I have been reflecting again on the communication dilemma that besets mankind.
Mankind is greatly handicapped when it comes to understanding his fellow man/woman.
I believe – that man is born with sin ingrained in his nature. And although it’s somewhat of a mystery, it is clearly seen by it’s fruits of death. It greatly effects his ability to discern and judge properly.
I realise that not everyone takes that view.
Let me start by being overly-simplistic in my illustrations of what I would like to share in this post.
The number 4 – is what I mean. But you think I meanfour. And someone else thinks I mean IV.
The same thing only different?
I saw a beautiful blue sky the other day – I meant cerulean but you thought I meant ultramarine.
Two friends sitting conversing, while the radio weather forecast is being shared. One friend heard: ‘Mist or fog will descend…’
The other friend was aghast at the weatherman treating us as children in sharing the forecast:
“Imagine…” she said – “referring to Fog as ‘Mister’…”
I speak of the resurrection of the dead, a fundamental belief in the Christian Faith – but you read into my statement – the idea of coming back from the dead as in re-incarnation, something I do not believe in. You have misunderstood my words.
I talk of freedom of spirit – you think I mean a so called: ‘free spirit’ – someone who dabbles indiscriminately in every experience under the sun, eventually experiencing the negative consequences. No I meant Christ setting us free.
‘Jimmy’ tells ‘Carol’ he loves her. Poor Carol goes away on a high, looking forward to the future romantic interlude with Jimmy. Failing to realise he should have added ‘As a friend…’
A lot of verbal argument is not so much to do with disagreeing as it is in misunderstanding the other person in the argument.
He thought you meant this – when you meant that.
Mis-communication is common to man.
‘Put the bin out…’ meant – for refuse collection. You ran for the fire extinguisher.
When it comes to sharing the Christian faith, many think what is shared is A-ok and even hit like buttons – when they have in actual fact misunderstood.
I was largely guilty of ignoring the signs, when God was trying to get through to me. Every prompt He sent my way I dismissed with my own reasoning.
This was not always a conscious act on my part.
Paul the apostle tells us of his pre-conversion days that the wrong he committed was done ignorantly and in unbelief – actually going way off-track – in that he thought he was actually pleasing God.
When any kind of message is sent our way – it can either create fear, indifference, annoyance, or we misunderstand it, and wrongly conclude what it actually means.
Think about this. Why do we so easily misunderstand? And misunderstand each other?
Just part of the result of a fallen world under the limitations of human flesh, the natural mind forms all kinds of wrong conclusions.
I love Candy.
No not the girl – the sweets – the confectionery. What did you think I meant?
(Just a preliminary note – I’m having a hit and miss scenario with ‘liking’ peoples blog posts. Some I can hit others I can’t – sorry if you haven’t received a ‘like’ for some time. I don’t expect to resolve this 😎 ?) Also – Even though I’ve checked through my older posts – I’m still not sure if I am posting or re-posting the following:
Your kinda PREACHING?
Everybody is different in their choice of preachers that please.
Everybody is different when it comes to likes and dislikes on the subject of preaching.
Some like to be entertained. Some like to get answers, because they have many questions regarding their spiritual life.
Others look for a particular type of delivery of the message. For some it must be loud and demonstrative. Others can’t be bothered with all ‘that shouting’. Some look to be greatly moved emotionally. Again others – greatly informed intellectually.
For some unless the preacher’s saliva is hitting the front row of the gathering – he isn’t really preaching properly.
And again some would walk out – as the noise level is deafening.
What about you?
And what does it matter about the delivery anyway – if what is being delivered is neither relevant to our spiritual life, nor biblical?
Some love many illustrations interwoven into the preacher’s message. A good story, they say, goes a long way.
Testimony of people’s real life experiences in which they have proven God to be ‘a very present help in time of trouble’, are hard to improve on. So some prefer this kind of ‘speaking’.
The Lord Jesus Christ – was not only The Master – but the master of the use of illustrations. We call them parables. Without which He rarely preached, unless perhaps conversing on a one to one basis.
He did speak to His disciples in a more direct fashion, without parables. It might be interesting to reflect upon the fact that perhaps Illustrations/parables should be less present when the saints (His disciples) are being addressed (?).
Matthew 13:9-11 (NKJV)
9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” 10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…
Anyway, it is true to say that He passed on to others His teaching, illustrating His truth with examples from everyday life. We are told in the Bible that the ‘common people’ heard Him gladly. Mark 12:37
He spoke their language, when it came to the use of illustrations. In other words the parables He used were based on everyday life.
So it’s safe to say that illustrations were acceptable with Him, when it came to preaching or teaching, without being dogmatic about their use or absence in sermon making.
But it is also true to say that the words of Jesus were more than simply good illustrations, given to interest, amuse or in some way show Him to be a good ‘public speaker’.
The words He spoke (and no man ever spoke like this man) – were ‘Spirit and Life’.
The same words He spoke when He called everything into being, spoken from eternity, when He was still in heaven. Spoken in co-operative unity with the Godhead, and before He took upon Himself the form of a man. All things were made by Him, and without Him there was nothing made that was made.
He is the creator of the universe. Bearing in mind that He created all things before He took upon Himself the body of a man, we also therefore need to realise that when He speaks, His goal is not to impress, – it is to reveal, enlighten, change, comfort, exhort, correct, heal, instruct, deliver… and so we could go on.
He doesn’t need a pat on the back for giving a good illustration, or preaching a good sermon, nor does He need the response: ‘Good speaker that chap’.
He wants us instead to believe what He says, but also to ‘eat’ His words, let them sink deep down through our ears into our spirits, where the dynamic power that indwells His every word will work in us to once again create something new!
So next time you critique the preacher’s sermon, and reflect on the good illustrations, the humorous anecdotes, or that he was full of ‘blood and thunder’, ask yourself the question: ‘What did The Lord Jesus just say to me through this preacher’s words’?
Calm in the midst of terror (Watercolour – Ken Riddles)
One of the things I marvel at is the slow-slide downhill from truth. that is taking place on this planet. The only reason I am not overly surprised is because we are warned prophetically in the Bible, that such will be the case (II Timothy 3).
I should categorise the area where truth is being eroded, by pointing out that I mostly refer to spiritual and moral truth (with no reference for example to political ideologies).
Some moral standards that were 100% in place in our societies are almost eroded away.
Normally, examples would follow when making such a statement. And of course the daggers would come out if I became politically incorrect in my statements. Political correctness can be an attempt to impose rules that forbid us to correct the violation of Christ’s standards, lest we offend.
But giving shameful lists of acts of moral decay is not the purpose of this short piece.
I simply want to ask the question: Are we asleep, or using another analogy: are we adrift at sea in the maelstrom of moral chaos?
Will we wake up before it is too late?
We can of course only wake up individually, before we wake up corporately. Enough people waking up to the moral decline in an ‘anything-goes’ world, will bring the corporate change.
Without a moral compass we will continue to drift on the ocean-waves of depravity.
Christian preachers will go on preaching, and people will go on ignoring, until they wake up!? (or not).
It’s complicated I know. But as you reject hypocritical religion – sound the tuning fork of your own conscience and it will give you the right note.
Buy the lie – and anything goes.
Anything goes – all the way to man’s destruction.
Mentioning destruction – “What are you?” I hear you say. “Some kinda hell preacher?”
Yep – ‘Fire preacher’ – You burn your waste in the fire. You do not believe Hitler deserves a place in heaven – right?
Well guess what? No one does – except we be born again, according to The Lord Jesus Christ.
For it is by the unmerited favour of God’s gift – that a man or woman enters the promise of heaven on acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
That’s it in a nutshell.
Some receive this – some reject this. There’s no need to tell me of your vehement rejection, I don’t need an explanation as to why, I reckon I’ve heard enough over the years.
It’s just that God’s long-suffering – after ‘the long’ is over – will run out.
And the disease will have to be burned up.
The disease that is the root cause of every conceivable violation of justice and every moral misdeed, and reception of lies.
Who is going to hell?
Not for me to say – who am I that I should judge you, in the context of hell?
God is the judge of all the earth. But is there a place that will end the degradation and destruction caused by the spirits (human and demonic) behind the chaos?
Most of us, have either an inkling, or through the process of bad experiences – a conviction – that the world has gone terribly wrong.
Trouble is – many won’t acknowledge that wrong (sin) is why it has all gone wrong.
The solution to every problem is to put the wrong – right.
Too mammoth a task for you or I to make a mammoth difference?
Self-preservation is a basic instinct in mankind.
Here is the dictionary definition of self-preservation:
1. Protection of oneself from harm or destruction.
2. The instinct for individual preservation; the innate desire to stay alive.
So it begins with the individual who can find the truth through their own individual quest.
Aware of the many sometimes intricate and varied philosophies that people allow themselves to drift into – one thing is common to many of them: they start with self – continue with self – are worked out by self – and leave ‘the divine’ – out of the mix.
Most self-help programmes – good or bad – revolve around the individual ‘sorting themselves out’ through the application of the instructions of the given programme of teaching.
In contrast –
The Christian ethos is basically – ‘we can’t make it – we need help from above’.
Here is my first paragraph copied and pasted again:
One of the things I marvel at is the slow slide downhill from truth that is taking place on this planet. The only reason I am not overly surprised is because we are warned prophetically in the Bible, that such will be the case (II Timothy 3).
To have actually experienced help from God Almighty through His Son The Lord Jesus Christ – was the most tremendous experience in my life.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Examine other philosophies or religions and the emphasis is on man as the source of his own salvation, when it comes to self-preservation or deliverance from ‘wrong’ – the Christian solution is to call upon the one (prayer), who offers His gift of Eternal Life. So I reckon this is: God-preservation.
I Thessalonians 5/23:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a bombardment upon the mind of the human race and the result is untold damage. This bombardment is from the spirits of darkness. It is chaotic. Now we must have the invasion of God’s hand and angels – released to provide the help man cannot provide for himself.
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 agood 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.
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!
There are recurring questions that have been asked throughout the history of art.
The two simple questions I have in mind are:
What is art? And/or – what is poetry?
Perhaps I am least qualified to ask the questions, or offer an answer, as perhaps I don’t take either too seriously, or should I say: serious enough, as is the manner of some.
I enjoy both creative-expressions, but my spiritual aspirations are inclined to place art and poetry in the shadow category of less importance.
I may therefore, fail to get a listen from you, as you think of the artist or poet or art critic you hold in high esteem, and to whose opinion you turn quickly, and firstly, to help you form your own conclusions.
But in light of seedsinmotiontruthnart – and blogging in general, I thought I might explain.
ART – art for me can’t seem to get too far past painting. Although it would seem that painting almost needs re-defined as it seems it is becoming only antique.
With all that makes up the post-modern conglomeration of art-expression through conceptualism and any other ‘ism’ et al, painting seems to have transitioned from the place ofpremier expression in the upper echelons of the art world, to a secondary place.
Of course the pendulum is always swinging when it comes to ‘art-fashion’, and no sooner has the statement in my last paragraph been made, when it becomes redundant, in our eclectic ever changing hodge-podge art world.
So my: ‘art is painting’ statement is limited, uncool, retrogressive, etc. – however – once again one needs to add: i.e. ‘at the moment!’
For those who have followed this blog from the beginning and are aware of the changeover from ‘posted paintings’, to Christian writing, and for those who might be curious – my art at the moment seems to be pre-occupied in exploring the abstract (see above).
Even though painting in the art world, as in applying a physical substance to a physical ground seems to have taken somewhat of a backseat, it is somewhat paradoxical (though I admit it’s guesswork only, on my part), to state that I reckon that the manufacturers of art materials for painting – have never had it so good?
From what little I do notice as to latest trends – would I be right in thanking New York for keeping painting alive?
POETRY – well, here – I am even less qualified, as I am the exception that proves the rule, namely, that a good reader or a widely read reader, is a good writer. Or that a good poet has to be a prolific reader. I’m not an obsessive reader, by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a widely read one.
Guess I better hide in the same shadow of less importance, that I have placed my paintings and poetry in?
Here I go anyway, expressing what poetry is for me. Poetry is the enjoyment of words. I guess that’s about it – my raison d’être of poetry.
Poetry in my view, is not restricted to definitions of what it should be. I favour ‘words for words sake’ running parallel with ‘art for art’s sake’.
This can be dangerous I realise.
As when I write poetry it could be mistaken for profundity, when at times that is far from the case.
I’m just enjoying the expression of words.
At times profundity will be involved in the poem, but sometimes I will write at the other end of the scale, allowing myself to have fun.
Which will leave me disqualified from being taken as a ‘serious poet’. The other end of the scale verging on Edward Lear type ‘nonsense’.
Then again somewhere in the middle is the goal, but the enjoyment of words strung together, can be a major concern of mine.
Also sometimes I ‘play the part’ of the someone who is mentioned in the poem. Or the poem expresses a concept or view simply because it has emerged un-premeditated (as it were) in the course of writing the poem – as I juggle with the words.
An example would be a poem I wrote entitled: ‘The Biker’s Reunion’ – truth is I have never ridden a motorbike. (Apart from an off-road bike my son owned when younger, when one ride was enough for me!)
The person’s story in the poem may not be my story. The description I use of a particular scenario is simply playing with words. The conclusion one comes to as expressed in the poem, may be the opposite to my own personal opinion.
So what does that make it? Poetic fiction?
And so on…
There has to be a ‘…and so on…’ to cover all the possibilities of the varying ways poetry can be enjoyed and emerge from the pen.
In short it’s all imagination – sometimes with reference to ‘my reality’ but equally just as many times – not.
I enjoy words, and putting them together. That’s about it.
CHRISTIANITY – My Christian writings, however are a field apart. I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I try to write things as I genuinely believe them to be.
I’m thankful to God for His enablement. I’m thankful to God for the ways He has opened the eyes of my understanding in the face of Jesus Christ. I know in part, according to scripture, but the part I know I hold dearly. I know what I have been delivered from.
And if my poetry does not reference directly – my spiritual life, this is because I have too much to say plainly and without apology when it comes to Christian Truth and if the poetic form is not my choice, it is because of my priority which is to make things clear.
Paul The Apostle speaking: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
So in Christian writing – I write to pass on what I am convinced about, and so therefore mostly choose, straightforward language to do so.
I write as a scribe, teaching the Christian Gospel, without an over indulgence in wordsmith-ing.
I enjoy wordsmith-ing mostly, rather, through poetry.
Spiritually speaking – I’m called to be a scribe.
I pen what I come to understand from the scriptures.
But art and poetry are fun and enhance our everyday lives.
I cannot take my Christian writing seriously enough, as it is a matter of life and death.
I cannot take my art and poetry too seriously as it is to do with intellectual, visual and emotional enjoyment of life in this natural world and there is so much more to life – the afterlife.
Of course my poetry can have purpose and meaning, but I always bear in mind that ‘…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God’. (I Corinthians 3/19)
Poetry and literaturedoesn’t compete with the weightier matters of spiritual life – in light of an awaited eternity.
So – suspect that in my poetry, I might have my tongue in cheek sometimes, at the same time you may also find profundity and reference to the truth as it overlaps into the spiritual, – or there again – not, as the case may be.
There is no fixed rule in art or poetry.
But I will continue to obey God and write for Him, while providing you with Poetic Interludes.
So in summary, my Christian writing is written that you might believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and through believing may have life in His name.
My poetry and art follow the dictates of imagination.