Category Archives: life

…avails!

…avails!

Dictionary definition – Avail: to be of use, advantage, profit, or assistance (to). Have force or efficacy, serve, help, to be of value or profit.

In case we have forgotten. In case it has slipped our minds. There is only one way we can stand.

You see if God should mark iniquities – no one could stand. (Psalm 130/3)

And if we cannot stand, we fall, and if we fall, we are cast off forever.

But the Victor has prevailed. He has conquered sin and death and hell. His blood shed on an erected cross, due to His nail-pierced hands feet and side – is the blood that alone, can cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve The Living God. (Hebrews 9/14)

His blood – the blood of Jesus Christ The Lord – prevails and avails for me.

There is a place where God dwells. The holy – holy – holy God. The Everlasting God. The God of compassion and Grace. (Isaiah 6/3) (Genesis 21/33) (I Peter 5/10).

That place is known as The Holiest of all, or the Holy of Holies. But there is a veil that shuts us out from this Holiest place. Rightly so – as the iniquity in our lives separates us from His Presence. (Hebrews 9/3)

Much as He would like too – He cannot receive us – because His nature is so absolutely contrary to the one we have inherited from our forefather(s). (Habakkuk 1/13)

But wait! The Lamb has prevailed against all the odds of sin and shame, making a public exposure of evil principalities and powers – triumphing over them at the cross. (Colossians 2/15)

He was obedient unto death. (Phil. 2/18). He knew no sin (II Corinthians 5/21). The curtain keeping us from this Holy place, has been ripped from top to bottom – all who will – can now enter in. (Matthew 27/51)

Embrace The Lamb today, The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1/29)

When I am assailed by the tyranny of perfectionism – finding myself still unworthy. The blood like a flood washes my perception aside and I glory in Christ’s provision.

When I am in the belly of the ‘great fish’ of this negative world, the blood avails for me – and I am swept into the sea of God’s forgiveness and forgetfulness. (Jeremiah 31/34).

When I find yet another fault dismissing me, and rendering me a breaker of the law – His blood cries out: ‘Acceptance in The Beloved’. (Ephesians 1/6).

Revelation 5/5

…“Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

The Lamb is the Lion – The Lion is the Lamb.

Perfect in all His ways – gentle, lowly, meek and beautiful is the Lamb who gave Himself for the sins of the world.

Mighty and powerful because of His meek and lowly nature – The lamb comes as The Lion and prevails over everything that exults itself against His Father.

And here am I, unable to look up and beating my chest – as His Word comes to me. (Luke 18/13)

Though still unable to understand or accept the first part – I embrace the second:

1st:

…’Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things…

I am embraced with His unmerited joy – because The Lamb has prevailed and The Lion has conquered:

2nd:

…Enter into the joy of your lord.’

But what of my hidden faults? – No lesser position do I take – despite what is hidden – I rest, because of what is in plain view it is the blood that avails for me. (See the lintels of my heart – Exodus 12/22)

For with the Psalmist I cry out: ‘Cleanse me from secret faults’. (Psalm 19/12). And the blood cleanses me from all unrighteousness. (I John 1/9)

When beaten, put down and condemned I turn and with a whispered prayer ‘Lord pour in the oil and the wine – the kind that restores my soul’ And as ‘Up from the grave He arose’ – He reaches out His hand to the drowning Peter and says: …’why did you doubt?’ (Luke 10/32, Matthew 14/30)

So I will not doubt – His blood avails for me!

I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me and gave Himself for me  — He is my peace, He is my life – He is Saviour and Lord. (Romans 8/37, Ephesians 2/14, Colossians 3/4)

His blood avails for me!

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?

I woke up one day

I woke up one day

I woke up one day and they were gone

The pop stars and rock stars and political bodies 

The styles of cars, and terminated oddities

                          …

I woke up one day after many wake-ups

And drew a line under the hoodies

And crudities – no longer in fashion

                          …

I observed how it all changed

Itemising the things that were no longer arranged

In that popular manner

They even use different grammar

                          …

I woke up another day and remembered the names:

The Presley’s and Lennon’s and Crosby’s and Connery’s

The Bolan’s and Cagney’s and names I’ve forgotten

                          …

I couldn’t see them in the present day

Their vapours had appeared and

Disappeared another way

                          …

I saw in their absence the crushing line of years

Years bumping up together –

At least – that’s how it appeared

                          …

I sneered –

I couldn’t bring them back except on celluloid

I couldn’t stop reminiscing – and concluding

Preparation is impossible to avoid

In light of the facts of corruptible flesh –

                          …

All singing and dancing their candle was lit –

If you think that’s all that matters –

You’re not getting it

                          …

But they represented earlier life – when energy

Aplenty was mis-spent in youth

Grabbing for straws we all together

Went at things – hell-for-leather

                          …

Time was wasted

But it’s hard to duck and dodge

It being so

For answers – we didn’t know where to go

                          …

As I was drifting into retro-reminiscing

Concluding there’s nothing new under the sun

I remembered it was all about having fun

                          …

But I woke up (as I was telling you a moment ago)

To find another name added to the roll call

At the Oscar Dinner, Show or Ball (?)

                          …

People – all those – we all know

Who represent passing time

There are times when I can be – feeling it so…

                         …

I woke up one day and found a mirror

I saw a man there – who was waiting his turn

I hadn’t realised he had grown old

And was supposed to feel it

I didn’t know – ‘cause I was never told

                          …

What am I supposed to do?

I can’t stop the train

Heading for the end of the line

The buffer stops and the buck stops here

Before The Creator – I must appear

                         …

Meantime back at the ranch or lunch

My mind wanders to a pier

A saying – batted about – yesteryear

‘Take a long walk – along a short pier’

                          …

This and similar quips come to mind

“Is he in?” We used to ask

“Who?” Was the scripted reply

“Mr. Norwood”

                          …

No one knew Mr. Norwood –

He had passed away

Looking in the mirror one day

To find he was ‘out of time’

(‘My sweet old fashioned baby…’)

                          …

I looked in a book one day

I found it again

Glancing through – romancing through

I saw faces long gone

Who wore those faces of youth

Just like mine

                          …

I compare the photos in collage

Fresh looking young man I was

Peering curiously at the world

                          …

As the quiet man in the background

I strolled passed everything

Observing – surprising – amounts of forms

“How’s the form?” Greeters would ask

                          …

Greeters long gone

Many and varied deaths they had

The ‘around the corner’ alcoholic

His name was John

                          …

He passed away

A friend of my brother’s

I didn’t know

I knew him one night in a bar – drunk or so

I was with a girl – she wanted to go

                          …

Deal out the memories like a pack of cards

Go on – put them out there – spread across the floor

The floor of your mind

And think to yourself – of all who have gone

They represent your journey – your encounters

With the strange – the normal –

And those above the norm

                          …

Wake up some day and realise it won’t be long

Before we join them beyond outer space

The end we must face

If I tell you the great sequel

You will think me – too strait-laced

                          …

Every generation must face these things

What do you bring to the table?

Your ideas are not enough

Because only enough is enough

                          …

Things – will – are – and – will still –

get rough

And if you don’t find answers that’s tough

                          …

Today I woke up and banged the keys

Today I woke up with a sneeze

Finishing off now – I must go…

                          …

Go home to that photo album

You possess

And have another look

That’s your family – friends –

And acquaintances that mark time for you

                          …

What age are you now?

There’s no need to say

You look around to answer but…

                          …

I’m on my way

The Crowd v The Individual

THE CROWD v THE INDIVIDUAL

Daniel 6:15-17

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

There are many examples throughout history of the crowd versus the individual. Many times the individual has been wrongly treated, mis-judged, wrongly accused, misunderstood and so on.

To mention a few, we could look at: Joseph by his brothers, Lot by the Sodomites, Samson by the Philistines, Paul by the Jews…

There are many examples, but in the New Testament:

We think of Stephen the martyr, preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, that brought him a stoning at the hands of those (the crowd) who wanted to shut their ears to this truth. (Acts 7/57-59).

We think of course, of The Lord Jesus Christ the ultimate example in His sinless perfection suffering at the hands of mankind (the crowd).

The great irony in the case of The Lord, was the fact that though he was taken and crucified by the free-will choices of many – it all played into God’s ordained plan. In the sense that His wisdom and prescience, decided that as man would do this – it would be the very thing that would liberate man from the dominion of sin and eternal separation from God.

It was God giving Himself to meet His own requirements for an eternally efficacious sacrifice for sin.

There is always an inconclusive tension between man’s free will choices and God sovereignly ordaining that certain things should come to pass.

It is of course, the age-old theological debate that will always end in us knowing IN PART.

Whereas for God the knowledge of how this works is, as they say, ‘A breeze’.

Being convinced of the personality, character and deeply benevolent heart of Our Heavenly Father – we ought to prove it, by believing Him even when we don’t understand.

We shall not understand eternal matters fully until fully in eternity.

Daniel was thrown to the lions – the crowd had decided he must be – and used a ‘politically correct’ decree to see him put there.

We are not told what was going on internally with Daniel, as he ventured into that den to face the lions.

The devil since then and before, walks about like a roaring lion…

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Notice the good advice given to prevent his unseen, but real presence, having sway over us – Be sober, be vigilant…

We are to keep a proper watch over our minds as we yield to God – this keeps us insulated from the devourer, as we remain fixed on The Lord. (James 4/7).

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4/4)

Darius wasn’t keen, to say the least, that Daniel should be put as a pigeon amongst the cats, but a law and it’s unrighteous application to Daniel’s case prevented Darius from freeing Daniel.

It was nothing short of a miracle that Daniel was not devoured by the hungry beasts.

Darius issued a decree that ‘he only should be worshipped’ – that’s what it boiled down to.

And his word once written could not be altered.

It’s wonderful to know that if a sinful human king had to keep the word he had written, how much more is the Word of our Heavenly Father, The King of Glory, written forever and cannot be broken. (John 10/35)

He has promised Eternal Life to those who repent and believe and His word cannot be broken – it is decreed forever.

God’s Word is not some whimsical law written to re-enforce God’s ego (He doesn’t have a sinful ego). It is the Word of God that shall never pass away. (Matthew 24/35)

The result of Daniel’s innocence was that the angel of God shut the mouths of the lions. 

And in case we think they had their teeth removed before Daniel got there, here is the result when the false accusers, were subsequently cast into the den by the same King who, as a result of seeing Daniel’s survival – had a demonstration of the power of God Almighty shown to him.

And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

If we read the whole chapter and more, we will discover, as with the whole Word of God, many lessons both for this life and the next.

The crowd versus Daniel – when the crowd seems to win. In the crucifixion of The Lord Jesus, when the crowd seems to win. In the life of Stephen the martyr when the crowd seems to win.

When in actual fact the victors in all three examples is Stephen, Daniel and The Lord Jesus Christ – simply because the eternal purposes of God had been served.

So that whether deliverance in this world – Daniel.

Or deliverance for the next – Stephen.

They both were winners through The One who conquered the crowd’s inflicted crucifixion – demonstrating deliverance in this life, (returning from the dead), whilst releasing the gift of eternal life to all who would believe, thus serving that eternal purpose of God.

Zechariah 3/

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Diverse

DIVERSE

I sometimes marvel, (the older I get – the more it is so), at how diverse the human race is.

Better reach for the dictionary here to clarify in which way I mean ‘diverse’:

Dict.: showing a great deal of variety; very different:

This can be a blessing, or one in disguise, or divisive, or a cause for conflict or violence.

DRAGON’S DEN TV SHOW (English version)

Someone like ‘a Dragon’, loves folks to come across with confidence, with a track record of making money, they don’t like sloppiness, or uncertainty, want pitch-perfect people, and people who are going to make them a lot of money.

They like clear answers to their questions. But don’t always like the answers, if the answers don’t re-enforce their way of thinking.

Suddenly they like your suit, when it is established, that you will make them money. Otherwise you have a rubbish tailor.

Head rules heart – sympathy gives way to cold reasoning and hard facts. 

And of course we somewhat concede to them (The Dragons) in the context of the programme, as their experience in business teaches them to consider angles perhaps, (and indeed it is the case with many of the ‘pitchers’), that others have missed – something important in their business strategies.

But mixed into the Dragon’s business-like voiced-responses there is a spattering of personal everyday-life ‘revelations’.

Sometimes the ‘asides’ are whimsical and nothing to do with business, but expose simply their personal tastes.

And of course we think some of their rudeness is totally uncalled for, and includes bullying.

But if you ever wanted a programme demonstrating a sampling of the diversity of personalities, well this is it.

Human nature, expressing the heart of mankind can be observed in the Den. Yes in the context of earning a living, but with a spattering of non-related subject matter, as we get glimpses into their lives, both Dragons and those pitching.

…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks… (Matthew 12/34)

What I notice to my chagrin sometimes in life in general, is the things that impress some folks.

(Enter – my responses of incredulity) – at the diversity of that which impresses others.

As a Christian I have a built-in morality check, it is called having a conscience.

This means the behaviour of others either impresses me or doesn’t. (My conscience tells me when my own behaviour is not impressive!)

If you examine what impresses others and what receives the accolades of the crowd, you will find that it often is morally reprehensible.

In the admiration of Hitler, back in the day, I would suggest we have an example of that which did impress others, but did not include moral considerations.

And morality can easily be left out of the list of requirements that elicit admiration.

There you have it – without further development. What impresses you? What impresses me? What impresses society?

The things that impress the younger generation usually differ from that which impresses the older.

A lot of this is to be expected, and has always been the case.

My father, when I was enthusiastically responding to pop stars and their sound, would utter these words: “Let ‘em up – you’ve given him enough’!’ By so exclaiming – he was linking the noise they were making (musically), to the noise someone would make whilst being beaten up.

It’s laughable now – but there are far more serious differences that expose the moral decline of both younger and older, that have been embraced, by our world.

A lot of it, is put down to eclecticism – live and let live.

But being convinced of a better way only comes to those who begin with a felt need.

Followed by an examination of big issues, beginning with those in their own hearts. An honest appraisal of what is happening in this world is called for. As we say ‘it’s as plane as the nose on your face’ that something is terribly amiss. And diversity or no diversity, we must seek the permanent answers God has provided.

Should you never cross the door of a Christian church – you nevertheless must be translated into another kingdom now, on the earth, that’s what God is saying to whoever will listen.

Seeking God is prayer-initiated. Speaking to Christians, God says this:

Colossians 1:13

Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Paul tells us – it’s already done (= has translated) – for all who have been converted.

New King James Bible:

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Conveyed or translated – this is a spiritual experience that God brings to those who will believe.

The kingdom of God is Jesus in the heart of those who will believe, as The Holy Spirit enters their life.

We can be as diverse/different as chalk and cheese in our likes and dislikes and preferences – but there is one piece of dogma about Jesus Christ, that applies to all –

Acts 4/

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

At the right time

AT THE RIGHT TIME

For those of us who have been travelling the narrow way that leads to life eternal, and are familiar with all things Christian, know what it is, to sit under – or to give – sermons.

There are all kinds of different approaches to sermonising – sermons in series, prophetic words straight from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration for the moment, Systematic sermons on a given subject, book-study sermons – where e.g. an epistle is expounded from start to finish.

But here’s a word about The Word. It’s found in Proverbs 15/

23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

There is no expounded word for you like the word that comes at the right time.

Perhaps you are going through a time of trouble. Perhaps you are deliberating over a particular decision you hope to make. Perhaps you are downhearted and feeling disappointed. Perhaps you are struggling due to physical infirmities. Perhaps you have been attacked verbally or otherwise by the insensitive and uncaring. Perhaps you are struggling to understand life, or people, or indeed the Bible itself.

Well, God can quicken (make alive) inside you the very Word you need to hear.

Jesus said:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

That’s the word you need in the situations mentioned above.

When God quickens His Word to us – it will always set the Christian Free. Even when He corrects us it is given to set us free – free from the mistakes and free from the condemnation of the mistakes we all make.

So, much as we can continue to appreciate the expounding of God’s Word generally – we must always remember to look for the word – (amidst the Preacher’s word and all he is saying), – that is a ‘word in season’ for you. 

Even if you forget the rest of the sermon but walk away with what The Holy Spirit speaks into your life – the sermon has been worthwhile.

A word such as this, that reaches to the very core of your being, is once again God Himself speaking to you.

We cannot live by bread alone as Christians. We need the Word of God quickened in such a fashion.

How good it is to receive this 

word spoken in due season, how good is it!

Following…

FOLLOWING…

As we are growing up and travelling through life – we look up to, and follow (in whatever way) – certain individuals, usually ones that we admire.

Mentors, those in authority over us, parents. But also those hailed as heroes, (perhaps in our own peer group), are often looked-up-too.

Successful athletes would be an example, as borne out by the aftermath of the Olympic Games.

Young teenagers imitate the behaviour of footballers, as they argue with referees or get into scraps with the opposition players.

Paul the apostle exhorts the people:

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

This ‘following’ referred to, could mean various things.

Wherever Christ is going – you follow Him and go there too.

Whatever behaviour Christ engages in, – you follow – you do the same.

Or like the first disciples when people were looking for Jesus, the disciples indicated the inquirers should follow them as they led them to Him.

20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

On this particular occasion we are not told if Jesus addressed the Greeks, or if they were in earshot of the next words He said. But if you follow real disciples today, they will lead you to Jesus.

Also as we listen to others expounding the Word of God, we have the opportunity, if what they say agrees with the Bible – to rise up and obey the instruction – this is also following them, and what they teach, in some cases, until you find Jesus for yourself.

Contentment

CONTENTMENT

1 Timothy 6:6

Now godliness with contentment is great gain…

Godliness produces many spiritual fruits in our lives. If we follow Christ and He enables us to reach a godly lifestyle reflecting the Person and characteristics of Our Loving Saviour then one of those fruits can be a deep contentment.

In the Old Testament when the people of God, the Israelites, where walking in a godly manner – they were under the cloud by day and the fire by night. (This refers to the Presence of God visible in this way).

In so walking correctly they were content.

When discontentment enters into our lives either through sin, unbelief, or adverse circumstances – it can be difficult to enter into contentment again.

Sometimes discontentment can lead us to many wrong choices and actions – discontentment in thought word or deed.

I have always liked the saying (as we say: ‘That old chestnut…’) – ‘I’M SATISFIED WITH A DIS-SATISFIED SATISFACTION.’

I have always considered myself a discontented kind of human being. Even when I achieve something successfully – I’m already looking for the next thing that needs achieved.

Failing to take the time to enjoy the sense of accomplishment, in the first place.

I do know this, that when the scripture ties these two together (i.e. Godliness and contentment) – it does so with purposefulness and intent.

Reaching Godliness and the heart is content. In fact nothing will produce lasting contentment apart from a living relationship with God Himself.

All subsequent discontentment that we allow to creep back into our lives, must be brought to Him and He will give us peace again.

Here are some scriptures that reference contentment or lack of it.

Jesus giving advice to Roman soldiers:

“Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Paul the apostle speaking:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I would suggest the secret he refers to is a walk with Christ and the Godliness it gives.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Strength is the second part of the ‘secret’. Strength from God that produces godliness and therefore contentment.

Conversely – It can be a clear sign that God is influencing you if you are a non-Christian – if you enter an emotional state you can’t quite define.

God strives with men, until the discontentment we feel as a result brings us to the realisation that we are in need of Christ as Saviour and Lord. This is a kind of discontentment to do with a convicted conscience.

Finally God says:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

He has to be with us in the first place before He will never leave us 

– But maybe you have already asked Him into your life?

…Teejus…

Life Gets Teejus Don’t It? 2021

We can be going through our daily routine. We can be catching that train, eating that lunch, doing those household chores, visiting ‘the club’, having coffee with that same old friend, doing our daily exercise-walk, and going to church on Sunday etc.

Whatever it is for you. Whatever entails the same mindsets. You can do it with much or little thought, perhaps on ‘automatic pilot’. So that at night the thought crosses your mind: ‘Did I do my exercising-walk today? Or was that yesterday?’. Showing – that you were on ‘automatic pilot’ when you did it.

Routine, routine routine.

The old lyric goes:

‘I open the door an’ the flies swarm in.

I shut the door an’ I’m sweatin’ again.

I move too fast an’ I crack my shin.

Just one durn thing after t’other.

As far as I know the title of the song is Life Gets Teejus Don’t It? (One assumes tedious?)

I look back on tremendous ‘lived moments’ with The Lord Jesus Christ – my personal Saviour. Is He yours?

Personal. Personal moments daily. Some I can look back on were very powerful. Tangible unmistakable moments of unspeakable joy! When Jesus manifested Himself to me. I am very very thankful for those personal moments, with the lover of my soul.

Then there are the quiet moments that come like a momentary gentle breeze brushing my inner man.

Glimpses – yes glimpses only – into the eternal realm.

And now we have what is coming upon the earth – in contrast.

Times of shaking, times of sorrows increasing in this world of ours, moral decline left right and centre, people dropping like flies and yet man still doesn’t ask the important questions.

Then there is Covid. And the isolation of the population. Then there is coming out and back to semi-normal. Then there is getting back to routines.

Then there is ‘Life Gets Teejus Don’t It?’.

Yes – that which is common to man – we have a routine life to live – that involves responsibility for family and friends. Responsibility to do the best we can.

Times for the Christian to remind him/herself of the wonderful things of God, even during times of no ‘open vision’.

Time in a nutshell to embrace the great truth:

Matthew 4/

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Time to eat drink and live the Word of The Living God. The most precious treasure in all the earth!

It is never routine reading.

Watcha gonna find?

The Last Jump

THE LAST JUMP

Something can mean a lot to an individual or to a lot of individuals.

In western society it is still (more or less accepted) that all are free to like or dislike, agree or disagree, live together in the same society even though poles apart in opinion. It is taken as a given, that taste is down to the individual. 

Certain individuals are ‘thrown’ together because their tastes match.

Opinions on all subjects vary, but when they coincide and an opinion extends beyond the singular, – groups are formed.

The forming of political parties, or sports clubs, or art societies, or golf clubs, or… and so on and so on.

All these groups of individuals who hold to one common opinion or pursuit, are together adhering to a common manifesto.

Some agree that ‘majority rules ok’ is to be embraced as a rule of thumb. Hindsight they say is a wonderful thing. The Nazi Party became the ruling majority. It wasn’t a good thing.

Dictatorships destroy this commonly held belief in freedom, or so it is commonly held to be the case.

Where am I going with all this?

Inner freedom is exactly that – something inside the individual. One can live in a ‘free’ society, and yet be bound-up inside.

Bound by fear, discouragement, shyness, bound to a particular habit, bound by duty, circumstance, bound (by financial considerations) to a given means of employment, bound by sin.

Inner freedom is to do with the mind and heart of every individual.

The bible in Hebrews 2/15 talks of those who 

…through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives.

Death is the ultimate border to cross. The final experience to be had. The final valley to be gone through. For many this thought of death brings bondage rather than freedom. 

The thought of death for many produces slavery to fear, the fear of the unknown, in the minds of many, as described in this scripture (above).

For the Christian(s) individually and corporately – death as it is for everyone else, can be likened to a metaphorical jump from an aeroplane – the only difference being the Christian has a parachute.

1 Corinthians 15:53-55

53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 

“Where, O death, is your victory?

    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we encounter The Christ of God in this life – and experience His Life-giving Holy Spirit – then we can be assured that there is more of the same to come, as Christ promises to be with us always – into eternity.

II Corinthians 5/5

Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].

Spare a Prayer?

SPARE A PRAYER?

There are innumerous ways of looking at the subject and idea of prayer.

There is what is commonly known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (Matthew 6/9-).This can be repeated or enacted in an emergency, at moments of desperation.

It can be vain repetition with no faith or proper understanding and yet because it is so powerful – being The Word of God – as it is, that God might surprise you and step in to answer it – even though you don’t know what you are doing, having never prayed before.

The atheist is going to experience many human dilemmas where ‘vain is the help of man’. Where many situations expose clearly their inadequacy that comes rushing to the fore.

Situations where he/she reaches rock bottom, their faith in unbelief, crumbles and they cry out: ‘God help me!”.

I consider that I have experienced many ‘variations on the theme’ of prayer.

There is the zealousness-of-youth kind of praying – fervent and loud.

There is the spiritual experience(s) aspect of prayer where you can experience God taking over and praying through you. (Romans 8/26).

There is the ‘in quietness and confidence’ kind of prayer where the believer waits on God, sensing His Presence.

There is the entering into a burden kind of praying – where we release the concern and burden we carry – back to God.

There is the God-consciousness kind of praying that can be a 24/7 walk with God. (Galatians 5/16).

There is the ‘praying without ceasing’ kind of praying where we commune with God continuously, perhaps at a time of crisis.

(I Thessalonians 5/17)

Someone once said it isn’t the long prayer, or the loud prayer that is effective – but the prayer of faith.

And in this short post, I have only scratched the surface of the subject of prayer.

The honest prayer has to take priority and is the foundational pre-requisite for successful praying.

Look up the full story of an honest gentleman in need, and how honestly he addressed The Saviour:

Mark 9:24

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Help

HELP!

For those who can spare the time from ‘busyness’, we give thought to the world and all that’s happening in it.

If I’m honest my thoughts are not preoccupied with climate change. Like everyone else I’m aware there is need – but my desire is not first for changing the planet – but rather for seeing the hearts of men change.

This should be the priority. Because with this change many of the world’s ‘physical’ problems will disappear, as man as a result – changes his outward behaviour.

All that we know and see will pass away. Matthew 24/

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The Word or Words that will never pass are of course all that God has revealed and all that Christ has said.

The problems that exist can be traced back to the heart of mankind.

Selfishness and greed and a great inability to distribute all the necessities of life evenly and fairly across the globe, exposes the real problem – one we all share.

We all share it – because we are born with the same ‘handicap’ – the same selfish nature.

And thus a lot of plans go awry when humans get together to do good.

There is an outward show of righteousness. An outward show of empathy or compassion, which is either pseudo, or runs out of steam.

We are also discouraged by the enormity of the problems.

As I write this I’m aware that I too need a kick in the backside with regard to good works.

The way we are separating ourselves (relatively speaking) because of  Covid considerations, furnishes us with an excuse for less action.

But the church needs help, real help, in many ways.

Psalm 121:

…From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

Prayer:

Lord forgive us for our indolence and lack of understanding. Forgive us if we are blatantly missing the obvious. Forgive us if we are not using our faith sufficiently – and at the same time hear our cry for…

HELP!