Category Archives: empathy

Cholesterol

CHOLESTEROL

Eating my peanuts one by one
Can’t say it’s any more fun
But the doc said my blood count call
Getting near – too much cholesterol

But what to do?
Not exactly a dilemma – that’s true
Still one would like to know
What food to forgo

So look at this – look at that
What to eat – what have we got?
Too much of this – too much – of fat
Chew ten nuts – instead of all that I’ve got

Restraint on hands – into the pockets
Before cholesterol skyrockets
But at the end of the day
I’m still confused – so I’d better pray

If you’re like me you want a balanced diet
To stop cholesterol running riot
Still – ‘we live to eat another day’
Well – really – what else can I say?

Stay where you are?

STAY WHERE YOU ARE?

I have been leading prayer meetings. And preaching on a Sunday. And writing blog posts.
Art will soon be ‘SPRING-ing’ up again.
When I sort out my work shed (studio)

Meantime…

I would like the inhabitants of the world to do exactly what I tell them.
But I am not a betting man.
So I won’t bet on it coming to pass.

I was thinking about the many thought processes people engage in. Whether it’s some mathematical equation – or learning of a medical kind, or maybe re-reading your scientific notes on the ‘origin of the species’.

Think of the intellectual horns that are often locked in many different fields, as view opposes view. Opinion versus opinion.

A ruler named Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” (speaking as he was to Paul the apostle).

To the average intellect – it is plain to be seen that this Ruler – was somewhat disturbed from his comfort zone, as Paul the apostle presented a message to his ears, and to those close by.

Festus was in a certain place intellectually – and cemented into his own way of going, his own way of living. Set in his ways, as we say – and feeling uncomfortable – he grasped for a response from his own reference data, filed away under the heading of *’my personal philosophy about life’.

Everybody has one of *those, so it is not hard to conclude that he was no exception.

A file containing the things we have established consciously and unconsciously that determines our lifestyle, goals, aspirations, outlook on a myriad of subjects, and – as we think in our hearts – so we are.

Enter Paul – disturber of our certitudes shaker of our mattress and bedclothes – turning-over our bed and throwing us onto the floor of his gospel.

React, react, react. Only way to handle this intruder – who has come to turn our world upside down. This would demand a change in us (were we to entertain it) – therefore ‘much learning does make him mad’, is the most comfortable response. Warding off his intrusion, and the intrusion of Christ.

‘I will stay where I am thank you very much’ – tucked up in the comfort of a bed of half-truths.

Then King (Herod-) Agrippa II, the other man in authority – responded: “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am…”

Acts 26.

To Just Walk in…

TO JUST WALK IN…?

Is everything all right?
Is everything fine?
How’s your life?
– well that’s for you to know
Who am I – to try to tell you
and intrude
with my bitter pill to swallow?
Or even affirm your chosen path
We haven’t met yet…
So words are words
That can or cannot
help you out
Blogging posts – as in scattering seeds
Some read
and inwardly digest
But many move on to another address
The desire to change you?
Get you on board?
Get you liking – approving –
or patting backs?
What are we after – you and I?
What is it that motivates your try?
I mean – shall we just quit while ahead?
Go walk in the park or rest in bed?
Why blog or post or write or do
The things in life we choose?
After all – we are worlds apart
we have nothing in common
we are strangers – and all the rest
So c’mon there is no bottle to break out
or celebration of companionship or
friendship as we are all away
into our next activity
or next sleep
before the day
Ships passing in the night
The majority say goodbye
Where does your society meet?
Your society of two or three
Lunch, dinner, out at the show
That friend you keep coming back to
They alone will know
what makes you – who you are?
What makes you tick?
A friendship bond you have in common
Few and far between indeed
Still ‘how are you?’ – still seems right
Nothing more to add
It’s still hello and goodbye
Because on this internet
I have never been flabbergasted
With an invite
To come and visit you
As in old pen-pal style.
Flight across the world to your domain
To meet you there in your comfort zone
A stranger like me – to just walk in?
Don’t think so…
Would’n know where to begin
Still – if a whisper of an invite
You did make…?
– my! – that’s taking a chance
Certainly not one I’m about to take
Still – great waters from small rivulets
do grow
So stages of friendship –
acquaintances -introductions – meets –
getting to know – similar tastes –
faith or belief –
All in a day – in the life
Of all us guys ’n gals
I guess this is about possibilities
Never realised
It just makes me smile to write
such as this
And think of the ‘multitudes’
who read our stuff
who will never go further
than a mutual glean
of each others lives
Mr. and Mrs. Post(s)
that’s you – that’s me
Still
Hope everything turns out right.
We all wish distant – passing – persons
a good day
Have one – cause that means you…
‘To be continued…’
or something like that…
will have to do.

Questions

QUESTIONS

What’s in a poem?
What’s in a few lines?
Is life full of new poems?
Full of new lines?

Now you have answered
that question

I call into question –
questioning
Questioning natures –
all shuffling –
clanking together like
freight train trucks
question one – question two
How many questions
before
we are through?

Questioning this and
questioning that
Questioning seems to be
all that we’ve got

You have just resolved
your query
about that bitter pill
next in line – a question – still

“Ask me another…” she said
That’s how we started when
questioning our mother

The questions are higher
and loftier now
They hang in the air –
no experts dismantle
their infinite ponder

I wonder
– as you do
what other questions
are due?

With a sigh and a chew
we ponder
the ‘way up yonder’

Looking for a roll that is called
There’s a Lamb’s book of Life
To contemplate
To gaze on
Seeking the answer to our state

The questions
you question
but see no way through

The answers – we miss
as we pass them by
staring us in the face
We swallow them whole

We prefer more
questions
than the answers
He sought to bestow

Unsettled minds –
cannot rest
on answers
– at their best

Conclude we must
For tomorrow we die
The gravestone’s answer:
here you lie

Yet still the questions
carry on

I would suggest to you
the questions will stop
at the buffer zone

The answer and the question
will both be gone

Through the glass darkly
we see…

The filing cabinet
of questions galore
spilling onto the floor

Questions in limited repose
giving birth to new, I suppose

Members of
the question family
crawling before they walk
trying to answer the anomaly

Questions are good
or not appropriate
and bad
When it comes to
matters of faith

Faith by His word
can be found
Answers triumph over
those who are
‘question-bound’

One more question
Before I go
Will you let answers
enable you to know?

Or again I say…
again I say…
Do questions –
not answers –
make your day?

The Sack

THE SACK

You stretch yourself
and scratch yourself
Time to enter the new day
Unfinished breakfast and on your way
Out the door
The same journey nothing to explore
Bus, train.
Wait! – Turn the film back

Let it run backwards
You are here again
To here you have returned
Not well
Clothes off
Pyjamas on
Into bed you go
No work today
Rolling over
on your side
In bed you will abide

No, maybe not!
You stretch yourself
and scratch yourself
Time to re-enter the new day
No breakfast – already eaten
The same journey – only now late.
Bus, train
Fast forward to your rush upstairs
You are here again – work I mean
You have returned
Not well
Clothes on
You arose from the sack

To stop you getting the sack…

Blogger’s Relationship

Blogger’s relationship

I’m in your routine
And you are in mine
We do not
exchange handshakes
or hugs
But you – I have met
I – you have met
We meet in your words
We meet in mine
I leave you with what I say
I’m left with your thoughts
Switch off –
too much speculation
Switch on –
to what speaks
Give the second chance
to what is said
As with you –
so with me
You are in my routine
I’m in yours
By your likes
I know
you stop by
and moments are
given to me
As I give moments to you
But that is it
Time to move on
to the next one
in our routine
As each receive
their moments
in our moments
we give
You are in my life
I am in your life
But that’s it –
Goodbye ‘til
the next time

When I will be
in your mind
by my words
And you in mine
by your words
This relationship will
start and stop and
stay and go
Until the next day
When you will enter
my routine –
routinely
yet again.

Infinite One

INFINITE ONE

Intellectual bankruptcy –
that’s what I reach
When the grey matter
runs out of steam

The limitations
of finiteness
plain to be seen

Not far to go
one paragraph
ought to do
– to show

clearly we are through

Through with
our ‘great capacity’…
– a dud –
– a damp squib –
Running out of breath

Breath easy – at the infinite
Speak easy – to the infinite

Because a listening ear
is promised
But only as we bow
and give way

How can we do otherwise?
Wise in our own conceits
will never do

Obvious to me.

Obvious to you?

We need the lover
of our souls
to make us whole

From without – to within
Jesus knocks at the door
And brings the preparation
of the gospel of peace

To finiteness –
Infiniteness gives His words
To rebuke –
to love – to comfort – to save

Infinite – finite
Infinite – mingles with the finite
’til one gives way

You lose the chess game
every time.
You have never
better words
in this
scrabble-esque game
than what is supplied by
the Infinite One
Jesus –
the Only Begotten Son.

Misunderstood?

MISUNDERSTOOD?

Communication all amok
Regardless of the time on the clock
Happens any time of the week
Through any means by which we speak
Social media as it’s known today
Many ways to have your say

But will you have a clue about my words?
If you don’t get it – just listen to the birds
Might as well, when all’s said and done
‘Cause not understanding isn’t much fun
You think I mean a certain thing
But it’s different hymn sheets from which we sing

I make my sentences plain
But you ask me to ‘come again?’
Misunderstanding at an epidemic high
“What antidote is to be found” we sigh
You hear it – as you want it to fit
You reshape my meaning ’til it’s counterfeit

With the eclectic mix of:
‘your guess as good as mine’
Many seek – but never find
Everything’s relative – and nothing’s concrete
Regardless of what is said –
or how much I repeat

The Like button is hit – but I must admit
I still don’t think you’re getting it
Then again how am I to know?
Because your visit is touch and go
A little disconcerting – when
you interpret it
to mean
something I don’t get

“How can they get that-out-of-that?”
They have made it – what it is not
Broadly known as New Age
Pan-everything-ism – out of it’s cage
It makes meaning – mean what it wants
‘I will arrest your words’ it taunts

At the end of the day there is no success
Found in many ‘likes’ – if it doesn’t
Process – information correctly as it should be
You pat me on the back but we don’t agree
I said ‘this’ – you thought ‘that’
Still – no point in entering into combat

I will still be your friend though we disagree
When you don’t see eye to eye with me
Word dilemmas – communication breakdown
You think to ‘credit – where credit’s due’
But It’s misplaced
because it’s not what I meant

I’m thinking –
we all need to repent.

Negative/Positive Truth

NEGATIVE/POSITIVE TRUTH
(Two ‘brands’)

There are many, what we call, negative attitudes carried by all kinds of different people, from all walks of life.

To counteract this there is a ‘brand’ of Christianity that tries to go the opposite direction.

It propagates a positive-speech only message.

Everything must be said in a non-corrective fashion. We mustn’t use any words that give the idea that we are excluding people from the camp.

Everyone should be embraced with the understanding that we all need the Grace of God.

Never point out sin, or give people the impression that you are not an understanding person. That you don’t have sympathy and empathy for them.

Don’t preach at people, accept them just as they are. Give them mental massages, rather than mental messages.

Don’t mention their faults, in case they feel rejected.

Preach lesson 56 in the book of 100 lessons, don’t start at lesson one, per chance it’s something that has a hint of fault finding in it.

Teach them straight away from the spiritual ‘University’ curriculum. Don’t start at the spiritual ‘Primary School’ text books, per chance they feel – you are saying they are ‘stupid’.

What’s that? ‘They have never visited a Christian – ‘school of thought’ – at all?’

Doesn’t matter, throw them in at the deep end of the pool, don’t start by demonstrating the swim strokes, lest they feel disqualified from the Olympic swimming team standards, feeling inadequate because they don’t measure up, through you – pointing out – what they are doing wrong.

This approach says – being positive must not allow the antithesis. Start with adhering to the premise that there are no negatives.

“People need loved not corrected”, is usually how it goes.

And so as this approach to Christian preaching and teaching takes place, (with no balance to it) ‘spiritually’ spoilt children are raised, who have no spiritual backbone and end up flighting from local church to local church. They move around looking for a fresh ‘massage’. (Romans 16/18)

An example of a response from those used to the positive affirmation only message might be: (e.g.)
“Someone told me that they preferred the coat I wore last week than the one I’m wearing now. So I’m out of here. I don’t need that kind of negative talk!’

A lot of this ‘positives only’ kind of teaching/preaching stems from the idea that we must accept people exactly as they are, after all if it wasn’t for the Grace of God, in accepting us, how could we possibly stand?

This is true.

But God has accepted born again believers with the purpose of raising us into maturity, in our walk with Jesus.

To do this He wants to change us. The key to growing in a right way, is knowing how to appropriate the message of God’s grace properly, through our experience of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit in our lives.

However the very fact He wants to change us, incorporates the idea, that we are needing to be changed from something to something, in the first place. (II Corinthians 3/18)

It involves a purging process. We cannot be changed from sinful behaviour to that which is acceptable with The Lord God – if we don’t know what the negative behaviour is – that we are meant to be changed from, – in the first place.

We should not sit as ‘holier than thou…’ in our heart attitude to our fellow man. We all need to experience change together. (Isaiah 65/5).

But there is something missing in the ‘positive only’ message, that brings us out of balance into a lop-sided pseudo Biblical stance.

Immediately someone tries to point out what is wrong with others, they are labelled a ‘legalist’, accused of standing with the devil and so on, (and believe me I have had my fill of real legalism).

They get labelled ‘self-righteous’, throwers of stones that they should throw at themselves.

‘Judge not that you be not judged’ is conveniently pulled out of the ‘positive only’ storehouse – a scripture they use not to inform but rather (contradicting their own ethos) to accuse with.

And in reaction to the man who wants to point out that sin is a real problem, that needs sorted (he admits – starting with his own sin first) – low and behold those who are positive thinking (dare I say it – ‘junkies’) start to accuse the same man in language they claim to have previously found abhorrent.

Failing to realise that they are now suddenly in violation of their own positive-only stance, by pointing out (negatively) – the faults of those who point out faults!

The point is – life is both positive and negative. Let’s be real. That’s not only a good place to start – but the only place to start.

Sin is man’s problem and dilemma – to overlook the existence of sin and rebellion and selfishness, to overlook that the world is in, and has always been in – a mess – through rebellion against a Holy and Loving God, is the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ blindness scenario, (a future post on this to come).

NB: The negative (to be pointed out) is sin and the positive is goodness, (the goodness of God) – per chance this (in the context of this post) needs to be clarified.

Now let’s pause here and mention another ‘brand’ of Christianity: The hard-nosed, often hard hearted, religious Pharisaism of legalistic and hell imposing judgementalists, who consider they are specially chosen to condemn the world to hell on God’s behalf.

They condemn everyone and anyone who does not conform exactly to their particular Manifesto.

Condemning and dismissing all and sundry. Imposing the sentence of death and annihilation on anyone who dances on a dance floor, or takes a little wine for their stomach sake, or tries to look clean and well dressed, (such vanity they would claim).

They are they – who strain at gnats and swallow camels, (Matthew 23/24).

Who live in a demonic dictatorship mentality, where they sit as ‘judges of all the earth’. They are ‘soaking wet’ with – ‘cultish’ manipulation and control, with no desire to set anyone free from anything.

But rather they are religiously (hell) bent on getting others to join them and become ‘exclusive’ as the elite propagators of a death cult. (take your pick with regards to what such groups choose as their label, Christian or otherwise), (Matthew 23/15).

So what is missing in these two ‘brands’ of Christianity? (we could mention other religions that pretty much fit these descriptions also).

In the first ‘brand’ there is shallow acceptance, easy believe-ism, addressing their audience as though there is no problem whatsoever, and they are free to join the ‘love-feast’. You are accepted and there is no need to change.

The other ‘brand’ have outward-conformity rules that all must strictly adhere to, there is no promise of ‘Life and life more abundant’. (John 10/10)

Only adherence to their narrow-minded religious rule book, will bring acceptance. Step out of line once – and there you go – on your way to hell again.

(There is such a place as hell, make no mistake, but who is going there, is alone decided by the judge of all the earth, who will do what is right). (Genesis 18/25).

So the obvious word that comes to mind when addressing ‘what is missing’ in both these messages is the word balance.

The term ‘A word in season’ refers to a word that is right for the situation it addresses.

(Proverbs 15/23) -A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
The knowledge we communicate whether negative truth or positive truth, is dependant on the need of the hour.

I needed badly to hear that I was a mess (the negative truth). Before I could reach out for the delivering hand of Jesus Christ. He took me out of my ignorance and unbelief through sin, – into the truth and experience of His Glorious Gospel of Peace (the positive truth), (Romans 3/23) (John 3/16).

I am so thankful for His Saving Grace, that even when I was DEAD in trespasses and sins – He came to point it out and positively offered me his love and companionship, supplying His liberating changing ability to set me free from the dominion of my own selfishness. (Romans 6/14).

Having begun in a relationship with Him – I will not be made perfect by my own unaided willpower, but rather through a personal daily relationship with Him. (Galatians 3/3).

I am so thankful that I saw the need to be guilty first (the negative truth) before I could lose my guilt, as the highest authority in the universe forgave me (the positive truth), (Romans 3/19) (I John 1/9).

(Questions: ken.riddles@btinternet.com)

The Mysteries

The Mysteries

Dictionary definition of –
Mystique
noun
a quality of mystery, glamour, or power associated with someone or something: the mystique surrounding the monarchy.
• an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialised knowledge.

There is a mystique that is created around certain individuals, cultish groups, or religions.
It is the part (copied and pasted below) of the above dictionary definition that I have in mind:

• an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialised knowledge.

An air of secrecy that can baffle those who seemingly do not have this (person’s) specialised knowledge.

To manipulate or control the minds of cult followers, this aspect of ‘specialised knowledge’ is propagated in the ears of the followers by the ‘guru’ figure who seeks unquestioning obedience.

This can lead to bazaar acts of subservience to the leaders wishes. This deception can illicit blind loyalty which can be expressed in all kinds of ways, inclusive of sexual deviance, all cultivated by an idea that this person has superior knowledge, outside the norm.

Often these individuals claim god-given enlightenment, and that they are ‘special’.

That they are cut from a ‘superior’ cloth than the rest of mankind. And therefore unfaltering and un-altering obedience is the obvious response to this superior being – (don’t think so).

For everything that is one hundred percent genuine in the life of The Lord Jesus Christ – there is an exact deceptive copy.

You name them and you will find that – for every genuine attribute of His – there is a false alternative.

There is a false pseudo version of all He is. And all of His wonderful attributes are claimed – to be also found in many false Christ’s or cult leaders who deceive others into the kind of sick subservience they demand.

Jesus does not violate the free gift of volition he has given to all of mankind. The free gift of ‘free-will’. The power of choice.

In the interests of destroying what destroys – He will eventually step in and wind things up for good.

This will come in His timing and no one knows the hour or the day that this will happen.

But only then will He completely overrule the free-will of man from His standpoint of infinitely superior wisdom, and in the benevolent interest of all of His creation. Responding in pure righteousness to the litany of sinful wrong decisions since time began.

In the light of all of this – it is important that we (as the scripture says:) ‘believe not every spirit’. (I John 4/1)

But the Christian gospel is brought to us by God (who is a Spirit) and unfortunately many will believe the lying manipulation of deceivers who claim – ‘Lo here is the Christ or there is the Christ…’ (Matthew 24/23)

All done to usually seek some kind of advantage over their followers for their own gain and the feathering of their own nest. (Unfortunately this can creep into the Christian church also).

Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ it was said of Him – that ‘No man ever spoke like this man’ (John 7/46)
He was and is the Son of God.
He was one-hundred-percent genuine. In Him was found no sin.

Many however – were the accusations railed against Him. The accusations were false. But He was/is true.

Unfortunately no one can claim His spotless, blameless character/nature. Because all have sinned and fallen short of His glory and standard.

All includes you and I.

And so to claim in light of what I have just written that I can claim to have knowledge that is not common to all, might at first sound like a contradiction to the above paragraphs.

Lining myself up to be tarred with the same brush as those referred to above.

But consider the words of God and what He claims for His followers –

Addressing His followers –
Colossians 1:9
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
God desires Christians to have and therefore supplies knowledge of His will – and the point I’m making in the context of this post – He therefore supplies/makes available – wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Not everyone has that wisdom and spiritual understanding filling them.
But it is offered to Christ’s followers, and is part of their inheritance as believers.

This is not given to make us superior or to court the blind obedience of others, but it is something that is God-given, and sets us apart from others, through the gift of God, and His unearned favour.

Here we read of this understanding that He has given us.
It has been given by revelation. The Son of God has come and given us an understanding.

There was a time when we didn’t have it – like many who still don’t. But then the Holy Spirit entered our lives and He has ‘given us an understanding…’

1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Listen too, to what the Apostle Paul says:

1 Corinthians 4:1
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Stewards of what? The mysteries of God.

Revealing that what we know is a mystery.

Here is a dictionary definition of mystery:
something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain…

Difficult, even impossible to understand or explain.

Yet the revelation of these mysteries, has been given to true… (notice I say ‘true’, as in ‘genuine’, for every true genuine professor of Christ – there is a false one)
…given to genuine followers of Christ, and we steward the mysteries carefully.

Does that mean we want others to consider us superior, or a cut above the rest, or that we want others to follow us, in some kind of repugnant subservient way?

Not at all. The only way anyone should follow me – is if I take them and introduce them to Jesus Christ.

Let me know if you desire directions – after which you can go to Him yourself.
………………………………………….
MATTHEW 13/10-12
10 And the disciples came and said to Him (Jesus), “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you (His followers) to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

(bold highlighting – mine throughout)