Category Archives: hearing

Born in…?

Born in….?

Depending on the moral state of society, the subject of God is either to the fore or perhaps rarely referred to.

In the west – countries, cities, peoples, have been (generally speaking), morally honourable or reprehensible, depending (I suppose) on what part of history we examine.

This reprehensible moral state, grows out of what the bible clearly tells us, is the result of mankind being ‘dead in sin’.

Ephesians 2/1…who were dead in trespasses and sins,

Unless we accept that mankind is born with an inherited sin-nature, we can find no sense in the above statement/scripture. (Nor indeed can we make any sense of the atrocities in the world, taking place right now).

As a result of mankind being ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ – we can ask the question: How can living people be described as dead?

Likewise the term ‘born again’ – is not understood, unless we receive or experience the explanation.

This term (born again), has been ‘stolen’ from Christian jargon and applied to mean, all kinds of different things, in the present day. None of which uses the phrase as originally intended by The Son of God.

There was a gentleman, a religious Pharisee, who likewise didn’t grasp what Jesus meant by:

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

In not understanding Christ’s statement, the Pharisee gentleman provided his own response to the ‘born again’ reference from Jesus, in the form of a Question:

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

This gives us an example of – how spiritually insensitive, unaware, uncomprehending, human beings can be when it comes to spiritual matters, spiritual truth and spiritual reality.

His question exposed that He did not understand what Jesus meant by the statement He (Jesus), made.

We can safely conclude that this inability to comprehend spiritual matters and reality, is the direct result of the fallen nature all mankind is born with, again referred to as being: Ephesians 2/1

…dead in trespasses and sins…

John 3/6:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

So being dead in sin, (born of the flesh) – is clearly referencing man’s nature as the statement is made to humans who are walking, talking and thinking on planet earth to this day. We might borrow a phrase from movie culture and refer to us as ‘the living dead’.

The idea that we are born good – or morally fine, is a big mistake, in light of this verse and the rest of scripture, that in so many places, affirms that mankind is indeed born with an inbuilt tendency to do what is wrong and evil. An inbuilt ‘bias’ towards sinning.

It is something that comes naturally, because it is in the very make-up and fibre of our minds. 

We are born that way, and have inherited this nature and tendencies from our forefathers, all the way back to the first human being.

Upbringing and it’s experiences, can effect or feed this nature, this sinful nature is not the result of our upbringing, but is the result of an inherited nature we are born with.

Of course an underprivileged background whether financially, morally, or as a result of cruelty in those who raised us – contributes to the greater formation of bad behaviour in the life of the person who suffers in such an upbringing.

But that ‘ability’ to sin comes from the nature within. The nature inherent in each of us.

Cultivate it – or run to the foot of the cross in prayer and behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1/29).

Bowing we speak with Him, bowing we take Him at His word:

…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (John 6/37)

On receiving The Lord Jesus Christ we receive His divine nature, to which we yield, causing the sinful nature to become subservient. And so our journey begins unto eternal life.

Things we miss…

Things we miss 2022

I am thinking today, of the things we miss.

You didn’t see the advertisement, and missed out on a few bargains at your local store.

You didn’t see that programme – about your favourite musician – you missed out. You would have found it interesting. (I’m sure you will catch it again – somewhere).

You missed the bus, or was it the train?

You missed your friend, who called when you were out.

You missed the explanation about the artefact, given by the museum guide – the tour is over.

You missed the concert – sold out.

You missed the enjoyment of the Old School reunion – you were out of the country at the time.

You missed so much because of Covid.

You missed the Death Notice of an old friend – you didn’t realise they were gone.

You missed the truth. You didn’t seek – therefore you didn’t find.

You missed that final piece of the childhood jig-saw, lost and not found.

You missed the fact that God was speaking to you, and had been for quite some time.

Why do we miss things? Not paying attention or not being there seems to be the two narrowed-down reasons for missing out.

Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees.

Everybody misses out sometime – often we miss the obvious:

John 3/16:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Revive Revival…

Revive Revival… 2022

Habakkuk 3:2

O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

It is a principle – that if we give-out to others, what God-has-given-to-us – we bring ourselves into The Reception area of God’s office. 🙂

A reception area is where you meet the owners of the firm (or their employees) – but also they meet you.

But God’s reception area – is also a place where you receive from God Himself. God loves to give. Mankind is somewhat slower at giving, to make an under-statement.

God says: 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

There are many things in this world that would distract us, and cause us to lose sight of the fact that God is a giving-Person.

Here is a scenario that we as believers, if we do not exercise due diligence, can drift into:

Hard times, bad times, perilous times, doom and gloom all around, a great falling away in moral standards, evil men getting worse and worse.

Because of all of these things we start to believe that God doesn’t care and certainly doesn’t want anything to do with a world of grossly misbehaving humans.

So we stop looking for Christian Revival. Revival as in firstly God moving in His church again, amongst His people.

Some think themselves Biblically correct when they conclude that there will be/is – a great falling away. That fits into their eschatological position, and they feel firmly justified in saying there could not be a revival.

Wow! God has lost His ancient power then? He can no longer save? He is powerless to do anything about this state of affairs?

In fact let’s just accept this and tell others the bad news. At least we are biblically correct, right?

Wrong. As unbelief increases, (because all sin begins in unbelief), we as Christians are not called to simply accept the inevitable, when the inevitable flies in the face of all that God is, and stands for.

God is the God of ‘the more’.  There is never a Time when God does not want to save.

When He is not moving, and saving and filling, it is not because He has ordained the falling away – or wants things to get worse and worse, it’s because He knows that rebellious man will fall away in increasing measure.

But that does not mean we abandon every revealed principle concerning who and what the God of our salvation is, in thought, word and deed.

Go to sleep church, don’t seek me anymore, I will not bless, I will not save, there will be no revival, I will leave you and forsake you.

How does that sound?

And so we stop. We simply stop. We have got (so many may think) the eschatology right – so do nothing because there’s nothing we can do. Wrong again.

God calls us to seek Revival – 2 Chronicles 7:14

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We need God to move in power, if souls are to have the real thing in a true salvation/conversion experience, and God tells us nowhere that He is no longer interested in saving souls.

World wide Revival? If The Lord Jesus was on the earth still in the form of a man – and He prayed – could He bring worldwide Revival?

Only if He went to a cross, …

And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Having triumphed and done what was necessary – Revival can come. And has – many times throughout history.

He doesn’t need to return to earth, become a man and do it all over again. ‘It is finished’. (John 19/20). Now anything is possible to those who believe. (John 14/12).

But if revival doesn’t come – it is not that God has ordained it to be so. It’s that His people stop looking for, or expecting it,  either in faith or hope.

Let’s seek The Lord for more of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as God builds His church – one without Spot or Wrinkle, or any such thing. (Ephesians 5/27, Matthew 16/8)

The Manifestation of The Holy Spirit, is given for the profit of all. (I Cor. 12/7)

Is salvation by the convicting, convincing power of the Holy Spirit – often with signs following – not for mankind anymore? (I Corinthians 12/7) (Mark 16/17).

Of course it is – it is not God’s will that any should perish. (II Peter 3/9).

Let’s shake ourselves and hold forth/fast the Word of Life knowing that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. (Philippians 2/16) (Ephesians 3/20).

In conclusion when nothing of revival is happening – are we those who look away from The Saviour or are we those who look upon Him without distraction? 

Hebrews 12:2

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jude 1:21

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Attentiveness

ATTENTIVENESS 2022

So where is your attention?

Your attention will be with whatever – has got your attention.

Now that I have stated the obvious – let’s try to add a little to that.

By something getting the biggest part of your attention, there is every chance you will not be found listening to things you ought to give your attention to.

Habitual thinking is common to mankind. We have the same approach to things daily. It may be a showering routine. You might make a certain meal one way only. You turn the TV on at the same time to hear the news, because habitually you always do that. You always buy the same meal when eating out and so on.

You may pray – same time every day. All day is good.

When we hear a preacher give his sermon – there is a good chance that your mind can be on something else. Perhaps something that has been on your mind all week.

The preacher may have what you need. But your mind is elsewhere, rather than on what he says.

So you don’t hear. Really hear. You have missed it – the word – the word you needed.

You carry on anyway, and will return another day to hear(?) the preacher again.

Luke 8/8:…When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Unsuccessful conversation?

       

Unsuccessful conversation?

Mr. Preacher man:

There’s wars and rumours of…

                    …

Mr. Skeptic:

I’ve heard it all before…

                    …

Mr. Preacher man:

But…

                    …

Mr. Skeptic:

“And quite frankly I don’t want to hear it anymore”

                    …

Mr. Preacher man:

But you must listen to what I say…

                    …

Mr. Skeptic:

“I don’t want to be rude

But what good – would it do anyway?”

                    …

Mr. Preacher man:

But you must know the facts

Found in Genesis to Revelation

(Including the book of Acts)

                    …

Mr. Skeptic:

“Seems like you are going to insist…”

                    …

Mr. Preacher man:

Well I’m told to compel you to come in…

don’t resist…

                    …

Mr. Skeptic:

“I Think I prefer my own sin…”

                   …

Mr. Preacher man:

Well that sums it up best of all

From your own lips your words did fall

                   …

Mr. Skeptic:

“From my own lips – yep – you heard it here first…”

Mr. Preacher man:

As the words fell

So you are fallen

From your own lips your words have told

The Saga of lostness – you are out in the cold…

                   …

Mr. Skeptic:

“But it’s my cold…”

                   …

Mr. Preacher man:

Exactly my friend

But you have yet to see

That your own words mean what they say

Fallen man – keeping his own sin

I’m sorry you feel that way

       

Translated for miracles

Translated for miracles.

I was thinking of the many men and women of God who have made their contribution to God’s kingdom down through the decades and centuries.

No two people in history are the same. And we can hope, we make some kind of unique contribution to God’s kingdom, before we leave the planet and come fully and completely into that same kingdom, in heaven.

Christians are already in this kingdom, even though still in the flesh on the earth:

Colossians 1/13:

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed (or translated) us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…

This is a done deal. We are – by being ‘in Christ’ – also in His kingdom. His kingdom is where the King is – which is within our beings, as Christians.

The kingdom of God is in the midst of the gathering of God’s Christian people, but also is within us individually.

Someone once said that some Christians are so earthly minded, they are no heavenly use, others are so heavenly minded, they are no earthly use.

God wants us in balance.

The biggest challenge that faces the believer in Christ, is to abide in Him.

As we abide – the possibilities are fathomless.

John 15/7

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

When we fail to abide, but step back into the flesh with all it’s deceitful-heart ways, we will most certainly, fail to avail ourselves of all that The Lord has purchased for us. (Jer. 17/9)

Some folks – believer and non-believer alike, dismiss too readily the possibility of a miracle. 

They are so used to leaning on their own understanding, that any openness to God moving supernaturally, is dismissed out of hand.

So wary are they, and skeptical in their outlook, sometimes re-enforced by knowledge or experience of charlatans, they miss out on the possibility of God speaking, and producing miracle-receiving-faith.

Some folks, they believe, are too gullible. “You won’t catch me believing for miracles”, is their response, in blindness to the scepticism that dominates their outlook to the exclusion of receiving from God.

My advice? Wipe the table clean from all your skepticism and start to turn your eyes on Jesus. Remember the three Hebrew ‘children’,

Daniel 3/

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Some don’t realise that they are serving unwittingly, Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, with their unbelief and skepticism, that suggests that God could not, or would not perform a New Testament miracle in this day.

Notice this ‘total acceptance’ kind of faith brought a miracle of deliverance. They did not die but lived…

Psalm 116

16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.

17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Where are you at?

WHERE ARE YOU AT? 2022

There is a great spiritual vacuum in every person’s life ’til they meet Jesus by the coming of The Holy Spirit into their being.

Everyone is at a different experience level of revelation regarding the above statement.

Some are at the door-shut-fast stage. They – right now – have no intention of pursuing the matter. They have many thoughts blocking up their minds. Too busy, too afflicted, too pleasure-oriented, too angry at the world, too lethargic, too atheistically inclined, too caught up with some cause they espouse and that they are determined to make a difference in, too anti-christian because of another religion they follow, too busy ignoring the reality of death, too indifferent to anything that is outside of ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’.

Others are half-way there between not being convinced and fully realising that indeed Christ is Lord, The Only Begotten Son of The Living God.

Where are you?

Enter – The Lord of heaven and earth – enter God the convincer of men:

John 16:7-9 (Re: The Holy Spirit)

But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment.

You door-shut-fast folks – I plead  with you, stop in your tracks – make yourself look-into the claims of The Lord Jesus Christ. 

You half-way-there folks, to enable you to come to a place of complete persuasion – pray! Pray and ask Jesus to make Himself known to you.

Every blessing to those who will take themselves in hand in these days of increased sorrows, wars and rumours of wars, and widespread confusion between right and wrong.

Write me at ken.riddles@btinternet.com

Ignoring…

IGNORING…

Even If I had gone away

You might still hear me say

Words accumulated in this way:

That is – i.e. – in poetic form

Saying things that are not the norm

Spiritual thoughts – to these I warm

But you’re mind is on other things

I may say something spiritual and a bell rings

As your mind thinks of something memory brings

Someone spoke to you once in a biblical way

You didn’t like it – you’d nothing to say

You lived to ignore it another day

There is a time coming

(A day of reckoning – still to come)

“I bled for you”

Said the Only Begotten Son

Idols (?)

IDOLS (?)

They genuflect before their idols

No idols do they see

Only girl-power or man-power

To which they bow the knee

                          …

And now what shall you say?

You don’t agree in any way?

You – love – them

Those famous fancies flaunting

Futile fantasies

                          …

Love? The line has been crossed

Between goodwill – and cultish attachment

They – have you – emotionally

Just as they used to scream and shout

Beginning with Frank or was it Bill?

Followed by the Fab Four no doubt

                          …

Such scenes we did perceive

As females fainted and became undone

And wobbly

All weak at the knees and

Likewise – It seems – at the seams

                          …

We laughed – didn’t take it seriously

And some of it was pinch of salt

But the ‘worship-need’

Found expression in the wrong place

Set on the ‘object’ of the eyes

(Whilst emotions were in ‘outer space’)

                         …

Young men too – on the Imitation Train

Following their idols right around the bend 

                         …

For all that feeds the limited nature

Into the lower nature

Loving not the Creator –

but the creature

                         …

But now back-up a bit

And take a long-studied look

See this world like a writhing can of worms

And ask yourself

What will change the horror of

Desperation-arms and hands

Reaching and clutching at the roof?

                         …

No backbone – just jelly-fish views:

‘If it feels good – do it’

The cry that becomes the decree

                         …

The world is losing control

To a – greater – not lesser – degree

Unless you accept the control of you and me

By outside forces that dictate your dictionary

                        …

There are already many antichrists

On the planet

Slowly roping-you-in

Burying in deceit

Their rampant hearts of sin

                        …

And if you would be aware

As true awareness should be

You’d better stop and listen

To the gospel that comes free

                        …

There’s a solid rock to reach

A sure foundation like an oak

Of a solid tree

Dispelling any darkness that

Flourishes in you and me

                        …

I could not find a way

That wasn’t turmoil-ridden

Justifying all that was forbidden

Until the day idols were demolished

Heralding a different kind of living

                       …

I now stand free on solid soil

Subjective peace for inner turmoil

And though I must prepare

For stormy weather

I’m cuff-linked to His Word

In The Rock I find my tether

                     …

‘With Christ in the vessel

I can smile at the storm’

Despite the world’s rejection

Indifference – ridicule and scorn

                     …

“God’s Grace please leave me never!”

As I worship Jesus forever

Thoughts…

Thoughts…

There is no human being that can recall or recount the thoughts that went through their mind yesterday. In fact I would suggest the same applies to the thoughts you had within the last ten minutes – how about last two minutes?

By recall/recount I mean every single thought in the order you had them – exactly as they were.

You see it is a pretty impossible task to do so. We can recall that we were thinking about a given subject – but we cannot re-run verbatim every thought we had in a given day.

God has no problem with this. The ability to do this – is well within His brief.

Let’s face it – God having created mankind, is of course, of a superior intellect than all of mankind put together. If this were not so – then how could He have the ingenuity to create us in the first place?

But God’s thoughts towards mankind are not always the same. Yes – always the same in His intentions, because of the salvation wrought by and through The Person of His Son – but God’s thoughts are often thoughts of response to what mankind is thinking and doing on the earth

At given seasons, at given periods of history, at specific times, and in the context of given situations that have arisen on the planet, God’s thoughts are thoughts that arise in response to man’s thoughts, words, and actions.

Here is an example of God having thoughts at a given time and situation:

Jeremiah 29/

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

We talk of finding the context, when we quote a given piece or pieces of scripture. And it is wise to do that. But God’s Word is beyond just grammatical considerations. Or contextual ones.

A big additional factor with the thoughts of God, rather than just the words of men unaided by God is mentioned in:

John 6/63 (Jesus speaking) where we read:

…The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

Words as spoken by God Himself, have creative power, miracle working power.

When God speaks – His purpose for doing so, – may differ greatly from season to season. And what He says is often in response to earthly situations, that man finds himself in, or has brought upon himself.

God thinks and then speaks. Almost just as we do. Except that proper pre-meditation often escapes human beings, who so easily speak wrongly, or out of turn.

Concerning man’s thoughts – we are told in Psalm 94/11 that God knows the thoughts of man:

The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile (vain empty)…

And yet, what are we to do? We cannot think with some other mind (?) – we have only the one. And yet God invites us to do that very thing –

5 …Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

He invites us to think His thoughts after Him – this should be a major concern for every Christian, namely, to fill his/her mind with the thoughts of God – utilising the means He has provided as in Bible meditation.

We are also given insight into God’s thoughts in Psalm 40/4:

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works

Which You have done;

And Your thoughts toward us

Cannot be recounted to You in order;

If I would declare and speak of them,

They are more than can be numbered.

So God, we can be assured, has ‘thoughts toward us’, – thoughts in our direction.

He considers and has not abandoned mankind.

Even when we have abandoned Him, He still wants to communicate, and wants us to listen. That’s why He both sent prophets to speak His thoughts to us, and has enabled men to write His thoughts down, in scripture.

God thinking and speaking again in response to man’s thoughts and actions says this:

Jeremiah 6/

Hear, O earth!

Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people—

The fruit of their thoughts,

Because they have not heeded My words

Notice ‘the fruit of their thoughts”

What fruit is our thoughts producing?

God will tailor-make His thoughts and Words by way of response, to suit the fruit of our own thinking, responding in accordance with whether our thoughts are godly or sinful.

Repentance in the simplest understanding of the word means to ‘change our mind’.

We can say why God wants us to do so i.e. (‘change our mind’) when He says – 

Isaiah 55/

7 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.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

He realises that mankind left to their own thoughts manifests futility. We must trade-in our old vehicle of communication (the sinful mind) for God’s superior model (pure thoughts of Christ). Properly understood this is repentance.

We live in a day where man’s own thoughts and ways are increasingly (and at a more rapid pace) abandoning the thoughts and Words of God.

In order for God ‘to move’ in mercy and grace (unmerited favour) toward an individual – that individual must fulfil the ‘conditions’ God requires.

God ‘moving’ is the work of The Holy Spirit that comes to influence an individual in such a way that they find a consciousness of their own sin followed by a yielding to the same Holy Spirit that draws them to Christ as Saviour and Lord.

This is a subjective experience available to every person on the planet. However we are told ‘few are they that find…’.

This ‘few’, is a comparative term – [has to be] – when we consider the innumerable multitudes that have passed through the scene of time.

The Word from God goes out: Matthew 11/28:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Our own ways (thoughts), keep the soul and spirit of man in a place of struggle, burden, turmoil, hopelessness, and condemnation.

But Christ offers us life and life more abundant. Not a problem-less existence, but a Peace that passes understanding (our understanding).

Milk and Meat

MEAT AND MILK

When the scripture refers to milk or meat in the context of doctrine or simply truth, what is God telling us?

Some might think that this refers to education or the lack of it.

But if it is education, it is of a spiritual kind.

Progress in the Christian life must come directly from God Himself.

Who would deny for one minute that the names known by most as stalwarts in the faith such as Finney, Wesley, Khulman, Graham, Muller, Bonhoeffer, Spurgeon, Nee, and so on…

(some will subtract here or add – there is a lot of opinions always present amongst Christians),

…were mature ‘meat’ lovers.

Let’s turn to the verse where we find these terms:

Hebrews 5:13-14

13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The King James uses the term ‘Strong meat’ and as you can see above, the NKJ gives us SOLID FOOD.

I think this helps paint a better picture for us. Because immediately we can think of babies fed at the breast or with milk from a bottle. They haven’t moved on to solids yet.

Firstly though let’s establish the fact that there is only one kind of food. 

Matthew 4/4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

So whether milk or solid food – we cannot stay alive spiritually without the milk of The Word. Or the solid food of The Word. But it is the same food (or menu!)

You are reading this blog post, I’m glad you are. But let me assure you that the red letter verses herein, will feed you in a far better way than anything I say about them.

So if you abandon this post and turn to and open, your bible – heh! You can’t go wrong!

Are you still here?

So what’s the difference between the milk and the solid food?

In my view, spiritual experience and experiences, is the answer.

Paul the apostle was a well accomplished individual in his religion – in many ways surpassing his peers:

Galatians 1/14

And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

But he was spiritually blind. A head full of knowledge but his experience was limited and religious.

Until one day he ran out of steam fighting his conscience and he experienced/encountered the Living Christ on a road to Damascus. (Acts 9)

There and subsequently, he came to visions and revelations of The Lord. (II Corinthians 12/1).

He used his ‘spiritual faculties’ – serving God with his spirit in the Gospel, from that day onwards. (Romans 1/9)

He was changed and transformed by the working of The Holy Spirit in his life. Finding that spiritual things were spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2/14)

He advanced, just as he had advanced in the Jewish ‘religion’, so that all that he had learned at the foot of the scholars of his day, gave way to all that he learned at the feet of Jesus. (Acts 22/3)

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself learned all from His Heavenly Father, not from the local rabbis. Yes he conversed with them, but did not travel the accepted route to ‘the meat’ school. (John 7/16) 

It was His intimacy with The Father that was His place of schooling as a man.

John 7/15

And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”

That’s the great challenge for all Christians, namely intimacy with God. In that place of communion our senses are more and more exercised to discern…

Inner development is the result of communion with The Father, responding to His revelation, growing stronger in spirit, eating His Word, developing our spiritual senses, as we more deeply know, what we might even have known before. That is going from milk to meat.

It is a challenge to be malleable in God’s hand, to seek greater intimacy and to respond daily to His developing hand in our lives.

Lord please give us grace.

Contending…

CONTENDING…

Jude 1

2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

You will notice I have highlighted a phrase in bold type. What does it mean?

You ask me – and I will ask you – and we can both ask God what it means.

A lot of preachers/teachers will reach now for the greek lexicon or seek, by whatever means, to understand the original words.

Let’s instead, look at the phrase in different bible translations:

fight for the faith…

defend the faith…

fight hard for the faith…

continue your fight for the Christian faith…

put up a real fight for the faith…

earnestly persevere in the faith…

stoutly defend the truth…

carry on the struggle for the faith…

to hold very strongly to what you do believe…

strive strongly for the faith…

to agonize for the faith…

Well – does that help us grasp what this means?

Seems to me there is no simple thought that sums up, all that is contained or built-into this exhortation from the writer Jude.

There is more involved in ‘contending earnestly for the faith’ than just one thing. And I hazard a guess that this post will touch on but a few.

I observe that in America (USA) there is a ‘movement’ that calls for the return to the principles that America was founded on. In a nutshell summed up in the word ‘Freedom’.

Many of the actions of those who contend for this return, give us one possible definition we may or may not want to embrace, as an example of ‘contending for the faith’ (?)

The greatest challenge in contending for the faith, once delivered to the saints, is to move in God’s anointing in all that we think, say and do. A tall order in light of our wayward contrary natures.

It is possible whilst contending for the faith to grieve or quench The Holy Spirit. How? By allowing that which is of the flesh to get the upper hand, so that abruptness, rudeness, anger and eventually resentment and bitterness takes us into a different kind of ‘contending’ or ‘contention’.

So that we are no longer contending in a godly manner.

But to know the difference between warring according to the flesh or according to The Spirit – whilst taking our faith into the public arena – can be a lost art. (II Corinthians 10/3, 4) (Ephesians 6)

Jesus was daily involved in highlighting behaviour. Good behaviour and bad behaviour.

Laying out in His sermons all that pertained to acceptable behaviour in the sight of God. Thus doing He was contending for the faith.

Some of this behaviour he addressed, was within a political or secular environment/background. So in that sense it could be suggested that as salt and light we should enter the political or media realm to put forth the righteous principles of Christ and therefore by so doing – contend for the faith.

(I am not an American – but a Northern Irishman) – and I have seen in my country, things done in the name of religion which for me have nothing to do with contending for the faith. Yet they are – in some people’s perceptions – exactly that.

Very quickly – if we stand with political activists who (perhaps on certain topics) contend for the tenets of scripture – we get pigeon-holed and branded with all the other policies they hold – which we may not want anything to do with.

So it’s a difficult mix – faith, principles of righteousness and political stances.

Proper contending for the faith I believe, is summed up in the words of Paul the apostle:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

If we read-on-into the rest of the verses, we started with, Jude is obviously telling the believers that a mix of doctrinal error and lies are to be addressed and counter-acted with the unadulterated truth of God. 

This is contending for the faith, because faith comes by and stays by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10/17)

Jude also covers the subject of sin and sinful men in the church. Contending for the faith then, is becoming aware of the behaviour that can creep into the company of God’s people, which is contrary to the behaviour of Christ The Lord.

A watchful eye therefore is called for, by leadership, and everybody else, to enable the people to keep to the faith, and the uprightness required.

So – contending for the faith is holding to sound doctrine. And adhering to the great foundational truths once delivered to the saints, and – experientially walking in The Spirit. (Romans 8/1, 4)

Living like Jesus is contending for the faith. Glorifying God in our body and spirit is contending for the faith. (I Cor. 6/20)

Entering in to spiritual warfare in the enablement of God is contending for the faith. (Ephesians 6/12)

Intercession in prayer – is contending for the faith.

Punching someone on the nose for not following us – is…

You spotted the deliberate mistake, right?