

We see Him speaking to a Samaritan woman at a well. Not the done thing – as 

…Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

So He cut across the socially accepted norms and prophetically gave insight into this woman’s life

She was never the same again – so accurate was the information He gave her. We are not told all that He said to her. Did He in fact give a comprehensive history of her life – so much so that she exclaimed?: 

“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

Was she so overwhelmed by what He said regarding her lack of marital status – that it seemed He had insight into everything to do with her life? (And of course He had – as He has with regard to our lives).

Was she so astounded – she exaggerated her message? She would not be the first person to be astounded by what Christ did for her. I too am in that company of people.

40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

Notice the Samaritans response to this demonstration of supernatural knowledge, that could not have been known, any other way – it started them on their quest to find out more.

Then having heard Christ preach – they became believers in The Son of God, The Messiah, themselves.

They wanted Jesus to stay with them. So He stayed another two days.

On another occasion the disciples went to prepare a place for Jesus as a stopover on a fuller journey. A stopover place amongst the Samaritans. But these Samaritans refused to receive Him.

The disciples acting wrongly and ‘inspired’ by the devil – wanted the Samaritans destroyed in response to this refusal to receive The Messiah:

Luke 9/54

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

They had a scriptural precedent, (so they thought) to repeat history. But Jesus pointed out how wrong they were. Teaching us that it is not what we say – but the spirit by which we speak.

We must discern what is behind and inspiring religions, or cults. By their fruits we shall know them.

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

It was all right for Elijah – why not them? Many twist the Word of God, and use it as the letter that kills, because they are moving in their unaided understanding or are demonically inspired to adulterate The Word of God.

Join with me in asking ourselves:

…what manner of spirit you (we) are of…?

On another occasion Jesus responded to a Samaritan woman and gave her what she requested even though…

John 4/22

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

Mark 7:27-29

27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

If we pray, we trust that as we move wisely the Son of God will be impressed by our requests, as He was with this woman and we shall (believing) receive the answer to our prayers.

When the Samaritans refused Jesus although He would not sanction ‘the fire from heaven’ destruction of His rejectors. Nevertheless we note the weighty consequence, in contrast, to the Samaritans who responded to the woman at the well:

And they went to another village.

Jesus looks for one thing above all – our acceptance of Him into our lives. He must have a welcoming embrace from us. He will not force Himself into our lives. He will influence us, draw us, speak to us, work in our conscience, all to bring us to Himself.

But that’s it – unless we embrace Him wholeheartedly –

He will go…

to another village.

…and correction?

…and correction?

Most Christian bloggers like to edify, exhort positively, and comfort us all, in our journey through this fallen world.

I have received from a number of Christian blogs, the encouragement I needed for a certain ‘day in the life’.

It would seem though, that some subject matter is best avoided if your goal is to be popular, when blogging.

However most Christians would agree that we are not called to win popularity competitions, and yet they love the ‘amen’ to their posts, and often (or mostly) it is genuinely given.

They are glad when others are edified, and rightly so. We all need encouragement.

But again I often wonder if anyone wants to address the mess?

Sometimes we need to repent and return to the first works – indeed repentance from ‘dead’ works returning to our first love of the Lord Jesus Christ, entering into a closer walk with Him.

For this to happen we need to be corrected.

The human heart and mind is prone to wander. And sometimes in the midst of our convicted conscience –  the last thing we need is someone laying heavies upon us that point out our faults and failings.

But conversely – does this mean this should never be done? We live in a world where no one wants to listen to correction.

Does that include the Christians? Who are told:

NKJV – Hebrews 12/5 …do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him…

Amplified version – 

My son, do not make light of the discipline of the Lord,

And do not lose heart and give up when you are corrected by Him;

Going on to say:

For the Lord disciplines and corrects those whom He loves,…

This is like a foreign language to some Christians, who have been fed on daily bread that is only buttered on one side and coated with sugar.

Having said that – some have suffered dry bread with no butter or sugar!

If you get the analogy – I refer to an unbalanced diet. Too much or too little of one thing. Christians who are ‘unexposed’ to necessary teaching to enable proper spiritual growth.

You see we all need different sustenance. We all need a different word from The Lord, according to our developmental requirements.

God the Father has one priority, like any good father, He wants to raise His children well, and allow them to reflect more perfectly the image of their brother – The Lord Jesus Christ.

We by inheritance are also children of God. There is only one ‘Only Begotten’, but:

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

So correction is very much a part of a good wholesome growth plan for a child’s life.

Not some harsh unfair manipulation or provoking of children, through abuse – but a balanced diet of edification, exhortation, and comfort – and correction.

But what about God’s adult children, who are still children in grown-up bodies manifesting self-absorption and injuring others?

This is a big subject I know. And I am not going to do it justice in this short post.

But let’s remember we are meant to grow in grace (thank God it’s grace!) and be changed from glory to glory, as by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, who might just tell us from time to time:

 ‘You are wrong’.

I don’t find correction easy to take – do you? Especially if it comes from a source other than God. But that’s where we must step away and examine and discern if it is just our own flesh and self-will that doesn’t like the truth, or if in fact the devil is trying (as we say) ‘to do a number on us’. Usually his condemnation has a tiny reference to something true and a whole deluge of lies. Know the difference.

 

Prayer: Lord help us to hear the still small voice of edification or correction. Amen

 

Falling

FALLING

Unfortunately we hear of prominent and not so prominent Christians falling into sin.

We know of those on the front line, presenting themselves as leaders and wanting to please God in all things, who fall into sin. (usually sexual in nature).

Others who are depending on their leadership, are startled and disappointed and feel betrayed.

When this happens it creates the idea that in leadership, there seems to be no one to trust, no one living  according to God’s right way. There seems to be a dearth of victorious Christian Living, starting with leaders.

However we wrestle not against flesh and blood. And those in the front line are first to stand in the gun sights of the devil.

We must first therefore realise this fact, and cover them with prayer.

No one in leadership is any more ‘impenetrable’ than others. They are human and subject to the same like passions as anyone else.

Things of protocol must be put into place and the need to be covered with answerability to a plural leadership of their fellow eldership – lived out practically.

The wicked have drawn the sword

And have bent their bow,

To cast down the poor and needy,

To slay those who are of upright conduct.

We see from these verses who is in line for the ‘roaring lions’ attention – those of upright conduct. (I Peter 5/8)

Often before they fell they were men or women of upright conduct. We often forget quickly the character they have shown, and the good they have accomplished. The body of Christ (the church) killing their own wounded.

At the same time we must keep before us the standard God’s word clearly spells out. And not slide into moral laxity.

There is one paramount way to keep our hearts from the demands of the prince of the power of the air – and it is by having presence of mind to appropriate continuously what the Grace of God has provided.

Our God in calling us to forgive 70×7 per day – gives us a glimpse into the fact that He too will practice what He preaches. Plenteous in mercy and forgiveness.

He will not respond to pretenders however, who think to laughingly avail themselves of this promise of forgiveness, whilst they carry on sinning, as though it was acceptable to do so.

That’s called hypocrisy.

Grace is a revelation. It is a revelation not just for salvation – but that through the grace of God we can LIVE!

Always availing ourselves of His promises and His strength to maintain our hearts in good condition before Him.

Let’s pray for those who have fallen. And if they were in a position of leadership and injured others in their fall, let’s still allow them into fellowship with forgiving embrace – but only where we find the sincerity of humility and true repentance. Otherwise if they continue in sin, we become guilty of bidding them God’s-speed in their misdemeanours.

This calls for good discernment. The bible warns about wolves in sheep’s clothing:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

We shall (we are told) know them (the sincere men and women of God) by their fruits. The actions they take, the attitude they carry, the character they show, their speech, prayer life, fairness, empathy, and so on.

Prayer:

Lord help us to stand dependant on you alone. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 

as unto spiritual…

AS UNTO SPIRITUAL…

I Corinthians 3/

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Who is Paul the Apostle addressing here?

Answer – ‘brothers’ – brothers-in-Christ of course, because all the Corinthians he is speaking to, were not his kith and kin.

Not natural kith and kin but ‘brothers in Christ’.

And in addressing brothers, (bearing in mind that his epistles were to the whole church) – he is addressing his ‘sisters-in-Christ’ also.

Is he addressing you and I? Bearing in mind that the Bible (used always-and-eternally in the hand of The Holy Spirit) – is addressing all believers for all time. We conclude readily then, that he is speaking to us also.

All you need to qualify for hearing this epistle – is to be a ‘brother/sister-in-Christ’.

Hmmm?

Can’t imagine that everyone I’m addressing has joined this family of believers?

Anyway – that is for you to decide.

But Paul reveals indirectly to us that there are varying depths of spirituality among believers in Christ.

And that there are matters they were not yet able to comprehend.

The surprise perhaps in this passage is this – he was addressing them all. And he puts them all in the same category (unlike John did in his epistle). Paul refers to them as ‘babes in Christ’.

John – in I John 2 refers to little children, young men, and fathers.

Paul speaks to them all as ‘babes in Christ’. And coupled with this designation is the idea that they are still carnal.

The word carnal can mean different things. But essentially it is the natural sinful mind we are born with.

Everything in the Christian life is a matter of exchange.

We trade in our thoughts, our self-righteousness, our selfishness, or mental problems, our limited reasoning, our emotional hang-ups – and in exchange we receive the joy of The Lord, The peace that passes understanding, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of The Holy Spirit, God’s strength, his righteousness, his holiness, his forgiveness and above all His love.

So now everything is ‘rosey in the garden’?

No – simply because we still have everything that life throws at us to contend with.

But with the attributes of Christ within us – we now must learn to yield ourselves to The Lord of our life, and allow those attributes to control us.

This takes time and inner development under the hand of God. But we grow, we mature, we enter into what the Bible describes as being grounded and settled – all through the exercise of faith that expresses itself in biblical meditation, praise and worship, prayer, and joining ourselves in true and real fellowship with the family of God.

Colossians 1/

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Notice the behaviour that accompanied the ‘babes in Christ’ designation that Paul reveals to us as the epistle continues – 

For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 

As we look and listen we recognise similar traits in the church today. Manifesting the fact that we all need to grow up – 

Ephesians 4

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 This calls firstly and foremostly for a willingness – yes a willingness – to come together at the foot of the cross and lay it all down – all the carnality – AND EXCHANGE it for His life.

Tomorrow as an area of my spiritual immaturity is made clear to me – I need to return to the one with whom I first made the great exchange – and offer Him my mistakes, my sin, my immature behaviour – “Sorry Lord please come and let your life rule over mine!”

The problem with the law

THE PROBLEM WITH THE LAW

In my last post I set about establishing the need for the law, now I want to look at the limiting factor to it’s effectiveness.

We looked at the need for the law to highlight right from wrong, good from bad.

The law was given by Moses, but the first law we ever see in scripture was communicated to the first man and the first woman.

Later God wrote the ten commandments on stone, delivered ‘downhill’ by Moses.

That first ‘law’ given to a man named Adam and a woman named Eve was:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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[c] shall surely die.”

For mankind’s highest good a prohibition was instituted by God. A law, in other words. “You shall not eat etc…”

Woman and man violated that law, with catastrophic consequences.

God’s created mankind were now in rebellion, having inherited a fallen nature.

Fast forwarding, we understand that the giving of the law previous to the New Testament, as in the ten commandments and as in Leviticus etc. was half the answer.

It was incomplete as a way of addressing the sin problem. If you like it was the first half of a whole.

There was a divine order of things, first the law was given, then the second covenant arrived in the timing of God.

That’s why Christ came to fulfil/complete the law. Not only pointing out the problem, but providing the answer as to how it (sin) could be defeated and righteousness restored to the human race.

Speaking He says: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

However, although the law is pure and holy, something more was needed than pointing out the sin problem. What was needed was the impartation of the ability to overcome sin.

So the law was limited until the bringing in of a better hope took place, in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He fulfilled the requirements of the law and offered His power, the power of an endless life, to His disciples, thus providing the enablement necessary to overcome sin’s dominion in our lives.

The law called for the perfect standard of God. But it was rendered ineffective by man’s fallen nature (flesh), and our inherent inability to respond to the law’s demands:

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh…

The law can only accomplish it’s life changing work in the hand of The Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God alone, who takes the word of God and instead of it being written on stone – He writes it on the human mind and spirit.

But He must be invited to do so by mankind.

This enables us to have the mind of Christ, and with it, His enablement to live like Him.

Because we still live in this body, we often fail to attain Christ’s standard and are become transgressors of the law again, when we stop relying on The Holy Spirit and the Living Word of God, to keep our minds pure and free.

We are told that the law on it’s own was an incomplete answer by the expression here, of ‘For what the law could not do…’

So there was something the law could not do. Regardless of what that was, it reveals the truth that it was not complete as a solution to the problem, due to the fallen nature of man and his inability to keep it.

The law did not change man, but remained to educate him as a schoolmaster, teaching him he was wrong, and pointing him to the coming solution.

We are told that it was the fallen nature of man, that rendered the law ineffective (weak through the flesh), when it came to overcoming sin in our lives.

Christ came therefore to fulfil the law by taking the punishment for sin that the law demanded, becoming the required sacrifice for sin – it (the law) – also demanded for justice to be done, and forgiveness and atonement through Christ The Lamb of God – came to be released.

Restoration of the sinner could then take place – with release from the law’s penalty – then following, to the repentant sinner who believes.

His sacrifice provided forgiveness, because our sin was now atoned for. Forgiveness must be sought, and the gift of His righteousness received by a willing heart.

So the law is good and acceptable, but because of the fallen nature we each live in – it is unable to change us. Only Christ working in us by The Holy Spirit can change us.

The New Testament, the New Covenant, the New Agreement, God wishes us to enter into in partnership with Him – is joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is freedom from the dominion of sin, it is life and life more abundantly, it is the inner spirit of man coming alive.

The cross of Christ is the place and time in history when this New Agreement was released to mankind for the receiving.

Refuse to receive and we are left under the law – condemned and guilty.

This is a vast subject, it is part of the mystery that was hidden from man until the appropriate time.

There is much to say.

But a post is limited in it’s content, nevertheless those who have ears to hear will hear!

Right and wrong – good and bad?

RIGHT AND WRONG – GOOD AND BAD?

You’ve heard it said: “There’s good and bad in everyone…”

(as an aside – check out Paul McCartney’s song: Ebony and Ivory)

* “There’s good and bad in everyone…” Now there’s a statement for you.

What does it mean?

Have you got six weeks, while I address the whole subject?

The following will have to do as we make a start anyway.

Concerning our opening statement* we can take the easy route – and simply agree, and leave it at that. Most people think they know what is meant by this statement.

But then, is it also right that there are varying degrees of good and varying degrees of bad? I would say it is self-evident that there are.

However that the human – nature is intrinsically and mysteriously flawed is also self-evident.

I could go for my preacher hat straight away and lay some scriptures on you.

But instead I’d like to lead-up to that possibility.

Firstly where does our personal idea of good and bad come from i.e. in our individual experience?

Well – keeping it simple – it comes from our inner knowledge.

We may feel philosophically highfalutin and hold the view that – really good and bad is subjective and there are no absolutes when it comes to the subject.

But then things happen.

Your house is broken into and your possessions stolen, or worse still your house is burnt to the ground.

The person holding the view that good and bad is a subjective thing only, are suddenly flabbergasted by this event.

Rightly offended or devastated by this intrusion and assault upon their sensibilities.

So can we say then that it is universally subjective, i.e. common to us all to feel this response? I think we can.

So it’s not too big a statement to say that we would all feel the same violation in this instance.

Good and bad is more than simply something dependent upon our subjective perspective, but based on what the law reveals to us all.

Even those who reject the law of God, as in the law provided by Jehovah, as in provided by Christ The Lord, have – we are told – a form of the law written within the human psyche.

Romans 2:14-15 King James Version (KJV)

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

This is something that is inescapable, unless we hold to some kind of nihilistic anarchistic self-destructive philosophy. We cannot escape the sense of right and wrong that we all have.

Now of course in certain things, what is acceptable or not acceptable varies from culture to culture.

But let’s start by acknowledging that there is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the first place.

And to simplify the whole discussion – I hold to the law of God as revealed in the Old and New Testament. I believe it is the supreme guide for all of mankind.

Those who do not see the Bible as inerrant, have reason to hold the view that certain immoral practices are morally acceptable.

After all who or what has the right to challenge their point of view? If there is no supreme being who makes His will clearly known to mankind and has given a law to inform us of what is acceptable and not?

The Bible is an inerrant divinely inspired pure guide to all behaviour, telling us clearly what is right and what is wrong.

If you want to discuss a particular way of acting or living you consider acceptable i.e. ‘right’, but I find it ‘wrong’ – my reference straight away is to the bible, as I state my case.

But If you do not accept it (the bible) as the perfect guide – there is no need for further discussion. That’s where we disagree.

No need to argue. The bible plainly says it is wrong, but you feel we have somehow moved on from what it says. Whereas I consider it (the bible) inerrant and there is no moving on from it that does not end in disaster for the human race.

The bible is not open to private interpretation, and can’t be twisted to suit our self-created, self-centred preferences when it comes to behaviour.

We all need to understand it better but when it says: ‘you shall not steal’ it means it.

Too simplistic?

No – not when we are looking for a foundation on which to build before we discuss nuances.

If we do not have a starting point, we have only multiple human-dreamt-up preferences described in scripture as:

…but every man did that which was right in his own eyes

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…

So a world full of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes is confusion personified.

There is a higher revealed order. There is a universal guide found in the world’s best-seller. The so called contradictions man finds in the book, are the result of man’s unaided conclusions as he exalts his own intellect above that of The Most High, and lays aside weightier matters whilst ‘straining at gnats’ with his own ingenuity. (Matthew 23/24)

Thinking himself superior than the divine wisdom revealed in the New Testament.

A call to humility is God’s first requirement. Then we have a chance of change and have a chance of the eyes of our understanding being enlightened.

We read Paul The Apostle, as he starts us on the road to understanding law, in the epistle to the Romans saying: Romans 7/

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

So sin exists – it is the universal affliction in the nature of man – and in case we are in any doubt about this – the law keeps us right.

But this is only part of the story of the good news of the gospel. Nevertheless in an increasingly lawless world, it seems man does not want to be corrected, by any kind of law.

But in the governments of all countries there exists an implementation of law, whether they implement the righteous law of God, or what is the dictates of a dreamt up regime that seeks to rule with an iron hand, calling for bondage and servitude to their selfish demands.

Breaking the law of God – and we look for punishment. Sincere confession of having broken the law and The God of all grace is willing to forgive and receive us as sons.

There is good and bad in everyone? Maybe, but perfection? – No.

That’s why the gospel offers us salvation as a free gift, if we acknowledge the scripture: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

No one escapes the punishment of the law, unless someone else takes their punishment.

Thank you Jesus for taking mine!

Encouragement…

ENCOURAGEMENT 

Everybody likes to be encouraged.

The Christian message contains much encouragement .

But the present reality in the Western world, of a falling away from God and His ways is blatantly obvious, as predicted in scripture.

There has been moral decline before – in history. So for those who don’t hold to the idea of this being the last of the last days – they can at least admit that confusion and every evil work is increasing on the earth?

Many ministries dwell solely on everything encouraging in the Word of God. And it is difficult not to – as we all need encouragement, and perhaps don’t get enough of it, especially in light of the moral climate worldwide.

We are to seek edification and to edify each other – it is what the family of God is all about.

Some cultures seem to look for the emotional high aspect of fellowship/friendship more than others. There is the emotional high expressed demonstratively – shall we say.

Then there are ‘quieter’ cultures who place more emphasis on the friendship that is demonstrated by quiet faithfulness in always being there for one another.

We all need verbal appreciation from others, starting at childhood. But we also need the helping hand that doesn’t make a song-and-dance about it’s actions.

Some Christian ministries avoid any reference to anything negative.

When the child is about to put it’s hand in the open coal fire – a warning shout of love is absolutely necessary. Even though the warning may sound shrill.

Any warning shouts of love, that include the gospel message, society needs to hear today is often not appreciated.

Of course it can be said that there are those who carry a negative ‘holier than thou’ attitude and it turns people off, when these folks hand out correction.

But the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction to the point where there is less exhortation to improvement in our walk with God.

No growth required, no correction, no call in preaching to increase Christ-likeness presented in teaching as something to be sought after as part of what being a Christian is all about. Just stroke our ‘ego’ and we shall be alright.

God’s Word would call us to balance.

Encouragement should be looked for on a broader basis than one that can only hear ‘you can make it’ ‘you are special’ and ‘you are loved’.

Lord help us to seek a closer walk with you, that is not dependant on the constant verbal propping-up that others supply, but at the same time embraces demonstrative encouragement and empathy, needed,  when we go through the valleys of despondency or discouragement.

Paul tells us that ‘no man stood with me’ (II Timothy 4/16-17), yet The Lord did. Revealing that he was a mature saint, setting us an example to follow, in making Christ our all in all, and all we need.

So let us maintain the balance between receiving encouragement from each other, and directly from The Lord Himself.- taking on board Paul’s advice to Timothy:

I Timothy 1/

Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

Prayer into the air? Part II

I continue to share just some things on the subject of prayer. There is of course much more to examine by way of learning on the subject, but I am limiting myself and rather than taking a full perspective-type look, needing quite a few blog posts, I hope there are some encouraging points in this the last, for now, on the subject.

PRAYER INTO THE AIR? Part 2 (2019)

The Lord Jesus Christ walked in constant 24/7 communion with His unseen Father. This, if you like, is why we often fall short as Christians – we don’t walk in that constant communion.

But at least we know how we are to set ourselves, what our task for the day is – it is to walk in this constant-communion with The Lover of our souls.

The Bible describes this communion in words that should be familiar to every true Christian: Galatians 5/25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

We who have received Christ, by giving Him permission to enter and make His abode with us, are ‘born of His Spirit, washed in His blood’, as the old classic hymn tells us.

He is the one in whom we live and move and have our being.

The instruction that accompanies living in The Spirit – is that we need to also walk in the Spirit, – which speaks of constant communion.

In simple terms God-conscious – all of the time. Walking in communion each moment of the day.

It is when we fail to walk in the Spirit and instead walk again as we walked before we met Christ, in the desires of the flesh, whatever they be – then we get into problems again. One of the results of this neglect can include neglecting payer.

Prayer first and foremost is the ‘Practice of the Presence of God’ – this is faith.

In that relationship of communion with God The Father through Jesus His Son – we walk as Jesus walked (I John 4/17)

All the answers we need spring-up and come into our hearts and minds as a result of that relationship.

So there is no formula for prayer, or for getting answers to prayer – there is only relationship.

Jesus gives us a profound insight in the story of Lazarus.

When lifting His eyes to heaven and praying to His Father – He is heard to say in earshot of His disciples (v42): John 11/

4Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!

 ‘I know that You always hear Me…’ is the profound insight, revealing to us that He was indeed, in constant fellowship and conversation with His Father in heaven, – in short, that is prayer!

Constant conversation internally, to such a degree that there was no need to speak audibly, but He did so for the benefit of those around Him – so that they would realise that He asked the father to raise Lazarus from the dead and the Father was about to give an instant answer to the prayer, and a miracle was about to take place.

This has to be the most dynamic kind of praying. The kind that receives instant results, as demonstrated in the life of The Lord Jesus Christ.

Daily – miracle after miracle came – through communion with His Father.

When we pray our greatest joy would be – those kind of answers. Instant coffee answers.

But our experience is somewhat different is it not? Hyper-faith messages do not allow for any other kind of answers. Some in the ministry, consciously or unconsciously create a kind of exclusive mystique around their ministry.

This would lead us to believe that all their prayers, are all instantly answered and bring their desired result. Why? Because they have greater faith than the rest of us, or so we are (by some ministries) led to believe.

So that if you do not get your answers exactly as you have asked – it is your unbelief that is the problem. This is the impression some are left with, after listening to faith preachers.

The truth is these ministries may well be strong in faith, and have proved God on many occasions, but often large portions of Scripture are abandoned or not referred to in this kind of preaching.

Taking this ‘lack of faith accusation’ on board some lose the actual faith that they had in the first place. Concluding it was not enough, and therefore they are weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Condemnation comes next – and we know who that comes from.

It is true that we all need at some time to be upbraided for our unbelief. But make sure you know who is doing the correcting!

For Christians – God Corrects and doesn’t condemn – there is a difference, but many Christians take condemnation from the devil thinking it is correction from The Lord.

II Corinthians 11/32. 

But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

God does correct in love.

Mark 16/14

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen…

On other occasions The Lord similarly corrected the disciples for their unbelief. (e.g. Matthew 16/11)

But supernatural things have taken place without any kind of human origination, other than the maintaining of a relationship with The Lord on a daily basis.

An example would be Peter, who decided to go to the housetop and pray before a meal.

Without any kind of ‘special’ faith on this occasion, he simply entered into his normal communion with The Lord in prayer, and suddenly he fell into a trance, and had a vision, in which he was directed by God in a certain way (for full story read Acts 10 v9).

My point is – God sovereignly planned (i.e. therefore the Father’s will) that he should be supernaturally directed to certain people, through the giving of this vision.

So this beyond-the-ordinary spiritual experience did not require greater faith on his part. He had a trance experience, not to be confused with demonically induced trance states, those who are involved in the occult – seek to attain.

For the Christian it is – relationship through prayer. Prayer maintaining relationship.

When we are in relationship with God and His word, and things don’t happen exactly according to our hopes or desires, even after much prayer. This is one of the chief discouragements for believers.

What happened? Why was the prayer not answered?

Already we are asking questions.

Now God can handle us asking Him a question – but we can’t question God.

See the difference? When we genuinely do not understand – we can ask The Lord any question.

But when things do not work out as we think they should – many question God, but really it is an accusation, not a genuine question.

We cannot accuse God, there is no counsel against Him. There is one accuser of the brethren and of God. (Revelation 12/10. Genesis 3/1).

The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith – it always struck me how on the surface it seemed to me, that He changed the subject.

Luke 17/

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

If you have faith as small as…

Jesus was just stating the facts. He was not increasing their faith. He felt it more important to say what faith could bring.

We desire to be honest. But desire also to maintain a good confession of faith.

So let’s settle for holding on to the faith we have, that is nourished through relationship, and not get carried away into the realm of reasoning that steals the faith we have.

Answers? They must come as relationship becomes more intimate.