Category Archives: Peace

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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Religion

Religion

You have heard the saying to ‘squeeze the life out of something’.

This is what religion does.

Of course in order to sound plausible I need to start by defining ‘religion’.

My plausibility is not the type that involves deception, by the way.

‘Religion’ is a term used – in Christian churches that have experienced the life-giving power of Christ, – to highlight the opposite-experience. 

Another word that is used is ‘Legalism’, when describing the opposite to ‘joy unspeakable and full of Glory’.

The Pharisees are usually offered as examples of this negative use of the word ‘Religion’.

They were caught up in the outward appearance of things, they added to the Word of God, with man-made concepts, rules and regulations.

They majored on the minors and minored on the majors.

Jesus speaking of the Pharisees said:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Until Jesus completed God’s revelation to man communicating it in His New Covenant – the law stood it’s ground, as it were, as given in the Old Testament.

Jesus didn’t destroy the law – He fulfilled it.

Forgive my analogy but for me (as an artist/painter) I see the Old Testament Law and its demands as the drawing before the colour was added.

I know – not the soundest of analogies.

But Christ came to give us Life and Life more abundant. Whereas many Christians are like the Pharisees who wish to bind folks with heavy burdens.

One gentleman responding to a gospel invitation to become a Christian – was heard to say: ‘No thanks I have enough problems of my own..!’

You see all he heard was an invitation to ‘religious rules’ and a lack-lustre life of asceticism.

Jesus puts it this way, illustrating lifeless drudgery –

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

God has His laws – but they are the laws of liberty!’

James 1/25

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it…

Not religious servitude to a hard taskmaster. But words of life to guide us in our behaviour.

Speaking of the liberty offered to everyone who will believe – God says:

II Corinthians 3/

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

The Holy Spirit is the life-giver and He then feeds us spiritually with His word/law.

None of this makes sense until we meet Him.

But the purpose of this post is to say that ‘religion’ in the negative sense, in the sense that I have just described, and alluded to, will neither satisfy you or set you free from the influence of sin.

Only a living relationship with the Living God will do that.

There is a proper use of the word religion in James 1/27 (If you care to have a look).

As I write this it crosses my mind that I may well have written on this before? Well, I shall do so again.

But it is extremely important that we are not deceived into a Pseudo-version of Christianity.

As you enter the New Year – please search for the real thing!

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!

TRUE LIGHT

TRUE LIGHT

In mocking tones, sometimes amidst a workforce, I have heard it said: “Oh – they have seen the light…”

What they mean is – they have become ‘religious’. Referring to anyone who starts professing to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly the reference they use to ‘seeing the light’ is usually connected to the experience of one ‘Saul of Tarsus’, who had a name change to ‘Paul the Apostle’.

He had a very dramatic experience on the Damascus Road, where he encountered a blinding light, and heard a voice, all part of a supernatural revelation of Jesus Christ. (full story – Acts 9)

He referred to this experience, later in his life, referring to this encounter with Christ – he adds – as ‘by one born out of due time’.

I Corinthians 15/

After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

So it was Christ and His radiating Glory that he saw.

The terminology used in describing this experience is arrested descriptively by innocent or not so innocent commentators when they discover someone newly come to faith in Jesus Christ The Lord.

And really it is a good description of conversion, whether used kindly or mockingly.

I saw the light in 1970 – 48 years ago.

The bedroom in which I saw the light no longer exists. But I walk in the light every day as I am enabled by the Giver of light.

There is no light without ‘The Life’.

John 1/

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

Christ’s imparted life-giving Spirit to the repentant heart illuminates the inner man in an unmistakeable way.

…The last Adam (Christ Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.

(I Corinthians 15/45).

However there are other ways of receiving ‘light’. 

Unfortunately there is ‘light’ that-is-in-fact darkness. It is offered outside of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is clearly referred to in the Bible in this way:

35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

How can light be darkness – it sounds contradictory?

But it isn’t. It is all to do with your source.

The electricity company supplies electricity and therefore light to my home. There are other companies vying for the business – they too can supply the light.

We could also quote the old adage – ‘all that glitters is not gold’ when highlighting that all ‘light’ is not to be embraced.

Let me sound a warning-shot over your bow – not all light is the true light that has come into the world, to illuminate mankind to the truth of the gospel, namely that there is

…one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

John 1/8-10

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

Luke 11/35-

Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

Jesus could not have made it clearer that all light presented in numerous philosophies and religions can in actual fact be darkness.

II Corinthians 11/14.

And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

May you and I encounter the true light of Christmas – born in Bethlehem – the true light has come.

Storm steadying voice

STORM STEADYING VOICE

Matthew 8/

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marvelled, saying,“Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

In these days there is need, like never before for a steady voice.

By a ‘steady’ voice I mean the kind of voice that expresses a steady heart-and-hand in steering the ship through the narrow gap between rocky waters, without making shipwreck.

The only steady hand we can completely trust and rely on is the hand of God. The hand of Jesus in the boat – to rest His way through the storm.

The storm is only something that can drown or kill in the natural world. But the natural wind and sea obey Him.

So for Him there is no stormy-sea problem in your natural emotion He cannot calm.

But for us no one can boast of the storms of life being ‘water off a duck’s back’ – far from it, we are prone to panic, to discouragement, and to becoming overwhelmed, just like the early disciples.

We are just made that way. The lower nature has made us that way. The storms of life provoke all kinds of reactions. Born out of fear and panic and hurt.

So as we look for a man to steady the ship and to show us the way – we cannot find one.

No man except the one of whom it was said – ‘no man ever spoke like this man…’. The man Christ Jesus. (John 7/46).

There are mature strong leaders in the church. Proven men of calibre, who have weathered many storms and having done-all-to-stand – are still standing.

But many have fallen under the storm of temptation, or failure, or persecution, or pleasure.

No one can set the sinless example that alone will give us complete confidence in them.

The preachers too need to hear the sermon.

The preacher delivering God’s message, must in turn listen to God.

The congregation need to honour  the message, if it is in line with the words of the Son of God.

Taking the bible-based words as a word from God, and not from man.

As we honour the preacher so we must honour his audience.

But we must reserve our worship for God alone, and not for His servants, because His servants are encompassed with infirmity, like all humans. (Hebrews 5/2)

We might say that anyone with ‘half a brain’ can see the increase of chaos and darkness on the face of the earth, working through man’s nature.

As soon as someone stands for the ways of Christ – they seek to discredit him and look for ways in which to catch him out – and brand him a fake, because he preaches Christ. Just like they did to the King of Kings Himself.

…And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. (Mark 12//13)

Pray for ‘Great Grace’ in these days – the church needs it!

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4/32)

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…?

Old wine or new?

OLD WINE OR NEW?

There are quite a few ‘sayings’ around, that carry the message that – things take time.

‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ – will do, to make the point.

I’m sure there are more.

Luke 5/39 – And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”

There is an ‘immediately’ in this verse, preceded by ‘no one…’ immediately’ – so not right away then?

Someone enjoys a glass of wine. He has chosen that favourite wine for years. He avoids anything new.

“Would you like to switch to this other wine..?”

“No thanks…this is my favourite…”

End of story.

He will not budge. His mind is already made up.

There might be a case for saying the older he is – the less likely he is to change. Younger folks tend to enjoy trying something new.

Will you persuade him/her differently, by verbally challenging their present choice day after day?

Maybe a week later, – getting them to change?

Maybe a year later…?

Who knows – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What if it was – “Would you like to stop smoking?”

“No thanks – I enjoy it.”

Now – decades later, after much scientific/medical facts being 100% established that it is bad for your health – people will be more quickly persuaded that the ‘old (cancer inducing habit of smoking) is not better’.

The old way was never better. But popular belief held that it was ok to smoke, it was cool.

When medical evidence became conclusive – they did not straightaway desire the new idea – of stopping.

“Would you like to become a follower of Christ?”

“No thanks I’m ok the way I am.”

“I prefer my old lifestyle – and I’m not really interested in a new one”.

I Corinthians 5/17  – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

When? When will they become new, when will you realise that the old is not in fact better, how long will it take you to be persuaded?

When it comes to the Christian gospel of change – To start with we all say: ‘the old is better…’ I know I did.

Set in our ways – is it not a bit annoying that others want us to drink the wine they prefer? When we have always chosen the one we drink every week?

What is going to persuade us to change?

In the context of being presented with the Christian message – what do people rely on in order to stay convinced the old – their own way – is better?

Medical science? Intellectual debate? Evolution versus Creationism? Drug-induced existentialism? A study of comparative religions? A searching hipster-trail tour of India and such places, searching for their ‘true’ selves?

All this takes time, and many have chosen these paths to pursue, to keep themselves convinced the old wine is better, or metaphorically – smoking is ok.

Whilst all along the old way of smoking, the old wine, the old sin-dominant lifestyle, the old rejection of Christ,  is grossly inferior, and the new preferable.

The new wine’s superiority is explained below:-

Psalm 34/8 – Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!