OUT OF DEPRESSION
“Yes I know! – There you go!”
then – “goodbye”
the phone’s the gizmo
never before addressed with such info
but down the line the communication went
stirring inner ear vibrations in an accent
the ‘gossip’ about a girl’s success
passed from friend to friend with finesse
weeping with those who weep
rejoicing that they restored their beauty sleep
‘out of depression’ – I hear
glad they’re back up – to have it disappear
they were down, down, down – man
but something broke – they lost the ‘dead pan’
now they are fun to be around
a spring in their step – they’ve newly found
– down the gizmo – let all know
they are up and running
get’n on with their show.
The Prayer Life of Christ.
Jesus addressing Peter says:
But I have prayed that your faith will fail not. (Luke 22/31-33)
This is a very interesting revelation we are offered here – we are given special insight into the private prayer life of the Lord Jesus.
He knows what is going to happen in the life of Peter.
He knows beforehand that Peter will deny Him.
This is the foreknowledge of God operating here.
Knowing something will happen before it actually does.
God knows everything that will happen before it does.
We are conscious of a fact of life. Namely, that life consists of the past, the present, the future. But even as I speak we are not in the present anymore.
The present in one sense does not exist. Because time will not stand still.
‘As I…’ (…let’s stop there).
the ‘As I…’ has just passed away.
We are in a different present than the one we were in – a few seconds ago.
But God knows what will happen in a few hours time, everywhere in the world.
God is in eternity. Now is eternity – time without end? Or is eternity a dimension in which there is no time, no past present or future? The eternal now.
Well, the bible tells us – we only know ‘in part’. And there is a day coming for all believers in Christ when we shall no longer know ‘in part’, but know – even as God knows us. (I Corinthians 13/9)
We shall have the total eternal perspective on existence.
Jesus knew the future for Peter – and He tells him so. Tells Peter that he (Peter) will deny Him (Jesus).
Peter has no intention of believing this word. Based on his inner sense of love for Jesus, and his zealous desire to be faithful.
Matthew 26/33 : Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
Jesus knew that Peter would stumble, and deny Him. Knowing he would, Jesus took a certain course of action.
He knew Peter would sin in this way. He knew the ‘disaster’ would happen. He did not prevent Peter from denying Him.
Peter had freedom of choice which was not taken away from him. Nor is it taken from you or I.
There is a day of reckoning (commonly called) – when the goodness of God must put an end to all that is destructive, at which time, on which day, the rebellion of free will – set on – the rebellious violation of goodness and righteousness, must be stopped.
Jesus did not pre-arrange a situation for Peter in order to keep him from that hour of temptation.
Peter had to be there. He was one of the most zealous of the disciples, even though he was perhaps the one most exposed in scripture regarding his personal shortcomings and failings.
Now the disciples already knew the Lord’s prayer. Peter did not (as far as we know) pray that prayer on hearing the prophesy of Jesus. (about his denial and the cock crowing – Mark 14/30)
He didn’t believe The Lord’s prophetic word, because he didn’t want to believe it.
Nobody who is a genuine Christian wants to believe they will fail the Lord.
And it should be our hearts desire every day to walk with Him without failing Him.
But we are still encompassed with the infirmity of our own limited flesh. Referred to in scripture as ‘this body of death’. So unfortunately we shall fail The Lord, and need to return in humility once again. There will be many ‘once again’s’ in the Christian life.
But by the Grace (unmerited favour) of God we do not lose our place of salvation, while we return to our Advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the Righteous. The one who is the propitiation for our sins. (appeasing God’s righteous indignation and supplying offered forgiveness)
Returning to our initial thought in this post. We are given insight into the prayer life of The Lord Jesus, as He communes with His Father continuously. Leaving us an example to do the same.
‘I have prayed the Father that your faith fail not’. prayed Jesus.
Wow! But surely Peter did fail? Yes he failed and denied the Lord, despite every intention initially, of not doing so.
But thanks to Jesus praying and agreeing with His Father – Peter was not cast off as a failure.
The good news is – he returned!
He went out and wept. And his mistake was an occasion for God to teach him a wonderful lesson, that he would learn more deeply for the rest of his days.
The lesson of how to walk with God in a Christ-dependant manner.
Not only dependant on Christ for salvation and eternal (future) life only.
But a lesson in learning how to walk with Jesus minute by minute, even in His earthly absence, after He (Jesus) had departed to be with the Father.
Walking in other words with The Holy Spirit, as his constant companion.
Peter’s bravado was based on his own ability. Our own ability will fail us when it comes to spiritual matters.
We must learn to live in the Holy Spirit and to walk in the Holy Spirit.
Faith gives us entrance into a relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ.
The outcome of that faith is a spiritual experience whereby we literally encounter God, The Holy Spirit, and having begun in The Spirit – we shall not be perfected in the strength of our own natural ability. (Galatians 3/3)
To encounter Jesus in this way is the most wonderful experience possible, this side of heaven.
To have our guilt removed by the Highest authority in existence. To satisfy God Almighty’s sense of Justice and at the same time to receive His forgiveness and freedom from condemnation and guilt, is or can be, a Time Surpassing any other in your life and mine.
All made possible through the finished work of Christ on the cross, where justice had it’s day and forgiveness was released to those who would ask for it.
Bearing in mind that God is omniscient (all knowing) – we conclude from this episode in Peter’s life that man’s freedom of choice, and God’s freedom of choice, go unhindered.
Whether man decides (volition) or not to satisfy God’s loving commands, there is always a place for returning to God, when, like Peter, we make a mistake.
However there is a sobering scripture addressing a lack of returning to God:
Whoever is stubborn [stiff-necked] after being corrected many times will suddenly be hurt [broken] beyond cure [healing]. (EXB translation – Proverbs 29/1)
Always a place for returning to God.
Unless we choose to die without doing so.
NOW HEAR THIS.
Now hear this! Now hear this!
All manner of persons go forth
Multiply goodwill towards all men
See to it – pronto
You all know
That’s the way to travel
Willing another’s highest good
But in return
you might get a stomach churn
As man’s inhumanity to man
in churlish action
drops his fellow man to the ground…
…for what might sound a reasoned cause
But becomes a mess of wires crossed
As violent natures all askew
Throw caution to the wind and
all but the
I only am left?
But there is seven thousand who
have not bowed the knee to Baal
Of sober exchanged character they be
who follow the dove and the lamb
If the time has arrived for departure.
And what’s more they often in rickety
ride are tossed for a time
– return, rest, renew, – peace sublime
Finding themselves again
at His feet
What does this mean?
Run out of steam and
they gain a greater strength
Strength to endure
to the end
so shall be
– fully set free
THE END ONCE BEFORE
Nothing left as was…
No ancient time of stuff
Nothing further to say
No Albatross or
No one about
No further glimpse
of something new
Just marking time
And when it’s you (Noah)
you give all you’ve got
To help these creatures
All these in a row
Into the ark they go
As it was in his day
Two by two of every kind
Where you there?
Then you don’t know
If it was otherwise
You weren’t there either
So the only proof either way
Is not a man’s theory
But a reference book
Out permanently on loan
on freedom’s library ticket
Look for yourself –
The story is told
of flood – rain induced
– of deluge overwhelmingly
great – and as it was in those days
– so shall it be
before the next Great phenomena.
As it was in flood’s time
So it shall be in latter day
Giving and taking in marriage
Skeptic unbelief and disdain
Noah man’s message
Man’s heart only evil continually?
“it’s not ‘dark’ yet but it’s getting there”
The flint strikes the steel
for the glimpses of light
That show the way out
of the dark tunnel of
Climb on board two by two
three by three
Whatever it takes
Listen to the trumpeted message
In your own heart
to call upon
The name of The Lord.
STAY WHERE YOU ARE?
I have been leading prayer meetings. And preaching on a Sunday. And writing blog posts.
Art will soon be ‘SPRING-ing’ up again.
When I sort out my work shed (studio)
I would like the inhabitants of the world to do exactly what I tell them.
But I am not a betting man.
So I won’t bet on it coming to pass.
I was thinking about the many thought processes people engage in. Whether it’s some mathematical equation – or learning of a medical kind, or maybe re-reading your scientific notes on the ‘origin of the species’.
Think of the intellectual horns that are often locked in many different fields, as view opposes view. Opinion versus opinion.
A ruler named Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” (speaking as he was to Paul the apostle).
To the average intellect – it is plain to be seen that this Ruler – was somewhat disturbed from his comfort zone, as Paul the apostle presented a message to his ears, and to those close by.
Festus was in a certain place intellectually – and cemented into his own way of going, his own way of living. Set in his ways, as we say – and feeling uncomfortable – he grasped for a response from his own reference data, filed away under the heading of *’my personal philosophy about life’.
Everybody has one of *those, so it is not hard to conclude that he was no exception.
A file containing the things we have established consciously and unconsciously that determines our lifestyle, goals, aspirations, outlook on a myriad of subjects, and – as we think in our hearts – so we are.
Enter Paul – disturber of our certitudes shaker of our mattress and bedclothes – turning-over our bed and throwing us onto the floor of his gospel.
React, react, react. Only way to handle this intruder – who has come to turn our world upside down. This would demand a change in us (were we to entertain it) – therefore ‘much learning does make him mad’, is the most comfortable response. Warding off his intrusion, and the intrusion of Christ.
‘I will stay where I am thank you very much’ – tucked up in the comfort of a bed of half-truths.
Then King (Herod-) Agrippa II, the other man in authority – responded: “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
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…”
What’s in a poem?
What’s in a few lines?
Is life full of new poems?
Full of new lines?
Now you have answered
I call into question –
Questioning natures –
all shuffling –
clanking together like
freight train trucks
question one – question two
How many questions
we are through?
Questioning this and
Questioning seems to be
all that we’ve got
You have just resolved
about that bitter pill
next in line – a question – still
“Ask me another…” she said
That’s how we started when
questioning our mother
The questions are higher
and loftier now
They hang in the air –
no experts dismantle
their infinite ponder
– as you do
what other questions
With a sigh and a chew
the ‘way up yonder’
Looking for a roll that is called
There’s a Lamb’s book of Life
To gaze on
Seeking the answer to our state
but see no way through
The answers – we miss
as we pass them by
staring us in the face
We swallow them whole
We prefer more
than the answers
He sought to bestow
Unsettled minds –
– at their best
Conclude we must
For tomorrow we die
The gravestone’s answer:
here you lie
Yet still the questions
I would suggest to you
the questions will stop
at the buffer zone
The answer and the question
will both be gone
Through the glass darkly
The filing cabinet
of questions galore
spilling onto the floor
Questions in limited repose
giving birth to new, I suppose
the question family
crawling before they walk
trying to answer the anomaly
Questions are good
or not appropriate
When it comes to
matters of faith
Faith by His word
can be found
Answers triumph over
those who are
One more question
Before I go
Will you let answers
enable you to know?
Or again I say…
again I say…
Do questions –
not answers –
make your day?
Intellectual bankruptcy –
that’s what I reach
When the grey matter
runs out of steam
plain to be seen
Not far to go
ought to do
– to show
clearly we are through
our ‘great capacity’…
– a dud –
– a damp squib –
Running out of breath
Breath easy – at the infinite
Speak easy – to the infinite
Because a listening ear
But only as we bow
and give way
How can we do otherwise?
Wise in our own conceits
will never do
Obvious to me.
Obvious to you?
We need the lover
of our souls
to make us whole
From without – to within
Jesus knocks at the door
And brings the preparation
of the gospel of peace
To finiteness –
Infiniteness gives His words
To rebuke –
to love – to comfort – to save
Infinite – finite
Infinite – mingles with the finite
’til one gives way
You lose the chess game
You have never
than what is supplied by
the Infinite One
the Only Begotten Son.
There are many, what we call, negative attitudes carried by all kinds of different people, from all walks of life.
To counteract this there is a ‘brand’ of Christianity that tries to go the opposite direction.
It propagates a positive-speech only message.
Everything must be said in a non-corrective fashion. We mustn’t use any words that give the idea that we are excluding people from the camp.
Everyone should be embraced with the understanding that we all need the Grace of God.
Never point out sin, or give people the impression that you are not an understanding person. That you don’t have sympathy and empathy for them.
Don’t preach at people, accept them just as they are. Give them mental massages, rather than mental messages.
Don’t mention their faults, in case they feel rejected.
Preach lesson 56 in the book of 100 lessons, don’t start at lesson one, per chance it’s something that has a hint of fault finding in it.
Teach them straight away from the spiritual ‘University’ curriculum. Don’t start at the spiritual ‘Primary School’ text books, per chance they feel – you are saying they are ‘stupid’.
What’s that? ‘They have never visited a Christian – ‘school of thought’ – at all?’
Doesn’t matter, throw them in at the deep end of the pool, don’t start by demonstrating the swim strokes, lest they feel disqualified from the Olympic swimming team standards, feeling inadequate because they don’t measure up, through you – pointing out – what they are doing wrong.
This approach says – being positive must not allow the antithesis. Start with adhering to the premise that there are no negatives.
“People need loved not corrected”, is usually how it goes.
And so as this approach to Christian preaching and teaching takes place, (with no balance to it) ‘spiritually’ spoilt children are raised, who have no spiritual backbone and end up flighting from local church to local church. They move around looking for a fresh ‘massage’. (Romans 16/18)
An example of a response from those used to the positive affirmation only message might be: (e.g.)
“Someone told me that they preferred the coat I wore last week than the one I’m wearing now. So I’m out of here. I don’t need that kind of negative talk!’
A lot of this ‘positives only’ kind of teaching/preaching stems from the idea that we must accept people exactly as they are, after all if it wasn’t for the Grace of God, in accepting us, how could we possibly stand?
This is true.
But God has accepted born again believers with the purpose of raising us into maturity, in our walk with Jesus.
To do this He wants to change us. The key to growing in a right way, is knowing how to appropriate the message of God’s grace properly, through our experience of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
However the very fact He wants to change us, incorporates the idea, that we are needing to be changed from something to something, in the first place. (II Corinthians 3/18)
It involves a purging process. We cannot be changed from sinful behaviour to that which is acceptable with The Lord God – if we don’t know what the negative behaviour is – that we are meant to be changed from, – in the first place.
We should not sit as ‘holier than thou…’ in our heart attitude to our fellow man. We all need to experience change together. (Isaiah 65/5).
But there is something missing in the ‘positive only’ message, that brings us out of balance into a lop-sided pseudo Biblical stance.
Immediately someone tries to point out what is wrong with others, they are labelled a ‘legalist’, accused of standing with the devil and so on, (and believe me I have had my fill of real legalism).
They get labelled ‘self-righteous’, throwers of stones that they should throw at themselves.
‘Judge not that you be not judged’ is conveniently pulled out of the ‘positive only’ storehouse – a scripture they use not to inform but rather (contradicting their own ethos) to accuse with.
And in reaction to the man who wants to point out that sin is a real problem, that needs sorted (he admits – starting with his own sin first) – low and behold those who are positive thinking (dare I say it – ‘junkies’) start to accuse the same man in language they claim to have previously found abhorrent.
Failing to realise that they are now suddenly in violation of their own positive-only stance, by pointing out (negatively) – the faults of those who point out faults!
The point is – life is both positive and negative. Let’s be real. That’s not only a good place to start – but the only place to start.
Sin is man’s problem and dilemma – to overlook the existence of sin and rebellion and selfishness, to overlook that the world is in, and has always been in – a mess – through rebellion against a Holy and Loving God, is the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ blindness scenario, (a future post on this to come).
NB: The negative (to be pointed out) is sin and the positive is goodness, (the goodness of God) – per chance this (in the context of this post) needs to be clarified.
Now let’s pause here and mention another ‘brand’ of Christianity: The hard-nosed, often hard hearted, religious Pharisaism of legalistic and hell imposing judgementalists, who consider they are specially chosen to condemn the world to hell on God’s behalf.
They condemn everyone and anyone who does not conform exactly to their particular Manifesto.
Condemning and dismissing all and sundry. Imposing the sentence of death and annihilation on anyone who dances on a dance floor, or takes a little wine for their stomach sake, or tries to look clean and well dressed, (such vanity they would claim).
They are they – who strain at gnats and swallow camels, (Matthew 23/24).
Who live in a demonic dictatorship mentality, where they sit as ‘judges of all the earth’. They are ‘soaking wet’ with – ‘cultish’ manipulation and control, with no desire to set anyone free from anything.
But rather they are religiously (hell) bent on getting others to join them and become ‘exclusive’ as the elite propagators of a death cult. (take your pick with regards to what such groups choose as their label, Christian or otherwise), (Matthew 23/15).
So what is missing in these two ‘brands’ of Christianity? (we could mention other religions that pretty much fit these descriptions also).
In the first ‘brand’ there is shallow acceptance, easy believe-ism, addressing their audience as though there is no problem whatsoever, and they are free to join the ‘love-feast’. You are accepted and there is no need to change.
The other ‘brand’ have outward-conformity rules that all must strictly adhere to, there is no promise of ‘Life and life more abundant’. (John 10/10)
Only adherence to their narrow-minded religious rule book, will bring acceptance. Step out of line once – and there you go – on your way to hell again.
(There is such a place as hell, make no mistake, but who is going there, is alone decided by the judge of all the earth, who will do what is right). (Genesis 18/25).
So the obvious word that comes to mind when addressing ‘what is missing’ in both these messages is the word balance.
The term ‘A word in season’ refers to a word that is right for the situation it addresses.
(Proverbs 15/23) -A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
The knowledge we communicate whether negative truth or positive truth, is dependant on the need of the hour.
I needed badly to hear that I was a mess (the negative truth). Before I could reach out for the delivering hand of Jesus Christ. He took me out of my ignorance and unbelief through sin, – into the truth and experience of His Glorious Gospel of Peace (the positive truth), (Romans 3/23) (John 3/16).
I am so thankful for His Saving Grace, that even when I was DEAD in trespasses and sins – He came to point it out and positively offered me his love and companionship, supplying His liberating changing ability to set me free from the dominion of my own selfishness. (Romans 6/14).
Having begun in a relationship with Him – I will not be made perfect by my own unaided willpower, but rather through a personal daily relationship with Him. (Galatians 3/3).
I am so thankful that I saw the need to be guilty first (the negative truth) before I could lose my guilt, as the highest authority in the universe forgave me (the positive truth), (Romans 3/19) (I John 1/9).