To respond to every need on the planet is an almost impossible task.
Think for a moment of the multitude of needs (such as): Financial need, emotional need, mental need, housing needs, food shortages, illness and ailments, needs in marriage, in organisations, in businesses, in the NHS, in the inner city, in drought-effected countries, needs in the midst of war, needs in mental hospitals, needs in prisons, needs in disaster struck cities as in earthquakes, or tornados etc., needs in government, needs in the environment, needs of the elderly, needs of parentless children, needs in relationships falling apart…
Then the most important need of all, but not immediately thought of or embraced – the need we all have – concerning the spiritual aspect of life.
This for many, is the least and last thought of need, not readily addressed.
It is not an outer need – it is an inner need.
However – that this inner need exists is outwardly clearly seen and demonstrated.
Clearly seen by the awful state of humanity when it comes to morals. Moral corruption running rampant, and unaddressed directly.
All kinds of sin. I could provide another list of my own invention. But I will settle for the one given, in Galatians 5/
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The needs of mankind are so plainly seen, to address them, as though it is ‘new news’ – is slightly superfluous, unless we are providing either the answers as to how they can be met, or the wherewithal to meet them.
And no doubt you feel as helpless, as I do, in the light of my list in paragraph 2?
Many commendably, try to be part of the answer in practical ways.
Such commendably, try to be useful in providing relief in at least some way, in some area.
By choosing and addressing, at least one need, is better than total indifference, we would all agree.
But conversely to morbidly dwell on them all (back to the list again), leaves us with a sense of total discouragement, and a sense of inadequacy in light of the overwhelming aspect of their immensity.
Some reach a place of perceived ‘no way back’ – overwhelmed by their own needs, never mind the needs of others, and so they take their own life.
You might be well aware of your own needs. And quite overwhelmed by them. It is your inner need that will effect how you handle your outer needs.
Some businessmen, who live in the higher echelons of the financial world, suddenly lose everything.
Their financial world of support collapses and bankruptcy and overwhelming debt sends them to a place of melancholy, as they perhaps contemplate prison, amidst the lose of £millions.
Suddenly their source of identity and self-worth tumbles.
Here this NEED is highlighted and the solution provided: I Timothy 6/
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Such, as I’ve just described, made the mistake of trusting in uncertain riches, and when their trust, having been misplaced is betrayed – their world tumbles-in on them. They have great NEED.
But the solution is to trust in the Living God. There is nothing uncertain about Him. This we shall especially find out in the hereafter, if we trust in Him this side of eternity.
When there is an ongoing increase in the awful state of mankind – it creates in the light of helplessness – a forlorn and numb outlook on life.
A lose of hope seems to prevail. Survival only – becomes the individual’s mindset, or unfortunately they throw-in the towel, and take their own life.
The heavy weight of overwhelming mental agitation is described in scripture.
I mention only one descriptive term related to the point above – found in Luke 21/
25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
The fear factor easily besets us all. Fear drives mankind mercilessly and is perpetuated by the demonic.
Great need can produce great fear. The fear that agitates-us to a place of hopelessness.
If you are like me – I have to bring my thoughts into captivity – when I scan the horizon of madness in our world. I have to…look up for my redemption draws near. (Luke 21):
27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
I John 5/4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
WE CAN’T MAKE GOD…
God is so good, so loving, so holy, so perfect, so intelligent, so powerful, so omnipotent, so omnipresent, so omniscient, so righteous, so just, so long-suffering, so gentle, so kind, so strong, so mighty, so everlasting, so merciful, so truthful, so…so…so…
The problem is – our awareness of these things, is small… small… small… or zero.
Initially we can only have such awareness in truth. We only have these realisations in words. We can’t see Him. He is not on the earth as a man anymore. He cannot be accessed through natural means.
He cannot be known in terms we dream up. We can’t make Him fit our laboratory test tube. We can’t reason Him into existence as a figment of our imagination.
We can’t make Him in our image. We can’t get Him to toe our party line. We can’t get Him to obey our invented theology. We can’t see Him through our telescope regardless of how powerful it is.
We can’t make Him conform to our idea of how He should be. We can’t make Him to blame, for all the evils in the world, even though we blame Him (!).
He will not be harnessed by what our thoughts decide He must be.
But we can seek Him through His ordained means of prayer.
We can find Him, if we seek Him with ALL our hearts – notice His stipulated condition for finding = ALL. (Jer. 29/13)
We must begin with the realisation that God…
24 …is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Glad we can clear up the idea that there is some other idea of who or what God is.
We rule-out the ‘natural seeing’ idea, as we embrace who God really is.
So advancing then, to finding God – the field of ‘research’ is narrowed to the internal realm of the human spirit.
However what spirit have we received? The ‘million dollar’ question.
Jesus Christ is Lord.
We seek Him internally through prayer. And must receive none other than He, in acknowledgement of the scripture….
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
So our starting point is not your opinion versus mine. Your idea of God being right and mine being wrong. Or vice versa. None of this works – in producing the way to God.
Science increasingly backs-up the facts that God has created all things.
But proving it all came from God – doesn’t work in finding God personally.
We must start with what He says, not with what we invent.
That’s why when reading the scriptures – if we are to realise them – we must believe them.
Believe and act on them. Respond to what they say.
Read them until they make sense and their truth penetrates our innermost being. Hebrews 4/12:
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Without faith it is impossible to please God.
He asks you and I to believe what is written. He gave His power to men to pen the Holy Scriptures.
The New Testament is the Gospel.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Spiritual reality tells us –
A man can know Christ’s illumination(s)
Like the epistle writer who said:
I will come to visions and revelations…’
That was the Noble Paul who did write
Inspired by The Revelator – Jesus the Christ
As the pen strokes across the page
It would take more than this age
Yea eternity will not be enough
To express the inexpressible (it’s tough)
Matters of – life – death – or the heart
There’s coming a day
When sheep from goats will be set apart
All spiritual blessings in heavenly places
Obtained purely on the calvary basis
No eye nor heart can see or say
The hereafter things all on display
Falling at His feet – best place to go
As He enters your heart
To sanctify and set apart
Waiting at His feet –
Have you chosen the better part?
Pointing it all out
Shaking heads in doubt
‘No’ you say – ‘No’ I say too
People with voices
Mincing words – when
No words to mince –
A mince-steak sandwich
Up and running now
With a bucket of ice
All over: that craze
As they win the title
Moving to the next dance
As the goal goes in
Who – out-of-their-skin – to win
On that horse – that stallion
Champ afterwards (with scallions)
Now as we observe this world
– We spin around
Now as we duck behind
The screen – not seen
We stop for a breath
In this busy – busy-ness
Living is the business
Trying hard to impress
Give it up – give it up
For them all…
Triers try – so try
In your sport
And wonder why
The competitive urge
Gets a hold of all who emerge
Living to win another day
Living to have
Their competitive say
Failing leads to remorse
All Par for the course
But what is that
That keeps them coming back
Living to fight another day
For a corruptible crown
That will fade away?
SLEEPY HUMAN LANDSCAPE
(Coloured markers) by Ken Riddles.
There are all kinds of things happening in this imaginative landscape. There are no hidden narratives or messages in it. It is simply an exercise in imagination.
The foreground chap asleep has his arm resting above his head and his hand-fingers become the legs of two ladies. Where his inner elbow joint is at the bend of his arm, is a footbridge. Or it could be the arm of the chap to the right.
A lady in the background has covered breast-hills from which grow a few trees.
The sleepy chap to the left has a river running past his nostril, as though it was depicting an old Bisto advertisement (whiffing the aroma).
The clouds are asleep also. The chap to the right has a fence acting as a laurel crown. The two ladies are growing leaves from their arms.
I will put the word ‘judgement’ in quotes throughout, to simply draw our continued attention to the word, and prompt us to think of how we individually think of or define it…
It is ‘uncomfortable’ to make pronouncements about another person’s spirituality or lack of it.
We shy away from passing ‘judgement’ upon their lack of moral fibre or faith.
In other words if they die having lived a non-Christian lifestyle, or one with no profession of any kind of faith, we nevertheless will not pronounce their reward (wages) as Gehenna/hell. Romans 6/:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Why is that? Why do we still restrain our pronouncements when the person has lived a life of obvious, either debauchery, deception, or violence, perhaps resulting in others, losing their lives? Mass shootings being an example.
Or is it only me that is reluctant to form any opinion on an individual’s final destination in the life hereafter?
Well the truth is, there is only One Judge of all the earth and He will do what is right.
Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
We want to hope the best for everyone who will one day stand before God Almighty. But let’s be clear – Christ and the finished work of calvary is the only antidote provided as a means of escape from the afterlife ‘judgement’, and sentence as a result of unrepented of sin.
Life without ‘judgement’ is impossible. Everyone makes ‘judgements’ every day. Of course defining the kind of ‘judgement’ we are speaking of, would be helpful.
So when you want to jump from a wall onto the ground – you weigh-up the consequences, you look at the grassy escarpment and consider how far off the ground you are – and then having made your ‘judgement’ you will either jump, or seek some other means of removing yourself from the wall.
When the salesman is sales-talking you – you are constantly weighing up his ‘patter’, and using your own ‘judgment’ as to the veracity of his presentation, this ‘judgement’ will end in a sale or not.
When the police catch a criminal seemingly red handed. The red bag stolen – is the red bag he is holding. So they make a ‘judgement’ and arrest him or let him go.
When someone lies to your friend and you know it is a lie – you make a ‘judgement’ call, and inform or warn your friend.
So daily ‘discernment’ is exercised by all – it is unavoidable if we are to see our way through life. This ‘discernment’ is – by another name – ‘judgement’.
However ‘to pass sentence on’, is usually reserved for court judges. Who hand out punishment ‘judgements’ to those found guilty.
Some falsely accuse and ‘judge’ others. ‘Judging’ them and passing sentence, because it suits their own ends. This is unjust ‘judgement’.
They ‘judge’ based on a few mis-informed – therefore pseudo facts.
They accuse the person of thoughts and actions, which they deem – prove them to deserve their condemnation, when in fact, they are ignorant of many other necessary facts, one would need, to make a proper ‘judgement’.
‘Passing sentence’ on people for things they have done, that we ourselves are guilty of – almost always, disqualifies us from the role of judge.
But ‘discerning’ and ‘judging’ a situation involving the behaviour of an individual or individuals, that is detrimental to the well-being of others, or even ourselves – is a necessity.
In short there is right ‘judgement’ or righteous ‘judgement’ or there is false or wrong ‘judgement’.
Everyone engages in ‘judgements’ of people etc., – reports, conversations, encounters, articles for sale, holiday offers, wallpaper, behaviour of celebrities, or paparazzi and so on and so on, in all these things we make a choice to ‘judge’.
We come to conclusions based upon our own ability to perceive, be it wise or unwise perception.
Often you will hear the sentence from the lips of another: ‘Don’t judge me’.
What they usually mean is: “Please accept me and don’t reject me or call me a bad person, because of what I am about to tell you, or for what I have done”.
This is usually preceded by some action that is questionable, (perhaps to say the least), and they still want your acceptance and friendship, despite what they said or did. And so ‘Don’t judge me’ is their first request.
To avoid ‘judgement’ especially to have sentence passed on us, is the desire of some folks, if not the wish of everyone.
We desire to be thought of as right in many things.
When we are guilty, we still try to avoid the ‘judgement’ of others, simply because it can be harsh and violent, and we don’t wish to experience the vitriol.
To remove ‘judgement’ from the planet and it leaves us with total anarchy.
That there is poor ‘judgement’, bad ‘judgement’ and unjust ‘judgement’ whether from an individual wrongly ‘judging’ us – or a government exercising foolish ‘judgement’ – we still cannot imagine life without it.
Unless we live in a perfect world where sin does not exist, we must have ‘judgement’.
The great news of the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ is that He took upon Himself on the cross, the sentence passed on every person on the planet (because of sin and consequential guilt) – (over 7 billion of us – last count), – and of course all of mankind throughout history.
He died – the just for the unjust – to remove the penalty of all the wrongdoing we have participated in by thought, word and deed.
We need to make a proper ‘judgement’ of this glorious fact.
The ‘judgement’ we make will decide where we stand when we come before The Almighty, in the hereafter.
If we pay lip-service to the above idea, assuming that we can intellectually give ascent to the fact that Christ took our ‘judgement’ for sin, but then think we can continue to live like the devil – we will encounter an ‘awakening’ experience in the after life – to say the least. This is where Gehenna/hell comes in.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
We could reference the original words (Greek Hebrew etc. for the words ‘discernment or judgement’).
But suffice to refer to the ‘judgement’ we use in discerning and forming a correct assessment, and differentiating it from the ‘judgement’ that passes sentence on others rightly or wrongly. This will put us on the same page regarding our subject.
Here is just one scripture where Peter and John the apostles, are exhorting their listeners:
Acts 4/19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
So he is asking others to make a ‘judgement’ here.
Discern, weigh-up what I am saying, and make the right ‘judgement’, – come to the right conclusion about what I am telling you.
Some are skilled at ‘judging’ situations, scenarios, and the actions of others, so as to form true ‘judgements’ and come to proper conclusions.
But we live in a world where great confusion increases, and false accusers abound. Opinions are continually in opposition and half-truths reign over the truth.
To find a wise person is an increasingly difficult task in this self-opinionated world. Wrong ‘judgements’ are constantly made and voiced in and on all kinds of social platforms.
Some are heard to cry out: ‘Don’t judge me’ while they themselves, ‘judge and condemn’ left right and centre.
Sentence passing, false accusations, bad behaviour being justified by those who want selfish freedom to do as they please, without ‘judgement’ and so on, giving us this hodgepodge mix of unrighteousness and permissiveness in all departments of human – being.
Then there are those who foolishly tell us God is not a God of love if He ‘judges’, finds guilty and condemns to an eternal prison all those who continuously, persistently ignore Him and set themselves up in rebellion of whatever kind they choose.
Also Jesus said:
John 7/ 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Notice He doesn’t say: judge with ‘self-righteous’ ‘judgement’.
He also tells us that how things might ‘appear’, does not provide enough knowledge to properly discern, and form a correct ‘judgement’.
There is only One who ‘judges’ righteously. And He has left us a book full of the principles essential in making a correct assessment of all things human.
Before any kind of ‘judgement’ can be entered into by human ‘court’, we need to ‘hear Him’…
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
Ferret out my best poems
And put them on display
I’ll write some more tomorrow
Or maybe the next day
Choose the ones you want to hear
And I will recite them to your listening ear
But remember – live this moment now
For some day I will disappear
And you will forget that I was ever here
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:
4 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…
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.
RHYME FOR LIFE
We must not assume doom and gloom
Try to look on the bright side
we could all run and hide(?)
Is it better to abide –
and float with the tide?
After all is said and done
The world is spiralling –
it’s on the run
But you – but me – but we
Are all in the boat together
Each with his/her idea
Of how to cope with the weather
And it’s superfluous to remark
You are all stunned at this lark
This lark called life –
As you know only too well –
So full of demonstrable strife
Of google-eyed commuters
And unhinged looters
And addicted and afflicted
And sirens blasting intermittently
Old and young like birds
At food banks
Pecking orders – selfish greed
Void of the compassion we need
And as this rhyme unwinds
Set the dial again
And face your new day – the next day
Look for the rhyme in life that
Helps you cope with the strife
Your daily routine can change
If your heartbeat gets in line
With the creator of the universe
The One who is out of sight –
‘Cause many don’t look
Don’t see what’s right –
But life with harmony is
His offered gift
To all who will believe
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:
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.