Category Archives: Love

Lost friendship

A Scenario…

A true friend indeed. One you have known from childhood. Then came the day when your friendship was tested. It was too painful for him to remain loyal to you.

In his own eyes – he would have suffered much loss while attempting to be true to you and your friendship.

Nevertheless you expect him to be true. And now you are devastated that you separated, and your friendship was split apart.

You couldn’t agree. You couldn’t forgive his actions. You can’t continue to argue to no avail. He did what he did. He did what he reckoned he just had to do.

Such is the human drama – the storyline differing from scenario to scenario, but the emotional conflict the same.

Write your own story to the tune of these words.

The script consists of – friendship – longstanding, conflict, disagreement, damage, hurt, separation, unforgiveness, and loss.

Human weakness that couldn’t handle the challenge of remaining true, couldn’t take the resultant disadvantage to the self, couldn’t embrace the ‘friends at all costs’ ethos.

The ability to disagree and lose the unity of friendship is common to man.

The sombre notes of dissension set in. On and on go the wrangling words trying to solve the situation.

The bickering eventually only stopping by separation and a long distance put between the persons involved.

It all comes from a nature man is born with. But many – don’t even accept this concept.

James 4/

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war…

The wars come from our desires, the old word is lust, – an uptight defensive, verbal hitting out at others – that catches alight – further, to sometimes awful consequences resulting in physical violence.

How is man capable of such friendship-destroying episodes?

He is  capable because it comes naturally.

These words I found in a Christian song, by DC Talk:—

Tell me what’s going on inside of me – I despise my own behaviour –This only serves to confirm my suspicions –That I’m still a man in need of a Saviour

I could end the post here.

But before I do (having highlighted the problem) – the closing statements are –

God is not the author of confusion. It is Christ’s desire that all believers in Him as the Son of God – be one in Spirit – one in The Lord.

If there must be a parting of the ways – then forgiveness must be that choice of the will, and from thenceforth no abiding return is to be made to the former hurt and disagreement.

And when the person or persons find themselves re-visiting the hurts – they/we must consign these thoughts to the cross by faith.

Ideally all should reconcile as Christian brothers and sisters. But unfortunately the floor of the church is littered with broken relationships, and we can’t pretend differently.

We can only exhort each other to reconcile in humility, laying aside the right to be right.

Finding, and returning to what we all hold dearly, holding The Head from which all the body is supplied and knit in love.

If the other party(ies) won’t come with you to the foot of the cross again. Then you/we must keep our own hearts in the choice of forgiveness.

(see Colossian 2/19)

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Divine Intervention

Divine Intervention

Superman never fails, or so the illustrated narratives would want to show us.

He comes to the rescue – swooping into a situation and exercising his muscles to save the day.

God can ‘sweep’ into a situation with ‘Divine Intervention’ .

Whether in given situations or in people’s personal lives.

Divine intervention – What is it?

According to Wikipedia:

Divine intervention is a purported miracle caused by a deity’s active involvement in the human world.

I think it is true to say that in accessing Wikipedia I have accessed a source of information that most – if not all – accept as authoritative (?). 

For the Christian, however, the first source of reference for information of this kind, is of course the book we call The Bible.

Notice – Wikipedia uses the word: ‘purported’.

Here we go defining again:

purportedly:

as appears or is stated to be true, though not necessarily so; allegedly:

Notice the injection of doubt? – ‘not necessarily so…allegedly…and the first mentioned: ‘purported’’

All statements worded in this way, are written to suit the compiler of definitions himself, or to satisfy the skeptical agnostics or unbelievers.

I guess its an attempt to please all the people – all of the time. But it fails, – as it doesn’t please me.

There are many examples of divine intervention in the Bible. God – dividing the Red Sea. God consuming Elijah’s water-soaked sacrifice, Mose’s revelation of the burning bush, burning but not consumed, the conceiving of children when it was past the age of conception for the woman, angels appearing to a bunch of shepherds, a donkey talking to a man, five loaves and two fish feeding 5,000 plus and so on. I will add an etc. etc. here.

For some these are divine fairy tales.

For the believing Christian it is truly – divine intervention, and I have listed only a few.

God intervenes in major and minor ways.

He intervened in my life in a powerful and unmistakable way. I am extremely thankful for this intervention, It was so powerful and real I will never forget it, and it is the foundation upon which my faith is built, being a Revelation of Jesus Christ.

I do not experience this the same way or to the same degree every day.

That is how it is meant to be.

God doesn’t need to intervene, or introduce Himself in the same manner, as He is an abiding presence in my life, already.

But I am so thankful for His unique introduction in the first instance.

He can intervene miraculously if He so chooses, but not to convince me of His existence, He has already done that.

How many of my friends and I would love to see that Divine Intervention again in our nation and the nations of the world. We, as Christians, have put the title ‘Revival’ upon such interventions.

Elijah once considered himself the ‘only one left’ but God had secret plans, revealed in response to Elijah’s ‘I only am left’ – complex.

God revealed to Elijah that He had reserved for Himself 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to worship the false-deity called Baal.

Are you among the 7,000+ who have not bowed the knee to false gods?

Romans 11/

…Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant…

I almost feel like starting a survey and getting you to sign it – if you have experienced the divine intervention of Jesus in your life, and you are therefore ‘all-time voting for Him!’

As God intervened in the life of the world taking upon Himself the clothing of flesh in a virgin’s womb – and we have allocated this time of year to remember Him doing so – remember also that this was divine intervention – Jesus Christ has come in the flesh!

II John 1/7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

 

snow n sun
A Peaceful Christmas to all – Enjoy the Season!

Weakness

Weakness

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Ephesians 6/

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

A call to all Christians – to be strong.

Many years ago there was a western, and the theme tune included the lines: ‘Brave courageous and bold…’, referring to the cowboy hero.

Suppose Paul The Apostle was leaving on a train, and he had to exhort us with a quick shout from the train window, wanting to communicate the secret to being a strong Christian, faithful to God and Our Redeemer.

What would he shout with so little time? What would he give us as a key to strength? 

I believe it is found in the following scripture:

II Corinthians 12/10

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“That ol’ steam train is pulling out Paul – you won’t  even have time for a full verse – what can you tell us?”

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God loves to strengthen the weak. But we all need to learn the restful waiting of weakness.

They that wait on The Lord – we are promised – shall renew their strength.

As someone once pointed out – ‘some only know the struggle of perfect weakness, whilst others know the rest of perfect weakness.’

Therein lies the secret. Weak, unable, feeling unspiritual, had enough, battered, worn out, discouraged…?

Rest…

Expect that these conditions of weakness you are ‘fulfilling’ – will prime-the-well of God’s strength.

How come?

For when I am weak,…(condition met in your life?)

…then I am strong. (condition when God touches you).

Expect the power-of-His-might now – as you are fulfilling the condition necessary for God’s strength to triumph!

…for My strength is made perfect in weakness. (Saith The Lord!)

Humility

HUMILITY

Matthew 18/1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

When Jesus used a little child as an example of what we need to become, was He not simply saying ‘become small’?

The child was little.

Innocent – in the sense that they have not matured enough to join the fray of obnoxious behaviour.

However, they will – throw a tantrum without being taught to do so. And if it is not managed correctly, they will grow up as spoiled brats – a description we hear quite often today.

The bible teaches that we all without exception, are birthed in the same way and condition as the Psalmist:-

I was brought forth in [a state of] wickedness;

In sin my mother conceived me [and from my beginning I, too, was sinful].

That’s why we don’t need to teach kids to throw a tantrum when self doesn’t get it’s own way. The nature within automatically rebels and wants it’s own way.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

But the child He placed in the midst hadn’t yet learned to lust for the power of position.

Why was – ‘who would be greatest’ – on their minds at all?

Jesus goes on to confirm His point: 

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Humility then, is the lesson.

As far as we know the child didn’t enter into any kind of outward show of humility.

But there the child was – with all those adults staring at him/her. But that was ok – because the child was with Jesus!

Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to His Heavenly Father even unto death. (Phil. 2/8).

I was praying one day in my bedroom, and as I bowed before God, I was suddenly aware-in-spirit of the character of Christ just how full of humility He is. And so I in turn was humbled when this revelation came to me.

He is humble – not in some Uriah Heep, conjured-up, lip-service kind of way – but within His very nature.

He could throw His divine-weight around and sort-out a rebellious world, with judgement – instead His attributes make Him the God of Grace and the God of many chances.

…the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;

(II Peter 3/15)

He is The Lamb before He is The Lion.

When Jesus was at a feast on another occasion – He taught the lesson that we are to choose the lower seat first, not the higher one.

Saint Augustine said:

The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.

Humbling self is firstly a thing of honest appraisal.

When Peter denied Jesus, slipping into the bind – that self puts upon us, enabled by the devil – one look – from The Master was enough to send him to his knees, in humility, as self was exposed in hurting The One he loved dearly.

Luke 22

Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster [i]crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

We learn two things regarding how God works in our lives:

  1. The look of God
  2. The voice of God

When God looks upon you – you must notice it. When we notice it – we then remember what He has said.

Or if we reverse this we can find God’s revelation when we listen first to what he says (Bible) and in prayer notice His eye upon us – the result.

In Peter’s case a humbling of the self-life – and a searching for God’s forgiveness. In Peter’s case – Jesus called this conversion. Or a returning to God in prayer.

KJV: Luke 22:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

NKJV: Luke 22:

32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

His eye is upon us – we can receive the benefits of this or ignore it.

His voice is speaking to us – we can receive the benefits of this or ignore it.

May we all (like Noah) find Grace in the eyes of The Lord.

Political Correctness

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

This is a subject of course, that lends itself to a lot of discussion. But here are just a few considerations:

Why do we need Political Correctness? What is Political Correctness? What is Political Correctness trying to achieve?

One dictionary defines Political Correctness this way:- 

…the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalise, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against:

I’m pretty sure there would be a lot more definitions out there.

Indeed there is no – one narrow definition for PC.

Let’s take one phrase or implication from the above dictionary definition, that relates to all three of our questions.

‘…the avoidance of…(words) or action(s)…that…are…insulting…’

So – first question – why do we need Political Correctness?

Answer: To highlight the need for us all to avoid actions that insult other people.

Second question – What is Political Correctness?

Answer:  Some kind of spoken or written premise or rule that we must adhere to in order that others are not insulted.

Third question – What is Political Correctness trying to achieve?

Answer: It is written, spoken, or laid down –  to try to ensure correct behaviour or to change or alter the wrong behaviour of others.

We learn straight away therefore, that the need to change bad behaviour or to stop it occurring is the goal of the rules of Political Correctness.

Who has the ultimate say in furnishing us with the rules of political correctness? Do you set the rules? Do I? Does your government have the ultimate say? Does one group of people against whom certain words or actions are deemed unacceptable set the rules for everyone else to follow?

What happens if, by following the cultural rules set by one group that we are meant to conform to – we end up violating what is not acceptable in our own or another’s culture?

Well, what about everyone just laying aside all their cultural rules and regulations of what is and what is not acceptable – and let’s all find a new set of rules that everybody can conform to? 

Some might offer this as a solution. And of course as a Christian my ‘rule’ (and so much more than just rules)-book is the Bible.

Political correctness is confusing to say the least. And it somehow, goes on failing to produce the result that is intended.

Is it not a substitute for the real thing?

As a follower of Jesus Christ the Lord, my behaviour outside of a Christian culture is sure to displease, – is it not? Sure to be seen as politically incorrect? Especially, If the acknowledgment of their god is absent from me.

THREE MEN’S POLITICAL  INCORRECTNESS?

Daniel 3/

Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

So the three Hebrew ‘children’ as they are commonly referred to – were definitely ‘politically incorrect’ in the eyes of this king and his entourage.

When no acknowledgement can be given on my part of any other god, where does this leave myself and any other true Christian in the PC stakes?

Here is what my God says to me:

(Deuteronomy 5/7: You shall have no other gods before Me or besides me…)

But what of other kinds of Political Correctness that isn’t only to do with the god we serve?

If I am harsh and cold and acting in an obnoxious manner toward my fellow man or woman – acting in anger and bitterness toward anyone, does this not expose my inner being as needing transformation and highlighting my need for a better nature?

Jesus exposed religious Pharisaism, and highlighted the selfishness of the human heart by demonstrating His contrasting lifestyle – perfectly.

Showing how a man should be and live. He lived and demonstrated perfectly His own teaching.

The Pharisees amongst others, with their own brand of political correctness – fell miserably short of how human beings should be, and behave. Their Political Correctness failed to produce acceptable behaviour. 

Jesus taught and showed how we should live perfectly.

Met anyone else who does that? I certainly haven’t, nor am I going to meet such a person.

Genuine believers in Christ encounter His nature spiritually, and spend the rest of their lives allowing that nature to consume them.

We fail many times – but we see no other gods, demonstrating in a human body a nature that surpasses that of Jesus Christ… – thus we conclude the need to make him – …The Lord.

And rather than trying to work round-pegs into square-holes – we realise the rules of Political Correctness will never produce the result(s) that PC espouses.

Only a new nature that operates from the inside-out, will do the job. PC operates from the outside – trying unsuccessfully to change the inside of man. It doesn’t make the lasting difference it tries to achieve.

The only way we can even begin to achieve what Political Correctness cannot – is when we become transformed inside. When the Person of Jesus Christ is allowed into our lives to live His life through us.

He says we are to ‘come unto Him..’ and he will give us rest.

If we all experience this spiritual rest from Him – the need for PC will not be the priority, but rather maintenance of good wholesome relationships, will be the new goal. This will emerge if fellowship with Him is maintained, by all in the community.

When we have the Presence of the Perfect One with us, we quickly discover the need to change bad behaviour, lest we offend Him, the one we love.

But without a living-real-actual-spiritual-relationship with Him – then we are back to rules alone attempting to get the desired behaviour with the PC code.

So it is not Political Correctness that we need but

a Perfect Companion who says: ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the world’.

Satisfaction

SATISFACTION

Sir Mick – couldn’t get any satisfaction. Or at least his lyric couldn’t.

Our chosen dictionary gives us this definition – 

satisfaction – fulfilment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this:

Does that definition satisfy?

Custard and ice-cream – I once asked for cold custard and warm ice-cream, in a restaurant.

But mis-communication or not – I’m always satisfied with this dessert combination.

In fact we often have the main course in restaurants and drive home for our own dessert – which of course should read –  warm custard and cold ice cream.

What is it – that needs satisfied?

We can safely say there are different kinds of satisfaction – physical, mental, emotional, sexual, circumstantial, spiritual, communal, aesthetic, verbal, etc. etc.

As Sir Mick couldn’t get satisfaction, so Mr. Dylan sings differently –

One things for certain, when it comes my time

I’ll leave this old world with a satisfied mind

Saul of Tarsus  – perceived as he was, as a renegade Jew – had a name change and tells us – 

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

So is contentment another word for satisfaction?

This man Saul better known as Paul also adds –

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…

Whatever state!? Surely not?

This guy, must have had something very special going for him. Something supernatural. Supernatural/spiritual help to be able to make such a statement.

So spiritual satisfaction then?

Did he have physical satisfaction?

He says – 

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…

He states clearly that he had suffered the loss of all things. Think of the two words – Satisfaction or suffering.

Loss did not mean dis-satisfaction – he had a satisfied mind because he had the excellence of the knowledge of Christ. That is – he knew Christ and therefore absorbed all the knowledge that Christ communicated to him. And it was enough. Enough in every sense of the word.

A footnote of claritydon’t forget Jesus had gone up from the earth in front of many disciples – they saw him go. It was different for Paul. He met him in spirit on the Damascus Road. So Paul walked with Him in spirit and in truth. Paul did not see him walking in a man’s earthly body, as the disciples did.

He (Paul) had physical hardship many times, he was not married and lived a celibate life, his emotional needs were satisfied in Christ, circumstantially he was content, regardless of what befell him. He enjoyed the communal satisfaction provided by true genuine fellow disciples of Christ – but on occasions – stood alone. Satisfied in Christ, content, caught up with the Person of the Holy Spirit and the many revelations he was given.

Again he tells us – 

It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:

His certainty of spiritual revelation – was the result of God’s proven record in supplying them before.

Paul had one area that he had to handle – he was caught between two desires. The desire to serve God and His people and the desire to leave his body and go and find the eternal satisfaction of living with Christ in the heaven of heavens.

For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better…

Am I, are you, satisfied? What are we looking for? In the list of our satisfactions are we missing what Paul continually had – even in the absence of a perennial comfort zone?

Paul speaking:

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

 

Vulnerable with whom?

VULNERABLE WITH WHOM?

We can talk about what is happening in society. We can talk about what is happening in the world.

But what, (perhaps needless to say), is happening inside us, is what we are most familiar with.

Being self-conscious human beings, means – our self-awareness leads us to personal concerns – first.

Everyone’s aspirations differ, I guess with some overlapping, but never quite the same.

Our mind is pre-preoccupied with the body we live in. First-things-first is usually subjective.

We are fragile flesh. Prone to the same highs and lows.

Body, soul and spirit beings.

Inescapably we succumb to self-interest first, punctuated by a few sacrifices we may have made for others along the way, in order to change our self-oriented daily narrative.

Christians or non-Christians, acts of charity, and good deeds-done are common to all.

Some have been more sacrificial than others, in their service to their fellow man.

I am way down the pecking order when it comes to good deeds done, to the benefit of my fellow man. 

I can only hope that my service of ‘words’ has helped others to some small degree, along the way.

But mankind is housed in flesh, and we all have this earthly tent in common. We live in these corruptible bodies, with all our mutual limitations.

We are prone, as is said of Elijah: ‘to like passions.’

James 5/17: Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months

Despite these ‘like passions’ common to us all – Elijah (Elias) was a spiritual man, able to pray and receive answers.

Many believe in vulnerability. Many believe they should share their weaknesses openly with all who will listen.

This they usually conclude is being real. We should be free to share our innermost weaknesses and needs, they believe, to authenticate our genuineness.

Others consider this to be airing their dirty linen in public.

 Dictionary –  To discuss very private, personal matters, especially that which may be embarrassing, in public or with other people.

When we share such private thoughts, we leave ourselves open to ridicule or unfair judgment from others.

It establishes in their minds a certain outlook towards us.

Even if we grow, and overcome those inner weaknesses, it may well be, they remain convinced, that we have not, indeed, overcome.

And should we fall yet again into negative behaviour of whatever kind, they affirm to themselves that indeed, we have not moved on.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is not the whole answer to finding help. We need to ask “with whom can I, or should I, be vulnerably open?”

Those who are at all familiar with this blog, and this season of Christian-perspective posts, will not be surprised in the least at my next exhortation:

Vulnerability, that is – being vulnerable and therefore usually confessional  – in an acceptable manner is firstly vertical, before it is horizontal.

Prayer to Christ Jesus the one who is seated at the right hand of God the Father, in an unimaginable way, and who ever lives to represent those who want Him as their saviour and advocate, is the vertical friendship that I am referring to.

Proverbs 18/24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Christ Jesus is that friend that sticks closer than a human being/brother, if He is invited into our lives.

He is never surprised at your vulnerability, nor ignorant of your attempts to be and do what is right. He is compassionate and understanding, willing to forgive when you fail, and willing to comfort the downhearted in His presence, where there is fullness of joy.

Be – as vulnerable as you want to be – with Him. Tell Him honestly what you think of yourself. Share with Him your most intimate thoughts.

Having done this – you can then move from vertical communion with Christ to the horizontal, in finding a real, true human friend, to open your heart to.

This is not always an easy task. But don’t give up, there are still some genuine, ethically sound, sincere counsellors who will keep confidence, and lend a helping hand.

You know I’m going to add – Christian ones.

Despite the onslaught of failure amongst people in positions of trust, and despite the hypocritical representation of religion, there are still those who are salt and light.

Men and women dealing with the same weaknesses Elijah, and you and I, contend with, both in ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Like Elijah the prophet – we can still pray and get results, especially in areas of subjectivity.

To finish – I must bind myself to the first part of the verse quoted above:

Proverbs 

A man who has friends must himself be friendly…

I raise my glass of coke –

“Here’s to your friendship”

Plainly still hidden?

PLAINLY STILL HIDDEN?

Supposing there was something absolutely essential to mankind. Essential perhaps to man’s very survival. It was as plain as day. ‘As plain as the nose on your face’,  as they say.

Yet – nobody noticed it or was aware of it. It was in front of them – but they couldn’t see it.

I wonder – to help me complete this short post if you can give me an example?

To give me an example would not be possible. As you then would have already noticed it – and therefore it fails to meet the criteria, of being plainly out of sight.

Although – it is in the realm of possibility, that you alone can see it – and no one else – and therefore it gives you authority in providing the example.

I reckon all the great inventors, pretty much knew something before everyone else. It was hidden to the rest of us, and eventually revealed by them.

So clearly I am referring to something – hidden.

Something plainly needed by the human race, yet hidden, and therefore unseen, out of sight.

There is much that mankind does not know.

When man discovers something for the betterment of, or service to, the human race, it can be embraced triumphantly.

But sometimes embraced, as though now, there was nothing else left to find out.

We should be thankful for any great discoveries in medical science. But refrain from getting on our ‘high horse’. We still don’t have a cure for the common cold.

It’s that ‘high horse’ thing that God most dislikes. Yet many on their high horse (with no real understanding) blame God for being on his!

The original sin was one of pride – Isaiah 14/13-15:

You said in your heart,

    “I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne

    above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

14 

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

    I will make myself like the Most High.”

15 

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,

    to the depths of the pit.

The fall of this spirit took place before mankind followed suit and fell into sin.

The ‘I’ factor is loud and clear in this passage of scripture.

Lifting oneself up is the expression of a proud heart. Taking the best seat at the feast, rather than the lower seat, it being the host’s (not the guest’s) prerogative to ask you up to a higher one.

Those who exalt themselves shall be humbled. 

Thinking too highly of (oneself), is a danger, as pride goes before a fall.

Nowadays the emphasis is on holding on to a good self-image to the exclusion of whether it is based on fact or fiction.

A bad self-image and a good self-image can both be flawed.

A good self-image is self-acceptance, accepting ourselves as we are, without living a life of pretence or with delusions of grandeur. It is thinking of ourselves in a sober manner – not too highly and not too lowly.

Recognising our strengths and our weaknesses, without being morbidly introspective about the weaknesses, nor puffed-up with insolent pride perhaps over some ability we have.

Bringing our weaknesses to Jesus Christ, who converses with His Father on behalf of those who desire Him to do so.

There are many things, (spiritually speaking), that I have yet to see, – yet to find out.

I am thankful for what has been shown to me. Things I have great certainty over.

But I will always be on the road of discovery, when it comes to my relationship with Jesus Christ.

In this life I will always only – ‘know in part’.

But I’m told to hold fast to what I have already received, and to walk by the same rule.

I am also told that the things I have received are hidden to many others:

I Corinthians 2/6-8.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

That thing, that is hidden to many, is the essential thing I referred to at the beginning of this post.

It is a drawn-up and carried-out plan for the salvation of the human race.

Is it plain to you? Or plainly – still hidden from your understanding?

There is coming a day regardless of what theological standpoint we take, – there is coming a day – when Christ will return to take only those who are part of his mystical body (the church) –  still alive on earth – into the air in a rapturous experience.

A day when Christ who is hidden from the sight of the eyes of multitudes today, will return no longer hidden, but in plain view – for every eye shall see Him –

Revelation 1/7:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.

will they recognise Him or will recognition be hidden from them also?

Is the gospel message then, plain for you? To be acted on immediately? Or does it remain hidden even though you can hear it from many preachers?

About that opening paragraph:

Supposing there was something absolutely essential to mankind…It was in front of them – but they couldn’t see it…?

In case you didn’t know.

IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW

1 Corinthians 3/ (Amplified Bible)

  1. However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ!

In case you didn’t know – this is Paul the Apostle speaking to the Corinthian – Christian believers.

Firstly he addresses them as ‘brothers and sisters’. All true Christian believers, share the family resemblance of Christ. He has instructed us to know and address each other as part of the same spiritual family.

So Paul is speaking to Christian brothers and sisters.

Every Christian claims that there IS a spiritual life, and not as the atheists would claim i.e. zero now and zero after the grave.

Spiritual people then?

Apparently not.

“I could not talk to you as to spiritual people…” 

What does that mean? The whole point of the Christian message, or teaching, is that all Christians have become spiritual people – out to share the message that Christ is Lord! He is to be worshipped as the only living and true God, and all His followers worship Him in spirit and truth. Becoming increasingly spiritual as Christ is.

So what’s this? –

 “I could not talk to you as to spiritual people…” 

In understanding this, it is first necessary to say that the great thing about acceptance with God is acceptance of God!

However, acceptance of God – is no excuse for doing things that find no acceptance with God.

Confused?

Christian acceptance with God (Salvation of repentant sinners), is based on man’s response and acceptance of Christ personally as Lord and Saviour.

This is a two-way acceptance.

This two-way acceptance is sealed amidst an experience Christian’s refer to as ‘being born again’.

We accept Christ and the sufficiency of His sacrifice for sins, and He in turn accepts us.

Christ comes into our lives in a very real and personal spiritual way.

Now we are in the family of God.

Every family has acts of obedience and disobedience in it. Children mis-behave, but (I hope) mostly are still accepted and loved, despite bad behaviour.

The bad behaviour varies in magnitude or seriousness.

The spiritual nature of these Corinthian believers was subject to the frustration and hindrance of the nature all men and women are born with. The sinful nature.

This conflict/warfare/frustration is described in 

Galatians 5/17 –

17 For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in DIRECT OPPOSITION TO EACH OTHER [CONTINUALLY IN CONFLICT], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

I have capitalised to make the point.

Until we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit – we cannot know the spiritual nature that can be inherited from Christ Jesus.

When we do have such an encounter – it does not mean that the old nature we are born with disappears.

All Christians at some time, continue to succumb and yield themselves to this lower nature, even though they are spiritual people.

There are degrees of this.

But hopefully, true Christians, mostly allow the new nature to have pre-eminence in the battle described above. (Galatians 5/17).

The Corinthians were not doing so well in this warfare.

Consequently Paul could not address them as spiritual, but as weak and as yet immature believers.

So to share the deeper things of God, would not yet, be appropriate, when the instruction they needed was of a more foundational type.

In order to properly hear and obey the truth of God, we must enjoy the inner life of Christ filling our inner beings, in order to hear as we ought to hear, and understand properly the things God wishes to teach us.

When the old nature is strong – we end up in the place the Corinthians were in – accepted in Christ – but with unacceptable behaviour manifesting, rather than the fruits of the Holy Spirit winning the day.

In the rest of I Corinthians, Paul, speaking on Christ’s behalf, under the enablement of The Holy Spirit – addresses some of the unacceptable behaviour.

After teaching many more things to the Corinthians, (sixteen chapters in fact). Paul partly ends with these words, in I Corinthians 16/22 (quoted below).

Instructing us that acceptance of Christ and His ways, is essential, even though the Corinthians were immature and needed to grow in greater spirituality.

Paul highlights the only disqualifying ‘heavy’ note that he can’t put down to anyone’s spiritual immaturity.

Someone then, would not be his brother or sister in Christ if the following applied:

I Corinthian 16/22 – …If anyone does not love the Lord [does not obey and respect and believe in Jesus Christ and His message], he is to be accursed.

Freedom

FREEDOM

The word – freedom – can mean different things to different people.

There are Pharisaical religious bondages that many need to be freed from.

Hostages know all about the joy of freedom when eventually they are rescued.

To be able to visit your place of worship freely without restriction is another appreciated liberty.

Freedom of speech is championed by many.

The lines of a chorus come to mind – “Are you free!?” “Have you got the victory?”

Succinctly that’s what freedom consists of – victory.

Free from an addiction, free from oppressive bullies, free from a restrictive governmental regime, or on a lighter note – Free from having to pay to park. Free from nuisance phone calls.

I have read that in some countries such as the USA an ornamental key – the key to the city is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others whom the city wishes to honour. This is a variation on the freedom of the city tradition.

But true freedom is not – being allowed to do exactly as we wish, especially at the expense of others. So freedom, must also include, having rules.

The imposition of one persons will on another is generally interpreted as oppressive, and robbing them of their freedom. It certainly can be.

But the imposition of a long-suffering and tolerant Saviour-God’s will upon mankind, if we would only wake up to it, is the imposition of a rule of love that brings mankind to the best possible place he could be in.

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to ellicit our willing response out of the freedom of choice that we have. He wants us to honour the rules of His kingdom, the kingdom of God.

True freedom is the ability to do what is right.

Jesus is willing to give that freedom, that liberty, that ability to walk with Him, and so overcome all that this present world contributes in binding us to the tyranny of sin.

But there must be a strong desire to escape to spiritual freedom.

Paul the Apostle says: Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?

He goes on to affirm the way of freedom:

Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

We have all seen the movie scenes where there is an exchange of the kidnapped for the ransom, and it usually involves a walk of some kind, from one place to another, from the oppressors into the arms of a loved one.

Jesus has paid the ransom, now a walk must take place from the bondage and imprisonment of sin – to Him. 

Seems only appropriate, as you or I consider our imprisonment of whatever kind – for me to ask have we begun our walk to freedom in Christ?

Some bible verses without the references – 

So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Calling

CALLING

I mentioned in a previous post that the church are the called out ones pertaining to The Lord.

Called.

What do you make of that word?

In Christian and ‘religious’ circles – we often hear that someone has a ‘calling’. Or has received a ‘calling’.

We used to talk of ‘callings’ in life – doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, and other noble professions.

We might ask if that is still the case?

When does a ‘calling’ become just a job?

Called’ – Paul the apostle was ‘called’.

Romans 1/1 – Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God

All true Christians are ‘called’.

There is much to say about this ‘calling’. I will only touch on it, in this relatively short post.

Hebrews 3/1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.

In this verse – ‘calling’ – has an adjective preceding it. – the adjective is Heavenly. Christians are given a heavenly calling.

A calling that comes to us on earth, but is of a completely different nature and experience, and is spiritual – not earthly, sensual and devilish. (James 3/15)

There is the earthly and the heavenly and they are ‘worlds’ apart.

Notice the heavenly calling spoken of, by the Hebrew writer is something, – as one bible version puts it – to ‘partake’ of.

This calling, of course, refers to our future – coming home – totally translated state – into the heaven of heavens to ever be with Christ. (NB: But not just our future).

We are called to go there – to ever be with The Lord.

So there is a place called heaven (I like to refer to it as the heaven of heavens – so we don’t get puerile accusations that we mean the clouds in the sky or outer space or something…)

But true Christians have already been translated into the kingdom of God, even though our bodies are still upon the earth.

Colossians 1/13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

So the heavenly calling of which true Christians partake of or share in – is firstly and foremostly a spiritual – phenomena, experience and place.

According to scripture we have already been raised up, and are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2/6 …and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

This is the connection every true believer in Christ experiences, whose spirit has been born unto God through Christ Jesus.

You see Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father. And the new birth – (which is experiencing the result of asking Christ into our innermost beings) brings us into daily contact with the one who is already in the heaven of heavens.

That means we are there also – even though still living in this earthly body.

So the heavenly calling is to be experienced every day. Too often we become ‘earth bound’ in our thinking, and weak in our experience of the heavenly realm that we are called to enjoy in Christ.

Those who do not know (spiritually) The Lord – have only this present earthly, bodily, fallen state of being, to live in.

So can you hear the call?

It comes through the Word of God. How is God going to get your attention as the author of your faith – if you refuse to read the book He has authored? (Hebrews 12/2)

When you ‘expose’ yourself to the Book – you expose yourself to hearing the call.

Romans 10/16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (The Bible)

To hear the call – is to hear the Word.

God has ordained preaching and preachers – it is God’s idea. But there are also false teachers and preachers and prophets.

So turn to the book – to hear the preaching.

And to hear the call to the heavenly relationship God has for all those who will put their trust in Christ.

As you read the book – you will get to know whether God can be trusted in the first place.

Many have a very limited view of God. Based on a few things picked up second-hand over the years. They probably couldn’t even tell you why they believe what they do.

So again – ‘calling’ from God – is into fellowship with Himself. It is of a spiritual nature beginning now in experience and finalising when we pass from this life into His eternal present/presence forever.

That word ‘church’…?

That word ‘church’…?

You probably know that the word church (Gk. ecclesia) apart from other nuances we might speak of – chiefly refers to those who are the ‘called out ones’.

The word sanctified – is to do with being ‘set apart’.

Called out and set apart.

Hmm?

Now of course men love to enter into all kinds of ‘disputes’ over original Hebrew and Greek words, and are often found to …strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Apparently those who do so are blind guides,

Matthew (Amp.) 23/24 You [spiritually] blind guides, who strain out a gnat [consuming yourselves with miniscule matters] and swallow a camel [ignoring and violating God’s precepts]!

Man loves to step into the debating chamber and skew these and other words to make them into all kinds of things.

One commentator, (Not a ‘skewed’ one as far as I know) writes the following. From which I glean he isn’t too happy with the word Ecclesia, or at least, maybe how he perceives what man can skew it to mean (?)- 

He writes – 

In the earlier Greek It was pronounced “ku-ri-a-kos” or “ku-ri-a-kon.” As you can see, this word doesn’t even resemble the Greek word “ecclesia” whose place it has usurped. In the earlier Greek It was pronounced “ku-ri-a-kos” or “ku-ri-a-kon.” 

The meaning of “Ku-ri-a-kos” is understood by its root: “Ku- ri-os,” which means “lord.” Thus, “kuriakos” (i.e., “church”) means “pertaining to the lord.”

As far as I can see there is nothing wrong with this comment. But neither is there anything wrong with the message, – that the disciples of Christ form a body of folk who are ‘called out’ of the world system of spiritual darkness.

So let’s take both words on board (ecclesia and kuriakos) – what have we now?

Called out ones pertaining to the Lord.

That’s ok with me!

The use of the word KISS – seems appropriate here?

KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid.

Let’s try. The church is the people. Not a building, not bricks and mortar.

The church are ‘called out – ‘ones’. Just like Christians are Christ – ‘ones’.

‘Ones’ are human. Followers of Christ are human beings, apart from the faithful angelic host who remained in allegiance to The Lord Jesus Christ.

The church – made up of individual Christians – refers to every individual on the face of the earth who is/are the true (the real thing) followers of Jesus Christ.

“Hello out there!  You are part of my forever family, if you are a Christ-one. If you are set-apart, and you are amongst those who are the ‘called out ones’.”

Just think of it – you may not see my face this side of heaven – but you might get an invite to my mansion in the heaven of heavens, when we both arrive there! (John 14/2)

In case there is someone reading this who thinks to themselves – “What presumptuous self-righteousness! – to consider himself sure of heaven”

To think of oneself as so righteous and above everyone else that God is somehow obliged to allow such a presumptuous human being – entrance into His eternal abode – bah!

At this point the thought crosses the mind of yours truly –

“I wonder – if what is obvious to me is perhaps completely unknown to some readers”?

Namely my guarantee of entrance into the eternal heaven of heavens, is based on the fact that (metaphorically speaking) I have signed the contract – but God Himself is the one who has drawn it up!

There is nothing in me  – no good work, no impressive noble thoughts, no wonderful behaviour, in fact in my flesh there is no good thing, that God could be remotely impressed by.

And yet I am going to heaven when I die!

Just one thing gives me entrance to His heavenly kingdom. Just one thing gives me ‘membership’ to the world church of Called out ones pertaining to the Lord. Only one thing enables me to enter the place of being set apart, and only one thing has made me a Christ-one.

In a phrase – The cross of Jesus Christ.

But at this point I better end by allowing God to do the talking:

Psalm 107/2

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…

(I just did)! Redeemed and heading for heaven.

Romans 5/9

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Justified – and I’m justified – in saying – heaven awaits me because I am told I shall be saved from wrath through Him. He (and His sacrifice on the cross) is the only thing I’m relying on.

Acts 2/38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(I did repent, I was baptised, my sins were remitted and I did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit)

No wrath to come, God with me now and for eternity, Justified, called out, set apart – and I have nothing whatsoever to boast about. Not even any good works that I do!

When it comes to heaven I simply receive the free gift. 

My mind is blown – at this agreement I have entered into with The Living God!

Ephesians 2/8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.