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Poetic Pause XI

MAKING UP WORDS

Making up words –

had to decide if a new word could be made –

and if it would abide –

in the world’s dictionaries –

or is this just a dream –

as I reach for the keyboard and begin to glean –

the fruit –

of thought –

as another word is added –

does it make sense? –

I ask myself –

put the bottle back on the shelf

I have shortened to pu-bottle-back-she

my spelling check says no –

so I stretch my mind for another go –

how about simply bot-back?

no that won’t do –

making up new words is a task indeed –

how much money is in it for me? –

not enough to earn a living –

that’s plain to see –

an inventor of words is a thankless task –

so I won’t ask –

if you think that it’s cool

I will just free myself from the task

and instead write poems that won’t last…

 

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Poetic Pause VIII

DREAMS

He heard animals in his doze

The clink of chains holding bulls at bay

He heard dogs barking and sheep bleating

Wolves howling and rats squeaking

And then he woke up

Stupefied stare – at what just happened

Real and unreal conclusions considered:

‘I know it’s a dream

But is this the scene –

Round about me – nearby

this Bed and Breakfast?

Where green fields greet

my parting of curtains

Give me a minute while I just check

Looking to and fro

But yes – but no…?’

No evidence yet that

reality had authored his dream

Time now to laugh at the silly thing

His wife lay – still dozing

Time to playfully wake her up

With a tickled chin

Now they were both making their way

Through the corn flakes and toast

“I had a dream about animals and

The clinking of chains” she said

He choked on the lumpy marmalade

Poetic Pause VII

VACATION

In the shack – logged-up-insulated

Warmth created by log fire

With smell of coffee hanging in the warmth

And wooden tables – wooden chairs

Wooden kingdom of-all-things-wood

The floor also on which we stood

Vacation time – time to unwind

Go fishing – trudging through nature

Early morning dew

Late afternoon return – making sleep

A new experience

Beans and burgers and bacon

And barley-made soup

And laughs at silly things

Like drinking from empty cups –

So absorbed in reading are we

And neon firelight

Flashing intermittently

Across our faces as we glance at each other

Absorbed in married-love that is cosy and guilt-free

We laugh and pretend – syrupy sentiment

When really we know it’s the real thing

And not the callous acidity of skepticism

We have left far behind

in the rat-race-pace of post modernism

Solid together – joining in deep felt love

And not only felt – but agreed on

We are people we can trust – whittled down to two

Loyal – immensely real – immense and intense

Loves emotion – that rises and falls

But in falling – falls into something

Equally good

As emotion rises and falls like the eternal sea

High-tide low-tide – is still the tide

Relationship in the shack – bedroom at the back

Taking turns about – to make the breakfast

Dishes done – part of the fun

Vacation time – time to unwind

It’s ok to enjoy being kind

Tender advances and hug-dancing

To music quiet in the background

Just loud enough to know it’s there

All stretched out in more than romance

Covenant agreement once for all

Fast forward to old age

Neither having ever left the stage

Love continues as the play is played-out

Natural and Spiritual

NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL

I came across this paragraph from old notes I still have from many years ago when I taught a Saturday morning Bible School, as part of the church I was a part of, at the time. I’m not sure if I was the author, or had taken on-board something someone else had pointed out:natural spiritual insert jpgIt reminded me of one simple truth that I will finish this post with.

But the pasted notes above, are in the context of how the church embraces the revelation of God’s truth (in this context the restoration of total immersion water-baptism for those who are of an age of understanding and who want to follow Christ).

God tells us in His word, however that:

14 …the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The truly bible-defined spiritual person – will receive and discern and know the things of God. But here we read of the ‘natural’ man finding them foolishness.

Having just embraced and accepted a biblical revelation of truth and acted upon it, man – the natural man – can reject a further truth of similar import. Which was what happened (as the above note pointed out) following the revelation of Water baptism.

Showing us clearly that there is a ‘natural man’ and there is a ‘spiritual man’. We all have the option of either remaining or becoming a spiritual person – or of returning to a hardened condition of heart that can’t grasp the things of the Spirit of God. Especially when He offers us further revelation from the Word of God.

To acknowledge the possibility of this retrogressive step, is only the first part in seeking to maintain our walk with The Lord so as to be open to, and receive further enlightenment, thus refusing to let the natural man take over.

It highlights the fact that God wants His people to remain true, and in fellowship with Him. Remain up to date in ‘first love’ relationship with Jesus.

This is a tall order when we are buffeted and our faith is tried – but it is God’s call to us all – and as we remain in close fellowship ‘near to the heart of God’ – we remain open to further enlightenment.

I marvel at how people fail to recognise the things of God. I marvel less when I consider that without God’s help I too, can be that ‘natural man’ with that ‘natural perspective’ that does not recognise the ways of God.

We are however in good company, when we realise that the first disciples were in the same boat. In fact literally in the boat, when they failed to recognise that nothing could harm them with Christ in the vessel. Their fear and therefore their natural man was winning the day. (Matthew 8/25)

We live in strange times – you who believe – will you join me in seeking the answers God wants to give us from His word – regarding how we should respond to and live in these perilous times? (II Timothy 3/1)

Poetic Siesta V

DEVASTATION

And across the excavated plain

No obstacles in sight remain

All has been set free but in freedom they die

Tree and shrub and hedge and cacti

Desolation rows of green held plants

The storm of wind and avalanche

Has done it’s business to all of these

Leaves ripped and torn in reckless spree

And as dusk approaches yet again

A  lone figure sifting among things that remain

Lifts his head and scans the horizon

His tear-filled eyes speak:

 ‘This is not surprising…’

For this was one of their worst

As they contemplate the meaning of a curse

Was it tornado or hurricane?

We’ll need to see the TV footage again

But homeless house and shack remain

Remain in ruin to be built yet again?

It’s too much to think about

When the mind is full of doubt

Lifting his legs high and stepping over debris 

He looks on all sides and sees a friend – against a tree

Suddenly he is shocked: “by seeing him – I’m seeing me”

His fellow-man staring into space as though he cannot see

On another day this could be an art-piece

Re-contextualised in some pristine white museum

Funny how the eye can ignore all the pain

By this strange comparison hope might arise again

Thus the cogs of the human brain will wheel

Turning over the ink-spilled page to reveal

Resolve is intact and beginnings must begin

Put shoulder to the wheel and let progress win

as unto spiritual…

AS UNTO SPIRITUAL…

I Corinthians 3/

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Who is Paul the Apostle addressing here?

Answer – ‘brothers’ – brothers-in-Christ of course, because all the Corinthians he is speaking to, were not his kith and kin.

Not natural kith and kin but ‘brothers in Christ’.

And in addressing brothers, (bearing in mind that his epistles were to the whole church) – he is addressing his ‘sisters-in-Christ’ also.

Is he addressing you and I? Bearing in mind that the Bible (used always-and-eternally in the hand of The Holy Spirit) – is addressing all believers for all time. We conclude readily then, that he is speaking to us also.

All you need to qualify for hearing this epistle – is to be a ‘brother/sister-in-Christ’.

Hmmm?

Can’t imagine that everyone I’m addressing has joined this family of believers?

Anyway – that is for you to decide.

But Paul reveals indirectly to us that there are varying depths of spirituality among believers in Christ.

And that there are matters they were not yet able to comprehend.

The surprise perhaps in this passage is this – he was addressing them all. And he puts them all in the same category (unlike John did in his epistle). Paul refers to them as ‘babes in Christ’.

John – in I John 2 refers to little children, young men, and fathers.

Paul speaks to them all as ‘babes in Christ’. And coupled with this designation is the idea that they are still carnal.

The word carnal can mean different things. But essentially it is the natural sinful mind we are born with.

Everything in the Christian life is a matter of exchange.

We trade in our thoughts, our self-righteousness, our selfishness, or mental problems, our limited reasoning, our emotional hang-ups – and in exchange we receive the joy of The Lord, The peace that passes understanding, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of The Holy Spirit, God’s strength, his righteousness, his holiness, his forgiveness and above all His love.

So now everything is ‘rosey in the garden’?

No – simply because we still have everything that life throws at us to contend with.

But with the attributes of Christ within us – we now must learn to yield ourselves to The Lord of our life, and allow those attributes to control us.

This takes time and inner development under the hand of God. But we grow, we mature, we enter into what the Bible describes as being grounded and settled – all through the exercise of faith that expresses itself in biblical meditation, praise and worship, prayer, and joining ourselves in true and real fellowship with the family of God.

Colossians 1/

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Notice the behaviour that accompanied the ‘babes in Christ’ designation that Paul reveals to us as the epistle continues – 

For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 

As we look and listen we recognise similar traits in the church today. Manifesting the fact that we all need to grow up – 

Ephesians 4

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 This calls firstly and foremostly for a willingness – yes a willingness – to come together at the foot of the cross and lay it all down – all the carnality – AND EXCHANGE it for His life.

Tomorrow as an area of my spiritual immaturity is made clear to me – I need to return to the one with whom I first made the great exchange – and offer Him my mistakes, my sin, my immature behaviour – “Sorry Lord please come and let your life rule over mine!”

Poetic Siesta II

AT THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

A measly ten pounds

(He had a minuscule amount of interest)

A purchase to please others

Unimpressed with his own gift-giving

But conforming to what was expected

Surprised by the appreciation shown in return

‘What’s all the fuss about?’ He secretly thinks –

almost murmurs

People socialise – greet – and connect warmly –

(to his further dismay)

‘I’m not used to this social interaction’

he sighs to himself

But can’t help noticing the enjoyment

they all must feel

As they act normal and share affection

with one another

He himself – embraced like a long lost brother

Too much for his brain to handle

Survival and dog-eat-dog

Was always his lot, – was all that he knew

He is dressed well for once

And looks now – for the next hand-shake

Slow transformation – 

I could live with this’ he concludes

Poetic Siesta I

MAYBE ANOTHER DAY 

As I draw close to the page once again

And the mind mounts the staircase

The fingers create the words

The critics-helmet goes on

The sifting of thoughts by the same maker of thoughts

The stops and starts – reflecting – on reflection

Standards vary – jury’s out – mini-decisions are made

And a manuscript – shuttles out from the printing machine

Out of the mind onto the white

A poem – not a thing of beauty or a joy forever

But a poem just the same – stirs you – to take the time

Or helps you – close your mind

What will it be today? Will you rise to the challenge?

Or has all that food made you sleepy?

Put the poem away – and live to read another day

Fallen? – Get up!

FALLEN? – GET UP!

You have fallen. Get back up. You have fallen physically – get back up. You have many bruises emotionally – come to Christ for healing. You are beset with clamorous confused thoughts – turn to God’s word, to replace them. Settle on His word(s).

In western movies we all remember the stagecoach, which having lost it’s two drivers/riders – runs wildly onwards – out of control, the horses having no guide.

A cowboy on horseback outrides/outruns the stagecoach hops on board and the two damsels inside are rescued, as he brings the stagecoach to a halt.

Regardless of how out of control things may seem – there is one who is willing to draw alongside and take control of your life beginning with your thought-life. He is always ahead of you, able to double back and embrace you and save you.

But how hard it initially is to ‘calm down’, stop and relax, gather up your thoughts to get past the turmoil of emotion.

But you can do it! Faith begins in God’s word, faith is strengthened by reading the Word, faith provides the ability to enter into rest again.

Easier said than done? Yes – but let’s be reminded that regardless of how instant the help seems, or not – trusting beats remaining in the turmoil.

Paul the apostle exhorts us:

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Bringing every thought into captivity is not easy when in a ‘whirl’ over a given negative situation.

That’s why some preachers exhort us to ‘Praise God in every situation’. Praise takes our mind and focuses it on God! His attributes are multiple – there is much to Praise God for.

Praise is the voice of faith.

I believe God needs our co-operation – if He is to help us. We are all slow to give Him or co-operation at times.

Sometimes the choice of the will is all we have. The choice we must take is to use our faith.

Lord we who are so weak – use our faith – to co-operate with you in order that your strength be made perfect in our weakness!

(II Corinthians 12/9)

Poetic Interruption V

JOURNEYING ON 

He set off on another journey

His life was journey-bound – 

Everything was another journey

He couldn’t stay still for a season

Still young – still breezing about

Pillar to post – friends housed-him

Girls helped-him – but never got a ring

– On the phone or – on a finger

Vagabond – the hip way to be

In his own eyes money didn’t matter

But he used it when he had it

Used it to make another discovery

Collecting discoveries like old bills

Some relevant to keep – in reminiscence

Others cast away or thrown

on the experience heap

Once again he wears that studious frown

across his brow – and he starts to think:

‘Bus station – hired car – walk the rest’

Call-in on someone half-known

Someone from first-time-round

Things didn’t always work out

On revisit –

doors were slammed

as past hurts – hadn’t passed

and forgiveness

for his exploitive-deeds didn’t flow

So he turned on his heels

Down on his uppers

And struggled through

’til the next idea

Would he do this all his life?

Loyal to the road – and addicted to something

Dishevelled and smelling of nicotine?

Or would he climb back on the wagon

And head for a far-off land

Remain reclusive and while-away the hours

‘Gauguin-romantic’ of unreality?

But of such – were some of you

until family beckoned and feet were

firmly placed on the ground

And imagination provided

the next journey to never take…

Right and wrong – good and bad?

RIGHT AND WRONG – GOOD AND BAD?

You’ve heard it said: “There’s good and bad in everyone…”

(as an aside – check out Paul McCartney’s song: Ebony and Ivory)

* “There’s good and bad in everyone…” Now there’s a statement for you.

What does it mean?

Have you got six weeks, while I address the whole subject?

The following will have to do as we make a start anyway.

Concerning our opening statement* we can take the easy route – and simply agree, and leave it at that. Most people think they know what is meant by this statement.

But then, is it also right that there are varying degrees of good and varying degrees of bad? I would say it is self-evident that there are.

However that the human – nature is intrinsically and mysteriously flawed is also self-evident.

I could go for my preacher hat straight away and lay some scriptures on you.

But instead I’d like to lead-up to that possibility.

Firstly where does our personal idea of good and bad come from i.e. in our individual experience?

Well – keeping it simple – it comes from our inner knowledge.

We may feel philosophically highfalutin and hold the view that – really good and bad is subjective and there are no absolutes when it comes to the subject.

But then things happen.

Your house is broken into and your possessions stolen, or worse still your house is burnt to the ground.

The person holding the view that good and bad is a subjective thing only, are suddenly flabbergasted by this event.

Rightly offended or devastated by this intrusion and assault upon their sensibilities.

So can we say then that it is universally subjective, i.e. common to us all to feel this response? I think we can.

So it’s not too big a statement to say that we would all feel the same violation in this instance.

Good and bad is more than simply something dependent upon our subjective perspective, but based on what the law reveals to us all.

Even those who reject the law of God, as in the law provided by Jehovah, as in provided by Christ The Lord, have – we are told – a form of the law written within the human psyche.

Romans 2:14-15 King James Version (KJV)

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

This is something that is inescapable, unless we hold to some kind of nihilistic anarchistic self-destructive philosophy. We cannot escape the sense of right and wrong that we all have.

Now of course in certain things, what is acceptable or not acceptable varies from culture to culture.

But let’s start by acknowledging that there is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the first place.

And to simplify the whole discussion – I hold to the law of God as revealed in the Old and New Testament. I believe it is the supreme guide for all of mankind.

Those who do not see the Bible as inerrant, have reason to hold the view that certain immoral practices are morally acceptable.

After all who or what has the right to challenge their point of view? If there is no supreme being who makes His will clearly known to mankind and has given a law to inform us of what is acceptable and not?

The Bible is an inerrant divinely inspired pure guide to all behaviour, telling us clearly what is right and what is wrong.

If you want to discuss a particular way of acting or living you consider acceptable i.e. ‘right’, but I find it ‘wrong’ – my reference straight away is to the bible, as I state my case.

But If you do not accept it (the bible) as the perfect guide – there is no need for further discussion. That’s where we disagree.

No need to argue. The bible plainly says it is wrong, but you feel we have somehow moved on from what it says. Whereas I consider it (the bible) inerrant and there is no moving on from it that does not end in disaster for the human race.

The bible is not open to private interpretation, and can’t be twisted to suit our self-created, self-centred preferences when it comes to behaviour.

We all need to understand it better but when it says: ‘you shall not steal’ it means it.

Too simplistic?

No – not when we are looking for a foundation on which to build before we discuss nuances.

If we do not have a starting point, we have only multiple human-dreamt-up preferences described in scripture as:

…but every man did that which was right in his own eyes

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…

So a world full of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes is confusion personified.

There is a higher revealed order. There is a universal guide found in the world’s best-seller. The so called contradictions man finds in the book, are the result of man’s unaided conclusions as he exalts his own intellect above that of The Most High, and lays aside weightier matters whilst ‘straining at gnats’ with his own ingenuity. (Matthew 23/24)

Thinking himself superior than the divine wisdom revealed in the New Testament.

A call to humility is God’s first requirement. Then we have a chance of change and have a chance of the eyes of our understanding being enlightened.

We read Paul The Apostle, as he starts us on the road to understanding law, in the epistle to the Romans saying: Romans 7/

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

So sin exists – it is the universal affliction in the nature of man – and in case we are in any doubt about this – the law keeps us right.

But this is only part of the story of the good news of the gospel. Nevertheless in an increasingly lawless world, it seems man does not want to be corrected, by any kind of law.

But in the governments of all countries there exists an implementation of law, whether they implement the righteous law of God, or what is the dictates of a dreamt up regime that seeks to rule with an iron hand, calling for bondage and servitude to their selfish demands.

Breaking the law of God – and we look for punishment. Sincere confession of having broken the law and The God of all grace is willing to forgive and receive us as sons.

There is good and bad in everyone? Maybe, but perfection? – No.

That’s why the gospel offers us salvation as a free gift, if we acknowledge the scripture: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

No one escapes the punishment of the law, unless someone else takes their punishment.

Thank you Jesus for taking mine!

‘Corporate Mentality’

‘Corporate mentality’

There’s a world of bloggers out there, as you know. And all kinds of variations regarding levels of involvement.

Some are well and truly ‘clued-in’ on the technical aspects of being part of the internet fraternity. They maximise their noticeability-factor by operating the best ‘business plan’ to do so.

Some read much. Comment much. Post much.

Others, well, their involvement goes up or down the quantity scale of communication.

I’m well down the scale for a number of reasons.

Maybe it’s a generation thing? But I am more interested in lifting a paintbrush to paper, than I am in all the workings of the internet. All the ‘how to’s’ of blog promotion. I may need a proverbial kick-up the backside, as you tell me to ‘keep-up’.

Whilst earning a living in a newspaper office, as a typesetter – I had of course to daily familiarise myself with the latest techno-new-workings, as they applied to page make-up and layouts, typesetting et al.

But now I have moved on from that job, and no longer need to stay abreast of the latest developments.

I choose not to, for no other reason than lack of motivation. It just doesn’t float my boat. I could set myself to once again take an interest, and would even concede that after a kick-start, I would actually find it interesting. But all this takes time – my thought is – too much time. I prefer doing other things.

But with self-imposed limitations, I kind of – only learn and do what I must. Minimal in other words.

I don’t do facebook, I am not on twitter, WhatsApp – never heard of it.😎 (perhaps I should add – pre-kutb)

I don’t use blogging ‘tricks’ to promote, get noticed etc. as much as others do.

So where am I going with all this?

I’m leading up to mentioning the fact that the human race is changing in (perhaps I’m arresting the term) it’s ‘corporate mind-set’. But not for the better. The internet and subsequent new language is only one example, of where things are changing dramatically. 

Yes changes are inevitable, but is change – simply because it is new – automatically worthwhile? I don’t think so.

The digitalisation of the world – some would say – is becoming digitalisation of our brains.

Apart from the whole technical side of the internet – it’s influence upon our lives must also be factored-in when asking questions on the subject of morality.

At times, it would seem, no one, considers that ‘new’ could possibly not be better.

Anything that bucks the trend of any kind of innovation and suggests that perhaps it is retrogressive as opposed to the blind acceptance by many that it is ‘all wonderful’ – because it is new, gets dismissed out of hand, and labelled draconian or victorian.

Unfortunately this logic is applied to morals too. Which is my main point.

So that ‘join the 21st century’ is how others dismiss any suggestion that the world could be going backwards by going forwards into anything and everything the mind of man dreams up.

And so I slide on to moral issues – but slide off again, in the sense of attempting anything in-depth.

As, this short piece is simply to ask the over-excited child in us – if the maturation of our moral-mentality is suffering from stunted growth?

Can we learn that not everything new is good, demonstrated in the violation of unchangeable  moral precepts for new concoctions where the unacceptable now becomes acceptable in the name of progress.

Is there some kind of alien force influencing our minds and rendering us slowly incapable of knowing right from wrong?

There is.

You should have grasped that I do not refer to the need for The Dummies Guide to the Internet – but to the Dummies Guide to Morality.

Another thing is that the ‘success’ of being popular is the yardstick many use to measure whether something is worthwhile or not. We want to go with the crowd.

Mistake.

It’s one thing to wake up to the fact that many are becoming robots – succumbing to the acceptance and dictates of popular unquestioned culture and pseudo morality – it’s another thing to do anything about it.

I of course offer the real gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer. If you can wade your way through certain wrong pre-conceived notions as to what that is – you are on your way to examining the story as it really/truly is – in the bible.

Will we realise that bending the rules that merges into breaking the rules – needs to hit the buffer stop before we begin to put the hell train in reverse?

The scripture says: Romans 12/

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The renewal of the mind as opposed to zombie acceptance of anything new into your mind, is what is required if we are to see the flood tide of warped mentality halted.

But only Christ can provide the example and the teaching we all need to begin to understand what this renewal is all about.

In a short post – we can only begin the journey of understanding by saying that renewal of the mind comes from spending time with God, and ‘eating’ His thoughts (Bible) so that His mind is in us as a result.

Someone once communicated that non-Christians had accused him of being brain-washed – to which he replied “Ah yes. But I had dirty old brains anyway.”

Where is your mind-set and where is your mind headed (if you’ll pardon the pun)?

Is the baby being thrown out with the bath water when it comes to morality? Is there any real progression in the human races moral-mentality?

The facts speak louder than words if we need convinced we are in steep moral decline.

As I finish writing this, I hear on the news of another disgraceful slaughter of human lives.

Let’s seek that moral and mental renewal that comes from Christ alone.