Category Archives: faith

Life

I’m not what I would call an ‘out and out internet kind of person’. I spend a fair amount of time thereon – but not near as much as many.

Call it a generational thing if you like. I much prefer the face to face fellowship of normal life.

Of course we are somewhat robbed of this at the moment, with Covid-19.

I’m also a contradiction, at least I would be – in some folks estimation if they equate a writer with a reader.

In other words I am not what I consider a ‘well read’ kinda guy, and yet I love to write.

The spiritual – from the age of twenty took over my life. Both experientially, having encountered the Living God – and spiritually/mentally in the study of the Bible.

I have not read a novel in years. I have read quite a bit on art, yet even on this subject I consider my education limited.

I do watch television dramas, and my claim to fame was acting in three school productions – a million years ago. But I’ve been told a million times not to exaggerate.

So (if you like), the bible and art have preoccupied my mental faculties.

I consider my walk with God to be an absolute priority, and of paramount importance.

I have done the maths and the – (although not fully realised yet)  – sphere of eternity, I reckon, will last a lot longer than time. 😇

So preparation for the journey into it, cannot possibly be less important than anything else, and indeed therefore, more important than anything else.

The only down side of this approach is that at times I don’t follow completely through on things that effect time, considering them less important.

Many find fame and fortune, position in society, followers, travelling the world, fitness, food – things to do with this time journey we are all on, to be all that life is about.

The held idea that it all ends at the grave, to me totally negates the purpose of being here in the first place.

If this is ‘it’ as they say – then what a waste of time.

God’s plan is to fellowship.

God’s plan was fellowship and companionship with His created beings, created in His image. Sin has blighted the image. Rather like the painter who decides to ‘scribble’ out the image he has created, only to afterwards decide how foolish he has been. And that the image was fine the way it was.

Sin scribbled over us ruining our pure image, changing it to one of ugliness – internally of course.

We were fine until the first man and woman decided to distort the image we reflected by disobeying the superior command of God.

People usually deal with the eternity question, probably in one of the following ways – trying to sum them up – helps us focus.

There is no God – so I can do as I like – eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

There might be a God – so I will try to be as good as I can but no one is perfect. I won’t think of eternity, or death that takes you there permanently – that’s being morbid.

There is is no eternal – you die – that’s it, game over, so forget about it.

If I don’t do God any harm – I’m hoping He won’t do me any harm. But no I do not have a relationship with Him.

All approaches lack the certainty that Salvation in Christ brings.

So all kinds of things can occupy us in this life. God will occupy us in eternity. So overwhelmingly wonderful will be the full revelation of the creator of all things – that we will fall in adoration before Him, if first we know Him in this life.

I must admit to my unanswered query as to why many spiritual things I experienced in earlier years seem to have diminished in the church.

This is not only an eschatological observation confirmed by scripture, but also an experiential one. Namely the change in the spiritual atmosphere that not only I, but others experience in this season.

All the more reason to hold fast to God’s Word like never before.

We think we understand things, but our faith is being challenged.

Here is our experience and our response: I Peter 1/

that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 

Tested by fire. Found to the praise honour and glory of God.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus help us please.

Marvellous

Galatians 1/

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul the apostle, former rejector of Christ, now ardent follower – is speaking here, under God’s inspiration, in this passage of scripture.

And guess what?

He is marvelling.

Have you or I ever marvelled – ?

All kinds of things can cause us to marvel. Some good, some bad. Sometimes the things little children say can have that effect.

Like the time my middle daughter at the age of three or so – asked a friend of ours who was visiting with us, why his skin was so dark? 

Fortunately as a gracious Christian – his answer was gracious – and he (with a twinkle in his eye) informed her that God had just left him in the oven that bit longer than her 😇.

Being present to witness the miracles of Christ or to hear His words – caused many to marvel.

I can truly say I marvel that God in Christ can accept me and bestow love upon me.

3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 

A child of God – who me?

I don’t have to look far – to realise that in myself there is nothing that warrants acceptance by God, in light of the fact that His nature is so completely different than the one I was born with.

His divine nature described as follows:

…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

His unapproachable light – in whom there is no darkness at all – speaks of His absolute uncontaminated purity, and holiness.

 Enter yours truly – along with the rest of the human race and you have the complete opposite.

All boasting of any righteousness of our own is excluded – and the thing we need to marvel at is THE GRACE OF GOD!

His marvellous unmerited favour – He is willing to bestow on every sinner – Paul marvels here (Gal. 1/6) at the foolishness of not receiving and remaining in that grace – as was the case with the Galatian believers.

God imparts Himself to those who are willing to give their lives up to Christ. He favours us for this reason alone. We seek Him, call upon Him in prayer and ask for that unmerited favour, turning from sinful behaviour.

On sincerely doing so, He comes to us and The Holy Spirit imparts something wonderful and supernatural to us. That is why He is described in the following way as-

…the Spirit of grace…

Strangely enough this tail end of a verse of scripture is in a negative context, which doesn’t serve my purpose here. I simply want to make the point that The Holy Spirit of the Living God comes to us to impart this marvellous Grace that brings forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God. He is the Spirit of Grace’.

But it doesn’t end there. He as The Holy Spirit of Grace is present 24/7 to continuously remind us that we are accepted by God and loved by Him.

This is motivational and we enter more and more into fellowship as we keep coming on the basis of the bestowal of His unmerited favour. So that we can be continuously forgiven and accepted on the merits of Christ and not our own faltering failing nature.

In so doing 24/7 the faltering failing sinful nature is subdued and kept ‘under’ as we enjoy life and life more abundantly in Christ.

This is MARVELLOUS – or in the words of the hymn this is – AMAZING Grace!

Rich or Poor

RICH OR POOR

Mankind is struggling – to say the least or to put it mildly.

Those who are set on a course of money-making find solace if each deal is going well, or many are purchasing their product.

They are happy with the success that brings a monetary reward.

The Bible says (amongst many) – two things worth mentioning:

Psalm 62

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.

I Timothy 6/

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…

Notice the heart is set on riches, and therefore they are trusting in riches – this gives solace and a sense of ‘all is well’ drawn from their success, measured by monetary increase.

Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.

A strange virus comes along – and things are not working out as lucratively for many reasons. Now that person or persons is suddenly programmed to be not doing so well.

We all live for various things that seem to make life and living worthwhile.

A lot of these things are good and wholesome and many are not.

I pulled riches out of the hat as only one example of what brings satisfaction to many.

We learn from scripture that it is not riches that can cause problems – it is the love of them.

I Timothy 6/

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Riches are uncertain in an uncertain world, and cannot provide ultimate contentment all the way to the grave, where they end.

However –

1 Timothy 6:6

…godliness with contentment is great gain.

So putting these points together we have – those who trust in money, set their hearts and minds on it above other things, and all their affection (love) is reserved for all things monetary.

Now it’s all very well to point out these ‘financial trespasses’ but if you do not know where your next meal is coming from, or you are about to be  evicted from your home because of financial difficulties – suddenly money becomes a preoccupation.

It does not pre-occupy your heart and mind because you have plenty of it – but rather because you have next to none. Survival therefore becomes your priority, and no doubt that of your family.

So for entirely different reasons the heart is set on finance.

Don’t set your heart on riches or finance is justifiably an exhortation to those who are greedy and who will not lift a finger to help the less fortunate.

But what of those who have very little money?

Well, difficult, in such circumstances, as it may seem – setting our minds and hearts on The Living God in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – is an anchor for the soul. 

So that regardless of what befalls us – we open the door to God’s deliverance as we trust in Him.

For the rich or poor – the call of God is the same –

Proverbs 3/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 37

2I have been young, and now am old;

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;

And his descendants are blessed.

God will not forsake those who trust in Him – even though it takes a lot to stay focussed during lean times. 

But we are told that keeping our soul healthy before God through faith in Jesus the Saviour, will give God the opportunity to work in His own mysterious way, to prosper us according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.

3 John 1-3

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.

Phil. 4/

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

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.

Him…

Colossians 1:28

28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Notice the apostle – the one writing, under the revelation of The Holy Spirit, tells us that it is not so much a message he is preaching but a person.

Him we preach….

Some other religions give some kind of respect to Jesus Christ – but do not acknowledge Him as Lord, King of kings, Lord of lords, God manifest in a human body, The Only Begotten Son of God…

They don’t preach Him.

It’s important that Christians stop, every now and again and remind themselves that we should be careful not to become ‘doctrinally distracted’ – and lose our first love.

The Holy Spirit will always witness to the paramount focus we must maintain: 

Matthew 3:16-17

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”

The Father God, loves The Son

John3/

35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

I believe that Jesus Christ is The Son of The Living God.

Prayer:

‘Lord help me to love you more.’

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?

 

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.

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!

You ran well…

You ran well…

Galatians 5:7-9 (NKJV)

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Paul the apostle is addressing the believers in Galatia.

‘You ran well’ he reminds them.

Followers of Christ have a personal relationship with Him – through prayer.

And all Christians at some point in their experience will fail to ‘run well’.

Shortcomings will ‘take over’, to hinder the race they are called to run.

The conscientious, must quickly return to their advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the righteous. (I John 2/1)

The whole epistle to the Galatians should be greatly appreciated by all believers. As it warns us of the dangers of falling into legalism and dead religion.

In a nutshell the problem is that the believer ends up with their eyes totally on themselves and no longer on The Lord Jesus.

I’ve been there, and can smell – a mile away – the grave clothes of legalism resulting in morbid introspection, a sense of constant failure, and the curse of the law. (Gal. 3/10-13)

In my early Christian walk, I too went through a period of bewitchment (Gal. 3/1). But Jesus set me free again!

Paul talks here of ‘persuasion’.

They, the Galatians, were persuaded and drawn-away from the true gospel. They had a form of godliness, but where not experiencing the presence of The Holy Spirit as they should.

That’s why, Paul asks them this question in a later chapter: 

Galatians 3:2

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

God wants us to simply believe and act on our belief, in humility and adoration of the King of kings.

Always returning to communion with the lover of our souls.

I suppose we all run our race, at a different pace than fellow Christians.

At times we all become spiritually lethargic and need a fresh spiritual impetus.

We must never forget and always act upon God’s offered acceptance and forgiveness in The Saviour.

He is exactly what He says He is. And His mercy endures forever.

To arrest an advertising slogan – (God is) and does exactly what it says on the tin.

Be encouraged to take Him at His word and act upon it!

John 6:37

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

 

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.

Reminiscing in Rest

REMINISCING IN REST

In my youth I used to paint in a tension-filled expression of emotion.

The clock would ‘disappear’ into the early hours of the morning, as I couldn’t let the painting go, until the home straight was reached.

Likewise starting tasks of whatever kind and staying with them until they were completed, with no rest until finished.

So tasks may be important – but in what inner condition of heart and mind – do we carry them out?

In the Christian context – with years, comes maturity, and an entering into greater spiritual rest.

Christ offers, the child of God, rest from our turmoil.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Hebrews 4:10

10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

And so, as the material ‘clean-up – clear-out’ I have engaged in, continues – I do it at a leisurely pace, stopping to reflect as prompted by the writings of differing kinds, that I had filed away.

Writings I haven’t looked at for quite some time.

Reflecting on the past, sometimes fondly, and at other times with a sense of disappointment.

One of the things I came across was an article I wrote for the local newspaper. A report of my visit to the training centre in Germany, mentioned in my last post.

Also I came across an old ticket for a Bob Dylan/Van Morrison concert, where I had my one and only foray into photographic journalism, representing the same newspaper.

I almost got my camera confiscated, because the word from the platform was that – no photographs were to be taken.

Van Morrison allowed a ten minute ‘snap’-time, when all photographers came forward to take shots.

But Dylan (or his people), prohibited the taking of any photos.

Whilst taking a photo from a distance, even though he hadn’t appeared, I was affronted by a certain lady accusing me of being deceitful, and that I should not have taken any photos.

Suggesting that I hand over the camera. I wasn’t going to do so as it didn’t belong to me, it belonged to the photographer for whom I was the stand-in.

So representing the newspaper for the first time, and unable to take photos?

Strange.

I have the ticket memento, but won’t tell you how long ago it was 😎.

Next I came across old email addresses of old friends or acquaintances – and wondered ‘where are they now?”

Looking back – I reflect.

Looking forward – I anticipate.

Here is marching orders from Paul the Apostle:

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.