Category Archives: experience

Frustration

FRUSTRATION

Frustration – a common experience to all – in all walks of life.

Frustration occurs in different contexts.

Waiting on a shop to open – twenty minutes past it’s official opening time. A feeling of frustration.

The repeated bad habit of someone else, that effects you adversely – but which they seem to constantly repeat when in your presence. A feeling of frustration.

People telling you they will do something – which they repeatedly fail to do. A feeling of frustration.

A person you have hired to do a job and they keep postponing to another day. When the day comes – they postpone again. A feeling of frustration.

Someone in a car in front of you – who dilly-dally’s – at 20 miles an hour in a forty mile zone. A feeling of frustration.

When a flea – yes a flea – you know those things you rarely get but expose their presence when that itch starts and the lump appears – you want to get that flea out into the open to end it’s life. (Do they still exist? 😊)

So we need to get those thoughts of frustration out into the open and…

Regardless of the problem that causes frustration – often it has a devil on it’s back.

So trace and destroy. Really know what it is that is causing the frustration and take God’s remedy for it.

For the Christian it is turning to the Word of God and

letting… 

Colossians 2/

5 …this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

We are called to constantly give way to God The Holy Spirit as we appropriate His mind found in His Word. His thoughts kill frustration. Back in the day when people dropped ‘acid’. It was a common exhortation from Christian to Christian – ‘hey man drop some Matthew, Mark Luke or John’.

That takes care of your woes!

Job tells us…

Job 23/

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Frustration is an emotion, but commonly besets us all. It is having the presence of mind to draw upon The One who supplies all our need through His life-giving, frustration-destroying Word.

Philippians 4/

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Attributes

SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES

I Corinthians 16/

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

To the unbeliever the words of this verse from the Bible may as well be in a foreign language.

They probably could make something of it. But within the confines of their own natural experience of life.

Firstly – all words in scripture are given by God – in that He is inspiring and influencing and empowering the person who is penning the Word(s) – and they are not describing natural experience(s) but spiritual.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

And if you have not had the spiritual experience of encountering The Living God – then the words can only be interpreted with the natural mind and in reference to common-to-man experiences.

For instance: ‘stand fast in…faith’ (leaving God out of the equation) could be wrongly interpreted as simply ‘don’t give up’.

Everyone knows they shouldn’t ‘give up – but rather – see-the-thing-through’. Whatever the ‘thing’, or exercise is, in which they are engaged.

That is natural ‘faith’, faith in yourself, stickability, natural empowerment and so on. Same with the other words, – brave, strong, love.

But it isn’t the faith spoken of here. It isn’t the strength spoken of here. It isn’t the courage spoken of here. And it isn’t the love spoken of here.

In simple terms it refers to faith in Christ Jesus. Kind of obvious right? When the whole bible is an exhortation to believe in God.

He, if we truly know Him, supplies the enablement necessary to maintain these attributes in our lives.

Of course we can all, (with self-effort), be strong, brave, have self-belief, and have loving feelings, Christian or non-Christian.

But the difference is – the existence of a relationship with God.

So the question is – What or who is the source of our strength? Is it natural or spiritual?

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul clearly knew the source of his strength, clearly stated in the above verse. And perhaps like no one else in the New Testament apart from The Saviour Himself, Paul needed that strength to see him through the hardships he suffered as an apostle.

Christ is the source and supply of all the Godly attributes we need in our lives, appropriated by faith and supplied by the supernatural enhancement of The Holy Spirit.

Some know of this. Many don’t. Comprehending or accepting what I speak of – is not the result of philosophical argument-winning or convincing, but rather is the result of encountering God.

I Corinthians 2/

…5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Back and Forth

BACK AND FORTH

Once long ago I stood in the street

And heard the coal-train-trucks clinking together

Coal transported – as I am transported

– Back

I looked long ago at the Gas Tower

Grey and brooding in it’s changing shades

I shake myself – all is gone – I’m back to the

– Present

In times gone past I ventured over the bridge

Homeward bound – with sideburns and hair

And an insulated world of music and fashion my

– Adornment 

I look at the children now

And know they must make their journey

To the land of memories-recalled and

– Contemplated

Like I do now

 

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!”

What it looks like…

What being a genuine Christian – looks like:

John 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is an encounter spiritually with The Christ of God.

Bob Dylan lyric…

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

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 6:2

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

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

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

the true worshipers will worship the Father IN SPIRIT…

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

…AND TRUTH;

for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

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

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

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

Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

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

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

As I ask you the same question?

 

Miscellany

MISCELLANY

This blog started as a 3-fold sharing idea. I would share my paintings, my poems and Christian writing.

I stopped sharing my paintings approximately one year or so ago. I post only the odd one.

I have been preaching/teaching the bible for almost fifty years. Not in the capacity of a full-time pastor as they say – but e.g. as a joint leader in various churches, whilst holding down a job in a local newspaper as a typesetter.

I am like most people who are getting on in years, the older I get, the more I realise that life is extremely short/brief, even if you reach the grand ol’ age of Dame Vera Lynn, who passed away recently.

I would like the same amount of years over again. Highly unlikely I’m afraid.

It’s a bit like The Lord Jesus said: …The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few:…

There is plenty of work still to be done, and the privilege of serving The King of kings would create the desire for many more years to come, in which to do so.

I believe we are all unique. What we do – is often the result of what we are. It is meant to be that way.

The scripture instructs us –

Roman 12/6

…Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Though the context is spiritual gifts – I believe it is not ‘arresting’ scripture to conclude that it also applies to our natural/personality gifts.

I don’t think we should be overly concerned with how good or bad we are in expressing our particular gift, but are meant to do the best we can.

I have been painting since schooldays and writing also.

My poetry is a mixture of all kinds. Sometimes personal, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes just playing with words, sometimes (I hope) with the injection of profundity, other times I use lightness.

My painting is the same.

My preaching is always with the endeavour to ‘rightly divide the word of truth.’ Knowing that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

My expectation of what friendship brings, has somewhat diminished over the years. The realities of life are sobering.

If I did not have a friend I have proven – ‘sticks closer than a brother’ [Prov. 18/24] – I fear to think how empty life would be. (His name is Jesus).

Even when I don’t sense a lot in the spiritual realm – I know Christ’s Word is totally reliable, and it assures me I will never be forsaken by this God/Saviour/Friend I serve.

An observation I have made in life is to notice that there are two aspects of friendship-forming. Two ways if you like that we engage in the human experience of forming relationships.

There are the ‘initiators’ and the ‘responders’.

We are all initiators and responders, to varying degrees.

The percentage break-up of these two activities varies from person to person.

Some folks never initiate anything.

Often they communicate in ways such as: “We must get together for a coffee!” They never do. Or “ We must have you round some night.” But the invitation never reaches the date and time stage.

If you initiate the get together, they gladly respond. And they can be the ‘nicest’ people you know, but they are 90 percent responders and 10 per cent initiators.

There can be all sorts of reasons for this. Some folks are just ‘hyper-active’ and they are always initiating events. It has been said that in a church all the work of service is carried out by 10 per cent of the congregation. Probably their initiation percentage is high.

It causes incredulity to arrive on the doorstep of our minds, when we e.g. take someone out for a treat. ‘Wine and dine’ folks as it is referred to, and they assure us of the wonderful time they had, and how they too wish to initiate such an outing in return.

Only to find that months or longer go by and you never hear from them again.

Now of course the saving grace in this is found in the following scriptures –

Colossians 3/

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

And yet another principle:

Luke 6/35:

…lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

This gives cause for rejoicing when we do good to others, or offer friendship. Much as we have their good in mind – our reward, our satisfaction if you like is that it is pleasing to God and it is the answer of a good conscience to The Lord.

Doing it heartily, and hoping for nothing in return, tests our mettle. 

When people say and don’t do, we will experience frustration, (let’s be real) but what we do with that frustration is turn it into prayer and if we need to – into forgiveness.

A faithful friend is hard to find – David found one in Jonathon. It is as Christ changes us from the inside out – that we shall be able to give love when it is not returned.

This is why He, the Christ of God, shone in His perfection to show us how mankind aught to live.

Praise be to His Great Name!

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.

Not getting through

NOT GETTING THROUGH

Now there ain’t much extra I can say

Cause I’ve been talking since the beginning of May

You’re a mystery and I can’t catch the full picture anyway

At least that’s – what I now feel to say

 

The other full picture is far far away beyond the clouds

The clouds of more than night and day

And as I mystically stand to pray

You are out the door – hurriedly on your way

 

And when we meet up again you don’t engage

When I speak – you say:

 “I don’t wish to know that – kindly leave the stage”

I’m – taken aback by your coldness – I feel under siege

 

You want to say destructive things

While a posy of peace is what I bring

You don’t hear a word of my attempt to assuage

The anger you are dishing out like some kind of plague

 

Your human heart is seized-up and bound

All packed together and hard as the dusty ground

To disentangle the fishing line – best to start in your prime

All confused and fussed-up and breaking down

 

Try to get some help as you let out another yelp

And I dash for your shoulders to keep you on your feet

I knew there was a purpose in my words as we meet

Eventually you have to listen –

you think my spoken words are deep

 

At least we have become half-friends

We might never meet again

I give you a piece of paper with some kind of message

Plus my address – email – telephone –

but still you won’t let me – meet your need

 

I put my arm around you one more time

Look you in the eye and see everything’s still not fine

You half heard all I had to say

There’s love waiting when you get back

I hope you find peace and get on the right spiritual track

talking to AMSTERDAM

Talking to AMSTERDAM

Once again coming across old literature, caused me to look back on my evangelistic visits to Amsterdam.

Flying to the Netherlands, my wife’s home country.

I would ‘tithe’ a week per year, of my holidays from work, to go on the streets and into cafes etc. to engage in conversations with all kinds of people. Wherever I found a willing, listening ear.

And of course it takes all sorts to make a world.

I took an 8-person team there once for the same reason.

Otherwise I usually went with a friend or a few times on my own. I of course acquired friends who lived in Amsterdam and would sometimes work with others in local churches.

‘Gossiping the gospel’ as it is sometimes referred to.

It’s been a while since I was last there, on such a mission.

I wonder how empty Amsterdam is at the moment?

Those were enjoyable times. It appealed to my ‘hippie’ personality, (if there is such a thing).

Any Christians reading this post, might inform me, if hitting the streets (pre-covid 19) to spread the gospel of Christ, is still on the agenda?

If so, let me know of such outreaches that you know of, so my enthusiasm for the younger-generation-servants-of-Christ, can be boosted, knowing the baton is still being carried.

Putting seeds-in-motion, was my foundational  motivation, in going to the streets of Amsterdam.

The bible tells us that one sows, another waters – but God alone can give the increase of the shared message of the gospel. (I Cor. 3/6)

If there was ever a time (though there always has been), when the good news of God’s love is greatly needed in a world staggering around in zombi-like fashion, needing answers – it is now.

Now indeed is the accepted time (II Corinthians 6/2).

I enjoyed my times encountering all kinds of weird and wonderful people, and of course, had the bonus of going to visit the art galleries.😎

As the old cliche goes: ‘I’m not as young as I used to be…’

But watch me as I slap my wrists and tell myself: ‘That’s no excuse – get out there.’

Anybody want to go with me?

See you post-covid 19!

Desire

DESIRE 

Matthew 14/

But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.

(also Mark 6)

As I continue my clear-out/re-appraisal of all things on paper.😎

I came across a sermon of mine entitled – DESIRE.

I have not looked at what I have written.

Desire – have you any thoughts on the subject?

Desire – common to humankind.

The King James uses the word ‘lust’. The dictionary defines this as:-

noun [mass noun]

strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust for her had returned.

[in singular] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.

  • (usually lusts) mainly Theology a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful: lusts of the flesh.

So even the dictionary in directing us to the term, includes theology.

But I’m guessing most folks in the 21st century reserve the word ‘lust’ for strong sexual desire.

So let’s stick to the word desire, good or bad.

We think of King’s sitting triumphantly on their thrones, with their ‘subjects’ doing obeisance. 

Perhaps the king waves his hand for all to be silent. And he offers the pleasing servant whatever he/she (the servant) – desires.

I’m sure this has happened quite a few times in history, with various monarchs.

In Herod’s case – “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” [see Mark 6]

Offered to a young lady who had pleased his other desires with her dance.

She in turn – lays aside her own desires in her desire to please her mother. (After all – a murder ‘prize’ instead of half the kingdom?!!)

Outcome of these whimsical desires? – A godly upright man is beheaded.

As any man would – John must have wondered if God would deliver him from his imprisonment? Instead of deliverance he was left with a returned greeting from Christ.

Luke 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 And that very hour He (Jesus) cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

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. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Many wonder at the loss of the lives of stalwarts, self-denying front-line workers in this pandemic. Laying their lives down in service to others.

I wonder too. God help them all.

The tragedy of lost lives in a Pandemic – into the thousands.

See also below The tragedy of lost lives at the hand of another sinful tyrant called Herod…

At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod, insecure in his position of authority, commanded that all the male children, under a certain age, be put to death:

Matthew 2/

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 

“A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

Refusing to be comforted,

Because they are no more.”

For many this Pandemic has brought great loss and great pain.

Today is it true to say – society mourns that bit more for the loss of children than adults? I think so.

Usually because they (children) have their whole lives before them. Herod’s desire was power and pre-eminence.

Amidst this pandemic, we desire all tragedy to end. Many desire their loved-ones to recover.

Amongst God’s desires, is the desire, that mankind would listen to Him.

And that we would return to Him and turn from sin that produces the actions of a man like Herod – to mention only one aspect of the manifestation of rebellion against God and His ways.

What do we desire?

We desire this pandemic to go away. And I pray to that end.

We desire comfort for the loved ones who have lost relatives – for this we pray.

We desire a better world.

But what else does God desire?

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Partaker

PARTAKER 

After fifty years walking with The Lord Jesus Christ, I feel often that I have only begun to understand the ways of God.

The more I think I know – the more it is clear to me that I have so much to learn.

But that does not surprise me.

Quite some time ago I came to the realisation that God allows the born again Christian to partake of His divine nature.

2 Peter 1:4

…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

All that is in God’s personality. All that is in God’s character. All that is given to the Christian by inheritance as the free gift of God – is partaken of – by faith.

So God’s understanding too, is partaken of.

We continue to partake by faith and a good conscience which some having forsaken, end up floundering like a ship in a storm.

1 Timothy 1:18-20

… having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck…

A good conscience gives us boldness towards God, which, as a result, means our heart condemns us not.

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

But I want to stay with, underline, and emphasise the fact that we are PARTAKERS.

IT’S WONDERFUL – to partake of Christ.

Hebrews 3:14

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

So each truth we see – in fellowship with Christ, is like looking into a room or a palace where we see all the most beautiful, pure and loveliest things imaginable.

But we are at the threshold, and much as we would love to enter the room and partake of everything all at once. We must rejoice to be allowed to partake of each thing – one at a time. Otherwise it would be overwhelming.

So when I think I know something, I remind myself that it belongs to my Master, and there is much more He has in store.

Philippians 1:23

For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Romans 11:33

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Partaking of the spiritual food Good provides – satisfies.

Partaking of the Divine nature, in relationship with Christ – satisfies.

As the old saying/lyric goes: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim – in the light of His Glory and Grace.

The Great Exchange

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

There is a saying: God wants us to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.

Now that can be open to different interpretations.

But what I believe it should mean is:

God wants us to be spiritual without being weird. God wants us to walk close to Him in spiritual union – but we are free to enjoy life and the things that go with every day living.

Maybe a list of what I mean would be an idea?

Walking in nature, enjoying a well prepared meal, enjoying music, good humour (that is not at the expense of a friend), literature of a wholesome kind, family life, your own idea of what fits the hobby category (although I always think the word hobby is a poor description of something we really enjoy).

But in all of these things we are called by God to – ‘seek first His kingdom…’.

To put the spiritual side of life – first. When we do, we will, with peace of mind and conscience be then free to enjoy the natural things.

Certain ones in past generations had dwindled spirituality down to rigid rules.

In my culture if you didn’t drink alcohol, sleep around, go to the cinema, gamble and if you refrain from washing the car on Sunday – you had made it.

Failing to realise that you hadn’t started. God wanting us to change inside first, not outside first.

I am so thankful that the Christian’s life is all about EXCHANGE – exchanging our life for His.

As He comes to the welcoming heart – we yield ourselves to Him.

I like the old saying: ‘I can’t – but you can – thank you that you will’.

Christ in us the hope of glory.

Paul tells us – he died daily. Meaning the great exchange takes place every time we pray. Exchanging our life for His.

31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Faith says “I can’t do this Lord, please take over and supply your Life-giving Spirit and live your life in and through me…”

1 Corinthians 15:45

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a lifegiving spirit.