Category Archives: life

Happiness?

HAPPINESS?

I was thinking of the word – Happiness.

Happiness – where do I stand in the ‘happiness’ stakes?

My dictionary gives us this for happy:

  • feeling or showing pleasure or contentment:

Happiness – hmmm.?

Paul the apostle tells us that (I Timothy 6) / Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

I do have a deep abiding peace in my spirit.

In fact – a peace I can’t explain – one that passes my ability to figure it out.

Philippians 4/

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

However I like the old sayng that made it’s journey around the church years ago:

I’m satisfied with a dissatisfied satisfaction.

In my own nature and personality I’m a discontented kind of a guy.

When we find a negative tendency in our personality – (and we are all so different) – we need to feed ourselves, as Christians, with God’s antidote: – the Word of God.

This both counteracts our negative tendencies and also brings change.

God is in the changing business. He, as a faithful Heavenly Father takes time to raise His family correctly.

Raising us in the nurture and admonition of His Word (see also Ephesians 6/4)

Reminding ourselves of all the wonderful promises He has given us, through the New Testament and Old Testament writers, is giving God the opportunity to work in us.

He uses His Word to accomplish the changing and maturing of the Christian’s heart.

I Thessalonians 2/13

…the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

This brings greater wholeness in our lives – and consequently greater contentment.

So role out your own definition of happiness, if you wish. But perhaps, godly contentment may not be what you have in mind?

Godliness brings contentment – whereas the pleasure of sin is only for a season.

Contentment starts deep within – growing from the assurance that Christ has made me acceptable, through no merits of my own.

I drift from the contentment He provides – and get restless, but when that happens it’s time to get back into the power-house of contentment, through prayer and Bible meditation.

Passivity and contentment are not the same thing. How easy it is to become passive, especially in this present lockdown situation.

But, nevertheless, I need to be reminding myself that my contentment is in Christ.

Complete by Grace bringing contentment:-

Colossians 2/

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 

Secretly

SECRETLY

John 19/

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

I feel very reluctant to come to a conclusion about this man Joseph.

Perhaps there are two schools of thought. 1) There should be no secret disciples or 2) It is perfectly acceptable to be so.

Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear… 

It would seem to me there is no ‘one rule covers all’ application to be made here.

We know that The Lord calls his disciples, to confess Him before men – or we will miss out on Jesus confessing us before the angels…

Luke 12:

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

But in Joseph’s case we have a man who is convinced of the fact that he must take care of the body of Jesus, and that He believes that Jesus was/is The Son of God – otherwise he would not be designated as a disciple.

But he was also having to deal with fear. Fear is an emotion, so apparent in our lives at times, that it can cause a faithful disciple like Peter to deny his Lord and Master.

The lesson learnt from it, in Peter’s case, meant such denial was never to be repeated.

Did Joseph go from being a secret disciple to a manifest one? Well if it became known what his good deed consisted of – then he certainly would have been suspected of being a follower of Christ.

What about you – are you a secret disciple? Perhaps a member of another religion – but secretly a believer on Christ as Lord? Perhaps you are in a workplace where you would receive ridicule and banter for being such a disciple? Perhaps you are secretly trying to live the Christian life – with limited knowledge as to what it is really all about? You just want to be a good person?

Jesus spoke of someone in this manner: Mark 12/ 34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Perhaps in your secret discipleship, you are doing the best you can?

Seems to me that you are not far from the fulness of what God has for you.

Next should follow advice as to how to proceed.

But I’m stopping short of this and offering to talk to you off-line.(ken.riddles@btinternet.com)

Some day you will need to confess Him before men. But meantime:

Jeremiah 29/12 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. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, 

Dry Bread?

DRY BREAD?

‘Dry bread’ – can be a metaphorical description of something that is not appetising.

We read a blog, a book, an email, a news item, and it seems dry to us – consequently we remain ‘unfed’.

But then in favour of the communicator –  ‘you can please some of the people some of the time but not all etc…’

Dry bread for one person however, can be a happy meal for another.

And that’s why pleasing: ‘all of the people all of the time…’ is an impossibility. Because the meal/message  will be ‘dry bread’ to some.

In the Old Testament the people of God, collected fresh manna (food) each day.

But to them it became stale, even though it wasn’t.

And so staleness can be in the people – not in the food.

Stale people spiritually – do not respond to fresh spiritual bread. It doesn’t appeal. It isn’t appetising because their palette is not sympathetic to it.

Their palette is corrupted. It’s like salt …’but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’.

(To slightly arrest the scripture) To those who have no taste for it, the food has lost it’s savour.

But the food has not lost it’s flavour/savour – instead the palette of those who are offered the food, can be non-appreciative.

[We see this in Numbers 11/4-6]

This is an illustration of the truth we find in…

I Corinthians 2/14

…the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To be able to get the natural man who has no taste for the things of Jesus Christ, – to stop, listen, learn, and respond is impossible. Unless – unless – God touches their heart and mind.

For those who want God to touch them. They must deny their natural appetite (as in earthly thinking) and put themselves in a place where God has their time and attention. It is called prayer and bible meditation.

In that place – low and behold – spiritual food becomes an acquired taste.

In which place, He (God), will eventually serve-up a spiritual meal.

Such folks entering into real prayer will suddenly find the things of God extremely appetising – and such a meal, will change their whole life.

It may not happen straight away – but with patience it will happen. (See also Luke 5/39).

Oh, TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

(Psalm 34)

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.

Most joy…

Most Joy

If I could write something that would make a powerful difference to your life. Something you would be so grateful for, that you couldn’t contain yourself and the thankfulness you would overwhelm me with. I wonder what that ‘something’ would be?

I think of those undercover boss episodes, where the boss eventually ‘reveals’ him/herself – and shares all they will do for their employee with specific needs. You have seen the employee’s emotional response of excitement and joy – when they are helped out – usually in some financial burden-lifting way.

I remember the joy I felt when (second attempt) I passed my driving test – quite a few years ago now. Just a comparatively small thing – yet big to me at the time.

So the word verbalised and written was: “I’m glad to inform you that you have passed your test”.

Then there’s the joy of your partner’s response when she says one simple word – to your marriage proposal: “Yes!” What joy! (I’m still of the opinion that the man should propose). As the comic Dame Edna would say: “Call me old fashioned…”

I finish this very short post with the question: “What would you like me to tell you about leaving this life? What will give you the most joy?”

(John 8/32)

Interested?

INTERESTED?

Here we go – perhaps stating the obvious?

I was thinking of things that interest me.

Having mentioned (in a previous  post), the ‘interest’ factor when it comes to what posts people will read.

It must be one of the simplest conclusions one must arrive at, when it comes to examining why your posts and mine receive their quota of ‘likes’, or not as the case may be.

Some posts get a four, and some get a twenty-four for example.

And so the “why?” question.

I still say it is the interest factor. I too will read what catches my attention/interest, and ignore what doesn’t. I quickly glean whether the post is worth pursuing or not.

I think it’s safe to say that, like you (?), the time element also comes into it.

Posts too long, usually get bypassed for that reason.

All because you and I have things to do. We have our own world to engage with. Trying to hit a balance with work, rest, and play. (Let me add pray).

Some excellent writing therefore is bound to be bypassed along the way.

And so good writing is not a deciding factor in what gets read.

Is writing ability over-rated? Well yes and no. Try reading a post by someone who has little writing ability.

Conversely think of the innumerable multitude of decent writers.

Subject matter – is either of interest to you or isn’t. You will read accordingly – or not.

We know that our ‘followers’ total, means little. Please correct me if I’m missing something?

But there are hundreds of my ‘followers’ who have not visited seedsinmotion for a loooong time.

But heh! Neither have I visited them. So who can complain?

Where’s this all leading to?

Actually I suppose this is where promotion comes in.

Those who must have constant attention and traffic etc. – go mad on promotion. All social media outlets taken on board.

Every which way they can – promote, promote, promote.

I feel a spiritual point coming on.

Jesus was the most sought after person on the planet within His sphere of service (Israel).

He had the goods, as we say. He did the opposite to promoting Himself, with sentences such as: 

Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it.

Notice the more He told them not to ‘promote’ Him – the more He became famous, and His mighty deeds were noised abroad.

Amongst the many attributes we see demonstrated in the Life of The Lord Jesus Christ – humility comes to mind.

He so had every attribute worthwhile to living life – that all came to have a look. Have a look – and get their needs met.

Now before this becomes another Post, suffice to say – for those who are earning a living online – keep on promoting. I am not earning a living online. So I have no tricks, free mugs or T-shirts, but bid you “have a nice day 😎”

PS (To that one person who is helped by anything I write – you make it all worthwhile)

Weakly

WEAKLY

I once saw a man

drenched in a trench coat

I once saw a roof

all covered in snow – though

I couldn’t tell if it was wood or slate

So snow was it

I once tried to tell someone my brief

My faith

I couldn’t make up my mind

If he was genuine or fake

When he said ‘I get it completely’

However weakly (?)

Repentance from dismay

REPENTANCE FROM DISMAY

Now I’m all geared-up for the last round-up

Hoping it lasts for years

All stood up am I

Looking with peeked hand against the sun

                    …

The heat of battle does not draw any enthusiasm

One might say: ‘avoid – avoid – avoid’

Run to the wings – stay out of the fray

Who ever liked the fray anyway?

                    …

But lifting the flap of my bag of words

I daintily choose a few – where to throw them?

Where to grow them?

Will you know them? –

and really get – what they say…?

                    …       

Ah ha!? – it’s fallen-man’s dilemma

You never understood me – I never understood you

We never understand –

there is none who understands

Do you ever get my gist?

                    …    

Stop there – take a pause – as one does…

Re-write your thought life

See what you will find – unwind – de-complicate

Re: Your established portfolio – look again

Try to see in a new way the thoughts

you’ve entertained everyday

For how long is it now – 

as you keep your parameters in place?

                    …

When you decide you might be wrong

Turn this way

Listen long enough – study hard enough

With furrowed brow – try to give it a chance

i.e. the gospel of repentance from dismay

Generational coolness

Generational coolness

Back in the days of being ‘Cool’, style dictated and peer opinion decided a lot of what we thought and did.

Every generation is the same to a greater or lesser degree.

Each group of teens ’n twenties, have their unwritten code of behaviour, to which you are expected to conform.

They have their favourite bands, and fashion-conscious choices to make in the clothes department.

Tattoos e.g. have rocketed in this generation.

‘Cool talk’ will vary from city to city and country to country. But usually there are similarities and certain words are banded-about that have ‘caught on’ in the world of progressive coolness.

Often gaps in speech are filled with various gap-filling or pause-conscious words like – ‘like’ or ‘Ahhh…’ ‘d’yi know what I mean?’, or ‘so…’

How much is a youth’s thought life determined by their peers?

A lot I reckon.

But then it is also deemed ‘cool’ to not conform, be different, go retro, or eclectic, to stand out from the crowd, ridicule or no ridicule.

There are many offered bandwagons to get on board with. 

Political, religious, arty, racist, style and design, financial etc. ‘Whatever floats your boat’, as they say.

Then there are those who consider it all too much – nothing satisfies and unfortunately this can lead to depression and suicide.

The higher code of God is violated and many perceive it bears no consequence or difference to their fate.

It seems cool to mock the things of God. Justified by resorting to the stereotypical image of so called Christians, as something to be shunned. And largely it should be shunned, because it doesn’t represent the real thing in any shape or form.

Jesus said this of the religious Pharisees leaders of the day:

Matthew

15 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?…

Matthew 23:13-15

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 [a]Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [b]hell as yourselves.

So their religion was all about keeping your hands clean, it had nothing to do with the kingdom of God, they cheated widows, pretended to pray, and made their converts twice as bad as they were.

Nothing cool about that kind of religion.

Let Christ instruct us about real Christianity and the narrow way that leads to life and life more abundantly.

That’s where I rest my case for coolness.

Getting away

Stunned paralysis of the vocal

You stand aghast and don’t know what to say

The audacity of the swaying mob

Trying to steal kill destroy or take away

Get away from it all 

and we

Transport you – 

To a far-off shore

Now things are different there

But you freeze in loneliness

You quench all intrusion

Turn-off phones and even throw away…

You live to isolate another day

Who wants this?

All wanting where imaginary other’s are at

Anyway…

Where do we pick up the story of your stay?

Yes you slept a little longer this morning

It would appear…

And a little longer and a little longer…

Until you disappear

Lost in the blankets of oblivion

Until the inner call of your heart

Causes you to climb aboard that ship

Sailing back to your everyday – yesterday

But you learnt a few lessons from the silence

The silence from which you turned away

Back to the pseudo rat-race and

out the other door

clambering down the fire escape

Onto another familiar shore

Into routine daily grind

You try to unwind

But you are on your way

To becoming

One of those stowaways

who stay away

Forever and a day

You save up your cash

Get rid of your trash

Get the next flight out

Back to the land of your birth

Repetition of habits of travel

As you unravel your complexity

And try to reach simplicity

Finding at last that it doesn’t matter

Where you dwell

It’s truth you’re after – forever and a day

Marvellous

Galatians 1/

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

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

And guess what?

He is marvelling.

Have you or I ever marvelled – ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A child of God – who me?

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

His divine nature described as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…the Spirit of grace…

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

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

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

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

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