Category Archives: faith

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.

Spring clean continues…

SPRING CLEAN

In the midst of this spring clean session, I’m engaged in, regarding all things written. Notebooks, polly-pocketed sermons, old CD’s, books, old letter copies – trying hard to be radical in dumping and shredding.

I couldn’t help smiling at the idea, the analogy, of the drowning man. They tell me everything of our past life flashes before us.

Well many things that I have come across have had that movie re-run effect.

Old birthday cards kept. Old schedules for evangelistic trips. Old Cd’s given free with bought newspapers – later bought in charity shops. Old manual from a training school in Germany, where I met my Dutch wife to be. Old instructions to go with old mobile phones, cameras etc. Dvd’s of converted videos of my children when young.

And so on and so on.

It’s an affliction I reckon I have inherited from my parents.

Hoarder extraordinaire.

So I continue to clear – but this is only in my house. What about my art studio/shed? I wouldn’t know where to begin.

I can honestly say I have never set my heart on owning a lot of stuff.

And there is nothing of great financial worth in my possessions.

But thank God I have treasure in heaven. In fact I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

He paid the price to supply free of charge all He has for mankind. To the whosoever will – He gives eternal life. And it starts now.

Flesh and blood will not inherit His kingdom – and there will be no hoarding problems.

Matthew 6/19

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

1 Corinthians 15:50

[ Our Final Victory ] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

Partaker

PARTAKER 

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

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

But that does not surprise me.

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

2 Peter 1:4

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

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

So God’s understanding too, is partaken of.

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

1 Timothy 1:18-20

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

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

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

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

IT’S WONDERFUL – to partake of Christ.

Hebrews 3:14

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

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

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

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

Philippians 1:23

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

Romans 11:33

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

Partaking of the spiritual food Good provides – satisfies.

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

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

The Great Exchange

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

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

Now that can be open to different interpretations.

But what I believe it should mean is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christ in us the hope of glory.

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:45

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

 

Rising to meet

RISING TO MEET

No weapon that is formed against me

shall prosper

When my flesh melts away

I shall stand on the eternal shore

With untold wonders to explore

And when all is said and done

And I rise to meet The Son

There will be no boasting from me

Except in Grace present and free

 

With deliverance to spare

And much more of the message to air

I reach for the book where all is explained

Except for the mysteries as yet – not plain

I step up to the ‘hangman’s-noose’ of time

Whose shackles are not enough to hold me down

And – as in free-fall

As in jumping into the air

My spirit will leave – unbound

to meet the Saviour there

God loves you…

GOD LOVES YOU

God loves you!

What more needs to be said?

Paul Simon sings: “Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone…?” And replying to his own question: he sings: “God will…”

Well – God is not really interested in our looks – even though He has our cosmetic count when it comes to hair –

Luke 12:6-8 (NKJV)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

He has an easier job with me – as my hair grew out completely to make room for my brains.

1 Samuel 16:7

… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So God who looks into the heart – loves you!

That’s good news – the only problem is – do you/we love Him?

Now let’s be real: How can we love someone we have never seen, or heard?

Telling me a friend of yours ‘loves me’, isn’t going to make much of a difference to me. It might be nice to know, but that’s about it.

I would need to meet this person and get to know them, before this information meant much.

When we were young, on odd occasions the word would be passed to us, perhaps through an acquaintance or friend, that a particular young lady ‘fancied us’.

Admiration from afar. The message meant they would be open to the possibility of getting to know us more.

Young ladies used to scream and cry over their pop idols.

As someone once said this is ‘puppy love’ – but nonetheless ‘real’ to the puppy.

God loves you – it ain’t no puppy love.

So for me or any Christian to communicate to you that ‘God Loves you’, might be limited in it’s impact?

Limited only because as yet it is only a fact. A piece of information. A conversation starter.

Because unless you explore this possibility for yourself, you will remain at the nodding acquaintance stage.

A nodding acquaintance with a truth some Christian wants you to grasp.

Great as that truth is to hear, it needs to be acted upon, in order that you and the person who loves you can get to know each other.

Having entered into a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, through the enablement of The Holy Spirit of God in 1970, I am still ‘married’ to Him in the sense that I am part of His church – referred to in scripture as His Bride.

I have experienced His Love in a powerful way. Specifically and tangibly on a number of occasions in an extra-dimensional spiritual way. This is described biblically in the following words:

Romans 8/5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This is a literal, tangible, spiritually-discernible experience, overwhelming in it’s import and unmistakable in its impact.

Regardless of how much I think I fail to be all Christ wants me to be – His love for me is undeniable.

Firstly because the message He confirmed to mankind – He confirmed to me personally, by allowing me to experience His Agape love. A spiritual experience – as we say – more ‘felt’ than ‘telt’.

But also because He has responded to me, as I to Him, I can now believe in His love. Even if there are times when I may think I am not experiencing it.

You may not have experienced it – but here you are being reminded of it.

Seek to know personally this saviour I speak of. And if you already know Him – I want to remind you too, that He loves you. Seek for a fresh reminder as you pray. I will too 🙂.

Christians all differ, of course, in their personalities, and you will find they often emphasize some aspect of biblical truth that kind of reflects their personality. A truth or truths they warm to, more often than others.

But this is how God tempers the body of Christ (the church members) together. Using our personalities to express differing aspects of the Life of Christ within.

But the greatest demonstration of God’s personality is His love.

Demonstrated at the cross of calvary.

Ask God to take you there and to open your eyes to His love poured out in demonstration on the cross and later poured out on the day of Pentecost.

Ask Him to manifest His love to you in forgiveness and acceptance.

Familiarity breeds…?

Familiarity breeds..?

NB: There is much speculation and differing views theologically regarding the exact connection between Jesus, and those who are referred to in scripture, as his brothers. I hold the view that Mary had a normal married relationship with Joseph giving birth to further children, after the virgin birth of Christ.

Concerning the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

we can only speculate how his brothers viewed Him. 

We can only surmise that they all eventually came to the spiritual revelation that He was indeed ‘the only begotten Son of The Living God’.

Literally and ‘metaphorically’ initially his brothers represent all unbelievers (like myself), who then become believers.

We know that one brother named James certainly came to the revelation of who His half-brother really was. It is the same James who wrote the canonical book, or epistle, of James in the New Testament.

If the rest did believe in Jesus as the Christ, it would certainly not have been before a certain time or period in His (Christ’s) manhood.

As they were all younger than He – how they viewed Him in the years that they grew up together, we have no description.

But we are told in the gospel of John:

John 7/5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

The old saying: ‘familiarity breeds contempt…’ comes to mind. Although I would imagine ‘contempt’, would be too strong a word.

He performed many miracles. He was moved with compassion for the needy. He supplied food for thousands. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and suffered all kinds of contradictions against Himself. 

Suffering also His brothers spiritual indifference

However we are not certain exactly, how His brothers saw Him as they gazed upon their eldest (half) brother, whilst growing up together as children, seeing Him work with his ‘stepfather’ in His capacity as a carpenter.

We extend the query to His half sisters – how did they view him?

Extending the query further we ask how He was viewed by His local community?

We learn that they did not believe in Him. The few that did – received a miracle of healing!

54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, [h]Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

His local community was offended by Him. Why?- because (we can safely surmise, they thought): ‘who is this ‘local boy’ that many outside this community are claiming to be someone special?’

We see that they were offended at Jesus, highlighted by the fact that in such a short number of verses we notice there are 6 question marks. Plenty to go around, summing up the consensus of opinion.

No faith – just questions. They had it all figured out – based on His ordinariness – just a man – just a carpenter’s son and so on.

They leaned on their own understanding and ability to figure things out. Even spiritual matters.

Do we realise that the consensus of mankind, means nothing when it comes to accepting Christ as the Son of God? You and I have to make up our own minds, regardless of majority or minority opinion.

Dare we say that the majority of mankind has rejected Him? This fact by no means makes them right. The majority have been wrong before.

The few that did believe, in His local community of rejection – received healing, as a result.

There is no way God wants us to accept sickness. If sickness comes into your life or mine you can own it or reject it.

Even if it doesn’t go away – don’t own it. It is part of the reward of rebellion and disobedience – it is part of the consequences of the fall of mankind. As a Christian you are to receive a full reward, which doesn’t include sickness.

Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have accomplished together, but that you may receive a full and perfect reward [when He grants rewards to faithful believers].

Be careful Christian that you don’t side with the principalities and powers that Christ made an open show of – and over whom He triumphed.

Will we see Jesus Christ through the eyes of his brothers – or through the eyes of faith?

Faith that is convinced by the Word of God that He is the Christ.

Faith that is convinced that His stripes and suffering on calvary and before, represent the total reconciliation of man to God.

If God in Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world, that means He took the penalty of sin, and the fallenness that included resultant sickness.

I Peter 2:

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose [a]stripes you were healed. 

Not blind unquestioning faith – but faith that is convinced by the sharp two-edged sword of God’s Word.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (including present or eternal healing).

Christian or non-Christian do no accept sickness as something that God happily allows. But see it as part of the characteristics of a fallen race.

We see a bunch of folks who did not believe He was the Son of God, and a few that He was – we read the result of so believing – they were healed.

As our minds operate and try to grapple with the contradictions our senses present us with (the old debate about how some get healed and others don’t). 

Let us look away in this to what the Word of God says and hold on to it all.

Proverbs 30/5:

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Matthew 24/35:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

What is required?

What is REQUIRED?

Nearing the end of last year I organised an Open Forum. I invited various folks – pastors and others to an event where they were invited to share on the subject: What does God require of us?”

This was based on the scripture in (Micah 6/7-9).

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Each person had an eight minute opportunity to share. And so everyone got to share, before we knew it, the night was gone.

Some came more prepared than others. And I realised I had not made it clear enough that the exhortation through the invitation and theme was to seek God seriously in prayer and wait upon Him for direction.

I was hoping that I would be educated through God’s members of His church and enlightened further, as to how God wants us to respond to the days in which we live.

My own sense of what God requires is/was UNITY. We are assured that God commands a blessing when there is unity – it is good and pleasant, and fruitful.(Psalm 133)

Unfortunately human nature is prone to wander. Human nature is prone to self-righteousness. Human nature is that which must be subdued and harnessed so as not to hinder the ‘unity of The Spirit in the bond of peace’ – This is what the Lord requires. Only as we seek God, pray, and worship etc can the old nature stay ‘under’.

There is unity in error or unity in truth. Unity among thieves, or unity among the saints.

Light has no fellowship with darkness and therefore has no unity with it.

There is political-type unity or spiritual-unity.

Even the devil by dictatorship has unity in his own kingdom of darkness.

Matthew 12:24-26 (NKJV)

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by [a]Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

Division or unity. There cannot be unity at any cost.

Differences of opinion can only be resolved when believers, laying aside their own ‘pet’ opinions, are willing to wait on God for fresh revelation.

Then having heard together from God’s word, after patience and perseverance, they enter into unity as they hear the same thing from The Lord, they fulfil the condition described below:

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

There are degrees of unity amongst believers. There is however, a greater unity that the church falls short of achieving.

And this unity brings the commanded blessing of God. To my ears – that is what we refer to as revival.

Unity must be wrought by the Holy Spirit amongst believers. It is the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4/3) – as we hear and speak the same thing together.

No one else left me, at the Forum, with a message that went beyond what the opening scripture upon which the forum was called contributed to our understanding:

i.e. But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Each (esp. Christian) man or women must answer the question individually, regarding what God requires of them. It is more difficult, however, to answer it as the corporate body of Christ.

What He requires of the church – we continue to search for, in order that we may respond correctly and in keeping with Christ’s proclamation: …I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

In these days when the church may end-up going ‘underground’ – I want to hear from and be part of the genuine followers of Christ, throughout the world, who find the wisdom of God and respond corporately to His requirements.

As what is coming upon the earth purges and perfects those who have not bowed the knee to Baal, I hope I will know many of the true, the genuine, the wholesome, and the sincere. The true members that make up the bride of Christ, the church of The Living God.

What is your hope?