Category Archives: hearing

Born a second time?

Born a second time? 

There is no doubt that approaching the things of God in a cold theological way is not enough when it comes to being convinced that you should give your life over to The Son of God, – done so – through prayer.

But what’s the difference between studying presented truth, perhaps presented in some book of theology from whatever source and coming into a Living relationship with The Christ of God?

There is no fixed way that a person must adhere to, when it comes to experiencing the born again experience. No fixed way in the sense that every personality is different and must discover God’s working in their life, as it lines up with His Word.

The term ‘born again’ is found in the gospel of John 1/1:

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

So Jesus is calling all, to an experience that He calls ‘being born again’.

Unless one is born again…..

Well – unless one is – we cannot see, – experience, – understand – know the things of God as God intended us to know them.

However many have started their born again journey in the very way I have suggested at the beginning – namely: in a cold theological way.

The reason for this is that such a person may be genuinely looking for the answer or answers regarding this born again experience.

And as I have stated before a number of times – the door of truth must be gone through or initially sought before this born again experience can take place.

Buy the truth and do not sell it—

    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

Notice I have clumped these few verses together without even giving the references – simply to say these verses could be the start of the search that will bring you to the born again experience.

Rather than elaborating on the ‘how to’ – let this be the start of your own search of the scriptures, if as yet you have not been born again.

Acts 17/11

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

What is it saying..?

Here’s an extra mile challenge – meditate on this and let me know…

WHAT IS IT SAYING…?

This short post is to glean from others in the hope that in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

We all understand that there are many translations of The Bible.

Which is partly why students of The Word, delve into original Hebrew or Greek etc.

Not having done so on this occasion, I thought I would reproduce the translations of one verse of scripture, that I was about to use.

Whether someone offers their view on this, will depend on who reads it, and if anyone is so inclined to want the answer themselves.

So here they are – what do you think? PROVERBS 18/24. KJV:

A man that hath friends must show himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

ASV

He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

AMP

The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.

AMPC

The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

BRG

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

CSB

One with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.

CEB

There are persons for companionship, but then there are friends who are more loyal than family.

CJB

Some “friends” pretend to be friends, but a true friend sticks closer than a brother.

CEV

Some friends don’t help, but a true friend is closer than your own family.

DARBY

A man of [many] friends will come to ruin but there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

DRA

A man amiable in society, shall be more friendly than a brother.

Only a few of many more.

Which translation is the most accurate – and do they appear to contradict each other?

More importantly – What is God telling us?

Feel free to let me know.

Ignoring

IGNORING

It is difficult to share with those who won’t listen – is it not?

God has the same problem:

John 8:46-48

And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

God mentioning those who …do not hear

You may have seen elderly (or young) ladies sitting outside department stores holding-out magazines – and usually muttering something like ‘Thank you sir’ whilst naming the magazine they want you to buy, held forth in their hand.

They are usually ignored.

‘The harsh’ – usually mutter something like: “Go and get a job”, under their breath.

I remember once giving a gentleman, doing the same thing, a fair amount for the magazine – only to receive a rather nasty rebuttal and refusal to give me the magazine. 

Apparently (I can only guess), I had insulted him with my contribution (?). What made things worse was the fact that I couldn’t reason with him as he had very little grasp of English.

So I let it go – he with my contribution and I with no magazine.

No one likes to be ignored.

Yet because God isn’t seen to be sitting in front of them – many choose to ignore Him.

Nor will they consider listening to the means He has chosen, by which He wants to communicate.

Therefore they do not hear what He has to say. 

Programmed – mind already made up – habitual shut down of the natural faculties – when (just as with the magazine seller), someone tries to engage with them.

Engaging with them to present the Gospel.

There are a bundle of questions not easily answered when it comes to God and His ways.

This inability to answer all the questions under the sun can be – stumbling block number one – for some folks.

Whereas in contrast they fail to consider the many answers already given in the book of books. (The Bible)

A few immediately unanswerable questions about God, and ignoring Him therefore, becomes the easy option.

There is a closing of the mind to any words purporting to represent God and His salvation.

But there is a spiritual element in this, revealed in scripture:

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

This scripture tells us a number of things. …god of this age… The ‘god of this age/world’ has various other names – most common of which is ’the devil’.

minds…blinded: A blinded mind is the mind that immediately switches off and ignores the message – and can be demonically programmed to do so.

The means God chooses to reveal Himself is through the words of a message, usually preached = For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord,

should shine on them….Lastly what is supposed to happen and will happen to those who have ears to hear and will stop in their tracks to give the gospel a chance, is the reception of God’s enlightenment (light) inside – as you experience it’s transforming power. Light received through His Word (Bible).

…gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

The Bible’s words are light – light shines – and God wants to shine His Words on and into you and I. So we will hear/see them in our hearts and turn and be converted.

If anyone responds to this and seeks Him…

John 5:25

Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

Neutral zone?

Neutral zone?

This lockdown experience can ‘slow-torture’ our lives into neutral zone.

Neutral zone as in shelving all our endeavours into ‘suspended animation’.

That could sound slightly peppered with the idea of despair. (?)

If we take our example from one of the fathers of the faith it’s a case of – far from it!

Paul the apostle gives us insight into his humanity, but also his triumphal experience as a born again Christian, coming as it does through faith.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

He tells us of trouble and perplexity but without despair.

So a 24/7 joyous trouble-less high is not what being a Christian entails.

It does of course firstly entail matters of life or death before it is a whole pile of other things.

‘Where and how shall I spend eternity?’ Is usually a foundational question when examining the Christian faith.

No despair, Paul the apostle indicates in the above verses.

Reason? Because we are never forsaken. 

It is the unforsaken-ness that gives the Christian the strength and sustaining solace they need regardless of the situation, they might find themselves in. God is with us (Emmanuel) always, even to the end and further.

However I must admit to a certain neutral dwelling zone that I can drift in and out of. What about you? 

I examine this – in order to come to fresh conclusions.

Conclusions that will spur me on to lay hold, more firmly, upon eternal life again.

I Timothy 6/12

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…

Disillusionment knocks at the door, in light of the chaos abroad.

With no immediate change, or with prolonged sameness, can come disillusionment.

But there is no disillusionment when it comes to the things of God, they are constant.

As the old hymn says: “All may change but Jesus never – Glory to His name!”

Shaking off disillusionment, like Paul did – with the serpent into the fire. (Acts 28/4-6)

Nevertheless I must admit to missing, gathering with, God’s people and lifting the roof in praise. And I mean really lifting the roof!

As far as I am concerned all the clever-most technology will never substitute for human beings – being together ‘in the flesh’, but the great thing and advantage Christians have is being together ‘in the Spirit’.

If that was not the case, being in the flesh as in gathering physically together, would be of little consequence.

What a blessing to be both together in each others company and to worship in ‘spirit and truth’ at the same time.

Meantime, we’ve been doing Zoom. We edify and exhort one another. I’m sure you too are tapping into some online expression of church life?

Depending on the changing shifts of covid-safe rules, we can gather together as church, in a limited way.

In all of this invisible attack (virus), on our world – the question that is exchanged between non-Christian and Christian persons alike, is: ‘What is this achieving – why is it happening – what’s the cause, what’s the point etc.?’ Or something similarly expressed.

What ‘it’ (the pandemic) is supposed to do – as with all trials and tribulations we encounter as human beings – is to cause us to fall on God.

Luke 20/

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken and shattered in pieces; and on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”

There is a brokenness that accompanies humility where the failures of our own efforts and the empathetic hand of God meet, as we fall at His feet in prayer. Falling ON the Rock Christ Jesus. There is coming a terrible day when the Rock Christ Jesus will fall ON all ungodliness.

But many do not recognise The Rock upon which we must fall.

Romans 9/33

As it is written and forever remains written, “Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offence; And he who believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”

One of the ways the God of the Bible is a stumbling stone to many is – expressed in the old chestnut: “Why does God allow these things?” (Pandemics)

So they stumble in unbelief (through skewed reasoning).

Whereas whoever trusts in Christ will not be disappointed now and in the long term, especially in the long term.

The way of Christ is in total contradistinction to the other spirit that dominates human beings. He hates anything to do with Christ. He is the antichrist spirit.

Christ is a rock of offence to him, and to those opposed to the gospel.

But he who believes in Jesus Christ the Son of God, will not be disappointed with Him.

Like everyone else I am disappointed in how things are in this world at the moment. An understatement don’t you think?

But I am not disappointed with Christ.

But here is my abrupt end to this post – Christian out there, what is God saying to us? 

How does He want us to respond to this pandemic and the state of affairs we find ourselves in?

One thing is for sure our God-dependancy increases with the weakening effect and lack of answers this pandemic has produced.

Who out there will turn to Christ in acknowledgement of how inadequate we still are in the 21st century?

Does this virus not clearly expose the weakness of mankind, and knock him off any self-satisfied or ‘smugness perch’?

Our need of God is self-evident, brought home by things such as this pandemic.

Nevertheless mankind will continue to look for answers through his own ingenuity – until the next humbling event hits the earth.

Give me ingenuity for vaccine finding – but with the big big plus – of welcoming individually, the Presence and Person of Christ in this lost and dying world.

Tendencies

TENDENCIES

I recently found myself agreeing with a Christian Radio host when he said that some believers in Christ tend towards the emotional and some towards the cerebral.

How true – and usually we look next, for some label to differentiate the two.

* The obvious one that comes to mind are the labels Pentecostal or charismatic and evangelical/theological or liberal.

Much as I like the one label for all (Christian), – in reality we are all influenced by these labels*, in forming a ‘picture’ of what different Christian folks are like and what they believe or major on.

This labelling of course is in flux – as everyone searches for a name to crystallise what they believe in, or stand for. So new ones emerge through time.

Spiritual experiences – as in experiencing the Holy Spirit – is not synonymous with emotionalism.

Deep theological thought is not synonymous with no experience of The Holy Spirit.

Someone has put it this way – (speaking metaphorically) too much emphasis on the power of God and we blow up. Too much emphasis on The Word of God and we dry up – but the Spirit and the Word and we grow up.

Paul the apostle had great intellectual ability, but he was first to admit how limited and insufficient this was when it came to spiritual matters.

Philippians 3:

though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:

I Corinthians 2/11

…Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

Galatians 1/

12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual discernment is not emotionalism. Nevertheless when God moves in power you can be sure your emotions will give great response.

As we refrain from leaning on our own understanding and ask God for His enabling Holy Spirit – let’s not limit what He can do, by knowledge uninspired by God Himself.

Don’t allow or use theological knowledge to limit or direct God to fit into our understanding about what He must and must not do.

Conversely when God meets with us in a powerful way – don’t drift into trying to reproduce such a wonderful experience by soulish imitation.

The narrow way leads to life.

Lord help us.

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.

Listen

LISTEN

You can’t hear me

By hear I mean receive communication

 

You can’t hear me

If by hear I mean understand

You can’t hear me 

If by hear I mean the need of hearing aids

You can’t hear me

If by hear I mean don’t ignore

You can’t hear me

If by hear I mean take on board and explore

 

As one shouts over another

As many shout in violence 

As people’s views are world’s apart

As peace departs from their speech

 

We screw up our eyes

And with furrowed brow

We turn from the screech of madness

 

No one wants to listen

Really listen

Hearing

HEARING

Sometimes when we make a point to someone, passing on something we think they aught to think about or do, we hear the response: “I hear you…I hear you!”

Sometimes there is a reluctance, exposed in their tone of voice – but at the same time they know what you shared is applicable.

Revealing a certain kind of hearing. Let’s just call it reluctant hearing.

Spiritual hearing, can start in a similar way – reluctantly. But deep down we know it is applicable.

Hearing begins in the natural – our natural faculties hear words in a message, a communication.

And we respond accordingly.

Our response is individual. Sometimes others agree and we respond corporately to what is communicated.

Everyone wanted to agree that the Health workers in the front line for us all – should be shown and assured of our deep appreciation for their valiant efforts.

So – many responded and stood at their doors and applauded, hoping the echo would resound throughout the community and be received as encouragement by these dedicated servants.

But if some stay indoors and don’t applaud, is this because they didn’t hear or don’t agree?

Or did they hear the call alright – but had a reason not to respond?

Unavailability – would be a possible reason for not taking part in the applause, i.e. engagement elsewhere, in some important activity.

Otherwise human reasoning – annulled their hearing. Because the hearing of the call to corporate applauding – demanded response.

They heard and didn’t hear, at the same time. Because they did not respond.

So it is with the gospel message, or any message of truth that calls for a right response.

In the corporate applauding situation, it’s easy to conclude that those who heard are non-appreciators.

We conclude they didn’t hear by virtue of their lack of response to this small act of appreciation, because they didn’t join in.

This is an illustration of how to hear and yet not hear.

So hearing and understanding can be two different things, in this instance. 

Usually understanding provokes your will to do something, this affirms that you heard and understood. Understanding usually calls for response of some kind.

Where am I going with all this?

Well not to disappoint your expectation of the spiritual point.🙂

Jesus said:

Matthew 13:19

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

What way are we meant to hear and respond to spiritual truths?

If there is no response – does that reveal that we have heard and yet not heard? Heard – according to this verse and not properly understood?

If you don’t like the idea of being a person that doesn’t ‘get it’, one who doesn’t properly understand – you can examine it further until you do.

In the verse above – those referred to, didn’t hear and understand – I submit to you – because they did not act upon what they heard, even if the response was to simply explore the thoughts and words of the gospel further.

Jesus said:

John 8:

43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 

So hearing/understanding/believing/responding with action/ are inextricably linked.

True spiritual hearing is followed by understanding and by a choice of the will to believe.

Jesus said:

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

You and I – MUST be born again – according to The Lord Jesus Christ.

MUST is pretty emphatic.

Do we understand what this means? Then we shall take the necessary ACTIONS  to prove we understand in the truest sense.

 

 

Drug delusion

DRUG DELUSION

All tuckered-out

Gasping for a bonus breath

All displayed-out across the sprawling floor

Horizontal jitterbugging – trying to rise

Collapsed again – with harmful jarring of limbs

 

At last – a staggered concertina – making it to the lamp post

Tree hugging imitation of the iron pylon

The head squeaks – needing oil – and tries to scan

The horizon – seeing a building walking like a man

 

No offered hand lest the helper fall too

No policeman to offer a – where to go – for you

And to think these drugs can be sales-talked

Into your life – held forth in dealer’s hand

Like some smiling python inducing romance

 

To get you persuaded and on board

Is the goal – so your puppeteer can return

With nothing to offer but death in a capsule

Producing frantic nervous-breakdown reward 

“C’mon” he says “take a chance…”

 

I cannot be heard above your internal din

When I cry “throw it in the bin!”

I cannot be heard when I say – “walk away…”

 

Find the other kingdom – get across the line

To the place that’s not in the war

A ‘land’ of peace and joy

Receiving what the new deal offers

We cry: “Only Christ can satisfy!”

Response?

RESPONSE?

I guess whether Christian or non-Christian – when it comes to writing articles, making comments, writing a post, or preaching a sermon, it is stating the obvious to say that we want to think, that what we have spoken or communicated in whatever form – is relevant.

Think of the thousands who put fingers to keys in blogging format to get heard/responded to.

We quite like the idea of others being affected by what we say, – do we not?

Eliciting either affirmation, wonder, admiration, pleasant surprise, thanks, agreement et al.

All responses we, (unconsciously perhaps?), seek for, when communicating.

You write a post on some pop star – and it adds another ten people to the ‘fan club’/followers, or they love the song you have posted, and look for more of same.

Political movements seek to harvest followers for their cause or politician.

And of course, those running a business are delighted when you respond by ordering their product.

Posting – speaking – communicating – blogging – vlogging – whatever involves visual or verbal communication has usually some goal in mind.

And we sit back in our chairs satisfied, when positive response is received.

It’s a basic human instinct or need to be appreciated.

When the negative response comes along, we of course don’t like it. And either ignore it – or enter into verbal fisticuffs with the perpetrator.

(Which usually is non-profitable and a waste of time. The exception proves the rule when both parties learn something)

Now normally this introduction of mine would have some such above mentioned goal in mind, i.e. eliciting response of some kind, as I lead us to some salient point.

That is – it would seek to get your affirmation or  positive response, followed by actions you might take – as you – whatever…

Join the club or buy the product or change your life.

But guess what? – that’s it. I simply want to point out we are all looking for response.

So when I talk to God – I am looking for response. I send my words to Him in prayer, and at times am more conscious of His response than others.

I guess you didn’t expect this to end up on the subject of prayer?

Again – guess what? – neither did I…

[No response to this Post – called for, or is there?]

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.