Category Archives: new life

True disciples

TRUE DISCIPLES

John 8/31:-
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Christ Jesus is The Word – we must invite Him into our innermost person if we are to abide in Him, – His words abide in us, – and His life giving Holy Spirit is to occupy our innermost being.

So abide in the Word. Best to – read it consistently and often – for that ‘abiding in’ to take place.

Abide in the Word – better stay focussed on this word in order to live it. Allowing it to determine our thoughts, words, and deeds, that too is abiding in it.

Meditate on (not just read) – by so doing the word becomes inwardly digested and gives spiritual strength.

Disciple means learner. Keep reading/meditating, and by so doing, become enabled to- keep learning.

Not just a learner-disciple, but INDEED a true disciple – the real thing. A disciple indeed!

Learning the truth in the word we are abiding in – and the result of all of this – we get to know the truth and that truth sets us free.

A true learner who finds truth and true freedom in Christ the Word.

You search…

You search…

Someone shared a story with me, some time ago. I will probably get the details wrong, but remember one part of the story. I’m sure someone out there could relate the actual story better than I.

To summarise – it went something like this: Someone bought a piece of land and spent a number of years drilling for oil. All to no avail. So they gave up and sold the land.

A new owner, not long after the purchase, drilled once more and struck black gold, immediately.

Preacher’s could use the story to teach us to ‘never give up’. Others could tell us ‘anything worthwhile takes time and effort’. Yet another could bring out the truth ‘that we need to get below the surface and the obvious – to find the true riches of truth buried in the bible’.

I like that one best.

Proverbs 23/23: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The amplified version of the bible gives us this helpful footnote:

The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.

But it is possible to be taught the truth and ‘entertain’ it in our lives on a superficial level, rather than giving ourselves – to it – in prayerful meditation, so that we do not fit the category of those described by The Lord Jesus: 

John 5:38-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Such students find all kinds of truth on some level, but fail to realise that all scripture points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God – to be believed and received as the personification and embodiment of all of God’s truth, and indeed the Saviour of The World.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

All scripture points to the author who revealed it to the hearts of chosen men, who in turn penned it under God’s special visitation and influence.

But also it has the redemptive thread throughout it’s pages from Genesis to Revelation. And to search these books and fail to discover by a living encounter, that Christ is The Living Word, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – is to search and miss eternal life. 

Again Jesus said: You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;…’

The point being that this is not enough. But the true searching of the scriptures as God intended – is to encounter Christ:

‘and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

We must come to Him and not just the pages of the book to find eternal life – in/through the pages of the book.

Persuaders…

Persuaders…

After four poems in succession, my pendulum swings again to spiritual matters:

God in Christ wants all men to be saved/delivered/set free – indeed all of the above. He desires to make Himself known to us.

But not everyone (needless to say) is going to see things that way.

History has unfolded the proof of this. It has always been so. The gospel of Christ is not readily accepted, and is just plain rejected by many. Just as Christ Himself was rejected.

The world is full of different belief-systems, faiths, doctrines (call them what you will) that people adhere to – the old saying has application: ‘but never the twain shall meet’. This summarises how these ‘faiths’ will never agree. Indeed it cannot be, and is not meant to be.

Light has no fellowship with darkness, would be one way of describing why doctrines don’t gel, in ‘faiths’, they are simply not the same.

Still, adherents to whatever belief, mostly feel it part of their ‘duty’ to spread their message. Spread the message to an often unheeding public.

An offer of a free £1,000 spending spree in a local store, will make most ears prick-up. First thought? Is this a scam? Having proof of it being a genuine offer – who in their right mind is going to reject, ignore or refuse the offer?

So the gospel message, if it is to be ignored, is ignored perhaps on the false premise that it is a scam?

The exponents of this gospel message are only after your money, it is thought? Not hard to know where this impression comes from through the mouths of TV evangelists. The gospel message is very balanced. But if we hear only one aspect repeatedly, it isn’t hard to understand how folks get a lop-sided view of things.

Or (it is sometimes thought) this message is to do with servitude, manipulation and control where everybody bows to some cult figure at the helm?

Or some – not having examined thoroughly the cross of Christ and what took place there, beyond the visible – see it wrongly, as some kind of ‘blood religion’. Some ‘gory’ horrible story of no significance?

Then again some reject the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some so-called adherents to this gospel of christianity. Not stopping to consider that there are false gospels, in the name of christianity, that we are warned about in the scriptures.

In a different vein – some just plainly don’t ‘believe’ in God full stop, the God of any ‘religion’.

And so we could go on laying out reasons for the ‘gospel of Christ’ being rejected, or reasons many refuse to give it their attention.

Maybe some ‘clergy’ have failed miserably and have been guilty of the abuse of others. And this is taken as a reason to reject not only them but the biblical message?

How can we begin then to give it our attention, or tolerate any kind of preaching? When so many reasons arise in our minds that stop us on the journey before we even begin.

Is this where we, the adherents of Christianity step-in to persuade you differently?

Or are we better leaving you alone – after all it is often quipped: ‘Religion is a personal/private matter’?

So no gospel for you? You will tolerate those who wish to believe that stuff – as long as they leave you alone?

And yet is it not true that some enthusiastically expound how worthy their soccer team is to be followed. Or how the car they have is the best on the market. Or the area they live in is excellent. Or the best way to cook the meal is to add particular ingredients, to give the best possible results, for the taste buds. Or their favourite politician should be voted for – because etc. etc.?

Maybe all those things should be kept to themselves? People will tolerate you if you keep your mouth shut and leave people alone?

Why are people blogging, they wouldn’t be wanting us to like their stories, opinions, or share in their experiences would they?

Truth is – we are all persuaders.

Paul the apostle was a persuader concerning the true-truth of the gospel message, and having opened His mouth with God’s enablement he got the following response, as he fulfilled his ‘duty’ by sharing the Christian message to a certain king:

Acts 26:27-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am…

So next question? What’s it going to take to cause you to realise that the Christian gospel is God’s communication to mankind, as it is, in it’s preserved written state, for the salvation of mankind from the tyranny of an evil spirit?

Maybe you are amongst those who are already persuaded?

Here and elsewhere

Here and elsewhere

Jesus the personification of all truth – assured his people that He was ‘going to prepare a place for them’. That place would be where He is. So they would ever be with The Lord. (John 14/2)

But where is He now? Well He is in heaven at the right hand of His Father. (Ephesians 1/20)

The other Person of the godhead – The Holy Spirit of God – is still working and moving on the earth. He is here to carry out God’s will and fulfil His promises.

God’s promises are many and varied. But the one I have in mind is this:

Lo I am with you always even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28/20)

So Christ is both with us and somewhere else, because of the incomprehensible unity and working of the Godhead.

I say incomprehensible with a smile, when the lesser examination of the myriad of planets and stars in the outer space universe is enough to affirm His incomprehensibility, before we even begin to examine the invisible kingdom of heaven. (Colossians 1/16)

Salvation is simple when boiled down – the world is under the dominion of another spirit – not of God’s nature. Despite this, Christ is willing to come to you – but on His terms. Terms that establish in your life the acceptance of His divine holy and pure nature.

So that you too with other believers, will have a place prepared by Him, prepared where He is, in His Father’s ‘house’ where there will be many dwelling places (heaven).

At the same time He promises to come to those, where they are, who call upon His name in sincerity and truth.

With us (the Holy Spirit) and at the same time, away from us (in his Glorified form as the King of kings), at the right hand of His Father.

The Real Deal

THE REAL DEAL

There is either such a thing as sin – or there isn’t.

And quite clearly there is such a thing.

It’s as plain as the nose on your face. We can see the results of sin all around us. Often in epidemic proportions.

Sin is one of the most obvious phenomena on the planet. And yet it is explained away under many guises.

The problem for preachers is – they too are subject to and can be guilty of – sinning.

So how can they stand in pulpits and preach against what they themselves are engaged in? Or so the commonly held view is expressed, by some.

“Is this not hypocrisy?” reasons the person who tries to say – no one should ‘judge’ others.

They perceive preachers as hypocritical Pharisees who love to castigate everyone but themselves. Bringing people under their rule and control, as ‘holier than thou’ – potentates.

However, have you noticed that those who say: “we shouldn’t judge”, are also those who can lose their temper and hit out with swear words, at the unknown person whole stole their car? They wouldn’t be trying to ‘judge’ them would they?

Quite clearly proper judgement is necessary in life. Else why not close down all the courtrooms throughout the land, and allow anarchy to rule ok!

The fact that unjust judgements are made, and hypocrites can be found in places of moral responsibility, does not negate the need for proper, sound, just judgement.

Problem is, at a time of increasing moral decay – the hypocrites seem to ‘rule ok’ in responsible positions, rather than the sincere just-persons, who should take up these roles.

Those preachers, who have moral integrity, are automatically lambasted by those who don’t want their sins found out. They tar these preachers with the same brush,  branding them as hypocrites. Condemned usually without trial or examined evidence.

The result of accepting or listening to no-one – is confusion (and often every evil work).

So in societies – corrupt officials take bribes, and the unjust sinner goes free for the right price.

The almost automatic way to portray anyone of ‘the cloth’, in drama productions on television or cinema – is to create a character who has a snivelling, hypocritical, judgemental, narrow minded, self-centred cowardly personality. Such types find their way onto the playwright’s script  when a character is needed to ‘represent’ the church.

And the non-believing but ‘good’ villain who spares a dime for the beggar in the street – is the ‘real deal’. Even though he has killed and robbed.

So society relieves itself from any responsibility to take notice of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Cause after all ‘they are not hypocrites’, like those religious types.

They don’t ‘pretend’ to be good or religious, or better than others. And so in all of this they spend their lives missing completely the ‘real deal’ of the Gospel.

So who is going to tell us we are sinners when all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?

Well the answer is – God Himself.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to make me aware that I, who write this post – am a sinner.

And to be always talking about sin, without the rest of the message that makes the messenger’s feet beautiful (post on beautiful feet to appear later) is to get out of balance in presenting the whole gospel.

The whole gospel summed up is – we can have our mess (sins) removed. We can know God the Father through Jesus the Son, and we can know the ‘real deal’ of fellowship with God.

To be liberated inside – in a way you have never experienced before is the result of receiving and obeying the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve just summed it up briefly, (to accommodate the need for a short post).

REAL DEAL GOOD NEWS:

…Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

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

….Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

And so on….and so on…and so on….🙂

Spiritually natural

Spiritually natural

It’s difficult to write about many of the wonderful things of God – in the present climate, when so much needs fixing.

There needs to be a turning wholeheartedly to The Only Living and True God, through His Son The Lord Jesus Christ.

There is nothing new under the sun. In simple terms good and evil is in conflict, and has been since the beginning or before. 

The rise and fall of evil men will go on. The Rise and Rise of good men will also continue.

There is an event we term The Rapture, when Christ will return, but no man knows the hour or the day. That will be the greatest ‘uprising’ in history!

Meantime evil men grow worse and worse.

There is a scripture that encourages those who carry precious pearls to not throw them before swine:

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This is a snippet of wisdom communicated by The Lord Jesus. Clearly informing us that there are precious and beautiful things God is willing to reveal to mankind. But these precious things are not to be shared with animalistic natures, who will have no discernment as to their beauty, and who will trample them under foot.

Treating the things of God’s nature with disdain, ‘like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding….’

John 2:24 Amplified Bible:

24 But Jesus, for His part, did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people [and understood the superficiality and fickleness of human nature],

Superficiality and fickleness will not receive the things of God. God will not entrust His precious hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge and revelation of Himself to such.

This teaches us that to even begin to understand, experience and prove the goodness and self-evident existence of the creator of the universe – we must first approach Him with a heart that desires to depart from evil, whilst honouring and respecting the things of God.

All around us is animalistic and ungodly defiance. But read ‘the book’ to see how it all pans out.

Most genuine preachers, feel their own inadequacies when it comes to the things of God, desiring to be a more worthy expounder of His truth.

If only we could walk flawlessly before Him, practicing everything we preach.

God does not however require an unnatural ‘holier than thou’ attitude, cloaked in false humility, whereby we unrealistically take on some kind of pseudo ‘holiness’ – as one preacher put it becoming so heavenly minded we are no earthly use.

Conversely however – some are so earthly minded they are no heavenly use.

God wants us to be human and spiritually-natural, able to laugh, be normal, have fun and talk about everyday things.

But at the same time holding close to our hearts the things of Himself He has revealed to us.

Allowing His thoughts (Bible) to fill our minds – giving them priority over the natural things of life.

There is no holiness without The Holy Spirit!

Balance – a great word to keep us on track.

To sum up we are to mind the natural things as in for example: culture, – with the enablement of God – who gives us spiritual discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. So that we can enjoy those everyday things of life because our minds, hearts and spirits are fixed on God.

As a painter and a poet (as far as I know 😎) I cannot enjoy any of these or any other activities for that matter, unless my heart is right with The Lord. Then I experience His promise:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Helped and energised to enjoy all the things that make up life – He has given us – to enjoy.

I Timothy 6/17

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Proper Denial

PROPER DENIAL

There is a reluctance within us, that all of us, can claim to have. A reluctance to warm towards anything that calls for a dying-to-ourselves.

Jesus calls men and women to deny themselves and ‘take up their cross daily’ (Luke 9/23).

A rich young man came to Him one-time.

Matthew 19/21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

To help us with this godly ‘tall order’ (for such humans as we), let’s highlight the positives first of all. Jesus looks at us (as He did this man), and loves us.

Secondly he gave this young man clear instructions as to what he had to deny and forsake – within himself.

He had a love for money, more than a love for God. We are told that – not money, – but the love of money is the root of all evil. (I Timothy 6/10)

Escaping from an evil heart, escaping from this love of money, the young man was unable to do, and we know this greatly saddened him, and no doubt saddened the saviour of men, who has the ability to put His finger right on the idols of our hearts.

The man might have asked ‘how to do’ – what he was asked to do, but he didn’t.

As I write these words – I examine myself to ask what it is I still put-before loving God?

Even with a heart full of gratitude for all the experiences I have had over the years, where intimacy with Christ came as a gift from Him, I realise how easy it is to take steps away rather than towards Him.

It’s easy to prefer the temporal things of this world’s distraction, in a nutshell: ‘it comes naturally’.

Regarding the call of God to walk away from the distractions, lift the cross, and take the burden whilst pushing through to the presence of God – I realise is challenged by the self-life that will always prefer the alternative to doing this.

The Cross of Christ is all about letting go the temporal. It’s all about giving-in to The Father. It’s all about exercising faith and consequently denying self, in order to obtain the greater riches of spiritual experience and the love of God.

The third benefit offered to the young man – was treasure in heaven – or better put – heavenly treasure (19/21) –  which can start now in our experience of seeking first the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6/33)

But we must recognise that this does not come naturally but spiritually.

Unless faith is involved in the exercise of self-denial it can lead to a substitute for self-denial, and self is all the more accommodated and enthroned in our lives. This is a subtle one. Many do not detect the difference.

But Paul refers to it in Colossians 2/23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Self-indulgence is a thing of the fallen nature we live in. From that same nature can come a ‘form’ of self-denial, a pseudo self-denial if you like.

Notice what seems right in self-imposed religion is not true self-denial through faith, because the result as Paul explains has no value against the indulgence of the flesh, (the sinful nature) because it can engender pride and superiority through asceticism, which only adds to the glorification of self.

It is by attending to matters of devotion and prayer, that the ability to leave behind the distracting things of the self-life is strengthened. Strengthening the inner man.

Many engage in ascetic practices, but step into the spiritual-‘unknown’ and leave themselves open to uncharted territory.

They have no experience of Christ in their life through faith, so seek spirituality in their own self-life, by all kinds of practices of self-inflicted punishment. Self denial is not an end in itself.

We need a perfect guide book, to keep us right. The Bible – The Word of God is that guide book.

In it we hear the Son of God calling us to forsake all and follow him (Luke 14/32-4). At the same time we can hear the voice of self telling us not to bother.

As we go to Him and enter into a fresh relationship with Him, we are more able to walk away from – and therefore deny – the selfishness resident within each one of us.

Heading for the new land

headed for the new land

HEADING FOR THE NEW LAND

When I painted this piece – I found the subject suggesting itself, as the painting progressed.

This is usually how it works for me.

It’s an exception as I rarely set out to paint a biblical subject or truth.

But I came across the painting again (it is no longer in my possession and I have forgotten who bought it).

I was consequently reminded and reflected on the fact that I am heading for a new ‘land’.

The heaven of heavens is my destination through no merits of my own – rather because of the fact that, admitting I had no merits – led eventually to finding great grace and acceptance in Christ.

Because of what I have experienced of the heavenly sphere (already) down here in this lower sphere, I believe and therefore I speak.

II Corinthians 4/

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

I will be raised up passing from this land to the ‘new land’. Who told me that? The person who gave the words as just quoted.

The painting which of course is metaphorical shows horses being changed from flesh to spirit. 

They enter speedily into a land of light, and en route they pass a tree of life. No one can fully and completely enter the light before entering eternal life, represented by the tree.

A tree of life that in Scripture was guarded to prevent man from remaining eternally in sin.

Genesis 3/22

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

24 …and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The tree of crucifixion dealt with the sin problem. Allowing man to partake of the other tree and gain eternal salvation and life through Christ.

There is no sword in the painting – to prevent the entrance to eternal life.

The painting is of course in watercolour – still a fresh and beautiful medium. Just like the gospel message.

Selah.

What’s in a name?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

What do people do in times of bombardment? In times of war?

Their lives are devastated through the loss of loved ones, livelihood, and dwelling place.

Those of us who have not experienced this, can only surmise the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual impact that this brings, and the toll it takes.

We feel inadequate to even make a suitable comment by way of offered empathy or understanding. Mix-in the fact that there may be little we can do to offer assistance.

True Christians of course, offer the gospel as the news everyone needs to hear. We claim and proclaim that in the gospel message, God addresses the need of mankind and offers salvation in His Son The Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the first things a Christian will tell you is to ‘believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’.

‘Saved’ means – delivered, set free, opened up spiritually, born again inside – in the spiritual new birth, saved is to receive the gift of forgiveness, as we invite Christ to come into the innermost human spirit to dwell there.

There are others ways of explaining what salvation is.

The birth of Faith in the heart with confession of the mouth, is one of the priority factors in the process of being saved/converted. (Romans 10/9-10)

But I want to highlight what can be faith in ‘different clothes’, to speak in metaphor.

When someone is devastated through a horrible experience, and human help is in short supply, and indeed all else has failed – through deep brokenness and pain the human spirit almost automatically cries out in it’s brokenness. Cries out to the divine.

However one requirement is needed above all. We are told that ‘… “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”

Notice call upon – ‘the name’.

Get someone’s name wrong in the doctor’s waiting room, as the doctor calls out, and that person will remain in their seat, with no medical attention or help forthcoming.

Get their name wrong and they will not be responding to your call.

Get God’s name wrong and the promised help cannot be brought to the needy heart.

It is not a small thing with God that His name be overlooked or that He be called by a name He does not recognise.

I guess that kinda sums up the comparative religions problem?

There are many names for God in the bible. In simple terms each one brings out a different aspect of His character, but they are all ‘add-ons’ to His name Jehovah.

In the New Testament we are told:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

I don’t think anything needs to be added to this. It’s plain and simple. The New Testament name of the one who brings salvation is Jesus Christ The Lord.

But just in case there is any doubt we also read:

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

So in a condition of deep despair, when you have suffered in the flesh – take God at His word and call upon the name of The Lord, getting His name right, is realising He is God, and in fact – the only living and true God.

Faith awaits His response. Even when His response seems slow – it is sure.

When our cheek/gums are frozen by the dentist – he supplies the help we need.

We have no ‘sense’ of the help, or that he has carried out the procedure properly. No ‘sense’ that the problem has been fixed. Until some time later – when our insensitivity has been removed.

God will give that sense of assurance that He has responded, whether straight away or later, as faith waits expectantly.

 

Hidden wisdom

HIDDEN WISDOM

Regardless of what ‘times’ we are living in, and how close to the end of the world we are, it was, is, and will always be more than a matter of the prophetic outcome of the planet.

We are told that the times and the seasons God has set within His power (Acts 1/7). In other words God in divine wisdom has a way of letting man operate and function, in making his own choices, but He will order things in such a way that His total plan will not be hindered.

God is resisted and hindered from blessing the individual heart, on all sides, because of the rebellious will of man, but He will still both in pre-determinate counsel and in His response to man’s choices – bring to pass all the good pleasure of His will. And often of course God takes no pleasure in the actions He must take, unavoidably take, in response, to the awful choices and deeds of mankind.

God’s ways He tells us are ‘past finding out’ (Romans 11/33) – but He has revealed hidden mysteries, in New Testament times.

True Christians can partake of God’s hidden wisdom (I Corinthians 2/7). But there are things – yes secret things – that belong to God alone. (Deuteronomy 29/29).

Getting every conceivable answer to every conceivable question is not going to happen. And that frees us to realise that the foundation of faith in Christ is based on something else.

Our faith in Christ as the Saviour of the world is based on Him, not on understanding everything and therefore believing.

Yes I love to understand and receive revelation on The Word of God, but when I look at His life on earth, I am left speechless with regard to so many aspects of what He thought, said and did, I am left in admiration for the one they placed on the tree.

No man ever spoke like this man, nor did what He did. Laying down His life for mankind and taking it up again in resurrection power is the message to be believed. (John 10/18)

The voice of unbelief cries out perhaps like never before, man is wise in his own conceits – but the still small voice is still whispering to the human heart –

‘Follow me…’

Who am I addressing?

WHO AM I ADDRESSING?

The subject of ‘How to live the Christian Life’, occupies the ministers of God’s word in their capacity as Pastor, Minister, Padre, Teacher or whatever job description they choose for themselves.

The ‘How to’ covers the outworking of thoughts, words and deeds, rather than just the ‘academic’ aspect of bible study, which is not what it is all about.

God gives His word to change us.

To live the Christian life, is – in the eyes of most fair-minded people – to do with being good.

You profess to be a Christian – you therefore, it is assumed – profess to be good.

However “I’m a  good person”, can be an oft repeated phrase from the mouths of Christians or non-Christians, alike. It would take another post to expound and examine the scripture that tells us: They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Christian Blog posts offer encouragement in this ‘How to live the Victorious Christian Life’ endeavour, i.e. how to live as a Christian should.

How to overcome life’s problems, how to have confidence, how to think positively, how to handle adversity, overcome fear, share the faith – one could continue the list of topics. All relevant to Victorious Christian Living.

Prophesying as described in the New Testament must include edification, exhortation and comfort. (I Corinthians 14/3)

And who doesn’t need those?

Christian writing attempts to edify the believer, exhort them to better things, and provide the comfort that the Christian needs in an alien environment, where Christianity is mis-understood and maligned out-of-hand.

However, there is a saying about ‘putting the cart before the horse’. And I sometimes question that when it comes to Christian posting this can happen.

I have asked myself the question when posting: ‘Who am I addressing?’ And of course it is, in one sense, a limited audience, and we cannot answer the question exactly.

But it does need to be stated that Christian teaching apart from the preaching of the message of ‘Salvation through Christ’, is not always for everyone.

By that I mean that children in Primary school are not taught adult themes, unless the teachers are mis-guided and unwise.

There is ‘growth level’ to be considered, before many subjects can be approached. If a child asks an adult-themed question, then of course paring-it-down to their level, without too much incomprehensible detail, should be done. 

Rather than dismissing the subject and rejecting the child’s genuine enquiry. This calls for wisdom of the first order.

So when handing-out different exhortations to Christians, it might be fair to ask: ‘who is listening in?’

The Christian life can be lived on a natural plain, by good-living people. Humanists perhaps claim to be just as good as any Christian, and they don’t see the need for all the ‘super-spiritual’ stuff.

So what do they do with the teaching on ‘how to live’ from the Bible?

Leave out the supernatural aspect of Christianity and there is nothing left.

I can teach you ‘person of the planet’, alive and well on planet earth guy or gal, how to live a morally correct life, without you being a Christian!

But what a contradiction! I’m simply informing your humanist quest for good or moral living. Appealing to your sense of moral fair-play, but in all of this you remain an unbeliever, relying on your own self-effort and attempts to – be good, overcome, be positive, fulfil your dreams, be confident – all of this can be equally un-Christian as Christian, for one reason only:

You have not yet received, encountered, met or had a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So who is my audience? To whom do I address my posts? To whom are Christian posts directed?

To stand a chance of getting what is said, there must be what the scripture talks of as a starting point, a place of first principle(s):

Referring to Christians who should have matured more than they had – the writer says:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food…

First is first – we can’t benefit as we should from all the other principles ie. the second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on principle, until we have embraced the first principles of repentance from dead works and faith in Christ as Saviour.

The good news is however, that the work of conversion to Christ is not the work of man’s hand, but God’s. That means He has His own way of feeding your mind with truth, and there is no set formula, or learnt mantra that you must possess in order to grasp the things of God.

There is a progression, as there is in most things, but if you get chapter six read-to- you in a book, without the first five chapters, you may in fact still get the gist of what is being written, ie. get an idea of the story.

God can use any Christian teaching to penetrate the human heart, and there will be something, even though addressed to Christians, something in there, that He can use, to bring you to Himself. So I encourage you to read Christian posts.

But coming to first things first we read in the bible:

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Dogmatic as this may seem to the unbeliever – it is true-truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Get this and your understanding begins to flower in the things of God and Christianity.

Those Christian blogs then begin to address you as a believer who has a relationship with the one who has the words of eternal life.

I pray for blessings in your quest to find Him.

Uncool language

UNCOOL LANGUAGE

The next generation considers the last generation uncool.

Nothing new under the sun.

That’s just how it is. Mindsets change in art, fashion, culture, taste, etc etc. and if we do not conform to the majority’s take on things – we are relegated to the ‘uncool’ waste bin by others.

Then the pendulum swings and certain things return – back in vogue again.

The traditional ‘whatever’- has a certain appeal and many are interested in everything historical, but they don’t think of using a gas light to light their bedroom, or wash their clothes by hand to save electricity. I speak generally of course – western world – and all that.

So we visit museums, and read books to re-enforce our interest, if it happens to be in the things of the past.

What about religion?

Because two thousand years has passed since Christ walked the earth – there is the inevitable historic-context-aspect of all things Christian.

Don’t let the historical context deceive you into thinking it is not relevant for today. We are talking eternal truth here!

In a previous blog I drew our attention to religion as a label for things not necessarily desirable. To sum this up – Isaiah 29/13:

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honour Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

That for me sums up the bad aspect of religion. We look for bad religion personified in the Pharisees, and Pharaisical hypocrisy. It’s a paying of lip-service only, to spiritual matters.

An outward conforming to rituals and a system, but one void of compassion, tenderness, heart or spirit, and relationship with God.

But sometimes when we encounter in a piece of writing – an old fashioned means of expression, it can rob us of the relevant content of the utterances, simply because we straightaway relegate the wording to a bygone era, and dismiss the content as uncool, and irrelevant in today’s world, simply because of it’s tone, or it’s King James English.

We too-quickly overlook the message because the wording smacks of a dead and buried past.

There are many different expressions of Christianity – and if we are wise we will bypass the awkwardness of the language, or the off-putting phrases and ambiguous language and seek the heart of the message.

Receiving or rejecting it on it’s content only, not on it’s choice of words.

If the heart of the message is good then listen more attentively. If the message is true-truth, then embrace it.

Pilate with The Lord Jesus Christ standing before him, asked the question: ‘What is truth?’.

Well – he missed it completely! But of course, there is nothing wrong with the question.

Pilgrim’s Progress is full of truth (circa 1678). For those who don’t know, it is a book written by John Bunyan. 

There have been re-written, more modern, versions of the book, as far as I know.

But grab a copy of the original – sift your way through it – to find sound, revelatory truth – good for all peoples.

It’s about a journey, the journey we are all on. And it is based fully on Biblical truth.

Read of Pilgrim’s progress through the many obstacles that stand in the way of those who sincerely, one hundred percent, want to know true-truth.

You are fighting against the odds increasingly in these days, but find the ancient message in ancient language or otherwise. Sift your way to the true-truth of Eternal Life!