Category Archives: faith

Spiritual Matters

SPIRITUAL MATTERS

When it comes to Divine matters, like a soaking cloth eventually wrung out to stiff dryness, we are comparatively barren in spiritual knowledge.

If someone tells us the message of the gospel – that message, if we get well into it, talks of things that are not easily understood. Not because the person doesn’t use plain English (or Greek?) when sharing the message, but because of the content of the message and it’s deeply spiritual nature.

Concerning Paul the Apostle we read:

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

One of the lessons from this is that, when we have questions we can’t answer, or see injustice in the world we don’t understand, – we must not blame the God of the Bible. The ‘untaught and unstable…’ can (to their own detriment) in their spiritual ignorance foolishly accuse the God of the Universe wrongly.

Our lack of true spiritual insight poses a dilemma. Not only to be faced by the, as yet, unbeliever, but also by the believer, who is also limited in his revelation of these deeply spiritual matters.

We talk of short attention spans in children. But it’s the same for adults. And especially in matters of a spiritual nature, spiritual attention span can be lost quickly.

The disciples of Jesus had been there and bought the T-shirt regarding the supernatural feeding of thousands, but failing again to understand The Lord, they illicit His response, and He said: Matthew 16/

Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

They had experienced the supernatural, but quickly losed the reality of it.

Life is either too busy – or offering all kinds of things, to distract us, and we initially would prefer these things over spiritual truth and experience.

No man we are told in the Bible – straightaway desires the new wine of God, for he says that the old is better. Wine can be a metaphor for various things, keeping it simple – let’s say in this context – it is spiritual matters. (K.J.V – Luke 5/39: No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better).

We do not warm immediately to spiritual matters. There are hurdles we need to jump, hurdles of sin and unbelief, before we start to get to the finishing line and receive the prize of spiritual revelation. This cannot be done except with Christ’s help, help we must ask for.

It is true that we can mentally comprehend truth up to a point – even spiritual truth as in understanding the things of God. But this is a limited understanding.

We can liken this to reading the authors book without meeting the author, and therefore failing to get a developed insight into the story, by getting first hand knowledge straight as they say – from the horses mouth.

This conversation and the getting to know of the author adds greatly to the understanding we have of his work.

Comprehending The Lord Jesus Christ as The Son of The Living God – is a revelation.

Jesus told Peter and therefore us, that God the Father Himself, had enlightened Peter to the fact that regardless of who other men said Jesus was, Peter had received a revelation that this was indeed the Son of the Living God, the Christ, the Messiah.

K.J.V – Matthew 16/17: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

John in the book of Revelation received the book ‘…in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.’ (Revelation 1/10)

The book is entitled Revelation and spiritual revelation is needed to understand it.

Men love to debate doctrinal issues, and intellects vie for pre-eminence.

However the things of The Spirit of God, knows no man, except for The Spirit of God who lives within him, (He either does or doesn’t live in us, depending on whether we choose God’s offered gift of salvation in Christ, or sadly reject it). (I Corinthians 2/10-12).

Only The Holy Spirit of The Living God can open our eyes to spiritual matters. Only He can enlighten us to the meaning and application of Holy Writ.

Every Christian especially those who teach the Word of God, must periodically examine themselves, to see if they are becoming more dependent on their concordances and commentaries, rather than the sought help of God.

The bible, when it comes to the recipients of spiritual teaching, refers to babes, young men, sons, fathers, wives and so on.

Just as there is growth from the womb to maturity in the natural, so it is in the spiritual life.

It is possible for a yielded vessel of what man might consider a lesser intellect, to actually walk in greater revelation than those of superior natural education and intellectual prowess.

Paul (a man of good/great intellect) refers to those who are the called of Christ: 

For ye see in your calling, brethren, how not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

Notice the key expression here: wise men ‘…according to the flesh…’

In other words those who have strong natural abilities of intellect and perhaps educated understanding, are not automatically superior when it comes to spiritual understanding.

Often those intellectually capable beyond their fellows, can inform us beneficially regarding the ‘about’ of Christianity. 

Helping us through Greek or Hebrew scholarship or historic research to grasp an expanded view of words, or the culture of a given time. But this is only beneficial when we have first received spiritual insight, as given by God Himself.

Scholarship helps re-enforce any revelation we have received, but revelation is not dependent upon it.

The opposite is true also, that those with good or great intellectual capacity are not excluded either, if their intellect goes through the dealings and/or purgings of God, as He strips them of self-dependence, self-reliance, when it comes to spiritual matters.

Some of the men used of God to see Revival were men who knew God. They had intellectual ability. But they recognised their dependance on The Lord God, they knew the reality of the scripture that says:

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. Amen.

Paul counted everything he had gained with his natural ability, as rubbish, in exchange for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, that flesh and blood had not taught him. (King James version):

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

He also tells us of how dependent he was on God’s revelation:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Conversely the gospel message in essence is simple. It has to be – in order to be understood by all men, so called high or low.

But the key to all spiritual understanding, is the influence of God upon the mind of the person hearing the message. 

When God ‘gets on your case’, though we do not straight away desire the ‘new wine’ He offers, His patience and long-suffering causes Him to continue to speak to us through His ordained means, namely the preaching of the gospel.

But the deep things of God, if they are to be revealed to us – must come as The Holy Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. (I Corinthians 2/10)

The regenerated spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, and in the human spirit, God works to reveal Christ and His knowledge to us, but always in harmony and accord with The Holy Bible. (Proverbs 20/27)

So the human spirit receives light, of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4/6).

If you have not yet grasped or received the spiritual revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and received Him as Lord and Saviour. Start by asking for His help.

If you are a babe in Christ, a ‘teenager’ in spiritual years, or a mature follower of Christ – be reminded, as I remind myself, that we really need God’s enablement, if we are to progress in our spiritual life.

Let’s unitedly ask for His help as the body of Christ, the church, on the earth.

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Hidden wisdom

HIDDEN WISDOM

Regardless of what ‘times’ we are living in, and how close to the end of the world we are, it was, is, and will always be more than a matter of the prophetic outcome of the planet.

We are told that the times and the seasons God has set within His power (Acts 1/7). In other words God in divine wisdom has a way of letting man operate and function, in making his own choices, but He will order things in such a way that His total plan will not be hindered.

God is resisted and hindered from blessing the individual heart, on all sides, because of the rebellious will of man, but He will still both in pre-determinate counsel and in His response to man’s choices – bring to pass all the good pleasure of His will. And often of course God takes no pleasure in the actions He must take, unavoidably take, in response, to the awful choices and deeds of mankind.

God’s ways He tells us are ‘past finding out’ (Romans 11/33) – but He has revealed hidden mysteries, in New Testament times.

True Christians can partake of God’s hidden wisdom (I Corinthians 2/7). But there are things – yes secret things – that belong to God alone. (Deuteronomy 29/29).

Getting every conceivable answer to every conceivable question is not going to happen. And that frees us to realise that the foundation of faith in Christ is based on something else.

Our faith in Christ as the Saviour of the world is based on Him, not on understanding everything and therefore believing.

Yes I love to understand and receive revelation on The Word of God, but when I look at His life on earth, I am left speechless with regard to so many aspects of what He thought, said and did, I am left in admiration for the one they placed on the tree.

No man ever spoke like this man, nor did what He did. Laying down His life for mankind and taking it up again in resurrection power is the message to be believed. (John 10/18)

The voice of unbelief cries out perhaps like never before, man is wise in his own conceits – but the still small voice is still whispering to the human heart –

‘Follow me…’

Who am I addressing?

WHO AM I ADDRESSING?

The subject of ‘How to live the Christian Life’, occupies the ministers of God’s word in their capacity as Pastor, Minister, Padre, Teacher or whatever job description they choose for themselves.

The ‘How to’ covers the outworking of thoughts, words and deeds, rather than just the ‘academic’ aspect of bible study, which is not what it is all about.

God gives His word to change us.

To live the Christian life, is – in the eyes of most fair-minded people – to do with being good.

You profess to be a Christian – you therefore, it is assumed – profess to be good.

However “I’m a  good person”, can be an oft repeated phrase from the mouths of Christians or non-Christians, alike. It would take another post to expound and examine the scripture that tells us: They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Christian Blog posts offer encouragement in this ‘How to live the Victorious Christian Life’ endeavour, i.e. how to live as a Christian should.

How to overcome life’s problems, how to have confidence, how to think positively, how to handle adversity, overcome fear, share the faith – one could continue the list of topics. All relevant to Victorious Christian Living.

Prophesying as described in the New Testament must include edification, exhortation and comfort. (I Corinthians 14/3)

And who doesn’t need those?

Christian writing attempts to edify the believer, exhort them to better things, and provide the comfort that the Christian needs in an alien environment, where Christianity is mis-understood and maligned out-of-hand.

However, there is a saying about ‘putting the cart before the horse’. And I sometimes question that when it comes to Christian posting this can happen.

I have asked myself the question when posting: ‘Who am I addressing?’ And of course it is, in one sense, a limited audience, and we cannot answer the question exactly.

But it does need to be stated that Christian teaching apart from the preaching of the message of ‘Salvation through Christ’, is not always for everyone.

By that I mean that children in Primary school are not taught adult themes, unless the teachers are mis-guided and unwise.

There is ‘growth level’ to be considered, before many subjects can be approached. If a child asks an adult-themed question, then of course paring-it-down to their level, without too much incomprehensible detail, should be done. 

Rather than dismissing the subject and rejecting the child’s genuine enquiry. This calls for wisdom of the first order.

So when handing-out different exhortations to Christians, it might be fair to ask: ‘who is listening in?’

The Christian life can be lived on a natural plain, by good-living people. Humanists perhaps claim to be just as good as any Christian, and they don’t see the need for all the ‘super-spiritual’ stuff.

So what do they do with the teaching on ‘how to live’ from the Bible?

Leave out the supernatural aspect of Christianity and there is nothing left.

I can teach you ‘person of the planet’, alive and well on planet earth guy or gal, how to live a morally correct life, without you being a Christian!

But what a contradiction! I’m simply informing your humanist quest for good or moral living. Appealing to your sense of moral fair-play, but in all of this you remain an unbeliever, relying on your own self-effort and attempts to – be good, overcome, be positive, fulfil your dreams, be confident – all of this can be equally un-Christian as Christian, for one reason only:

You have not yet received, encountered, met or had a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So who is my audience? To whom do I address my posts? To whom are Christian posts directed?

To stand a chance of getting what is said, there must be what the scripture talks of as a starting point, a place of first principle(s):

Referring to Christians who should have matured more than they had – the writer says:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food…

First is first – we can’t benefit as we should from all the other principles ie. the second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on principle, until we have embraced the first principles of repentance from dead works and faith in Christ as Saviour.

The good news is however, that the work of conversion to Christ is not the work of man’s hand, but God’s. That means He has His own way of feeding your mind with truth, and there is no set formula, or learnt mantra that you must possess in order to grasp the things of God.

There is a progression, as there is in most things, but if you get chapter six read-to- you in a book, without the first five chapters, you may in fact still get the gist of what is being written, ie. get an idea of the story.

God can use any Christian teaching to penetrate the human heart, and there will be something, even though addressed to Christians, something in there, that He can use, to bring you to Himself. So I encourage you to read Christian posts.

But coming to first things first we read in the bible:

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Dogmatic as this may seem to the unbeliever – it is true-truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Get this and your understanding begins to flower in the things of God and Christianity.

Those Christian blogs then begin to address you as a believer who has a relationship with the one who has the words of eternal life.

I pray for blessings in your quest to find Him.

Uncool language

UNCOOL LANGUAGE

The next generation considers the last generation uncool.

Nothing new under the sun.

That’s just how it is. Mindsets change in art, fashion, culture, taste, etc etc. and if we do not conform to the majority’s take on things – we are relegated to the ‘uncool’ waste bin by others.

Then the pendulum swings and certain things return – back in vogue again.

The traditional ‘whatever’- has a certain appeal and many are interested in everything historical, but they don’t think of using a gas light to light their bedroom, or wash their clothes by hand to save electricity. I speak generally of course – western world – and all that.

So we visit museums, and read books to re-enforce our interest, if it happens to be in the things of the past.

What about religion?

Because two thousand years has passed since Christ walked the earth – there is the inevitable historic-context-aspect of all things Christian.

Don’t let the historical context deceive you into thinking it is not relevant for today. We are talking eternal truth here!

In a previous blog I drew our attention to religion as a label for things not necessarily desirable. To sum this up – Isaiah 29/13:

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honour Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

That for me sums up the bad aspect of religion. We look for bad religion personified in the Pharisees, and Pharaisical hypocrisy. It’s a paying of lip-service only, to spiritual matters.

An outward conforming to rituals and a system, but one void of compassion, tenderness, heart or spirit, and relationship with God.

But sometimes when we encounter in a piece of writing – an old fashioned means of expression, it can rob us of the relevant content of the utterances, simply because we straightaway relegate the wording to a bygone era, and dismiss the content as uncool, and irrelevant in today’s world, simply because of it’s tone, or it’s King James English.

We too-quickly overlook the message because the wording smacks of a dead and buried past.

There are many different expressions of Christianity – and if we are wise we will bypass the awkwardness of the language, or the off-putting phrases and ambiguous language and seek the heart of the message.

Receiving or rejecting it on it’s content only, not on it’s choice of words.

If the heart of the message is good then listen more attentively. If the message is true-truth, then embrace it.

Pilate with The Lord Jesus Christ standing before him, asked the question: ‘What is truth?’.

Well – he missed it completely! But of course, there is nothing wrong with the question.

Pilgrim’s Progress is full of truth (circa 1678). For those who don’t know, it is a book written by John Bunyan. 

There have been re-written, more modern, versions of the book, as far as I know.

But grab a copy of the original – sift your way through it – to find sound, revelatory truth – good for all peoples.

It’s about a journey, the journey we are all on. And it is based fully on Biblical truth.

Read of Pilgrim’s progress through the many obstacles that stand in the way of those who sincerely, one hundred percent, want to know true-truth.

You are fighting against the odds increasingly in these days, but find the ancient message in ancient language or otherwise. Sift your way to the true-truth of Eternal Life!

Truth must get inside

TRUTH MUST GET INSIDE

If I told you, they were giving away an introductory voucher for a large sum of money down at the new store. And I wasn’t lying. You have two options – suspicious response, or allowing the information into your psyche as you believe me and make your way down to the store for the hand-out.

So it is with the truth – we either respond with suspicion, our minds entertaining all kinds of other information by which we question what is shared with us, by way of comparison.

We don’t wish to be gullible, especially with the arrival of ‘the scam’, and it’s spread in epidemic proportions.

But letting the truth in is more important than simply hearing the truth.

There are many things offered to us, which we do well to refuse to allow in on us.

But at some point we must allow ‘true truth’ to get inside us, we must yield to it, and allow it to effect and change our lives.

The one million dollar question to be asked though, quite clearly is: ‘is it really the truth?’

If we are convinced it is and it isn’t, we are in big trouble.

Especially in light of eternal issues, and in the context of eternal truth.

The truth is a person, the second person of the Godhead Jesus Christ. (John 14/6)

What’s the response? Suspicion and comparison with the collection of information and knowledge you have obtained throughout your life’s journey – or in a child-like way – reception of the stated fact?

Letting this truth inside you, calls for more and deeper examination once it is inside, once it has been received, entertained, allowed space in your brain.

The only thing to avoid is ignoring it.

Ignoring is good if it is not the truth. Ignoring (when it is the truth) is to remain ignorant of the truth.

Paul, one of the major leaders of all time in the church, was a man on a mission to destroy the Christian church, he was as maybe most of you will know – stopped supernaturally in his tracks. It happened on a road to Damascus. (Acts 9/1-7)

After his conversion, and he became a follower of Jesus Christ he had this to say:

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

NOTICE HE PRACTICED HIS RELIGION IGNORANTLY AND IN UNBELIEF.

That’s where, as they say, I rest my case. The truth is the truth, even if I am accused of dogmatism when I share it.

Buy the truth, and do not sell it,

Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Proverbs 23/23

Art/Poetry/Scribing

abstract
Untitled by Ken Riddles

ART/POETRY/SCRIBING

There are recurring questions that have been asked throughout the history of art.

The two simple questions I have in mind are:

What is art? And/or – what is poetry?

Perhaps I am least qualified to ask the questions, or offer an answer, as perhaps I don’t take either too seriously, or should I say: serious enough, as is the manner of some.

I enjoy both creative-expressions, but my spiritual aspirations are inclined to place art and poetry in the shadow category of less importance.

I may therefore, fail to get a listen from you, as you think of the artist or poet or art critic you hold in high esteem, and to whose opinion you turn quickly, and firstly, to help you form your own conclusions.

But in light of seedsinmotiontruthnart – and blogging in general, I thought I might explain.

ART – art for me can’t seem to get too far past painting. Although it would seem that painting almost needs re-defined as it seems it is becoming only antique.

With all that makes up the post-modern conglomeration of art-expression through conceptualism and any other ‘ism’ et al, painting seems to have transitioned from the place of  premier expression in the upper echelons of the art world, to a secondary place.

Of course the pendulum is always swinging when it comes to ‘art-fashion’, and no sooner has the statement in my last paragraph been made, when it becomes redundant, in our eclectic ever changing hodge-podge art world.

So my: ‘art is painting’ statement is limited, uncool, retrogressive, etc. – however – once again one needs to add: i.e. ‘at the moment!’

For those who have followed this blog from the beginning and are aware of the changeover from ‘posted paintings’, to Christian writing, and for those who might be curious – my art at the moment seems to be pre-occupied in exploring the abstract (see above). 

Even though painting in the art world, as in applying a physical substance to a physical ground seems to have taken somewhat of a backseat, it is somewhat paradoxical (though I admit it’s guesswork only, on my part), to state that I reckon that the manufacturers of art materials for painting – have never had it so good?

From what little I do notice as to latest trends – would I be right in thanking New York for keeping painting alive?

POETRY – well, here – I am even less qualified, as I am the exception that proves the rule, namely, that a good reader or a widely read reader, is a good writer. Or that a good poet has to be a prolific reader. I’m not an obsessive reader, by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a widely read one.

Guess I better hide in the same shadow of less importance, that I have placed my paintings and poetry in?

Here I go anyway, expressing what poetry is for me. Poetry is the enjoyment of words. I guess that’s about it – my raison d’être of poetry.

Poetry in my view, is not restricted to definitions of what it should be. I favour ‘words for words sake’ running parallel with ‘art for art’s sake’.

This can be dangerous I realise.

As when I write poetry it could be mistaken for profundity, when at times that is far from the case.

I’m just enjoying the expression of words.

At times profundity will be involved in the poem, but sometimes I will write at the other end of the scale, allowing myself to have fun.

Which will leave me disqualified from being taken as a ‘serious poet’. The other end of the scale verging on Edward Lear type ‘nonsense’.

Then again somewhere in the middle is the goal, but the enjoyment of words strung together, can be a major concern of mine.

Also sometimes I ‘play the part’ of the someone who is mentioned in the poem. Or the poem expresses a concept or view simply because it has emerged un-premeditated (as it were) in the course of writing the poem – as I juggle with the words.

An example would be a poem I wrote entitled: ‘The Biker’s Reunion’ – truth is I have never ridden a motorbike. (Apart from an off-road bike my son owned when younger, when one ride was enough for me!)

The person’s story in the poem may not be my story. The description I use of a particular scenario is simply playing with words. The conclusion one comes to as expressed in the poem, may be the opposite to my own personal opinion.

So what does that make it? Poetic fiction?

And so on…

There has to be a ‘…and so on…’ to cover all the possibilities of the varying ways poetry can be enjoyed and emerge from the pen.

In short it’s all imagination – sometimes with reference to ‘my reality’ but equally just as many times – not.

I enjoy words, and putting them together. That’s about it.

CHRISTIANITY – My Christian writings, however are a field apart. I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I try to write things as I genuinely believe them to be.

I’m thankful to God for His enablement. I’m thankful to God for the ways He has opened the eyes of my understanding in the face of Jesus Christ. I know in part, according to scripture, but the part I know I hold dearly. I know what I have been delivered from.

And if my poetry does not reference directly – my spiritual life, this is because I have too much to say plainly and without apology when it comes to Christian Truth and if the poetic form is not my choice, it is because of my priority which is to make things clear.

Paul The Apostle speaking: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

So in Christian writing – I write to pass on what I am convinced about, and so therefore mostly choose, straightforward language to do so.

I write as a scribe, teaching the Christian Gospel, without an over indulgence in wordsmith-ing.

I enjoy wordsmith-ing mostly, rather, through poetry.

Spiritually speaking – I’m called to be a scribe.

I pen what I come to understand from the scriptures.

But art and poetry are fun and enhance our everyday lives.

I cannot take my Christian writing seriously enough, as it is a matter of life and death.

I cannot take my art and poetry too seriously as it is to do with intellectual, visual and emotional enjoyment of life in this natural world and there is so much more to life – the afterlife.

Of course my poetry can have purpose and meaning, but I always bear in mind that ‘…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God’. (I Corinthians 3/19)

Poetry and literature doesn’t compete with the weightier matters of spiritual life – in light of an awaited eternity.

So – suspect that in my poetry, I might have my tongue in cheek sometimes, at the same time you may also find profundity and reference to the truth as it overlaps into the spiritual, – or there again – not, as the case may be.

There is no fixed rule in art or poetry.

But I will continue to obey God and write for Him, while providing you with Poetic Interludes.

So in summary, my Christian writing is written that you might believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and through believing may have life in His name.

My poetry and art follow the dictates of imagination.

Please call again. 😎

5,000+

5,000+

Matthew 14. Mark 6. Luke 9. John 6. John 6/32. Exodus 16.

Jesus had healed sick folk, and now they came for more.

So He healed all the sick in this crowd also. It was getting late – time for food – God knows you need food.

The crowd however were ill-prepared, it had been the excitement of seeing the miracles that drove them to this new place, seemingly without forethought for necessary natural food. So thrilled were they, by the spiritual food that Christ provided.

Andrew said – “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

How far will this blog post word-meal go? Enough for everybody?

Unless God takes hold of it – it won’t go far.

The young boy came to see the celebrity – (but more than a celebrity was here) but the boy had come prepared (food-wise) – he was one of the few, who had done so.

Was he there because he heard that no man ever spoke like this man?’

Why – that fact alone should be examined by all, to see if it is true, – as true it is!

Peter had the perfect-take on the words this God-man spoke, exclaiming that He had the words of Eternal Life’.

Think of it ‘Eternal words’.

Let’s examine the sequence of food provision.

NOTICE THE SEQUENCE –

FIRST – The HUMAN – in this case a young boy, who it would seem had more forethought and practical common sense than the adults – gives what he has to the DIVINE.

God doesn’t ask for something we cannot give Him, He only asks for all! Your body, soul and spirit in keeping with His desire for reciprocal love.

SECONDLY – THE DIVINE does something with what the human has willingly given. He in conference with the rest of the Trinity (the Triune God) (looks up to heaven) and the DIVINE influence takes hold of the natural food, and it multiplies supernaturally.

THIRDLY – He gives the influenced HUMAN PROVISION back to the HUMAN SERVERS (12 of them).

Sometimes God takes things off-us and gives it/them back super-enhanced and multiplied.

FOURTHLY – THE HUMANS give it to their FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS. This is how what the (HUMAN) preacher supplies – becomes something else in the hand of God.

So here’s the order in this instance – HUMAN – DIVINE – HUMAN – HUMAN.

There were twelve baskets of leftover fragments. Where in such a remote place did they get twelve baskets? Well – they came in a boat, usually a fisherman’s boat.

I reckon there were plenty of fish-baskets on such a boat.

But the twelve baskets were ‘waste not want not’. On another occasion (Old Testament) God sent manna (likewise exercising His supernatural influence), from heaven. But if we are to be fed spiritually we need reminded that…

…Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”

No Open Vision

NO OPEN VISION

I Samuel 3/1 –

Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord [a]under the supervision of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know [or personally experience] the Lord, and the word of the Lord was not yet revealed [directly] to him.

So the Lord called Samuel a third time. And he stood and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli understood that it was the Lord [who was] calling the boy.So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and it shall be that if He calls you, you shall say, Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’”

The state of affairs regarding the nation of Israel at the time of Samuel’s birth and during his childhood growth – were not good., to put it mildly. And leadership (Eli & Sons) led the way in failing God. 

Just as the times in which we live are not good, to put it mildly.

One could go into the historic aspect of what was happening, but I prefer to sum it all up by saying – the major result of the times they lived in, was that a revelation of the divine, was very rare, if not completely missing, because of the disobedience of God’s people.

Somewhat similarly Elijah, at one time, looked around him and concluded that he only – was left. He only – had any godliness in his life.

I Kings 19/

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I AM THE ONLY ONE LEFT, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Romans 11/4 – But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

God, despite Elijah’s perspective on how things were – spiritually in the country, sees everything and everyone, and had reserved by His divine influence upon human hearts, seven thousand who had not bowed in worship to the false gods of the day.

Despite the spiritual decline – God reserved for Himself many who had not bowed to the prevailing moral perversity.

Mankind leaning completely on his own understanding and clinging to his rejection of anything God-given, without as it were, giving an inch, causes a situation where God seems the proverbial million miles away from any individual or people.

At such a time as the one referred to in Samuel’s youth,  God sovereignly chose and began to speak to this young man, who had to learn how to hear and understand the voice of God.

The ageing Eli had failed, but though not up-to-date in his relationship with The Lord God, he nevertheless knew of the reality of God’s existence and the reality of the fact that when God chose to speak and give revelation, He both – had His own way of doing it, and nothing could stop Him.

Eli therefore, was able to instruct young Samuel about how to respond when the voice of God came to Him.

Now – man to this day can easily dream-up Pseudo revelations and make claims that he has heard from God.

However conversely, those who genuinely hear from God – as Samuel did – may find that they are placed in the same category as these false prophets, despite their genuine authenticity.

The Lord Jesus was accused of working with the devil, so the genuine receivers of Divine revelation will similarily be accused of charlatanism.

But the people of the land were dull of hearing, and so today, many don’t have a clue about spiritual matters.

They dismiss true Christianity out of hand. Preferring to exalt and magnify their own intellectual efforts.

Empathetically though, It is difficult to get past our own thoughts and feelings when it comes to spiritual matters. Especially if there seems to be no ‘open vision’, in the land.

In times of moral collapse, God’s influence or intervention seems to be missing, and evidence of His existence or interest in mankind is perceived wrongly, to have disappeared.

Stop and think this over – ‘What is God’s perspective on mankind?’ It’s easier to be conscious of our own perspective on God. But what is God’s perspective on you!

And so in times of ‘no open revelation’, many have a totally limited minuscule viewpoint when it comes to understanding the things of the Living God.

Mankind drifts further and further away from God’s right way.

But what about the seven thousand today? And what about the young man or woman God has His hand upon, and is teaching how to hear His voice?

When this was happening with Samuel, only Eli knew. Elijah didn’t know about the seven thousand, until God revealed it.

Will (this young man or woman today) know when God is speaking? Samuel initially didn’t, yet he grew up to be the man who knew and experienced God’s ‘open vision’ and divine revelation on many occasions.

And many others knew that he could hear from God.

Is God speaking to you? Will you know when He is? Maybe you need an Eli to help you realise that He has already spoken to you on a number of occasions already?

Love

Following my ‘Deluge’ post – I thought of a good follow-up in the words of the piece below:

This hymn was written by James Rowe (1912). I’m not familiar with the gentleman – nor do I sing old style classic hymns, very often, but the lyrics are solid, sound, and summarise true Christianity’s message. I’m told that Mr. Rowe was born in England worked in Dublin, and went to America, he was very prolific in his writing.

LOVE LIFTED ME

I was sinking deep in sin,

Far from the peaceful shore,

Very deeply stained within,

Sinking to rise no more.

 

But the Master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry,

From the waters lifted me.

Now safe am I.

 

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

Love lifted me.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help

Love lifted me.

 

Souls in danger look above

Jesus completely saves

He will lift you by his love

Out of the angry waves

 

But the master of the sea

Billows His will obey

He your saviour wants to be

Be saved today

 

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

Love lifted me.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When no one but Christ could help

Love lifted me.

Deluge

deluge

Deluge – acrylic by Ken Riddles

DELUGE

In times of extreme flooding there seems little that anyone can do. The floods being so bad that all preparations or precautions taken, are swept aside, so overwhelming is the problem.

That the moral decline of mankind is sweeping the world like a flood is obvious to most reasonable thinking people.

Established norms of behaviour are challenged continuously, whilst all manner of excuses for all kinds of self-indulgence are made.

It seems the defences set in place by God’s Word are eroded, and no one quite knows how to respond to the degradation of morality as it disappears beneath the flood tide.

To go with the flow of the tide, to be swept away by the deluge, is an option given to us all. You must decide. I must decide. Do I hold fast to that which is good – or do I let my life slip beneath the flood?

I Thessalonians 5/20

Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Hebrews 2/1

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

‘Lest at any time’ – this is such a time.

Let’s find and gather with those who don’t wish to drown!

Another look at FREEDOM

Another look at FREEDOM

Freedom of course means different things to different people.

Hostages – there have been many over the years.

My mind goes back to John McCarthy, Brian Keenan and Terry Waite.

Freedom can be entering the western world again, after the confinement and ill-treatment received at the hands of captors.

Freedom if you like, can be moving from one place to another. Getting out of something or somewhere.

Freedom can also be leaving behind an addictive lifestyle.

In history mankind has made heroes and leaders out of persons who have lead the way in delivering nations from the oppression of the enemy. 

Freedom therefore can be represented by a figure-head like Churchill for example.

In Colossians 1/13 we read of God’s great deliverance from captivity.

13 Who hath delivered us FROM the power of darkness, and hath translated us INTO the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Here we read of – a being translated from – to.

Delivered from a dark power that hangs over us and being translated into a place of freedom.

Some have the warped idea that becoming a Christian is being translated from an enjoyable carefree holiday of over-indulgence, and anything-goes lifestyle into a life of strict boring disciplines, characterised by an unnatural adherence to straitjacket servitude, through a set of kill-joy rules.

Sorry but that’s not the life I have been translated into.

If you want that kind of Pseudo Christianity – then please look elsewhere.

In Romans 6/18 we also read:

18 Being then made free FROM sin, ye BECAME the servants of righteousness…

So again – ‘free from’ – to -‘ye became’.

Free from one state of being into another.

This freedom is a freedom of ‘spirit’.

Experiencing true liberation within our innermost being. Out of this inner relationship with the Living Christ comes a joy and a peace never before experienced. (John 14/7)

Moving from internal captivity – to inner liberation. (Romans 8/21) (II Corinthians 3/17)

All because, He offers everyone (who wants to receive) – life and life more abundantly (John 10/10).

Oh yes – trials and temptations will come to try to get us to return to the weak and beggarly elements of the fallen race, that bring us back into prison. (Galatians 4/9).

But we are exhorted to ‘stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free’ and this is the order of the day for all true Christians (Galatians 5/1).

May you know perhaps for the first time what it is to move from one state of being to another. The other being – a spiritual experience of real freedom through Christ The Lord.

And if you have already experienced what I speak of – may you return to the best place God has for you – in Him – and may you know the ‘Joy of The Lord being your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8/10)

Perfection

PERFECTION

How many Times have you heard this response when someone has been caught in the act of wrongdoing and stands accused:

 “Well I’m not perfect you know!!”

What does such a response mean? Well, how about – “You don’t expect me to make mistakes – but I do!” or “Ok! Ok! But you make mistakes as much as me!” or “You expect too much from me…”

We usually equate certain types of behaviour with immaturity or childishness.

And when Jesus exhorted his disciples and us with these words:

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Or as the Amplified version of the Bible amplifies it:

48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.

We should get the picture that we all – young, middle-aged or old, suffer from the same thing: ‘immature behaviour’.

Again how many times have you heard this incredulous statement:

“Imagine a man of his age – how could he do such a thing..?” Again equating misbehaviour with immaturity.

We are not complete. We are not at that point of ‘perfect’ maturity, in our behaviour.

We don’t have it all together. We are not without fault and shortcomings. However the point is – what do we do with these shortcomings, common to us all?

Carry on as usual doing the same childish things? Or allow change to come into our lives?

There are two types of maturity-perfection-completeness.

Firstly – there is the completeness given as a gift. Secondly – the completeness we are, (and always will be), searching for in our behaviour, indeed searching for the rest of our lives.

Christ offers us His perfection to partake of. And then offers to change us from the inside, once we have sincerely accepted Him into our lives.

Christians are given the ‘Robe’ of Christ’s righteousness as a gift. This is a spiritual garment.

We can hear this indicated in the scriptural exhortation to ‘…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts’. (Romans 13/14)

My five month old grandson sat with his dad who was watching his favourite soccer team on the television. His mum dressed him in one of his dad’s soccer shirts, and there they sat ‘twins’ (early indoctrination 😊).

The shirt was obviously ‘drowning’ the child. But he will grow up into it.

That’s the gift of God – we find acceptance when we receive Christ as Lord, God The Father sees us perfect/mature/fully grown in His perfect son.

But now we need to grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— (Ephesians 4/14-16).

We can look at this as owning ‘positional’ perfection, but needing to obtain increasing measures of Christ-likeness in our daily experience – outworked in our behaviour.

Getting into original greek words etc. we come across other nuances of meaning when it comes to being blameless: ‘without indictment’, ‘unchargeable’, ‘above reproach’, ‘unquestionable integrity’.

How are we doing?

Seems to me there are two types of human being: 1) Those who have accepted the gift of forgiveness and completeness by receiving Christ personally into their lives, asking Him to take over as Saviour, Master and Lord.

2) And those who either don’t care about being good, adult or mature in their character and behaviour, or who strive to be perfect without the assurance of the gift of perfection, and spend their lives failing. Concerning the completeness I speak of as a gift we read (Hebrews 10/14):

  • New King James Version
    For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
  • Amplified Bible
    For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity].

This perfection that is a gift is based totally on Christ’s finished work on the cross.

I had to come into a deep sense of my own sinfulness, in which I cried out to Jesus to forgive me. Through God’s supernatural working I came into a Revelation of The Son of God – and I knew I had been forgiven.

I am on that road – that journey – to maturity – that narrow way that always leads to spiritual life. I am still growing into this ‘robe’ of righteousness, by The Grace of God.