Category Archives: experience

All Staggered to Completion

ALL STAGGERED TO COMPLETION

So here you are looking for hope in all this

Your engine has wound down to a standstill

And your frustrations have burst in steam

from your carburettor

 

Your well-oiled inner mechanism

Has rusted to the tune of your seeping lubricant

I’m adding insult to your injury

By using metaphors to seal your plight

 

You rise –

Hands pressing your head on either side

You can’t abide this anymore

You don’t need a shrink to explore

The inner frustration your life has made for itself

 

You stagger across another floor

Ten times wider than the one’s before

Like a drunken man in an amusement arcade

You press all passing buttons but the jackpot evades

You roll and rock your way past oncoming shoulders

 

Avoiding a punch – you hit the street

Sunlight contrasts in blistering heat

Your eyes on fire and screwed up to meet

A breath of semi-fresh air hanging about

 

This is your lot – all mental and felt

You must find help

You want to help yourself

Another stagger – a stumble – and a fall

– A crawl

Into a corner in the shade

 

This will have to do – to park your doubt

You join the throng of the thoughtful down-and-outs

 

Get to that agency of help

Find that pastoral hand outstretched

There you can moan and shout and yelp

Letting it all spill out – clean clear and without a doubt

Your full inner-self out on the floor

You won’t be needing it anymore

A new self you must find –

One washed and renewed and set on high

 

I speak of no earthly solace

And certainly not one in outer space

I speak of One who gives Amazing Grace

Gospel and Distraction

GOSPEL AND DISTRACTION

No one notices their own distracted mind

Lay out the plan from God’s hand

And watch how distraction takes them away

You look them in the eye – (oh preacher man)

And notice they again avoid your gaze

Can’t listen to this’ – their demeanour portrays

‘I half-hear what you say’ body-language reveals

But it’s time again to go astray’

I want you to stick with the programme

And study this through

‘No sorry I have too much to do…’

You cannot grasp that there is a distracting influence?

You say ‘you don’t believe in influences’

Are you influenced – not to believe?

You don’t like being corrected

Which is why you are distracted

The Word must find good ground

Your ground needs fertilised with the gospel sound

But you turn-off the rain

By walking away

Distracted again

for another day

Questions answered

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The answers to all the questions a person might have, regarding Christianity, can be found in The Bible.

A lot of questions are answered directly, but if not, then indirectly.

Because of one particular truth, we can have insight into another.

Life is full of questions, especially about the hereafter. The answers are either crystal clear in the Bible, or shrouded in mystery.

Some questions are difficult to answer, others simple.

A lot of us get stumped regarding such hereafter questions, and indeed questions on how to behave and what to believe in – in this life – never mind the one to come.

Then also, people’s spiritual experiences differ from person to person. Differ, either in kind, or in intensity.

Many are either confused or open to everything and anything under the ‘spiritual’ label, going astray in their desperate quest for the right and real thing. The real McCoy as we say.

Some gullible, fall prey to evil disguised as good, attaching themselves to some ‘ulterior motive-type’ cult.

We need to exercise great caution about what we ‘sign up to’ spiritually.

Yet we can close ourselves – out of hand – to anything ‘spiritual’, without due consideration and proper search/research.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons that non-Christian folks do not entertain the gospel message, is because of the failure of it’s adherents.

All sincere Christians who are found confessing Christ as their Saviour, wish that it were true, that they lived as perfectly as others expect them too, because of the profession and confession they are often heard verbalising to others, in the hope that they too might become followers.

Christians with their imperfections and shortcomings, are a hindrance to others believing in Christ. The reasoning of the unbelievers can go something like this:

“You call yourself a Christian, but you are clearly a hypocrite, that doesn’t practice what you preach and yet lay on others…”

In response to this reasoning, we can say that there is sincere failure, and hypocritical failure.

But the whole good news premise of the gospel is that: yes we will fail daily, but we find forgiveness and acceptance through genuine confession of sin.

It is often true that the most difficult person to forgive is oneself.

In a particular incident the very thing that Christ’s audience accused Him of and rejected Him for – was the very thing He did for the wholeness of mankind. (Matthew 9):

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house.

So God being willing to forgive was shunned. God in Christ standing before them was unrecognised and rejected.

So the true Christian, very much aware of his own sins, has come to Christ and asked for forgiveness. Christ Jesus is faithful and willing to forgive, regardless of how many times we drop the ball, whether in a major or minor way.

But because we profess to Follow Jesus Christ, – others simply want to reject us because something is missing in our ‘performance’, in their eyes.

We don’t conform exactly to their expectations. We may have idiosyncrasies, not necessarily to do with morality, we may worship in a manner not appealing to them. We may have made a real mistake and are post-forgiveness, but they will never forget it, and hold it against us. They may hear of something in our pre-Christian believing life, and they hold this against us still.

Others pick on minor faults that we still have, to justify themselves in their rejection of Christ and His message.

Christians availing themselves of God’s unmerited favour and finding forgiveness when they fail – and yes sometimes though failing miserably – need to know in whom they have believed. And realise that:

Romans 8:31

[ God’s Everlasting Love ] What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

If God the supreme judge of the universe is willing to forgive us, we can with Paul humbly say:

1 Corinthians 4:2-4 King James Version (KJV)

2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

There is a time when we must stand in the confidence of sins forgiven and in God’s promises, regardless of what others might think of us or hold against us.

This privilege have those who truly and sincerely give their lives over to the God-man Christ Jesus, who will ever – be lovingly correcting us, but has totally accepted us – when we accept Him as Lord of our lives.

Proverbs 24/16

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,

But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.

 

 

Heaviness

HEAVINESS

We all experience different emotions in an average day. Christians experience also varying degrees of spiritual discernment.

For example, we can sense that God is grieved by our, or other peoples actions.

It’s true also that Christians or non-Christians can be repulsed by various acts of evil, that they find out, have taken place.

We can feel sorry and aggrieved that certain things have happened to friends or loved ones.

Being aggrieved by the actions of others and affronted by their awful behaviour, is both an intellectual and emotional experience.

Intellectually we become aware of the awful facts and process them with the accompanying emotions.

It is true also that we become accustomed to awful news and can become indifferent to it. Usually out of a sense that there is seemingly nothing we can do about the situation – and our sense of human powerlessness can have a numbing effect.

When bad stuff is up close and personal – of course this creates an even more difficult scenario to deal with.

And we have to handle the personal hurt we feel.

Again this is different for the true Christian because there is a spiritual sensing involved that adds to the intellectual and emotional negative experience we may be having.

Paul the apostle tells us of his personal heartfelt – intellectual/emotional/spiritual experience when he says:

Romans 9:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

Israel’s Rejection of Christ

9 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

This was not just being sorrowful over someones situation, condition or experience, but he was also sharing God’s burden. Entering in to sharing God’s heart.

Jesus reveals His burden to us, as the Son of God,  when He gives us insight into His heart of love and concern for His people. On this occasion regarding the Jews blindness to the Messiah:

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

He was also speaking prophetically as one who knew the future and their future.

So this was not just the heart of the human Jesus breaking, but the heart of The Son of God also.

That which is coming upon the earth – is increasing the spiritual heaviness, and the spiritual dearth, and Christians are conscious of this, sometimes more than others.

As a response to these negative and spiritually heavy times, we can only set ourselves to endure. Set ourselves to remain faithful to seek our solace in Christ through prayer and worship and fellowship, searching out true believers, and real genuine friends.

Regardless of how many times we are disappointed by the behaviour of others, Christian and non-Christian alike, we must set ourselves to seek first the kingdom of God. Take strength from the many great biblical examples of true men and women of God – the cloud of witnesses who have endured and gone before us into the eternal presence of God.

Hebrews 12:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Impressionably irretrievably indelibly…

IMPRESSIONABLY

IRRETRIEVABLY INDELIBLY

Those were the days of my youth

You can’t change it

Turn yourself inside-out

And you can’t change it

The years have fallen like a pack of cards

And will not be put back in place

We have shuffled through time

And we find – ourselves

Emotionally –  irretrievably

Visiting our past

And gluing these memories

To six vinyl records, one old kaftan,

a bunch of magazines, a hippie hat

And a partridge in a pear tree

Long-grass ‘hippied’-through

With laughter

As the persistence of memory

In flights of fancy returns us to longing

And embracing of new faces

Time is the enemy that stops us

changing places with our by-gone’s

We can’t change this clock

The time in this watch is set

To go-off some place else

Other than fair memory-gatherings

Of moments of youth

Couched now in emotion’s hand

All generations have been similarly effected

And similarly are unable to retrieve

The experiences of the upside of life

It was all possible in those days

When music played its anthem to

Our manifesto of taste

And we – all-heads-together agreed

Speaking and talking the same language

This persistent movement of time

Will not allow us to return

Our wonderful days are gone

Our bodies creak with age

Our minds revisit but cannot visit

The days are gone

‘Things ain’t what they used to be’

But impact has been made

Indelible is the feelings returned to – 

These are the springs of youth

That linger in old age

The highlights of the journey

The best sought moments

Are the best thought moments

This is so strong – tight rope walking

Between hope and melancholy

Still we cannot reach the past

We cannot go back

Though back we would go

In a minute

If only we could

Our life consists of this

But shining brightest and

Strongest of life’s sum

Is what got – into us

First time round

When our teenage minds

Opened like flowers

to the possibilities of a new world

Always sought – but always gone

In a moment

Grasped – but slipping away

I can only tell you of what I have found

With feet firmly on the ground

Affections set on things above

Full provision for the journey is made

The past and the future

No longer memories to make

In the future eternal now

You search…

You search…

Someone shared a story with me, some time ago. I will probably get the details wrong, but remember one part of the story. I’m sure someone out there could relate the actual story better than I.

To summarise – it went something like this: Someone bought a piece of land and spent a number of years drilling for oil. All to no avail. So they gave up and sold the land.

A new owner, not long after the purchase, drilled once more and struck black gold, immediately.

Preacher’s could use the story to teach us to ‘never give up’. Others could tell us ‘anything worthwhile takes time and effort’. Yet another could bring out the truth ‘that we need to get below the surface and the obvious – to find the true riches of truth buried in the bible’.

I like that one best.

Proverbs 23/23: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The amplified version of the bible gives us this helpful footnote:

The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.

But it is possible to be taught the truth and ‘entertain’ it in our lives on a superficial level, rather than giving ourselves – to it – in prayerful meditation, so that we do not fit the category of those described by The Lord Jesus: 

John 5:38-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Such students find all kinds of truth on some level, but fail to realise that all scripture points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God – to be believed and received as the personification and embodiment of all of God’s truth, and indeed the Saviour of The World.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

All scripture points to the author who revealed it to the hearts of chosen men, who in turn penned it under God’s special visitation and influence.

But also it has the redemptive thread throughout it’s pages from Genesis to Revelation. And to search these books and fail to discover by a living encounter, that Christ is The Living Word, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – is to search and miss eternal life. 

Again Jesus said: You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;…’

The point being that this is not enough. But the true searching of the scriptures as God intended – is to encounter Christ:

‘and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

We must come to Him and not just the pages of the book to find eternal life – in/through the pages of the book.

Mr. Jones

MR. JONES

And regardless of your generation

Regardless of your notched-up years few or many

You know for a second or two

Or for hours into days

That something is amiss

But you can’t quite put your finger on it –

Can you Mr. Jones?

 

You try to be different – set a path of no confusion

Maybe stay in the background even at the office party

But you are drawn-in and spat out

Hurt again – second set – of ten times

Maybe the answer lies within – but within you find a prison

So maybe outgoing – from scene to scene

Is where the answer is – that you hope to glean

Determined not to lie down – you lie-in – instead

Sleeping through till a new task alarms your rise

This person is wandering on through –

Life’s journey on track – but mostly – askew

They are giving away their years in pursuit of happiness

Over there is the side of the pit

The quarry has been dug – but

you’ve enough sense remaining

to give it a miss

Haven’t you Mr. Jones?

 

The old Ecclesiastes is suddenly by your side

With nothing new under the sun

You’ve tried it and bought the T-shirt

But you are still confused

You’ve done that too – far flung journeys I mean

To find your place – but it wears-off

Like the sole of your shoe

You think you are all washed-up

Don’t you Mr. Jones?

 

But there’s a light on the horizon

A horizon comes into view

You haven’t seen it before

And It’s dimensions are unfamiliar

I tell you now it isn’t cool as cool defined is known

So let me easily knock you off-course

As you find no fellowship to explore

You just have to settle for the status quo

Don’t you Mr. Jones?

Perception…

PERCEPTION…

Faith is not feelings. How often have we heard this in Christian circles?

We often hear the saying that feelings follow faith. And thus it is so.

Its a bit of a paradoxical statement though.

 (Dict.: A paradox is a logical statement that seems to contradict itself).

Because sometimes an overwhelming spiritual experience e.g. the appearance of an angel can be ‘felt’/‘experienced’ and faith follows.

The whole idea however, of spiritual experience, or experiences involving some kind of sensory perception is open to all kinds of interpretation and we can find it hard to convey or communicate these perceptions. So that others will know exactly what we mean.

We must fall back on:

“Unless you too experience what I’m talking about – it will be foreign to you.”

Regarding ‘sensory perception’ the ‘experts’ tell us:

(This processing happens to be done through the organ, usually called “the senses” like hearing, vision, taste, smell, and touch. The sensory perception involves detecting stimuli and subsequently recognizing and characterizing it)

But what about ‘spiritual sensory perception’? 

This, if it is to take place, may initially involve the natural senses – but only in-as-much as when we hear with our ears  a message, or see a miracle take place (thus our natural hearing/seeing perception used) pre-empts the spiritual experience.

It is the spiritual senses that sense spiritual matters and reality. It is the human spirit that experiences the spiritual perceptions I speak of. This also involves the human mind.

But there are so many possible experiences pseudo or otherwise it is possible to ‘stray’ Into – that only God Himself can keep us on track.

Enter the word of God. Thank God that all ‘experiences’ must be weighed in the balance and subjected to the light – found in The Bible.

That’s why we are called to, and God is looking for, those who will worship Him in spirit, but also in truth. (John 4/23)

So let’s give ourselves to the Bible message, and seek all God has for us in His Presence.