Category Archives: Love

Not getting through

NOT GETTING THROUGH

Now there ain’t much extra I can say

Cause I’ve been talking since the beginning of May

You’re a mystery and I can’t catch the full picture anyway

At least that’s – what I now feel to say

 

The other full picture is far far away beyond the clouds

The clouds of more than night and day

And as I mystically stand to pray

You are out the door – hurriedly on your way

 

And when we meet up again you don’t engage

When I speak – you say:

 “I don’t wish to know that – kindly leave the stage”

I’m – taken aback by your coldness – I feel under siege

 

You want to say destructive things

While a posy of peace is what I bring

You don’t hear a word of my attempt to assuage

The anger you are dishing out like some kind of plague

 

Your human heart is seized-up and bound

All packed together and hard as the dusty ground

To disentangle the fishing line – best to start in your prime

All confused and fussed-up and breaking down

 

Try to get some help as you let out another yelp

And I dash for your shoulders to keep you on your feet

I knew there was a purpose in my words as we meet

Eventually you have to listen –

you think my spoken words are deep

 

At least we have become half-friends

We might never meet again

I give you a piece of paper with some kind of message

Plus my address – email – telephone –

but still you won’t let me – meet your need

 

I put my arm around you one more time

Look you in the eye and see everything’s still not fine

You half heard all I had to say

There’s love waiting when you get back

I hope you find peace and get on the right spiritual track

Desire

DESIRE 

Matthew 14/

But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.

(also Mark 6)

As I continue my clear-out/re-appraisal of all things on paper.😎

I came across a sermon of mine entitled – DESIRE.

I have not looked at what I have written.

Desire – have you any thoughts on the subject?

Desire – common to humankind.

The King James uses the word ‘lust’. The dictionary defines this as:-

noun [mass noun]

strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust for her had returned.

[in singular] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.

  • (usually lusts) mainly Theology a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful: lusts of the flesh.

So even the dictionary in directing us to the term, includes theology.

But I’m guessing most folks in the 21st century reserve the word ‘lust’ for strong sexual desire.

So let’s stick to the word desire, good or bad.

We think of King’s sitting triumphantly on their thrones, with their ‘subjects’ doing obeisance. 

Perhaps the king waves his hand for all to be silent. And he offers the pleasing servant whatever he/she (the servant) – desires.

I’m sure this has happened quite a few times in history, with various monarchs.

In Herod’s case – “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” [see Mark 6]

Offered to a young lady who had pleased his other desires with her dance.

She in turn – lays aside her own desires in her desire to please her mother. (After all – a murder ‘prize’ instead of half the kingdom?!!)

Outcome of these whimsical desires? – A godly upright man is beheaded.

As any man would – John must have wondered if God would deliver him from his imprisonment? Instead of deliverance he was left with a returned greeting from Christ.

Luke 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 And that very hour He (Jesus) cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Many wonder at the loss of the lives of stalwarts, self-denying front-line workers in this pandemic. Laying their lives down in service to others.

I wonder too. God help them all.

The tragedy of lost lives in a Pandemic – into the thousands.

See also below The tragedy of lost lives at the hand of another sinful tyrant called Herod…

At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod, insecure in his position of authority, commanded that all the male children, under a certain age, be put to death:

Matthew 2/

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 

“A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

Refusing to be comforted,

Because they are no more.”

For many this Pandemic has brought great loss and great pain.

Today is it true to say – society mourns that bit more for the loss of children than adults? I think so.

Usually because they (children) have their whole lives before them. Herod’s desire was power and pre-eminence.

Amidst this pandemic, we desire all tragedy to end. Many desire their loved-ones to recover.

Amongst God’s desires, is the desire, that mankind would listen to Him.

And that we would return to Him and turn from sin that produces the actions of a man like Herod – to mention only one aspect of the manifestation of rebellion against God and His ways.

What do we desire?

We desire this pandemic to go away. And I pray to that end.

We desire comfort for the loved ones who have lost relatives – for this we pray.

We desire a better world.

But what else does God desire?

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God loves you…

GOD LOVES YOU

God loves you!

What more needs to be said?

Paul Simon sings: “Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone…?” And replying to his own question: he sings: “God will…”

Well – God is not really interested in our looks – even though He has our cosmetic count when it comes to hair –

Luke 12:6-8 (NKJV)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

He has an easier job with me – as my hair grew out completely to make room for my brains.

1 Samuel 16:7

… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So God who looks into the heart – loves you!

That’s good news – the only problem is – do you/we love Him?

Now let’s be real: How can we love someone we have never seen, or heard?

Telling me a friend of yours ‘loves me’, isn’t going to make much of a difference to me. It might be nice to know, but that’s about it.

I would need to meet this person and get to know them, before this information meant much.

When we were young, on odd occasions the word would be passed to us, perhaps through an acquaintance or friend, that a particular young lady ‘fancied us’.

Admiration from afar. The message meant they would be open to the possibility of getting to know us more.

Young ladies used to scream and cry over their pop idols.

As someone once said this is ‘puppy love’ – but nonetheless ‘real’ to the puppy.

God loves you – it ain’t no puppy love.

So for me or any Christian to communicate to you that ‘God Loves you’, might be limited in it’s impact?

Limited only because as yet it is only a fact. A piece of information. A conversation starter.

Because unless you explore this possibility for yourself, you will remain at the nodding acquaintance stage.

A nodding acquaintance with a truth some Christian wants you to grasp.

Great as that truth is to hear, it needs to be acted upon, in order that you and the person who loves you can get to know each other.

Having entered into a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, through the enablement of The Holy Spirit of God in 1970, I am still ‘married’ to Him in the sense that I am part of His church – referred to in scripture as His Bride.

I have experienced His Love in a powerful way. Specifically and tangibly on a number of occasions in an extra-dimensional spiritual way. This is described biblically in the following words:

Romans 8/5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This is a literal, tangible, spiritually-discernible experience, overwhelming in it’s import and unmistakable in its impact.

Regardless of how much I think I fail to be all Christ wants me to be – His love for me is undeniable.

Firstly because the message He confirmed to mankind – He confirmed to me personally, by allowing me to experience His Agape love. A spiritual experience – as we say – more ‘felt’ than ‘telt’.

But also because He has responded to me, as I to Him, I can now believe in His love. Even if there are times when I may think I am not experiencing it.

You may not have experienced it – but here you are being reminded of it.

Seek to know personally this saviour I speak of. And if you already know Him – I want to remind you too, that He loves you. Seek for a fresh reminder as you pray. I will too 🙂.

Christians all differ, of course, in their personalities, and you will find they often emphasize some aspect of biblical truth that kind of reflects their personality. A truth or truths they warm to, more often than others.

But this is how God tempers the body of Christ (the church members) together. Using our personalities to express differing aspects of the Life of Christ within.

But the greatest demonstration of God’s personality is His love.

Demonstrated at the cross of calvary.

Ask God to take you there and to open your eyes to His love poured out in demonstration on the cross and later poured out on the day of Pentecost.

Ask Him to manifest His love to you in forgiveness and acceptance.

Is love on the way out?

Is love on the way out?

A progressive thing might be

For me to love you and you to love me

But oh – what does this all mean?

For love goes up or down the graph of

Human feeling

Whether agape or eros or phileo or storge 

Loving seems best in every way

While you reach out a hand

Or you are willing to understand

Love triumphs and conquers

Will love leave the earth?

Is it on it’s way?

In these days Phileo decreases 

But The Son responds to our invitation

And releases…

My Mother

MY MOTHER

Over and above and beyond

Anything I have ever seen

 

I hear her again saying:

About – above – according to

Below – beneath – betwixt

My dear mother of

19th April 1919

 

She stood in-between tall and small

She rested and dozed and smiled

And admitted

I’m falling asleep

 

Gasping for breath

Her breathing routine

Deep breathes to inhaler press

Gaining her equilibrium

 

Hanging clothes on the clothes line

Mangled-through with dexterity

Dinner for the man

On the table

Gulped down by same

 

Everton mints on a Saturday night

As they took in – on the black and white

 

Another shirt ironed

On the treadmill of being a wife

 

My mother

A gentle spirit all my life

Heaviness

HEAVINESS

We all experience different emotions in an average day. Christians experience also varying degrees of spiritual discernment.

For example, we can sense that God is grieved by our, or other peoples actions.

It’s true also that Christians or non-Christians can be repulsed by various acts of evil, that they find out, have taken place.

We can feel sorry and aggrieved that certain things have happened to friends or loved ones.

Being aggrieved by the actions of others and affronted by their awful behaviour, is both an intellectual and emotional experience.

Intellectually we become aware of the awful facts and process them with the accompanying emotions.

It is true also that we become accustomed to awful news and can become indifferent to it. Usually out of a sense that there is seemingly nothing we can do about the situation – and our sense of human powerlessness can have a numbing effect.

When bad stuff is up close and personal – of course this creates an even more difficult scenario to deal with.

And we have to handle the personal hurt we feel.

Again this is different for the true Christian because there is a spiritual sensing involved that adds to the intellectual and emotional negative experience we may be having.

Paul the apostle tells us of his personal heartfelt – intellectual/emotional/spiritual experience when he says:

Romans 9:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

Israel’s Rejection of Christ

9 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

This was not just being sorrowful over someones situation, condition or experience, but he was also sharing God’s burden. Entering in to sharing God’s heart.

Jesus reveals His burden to us, as the Son of God,  when He gives us insight into His heart of love and concern for His people. On this occasion regarding the Jews blindness to the Messiah:

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

He was also speaking prophetically as one who knew the future and their future.

So this was not just the heart of the human Jesus breaking, but the heart of The Son of God also.

That which is coming upon the earth – is increasing the spiritual heaviness, and the spiritual dearth, and Christians are conscious of this, sometimes more than others.

As a response to these negative and spiritually heavy times, we can only set ourselves to endure. Set ourselves to remain faithful to seek our solace in Christ through prayer and worship and fellowship, searching out true believers, and real genuine friends.

Regardless of how many times we are disappointed by the behaviour of others, Christian and non-Christian alike, we must set ourselves to seek first the kingdom of God. Take strength from the many great biblical examples of true men and women of God – the cloud of witnesses who have endured and gone before us into the eternal presence of God.

Hebrews 12:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Much Ado…

Much Ado… 

The ‘saying’ – Much Ado About Nothing, I somewhat erroneously thought meant making a fuss over nothing.

It is of course a title to a Shakespearian play. And is something to do with the word ‘nothing’ really meaning ‘noting’.

Anyway I remain ignorant – not exactly motivated to find out about this play that is a mere vague schoolday’s memory.

For some Christmas and it’s true meaning is about ‘too much fuss over nothing’.

And indeed it may well be the case concerning the commercialisation of this time of year.

A child is born. The story is told.

The world is spiritually deaf dumb and blind. This child is no ordinary child.

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

He came into the world to give light to every man (to all humankind).

As humans are born into the world – so He too, took upon himself the form of a man, and came into the world.

Amidst the display of lights at this time of year, perhaps we could all pause to consider what true spiritual enlightenment really is.

Considering also it’s only source: Jesus Christ, whose entrance into this scene of time in the body of a child, meant that the message that brings the true light amidst the darkness of sin, could be proclaimed and received by all who are willing to worship Him.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Love and Peace

KR

Family

FAMILY

As a young dad – comparatively so

I grabbed my girls and lifted them high

They enjoyed that – and so did I

Fun and games we three had

And then

I handed them back to mummy’s grasp

I did it – so quickly – she let out a gasp

“You can’t get out – you can’t get out!”

Was a favourite game – as I held them in armlock

Very gently – you understand – in pretence deadlock

They loved to escape and stand triumphant

As I continued with “you can’t get out!”

They laughed at dad because they had won the bout

In this age where natural affection for our kids

Is slipping away as parents fall-out

Join me in loving them to bits

Leave them without a shadow of a doubt

Poetic Pause VII

VACATION

In the shack – logged-up-insulated

Warmth created by log fire

With smell of coffee hanging in the warmth

And wooden tables – wooden chairs

Wooden kingdom of-all-things-wood

The floor also on which we stood

Vacation time – time to unwind

Go fishing – trudging through nature

Early morning dew

Late afternoon return – making sleep

A new experience

Beans and burgers and bacon

And barley-made soup

And laughs at silly things

Like drinking from empty cups –

So absorbed in reading are we

And neon firelight

Flashing intermittently

Across our faces as we glance at each other

Absorbed in married-love that is cosy and guilt-free

We laugh and pretend – syrupy sentiment

When really we know it’s the real thing

And not the callous acidity of skepticism

We have left far behind

in the rat-race-pace of post modernism

Solid together – joining in deep felt love

And not only felt – but agreed on

We are people we can trust – whittled down to two

Loyal – immensely real – immense and intense

Loves emotion – that rises and falls

But in falling – falls into something

Equally good

As emotion rises and falls like the eternal sea

High-tide low-tide – is still the tide

Relationship in the shack – bedroom at the back

Taking turns about – to make the breakfast

Dishes done – part of the fun

Vacation time – time to unwind

It’s ok to enjoy being kind

Tender advances and hug-dancing

To music quiet in the background

Just loud enough to know it’s there

All stretched out in more than romance

Covenant agreement once for all

Fast forward to old age

Neither having ever left the stage

Love continues as the play is played-out

as unto spiritual…

AS UNTO SPIRITUAL…

I Corinthians 3/

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Who is Paul the Apostle addressing here?

Answer – ‘brothers’ – brothers-in-Christ of course, because all the Corinthians he is speaking to, were not his kith and kin.

Not natural kith and kin but ‘brothers in Christ’.

And in addressing brothers, (bearing in mind that his epistles were to the whole church) – he is addressing his ‘sisters-in-Christ’ also.

Is he addressing you and I? Bearing in mind that the Bible (used always-and-eternally in the hand of The Holy Spirit) – is addressing all believers for all time. We conclude readily then, that he is speaking to us also.

All you need to qualify for hearing this epistle – is to be a ‘brother/sister-in-Christ’.

Hmmm?

Can’t imagine that everyone I’m addressing has joined this family of believers?

Anyway – that is for you to decide.

But Paul reveals indirectly to us that there are varying depths of spirituality among believers in Christ.

And that there are matters they were not yet able to comprehend.

The surprise perhaps in this passage is this – he was addressing them all. And he puts them all in the same category (unlike John did in his epistle). Paul refers to them as ‘babes in Christ’.

John – in I John 2 refers to little children, young men, and fathers.

Paul speaks to them all as ‘babes in Christ’. And coupled with this designation is the idea that they are still carnal.

The word carnal can mean different things. But essentially it is the natural sinful mind we are born with.

Everything in the Christian life is a matter of exchange.

We trade in our thoughts, our self-righteousness, our selfishness, or mental problems, our limited reasoning, our emotional hang-ups – and in exchange we receive the joy of The Lord, The peace that passes understanding, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of The Holy Spirit, God’s strength, his righteousness, his holiness, his forgiveness and above all His love.

So now everything is ‘rosey in the garden’?

No – simply because we still have everything that life throws at us to contend with.

But with the attributes of Christ within us – we now must learn to yield ourselves to The Lord of our life, and allow those attributes to control us.

This takes time and inner development under the hand of God. But we grow, we mature, we enter into what the Bible describes as being grounded and settled – all through the exercise of faith that expresses itself in biblical meditation, praise and worship, prayer, and joining ourselves in true and real fellowship with the family of God.

Colossians 1/

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Notice the behaviour that accompanied the ‘babes in Christ’ designation that Paul reveals to us as the epistle continues – 

For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 

As we look and listen we recognise similar traits in the church today. Manifesting the fact that we all need to grow up – 

Ephesians 4

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 This calls firstly and foremostly for a willingness – yes a willingness – to come together at the foot of the cross and lay it all down – all the carnality – AND EXCHANGE it for His life.

Tomorrow as an area of my spiritual immaturity is made clear to me – I need to return to the one with whom I first made the great exchange – and offer Him my mistakes, my sin, my immature behaviour – “Sorry Lord please come and let your life rule over mine!”

The Only Potentate

The only Potentate

I Timothy 6/

14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, 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 honour and everlasting power. Amen.

It’s the world versus Jesus.

The world-system perpetuated by the powers of darkness.

Jesus Christ is holy harmless and undefiled. His life, more than any other, stands out as the antithesis to every failed attempt to live a righteous life.

There was no blemish found in Him.

But as I write these words there can arise in the hearts of men and women all kinds of thoughts exalted against the acceptance of the Son of God and His words.

As a result many won’t recognise Him for who He is.

He endured all kinds of contradictions of sinners against Himself.

His words and thought-life go contrary to what comes naturally to mankind.

Therefore He is not immediately embraced and welcomed. Just as He was rejected by those of His own in the region of His upbringing, so He is rejected by those who cannot get past their own thinking, which does not immediately correlate with His.

So if we truly stop and think things over – we can trace in ourselves thoughts of resistance to His gospel.

Even Christians need self-awareness of the things we still resist God in, because of our further need for more of His renewing work in our thought life.

He came to do a complete work – but in it all, in everything to do with us, He needs our co-operation.

God – to use a human phrase/description – is a gentleman.

He does not need to flex His spiritual muscle or demonstrate His ability to wipe us out, as some kind of self-indulgent egoist might.

I was fishing with my young son and his friend, quite a few years ago, when this tall and muscular guy arrived at our side – i.e. by the riverside.

He loured at us and asked if we had ‘caught anything’. When we said we had, he said ‘you wouldn’t be trying to fool me would you?’

He then proceeded, without permission, to haul onto the riverbank, the keep-net revealing the fish we had caught. 

Grunting he threw it carelessly into the water again. He lifted a piece of cloth, we had, and wiped his hands – throwing the cloth into the river.

It didn’t take a particularly spiritual man to discern the evil accompanying this person.

The whole time I remained silent.

He then began to say things to me, that I would not repeat in this post.

In all of this I remained in faith. Discerning the evil – but remaining in Christ’s peace.

He left – walking along the riverbank – I could see he was now engaging with someone seated in the distance.

So I immediately packed things up and we headed home. I was most concerned for, and conscious of, my responsibility for my neighbours son, (never mind my own) – who had been left in my care.

This person is a picture of the opposite to the God I serve. God dwells in unapproachable holy light. His nature is in complete contrast to ours, incomprehensibly so.

I have described in this incident with this human being and his controlling and threatening behaviour a picture of the complete opposite to the way of Christ.

The paradox is of course, God can reach the end of His long-suffering and eventually must judge the world and it’s incessant rebellion against Him, His name and His nature.

Yet we account that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation, for those who will receive it.

He is gentle by nature, but uncompromising in character. He is loving and forgiving, and when reviled – reviles not in return. He is wholesome in every way, humble, meek and lowly yet powerful and able to call ten thousand angels to His side. He is absolutely sure of who He is, has wisdom that is uncorrupted by this world. He stretches forth His hands as The Holy Spirit works upon our minds – and offers us the gift of eternal life to those who believingly-commit their lives to Him. He is never surprised and knows the end from the beginning. He is obviously extremely complex in His understanding and yet addresses us simply. He is touched by the feeling of our shortcomings and infirmities. Yet He watches daily as thousands pass from this life with an extremely limited knowledge of what to expect after death. Thousands who perhaps did not give Him a second thought for most of their days.

Some struggle with the God of the Old Testament and the judgement He meted out – but don’t stop to familiarise themselves with the corruption, debauchery, degeneracy, cruelty, occultism and so on – present and rampant in the nations He judged.

God had a problem on His hands – Almighty though He is – His creation went wrong. Due to the element of free-will God allowed to reside within his created beings.

To manifest His true character of holiness, meekness and gentleness – (great strengths and manifestations of His power), He needed (through the work of Christ) to bring man to a place where He (God), could begin to show Himself as He truly was.

It’s hard to trust someone we don’t know. The only way we can begin to trust them, is if they communicate to us in an acceptable manner, and we hear sincerely, about their character and life. Concluding (or otherwise) that they can be trusted.

Christ showed us The Heavenly Father – God was manifest in the flesh. Now man, unfit to partake of the things of God – could at least observe Him, and all His attributes:

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

God speaks – man can’t hear. God offers help – man doesn’t want it. Man is natural – God is spiritual. God gives (at least) 490 chances a day – to us – to ask for forgiveness – we ignore all of them through unbelief. (Matthew 18/22)

When we start accusing God and agreeing with the fallen god of this world – what audacity to think it strange that God should judge us.

Instead His long-suffering and ‘long’ arms are outstretched to us all, calling us to return to ‘… the Shepherd and Bishop of (y)our souls’.

Yes it’s the world system of darkness behind everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

But wait! 

Do you hear the still small voice beckoning us in the living room of our consciences – to come to Him, all of us who labour and are heavy laden?

The Only Potentate is calling us into His Royal courts where he steps down and washes our feet – what power! What beauty! What a Saviour!

Encouragement…

ENCOURAGEMENT 

Everybody likes to be encouraged.

The Christian message contains much encouragement .

But the present reality in the Western world, of a falling away from God and His ways is blatantly obvious, as predicted in scripture.

There has been moral decline before – in history. So for those who don’t hold to the idea of this being the last of the last days – they can at least admit that confusion and every evil work is increasing on the earth?

Many ministries dwell solely on everything encouraging in the Word of God. And it is difficult not to – as we all need encouragement, and perhaps don’t get enough of it, especially in light of the moral climate worldwide.

We are to seek edification and to edify each other – it is what the family of God is all about.

Some cultures seem to look for the emotional high aspect of fellowship/friendship more than others. There is the emotional high expressed demonstratively – shall we say.

Then there are ‘quieter’ cultures who place more emphasis on the friendship that is demonstrated by quiet faithfulness in always being there for one another.

We all need verbal appreciation from others, starting at childhood. But we also need the helping hand that doesn’t make a song-and-dance about it’s actions.

Some Christian ministries avoid any reference to anything negative.

When the child is about to put it’s hand in the open coal fire – a warning shout of love is absolutely necessary. Even though the warning may sound shrill.

Any warning shouts of love, that include the gospel message, society needs to hear today is often not appreciated.

Of course it can be said that there are those who carry a negative ‘holier than thou’ attitude and it turns people off, when these folks hand out correction.

But the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction to the point where there is less exhortation to improvement in our walk with God.

No growth required, no correction, no call in preaching to increase Christ-likeness presented in teaching as something to be sought after as part of what being a Christian is all about. Just stroke our ‘ego’ and we shall be alright.

God’s Word would call us to balance.

Encouragement should be looked for on a broader basis than one that can only hear ‘you can make it’ ‘you are special’ and ‘you are loved’.

Lord help us to seek a closer walk with you, that is not dependant on the constant verbal propping-up that others supply, but at the same time embraces demonstrative encouragement and empathy, needed,  when we go through the valleys of despondency or discouragement.

Paul tells us that ‘no man stood with me’ (II Timothy 4/16-17), yet The Lord did. Revealing that he was a mature saint, setting us an example to follow, in making Christ our all in all, and all we need.

So let us maintain the balance between receiving encouragement from each other, and directly from The Lord Himself.- taking on board Paul’s advice to Timothy:

I Timothy 1/

Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: