Category Archives: Prose

Poetic Interlude XI

POEM PILE

I pile them up – and up they go

Poems galore like some gathering of confetti

After the wedding of holding hands

Leaves of paper ajar against the wall

For all to see and consider oblong or square?

Set on sideboard – what a place to be

Poems are meant to be

In professional-folder of professional-man

But instead lie-dishevelled in full view

So that they are disregarded as

Shoe-string or serviette, or chair-feet cups or…

Yet an odd visitor may ask

If they can look? – if they can read?

But silent after reading – their response to me

Let’s me know that again

I must suffer for my art

😎

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Mis-Non-communication

Mis-Non-communication

I have been reflecting again on the communication dilemma that besets mankind.

Mankind is greatly handicapped when it comes to understanding his fellow man/woman.

I believe – that man is born with sin ingrained in his nature. And although it’s somewhat of a mystery, it is clearly seen by it’s fruits of death. It greatly effects his ability to discern and judge properly.

I realise that not everyone takes that view.

Let me start by being overly-simplistic in my illustrations of what I would like to share in this post.

The number 4 – is what I mean. But you think I mean four. And someone else thinks I mean IV.

The same thing only different?

I saw a beautiful blue sky the other day – I meant cerulean but you thought I meant ultramarine.

Two friends sitting conversing, while the radio weather forecast is being shared. One friend heard: ‘Mist or fog will descend…’

The other friend was aghast at the weatherman treating us as children in sharing the forecast:

“Imagine…” she said – “referring to Fog as ‘Mister’…”

I speak of the resurrection of the dead, a fundamental belief in the Christian Faith – but you read into my statement – the idea of coming back from the dead as in re-incarnation, something I do not believe in. You have misunderstood my words.

I talk of freedom of spirit – you think I mean a so called: ‘free spirit’ – someone who dabbles indiscriminately in every experience under the sun, eventually experiencing the negative consequences. No I meant Christ setting us free.

‘Jimmy’ tells ‘Carol’ he loves her. Poor Carol goes away on a high, looking forward to the future romantic interlude with Jimmy. Failing to realise he should have added ‘As a friend…’

A lot of verbal argument is not so much to do with disagreeing as it is in misunderstanding the other person in the argument.

He thought you meant this – when you meant that.

Mis-communication is common to man.

‘Put the bin out…’ meant – for refuse collection. You ran for the fire extinguisher.

When it comes to sharing the Christian faith, many think what is shared is A-ok and even hit like buttons – when they have in actual fact misunderstood.

I was largely guilty of ignoring the signs, when God was trying to get through to me. Every prompt He sent my way I dismissed with my own reasoning.

This was not always a conscious act on my part.

I misunderstood.

Paul the apostle tells us of his pre-conversion days that the wrong he committed was done ignorantly and in unbelief – actually going way off-track – in that he thought he was actually pleasing God.

When any kind of message is sent our way – it can either create fear, indifference, annoyance, or we misunderstand it, and wrongly conclude what it actually means.

Think about this. Why do we so easily misunderstand? And misunderstand each other?

Man’s condition.

Just part of the result of a fallen world under the limitations of human flesh, the natural mind forms all kinds of wrong conclusions.

I love Candy.

No not the girl – the sweets – the confectionery. What did you think I meant?

Ephesians 3/4

Who am I addressing?

WHO AM I ADDRESSING?

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

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

God gives His word to change us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And who doesn’t need those?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I pray for blessings in your quest to find Him.

Uncool language

UNCOOL LANGUAGE

The next generation considers the last generation uncool.

Nothing new under the sun.

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

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

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

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

What about religion?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poetic Interlude VIII

IF IT’S ALL THE SAME TO YOU?

I saw across the crowded room

Nothing more than a glimpse

Of mankind and all it’s worth

All-bound-by-all-there-is – in the same way

All thrashing about in the pool

Unable to swim against it’s own tide

And while I contemplated the momentary glance

And all the sameness struck a chord

If I could grow a giant hand

I would reach out

And with a pat upon mankind’s head

Try to encourage all

In their mad pursuit of difference

As each vie for admiration

And clutch at vanity’s straws

Boxing clever and strutting stuff

Eyeballing cameras and posing aimlessly

Or kicking harder in having a shot

Ball juggling onto the head

And down again in keepy-up glitz-style

Or turmoiling emotions

And screwing up their insides

To give an Oscar performance

Here today in limelights green shroud

Whilst tomorrow repenting at leisure

Money money money the thing they love

Money money money the thing they hate

Money we need to survive

Talent and restless need to create

Giving way to the sway of money

Monet has painted and the hand moves on

On the scene/screen another arrives

in digital pre-eminence

Just to say:

“I’m different”   for a day

While the sameness magnifies itself 

In contemplated momentary glance

Across the room – across the sky

We live we breath – et al

Nothing to say – it’s all here today

No difference – docked in originality’s bay

Of Biscay –

Take the humorous approach

And have a biscuit with your coffee

Sorry – but you are going to have to admit

Hands and feet and mouths and noses

Greetings and sleep and holiday

And jobs and exercise and sleepless nights

And buying and trying to keep ‘er lit

And tossing and turning and fingers in every pie

And rags to riches and gesticulation awry

And appointments and you scratch my back

And…

Out on the town

Old meal in old place called new

Mankind is – all the same – doing the same

Talking the same – aspiring en masse

Everyone the same as the last

Art/Poetry/Scribing

abstract
Untitled by Ken Riddles

ART/POETRY/SCRIBING

There are recurring questions that have been asked throughout the history of art.

The two simple questions I have in mind are:

What is art? And/or – what is poetry?

Perhaps I am least qualified to ask the questions, or offer an answer, as perhaps I don’t take either too seriously, or should I say: serious enough, as is the manner of some.

I enjoy both creative-expressions, but my spiritual aspirations are inclined to place art and poetry in the shadow category of less importance.

I may therefore, fail to get a listen from you, as you think of the artist or poet or art critic you hold in high esteem, and to whose opinion you turn quickly, and firstly, to help you form your own conclusions.

But in light of seedsinmotiontruthnart – and blogging in general, I thought I might explain.

ART – art for me can’t seem to get too far past painting. Although it would seem that painting almost needs re-defined as it seems it is becoming only antique.

With all that makes up the post-modern conglomeration of art-expression through conceptualism and any other ‘ism’ et al, painting seems to have transitioned from the place of  premier expression in the upper echelons of the art world, to a secondary place.

Of course the pendulum is always swinging when it comes to ‘art-fashion’, and no sooner has the statement in my last paragraph been made, when it becomes redundant, in our eclectic ever changing hodge-podge art world.

So my: ‘art is painting’ statement is limited, uncool, retrogressive, etc. – however – once again one needs to add: i.e. ‘at the moment!’

For those who have followed this blog from the beginning and are aware of the changeover from ‘posted paintings’, to Christian writing, and for those who might be curious – my art at the moment seems to be pre-occupied in exploring the abstract (see above). 

Even though painting in the art world, as in applying a physical substance to a physical ground seems to have taken somewhat of a backseat, it is somewhat paradoxical (though I admit it’s guesswork only, on my part), to state that I reckon that the manufacturers of art materials for painting – have never had it so good?

From what little I do notice as to latest trends – would I be right in thanking New York for keeping painting alive?

POETRY – well, here – I am even less qualified, as I am the exception that proves the rule, namely, that a good reader or a widely read reader, is a good writer. Or that a good poet has to be a prolific reader. I’m not an obsessive reader, by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a widely read one.

Guess I better hide in the same shadow of less importance, that I have placed my paintings and poetry in?

Here I go anyway, expressing what poetry is for me. Poetry is the enjoyment of words. I guess that’s about it – my raison d’être of poetry.

Poetry in my view, is not restricted to definitions of what it should be. I favour ‘words for words sake’ running parallel with ‘art for art’s sake’.

This can be dangerous I realise.

As when I write poetry it could be mistaken for profundity, when at times that is far from the case.

I’m just enjoying the expression of words.

At times profundity will be involved in the poem, but sometimes I will write at the other end of the scale, allowing myself to have fun.

Which will leave me disqualified from being taken as a ‘serious poet’. The other end of the scale verging on Edward Lear type ‘nonsense’.

Then again somewhere in the middle is the goal, but the enjoyment of words strung together, can be a major concern of mine.

Also sometimes I ‘play the part’ of the someone who is mentioned in the poem. Or the poem expresses a concept or view simply because it has emerged un-premeditated (as it were) in the course of writing the poem – as I juggle with the words.

An example would be a poem I wrote entitled: ‘The Biker’s Reunion’ – truth is I have never ridden a motorbike. (Apart from an off-road bike my son owned when younger, when one ride was enough for me!)

The person’s story in the poem may not be my story. The description I use of a particular scenario is simply playing with words. The conclusion one comes to as expressed in the poem, may be the opposite to my own personal opinion.

So what does that make it? Poetic fiction?

And so on…

There has to be a ‘…and so on…’ to cover all the possibilities of the varying ways poetry can be enjoyed and emerge from the pen.

In short it’s all imagination – sometimes with reference to ‘my reality’ but equally just as many times – not.

I enjoy words, and putting them together. That’s about it.

CHRISTIANITY – My Christian writings, however are a field apart. I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I try to write things as I genuinely believe them to be.

I’m thankful to God for His enablement. I’m thankful to God for the ways He has opened the eyes of my understanding in the face of Jesus Christ. I know in part, according to scripture, but the part I know I hold dearly. I know what I have been delivered from.

And if my poetry does not reference directly – my spiritual life, this is because I have too much to say plainly and without apology when it comes to Christian Truth and if the poetic form is not my choice, it is because of my priority which is to make things clear.

Paul The Apostle speaking: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

So in Christian writing – I write to pass on what I am convinced about, and so therefore mostly choose, straightforward language to do so.

I write as a scribe, teaching the Christian Gospel, without an over indulgence in wordsmith-ing.

I enjoy wordsmith-ing mostly, rather, through poetry.

Spiritually speaking – I’m called to be a scribe.

I pen what I come to understand from the scriptures.

But art and poetry are fun and enhance our everyday lives.

I cannot take my Christian writing seriously enough, as it is a matter of life and death.

I cannot take my art and poetry too seriously as it is to do with intellectual, visual and emotional enjoyment of life in this natural world and there is so much more to life – the afterlife.

Of course my poetry can have purpose and meaning, but I always bear in mind that ‘…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God’. (I Corinthians 3/19)

Poetry and literature doesn’t compete with the weightier matters of spiritual life – in light of an awaited eternity.

So – suspect that in my poetry, I might have my tongue in cheek sometimes, at the same time you may also find profundity and reference to the truth as it overlaps into the spiritual, – or there again – not, as the case may be.

There is no fixed rule in art or poetry.

But I will continue to obey God and write for Him, while providing you with Poetic Interludes.

So in summary, my Christian writing is written that you might believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and through believing may have life in His name.

My poetry and art follow the dictates of imagination.

Please call again. 😎

Hearing the voice

Hearing the voice

Matthew 3/2 …and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord;

Make His paths straight.’ ”

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Stating the obvious – there are many different kinds of languages in the world.

If we do not know the language, regardless of how well the person or persons express themselves, we will not get their meaning.

When it comes to spiritual matters we can apply this as an analogy.

We can have ears to hear the message but not have a heart to understand it.

There was a man sent from God – who preached a God-given message, some heard and understood and others heard and did not.

John the Baptist had his own idiosyncrasies. Not exactly your normal kind of guy. There is much we could say about John.

But God Himself prophesied his coming – well-before he arrived on the scene.

God referred to him as:

‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness…’

Crying out in the literal, actual wilderness where he was initially ‘hidden’ until his showing to Israel, and crying-out in the metaphor wilderness that exists in the heart of mankind even to this day.

A barrenness, a blindness, a waywardness, a lostness that increases amidst our damaged world, as man staggers about perpetuating fake news, one-upmanship, violence, hypocrisy, deception, perversion and so on.

John was a preacher.

The problem with preaching is – your hearers require ‘perfection’ from you, as soon as you touch on any moral issues. If you do not practice what you preach, they quickly dismiss you as a hypocrite.

Sometimes with justification. Other times with no justification.

The perfection The Lord Jesus Christ manifested in His every word and deed, escapes the most saintly Christian follower.

Perfection in the speaker, is not a pre-requisite for authenticating the message you preach on Christ’s behalf. It is the message itself (if it truly comes from Christ) and is endorsed by Him by means of the holy scriptures, that authenticates itself.

The message John brought authenticated the fact that he was chosen of God.

Of course he was an upright man, who eventually laid down his life for Christ. But no man can ever claim the perfection that Christ Himself manifested as the sinless Son of God.

But the voice. Can we hear the voice? Amidst the confusion of many kinds of voices and languages, that exist today?

We all know there has never been such a deluge of ‘messages’ in our wilderness world as there is today. Blogging being just one, of many ways to put your message out there.

Can we hear the voice of God, amidst the fakeness and increasing madness that believes lie after lie?

Be sure the Christian gospel will be rejected out-of-hand. As the false gospel that man is his own saviour, adds to the wilderness of no change, and man grapples with the tragedy we have today.

Christians are told in the midst of this wilderness world:

Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Lewd Fellows…

LEWD FELLOWS

This is a long passage of scripture I know.

And maybe as you contemplate your visit to the golf club, you must rush-off to the supermarket, the kids need bathed for tomorrow, you must finish that piece of DIY, the boss wants you to put in some extra hours…. Whatever the reason, the challenge – is to read it to the end, all eleven verses.

Acts 17 King James Version (KJV)

17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;

7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.

9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

I prefer to get past the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ of the King James Version of the bible and use the NKJV. (New King James Version).

But I have to admit to liking some of the KJV’s language.

Surely it must stir our curiosity when we read lines like this:

 ‘lewd fellows of the baser sort,”

– wow! – is this a biker gang? Is this the name of a punk band? How about a bunch of ‘hooligans’, if the term ‘hooligan’ is still relevant today?

There is no shortage, I guess, of terms that describe groups of human beings who basically are rebels in society.

Descriptive perhaps of those with a tendency to violence, fuelled by ‘whatever’ – substance intake.

Paul and Silas, previously beaten and cast into prison as the result of mob violence and mob opinion, are out, and have moved on.

Paul starts again to fulfil his commission from God, by engaging with religious types, and preaching from the scriptures.

Some believed the word he shared. Others didn’t. Nothing new under the sun, – for so it is today.

But certain Jews moved with envy. Envy? Why were they envious?

Well, you tell me?

But the result of that envy leads us to this great descriptive six word categorisation of those who ‘set all the city on an uproar…’

‘lewd fellows of the baser sort,”

For those of us who like language for it’s own sake, not always looking initially for deep meaningful communication, but those who like the ‘one liners’ and the sound of words for their own sake – well – this rolls off my tongue and gets my attention, before I even get to the spiritual understanding of the passage.

‘lewd fellows of the baser sort,”

Hmmm?

Sticking with the novelty of this descriptive phrase, we get the picture by relating what other translations of the Bible have given us for this one-liner. Here are just a few –

Vile fellows of the rabble, – some thugs from [the lowlifes in] the market place, – some wicked men (ruffians and rascals), – some vicious men from the riffraff.

Need I say more, we get the picture.

Yet listen to this description of the very man who was beaten and thrown into prison (the one these men also wanted to attack) where (if you want to check it out a chapter or so back) he engages in a private worship service in chains, with his friend Silas:

VIOLENTLY ARROGANT – 

Paul speaking:-

1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NKJV)

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,

13 although I was FORMERLY A BLASPHEMER, A PERSECUTOR, AND AN INSOLENT MAN; (violently arrogant) but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Paul – pre-Christian conversion – was convinced he was serving God, as he went about – in a violently arrogant manner, dare I say it? – just like:

A ‘lewd fellow of the baser sort…”

The difference was he (Paul the apostle, formerly Saul of Tarsus) reached a point in his life where what he did ignorantly IN UNBELIEF he forsook and humbled to the ground on a road to Damascus – he called out to Christ and became a follower of the One who can and did set a woman free from the devil. (Acts 16)

The devil servers in rebellion came against the converted Paul because he was instrumental in setting the girl free and here in another situation envious religious types procured the help of ‘lewd fellows of the baser sort,’ to carry out an attack against the Christians.

What difference is there in all of us sinners across the globe, whether we happen to persecute Christians or cause riots, or not?

The difference is whether a change of heart and mind in turning to Christ the Saviour takes place or not. As Bob Dylan addressing the Saviour wrote ‘I owe you some kind of an apology”.

………………………………………

Dictionary re: Lewd – Old English lǣwede, of unknown origin. The original sense was ‘belonging to the laity’; in Middle English, ‘belonging to the common people, vulgar’, and later ‘worthless, vile, evil’, leading to the current sense.

Empty philosophical deceit

Colossians 2/8: Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

This verse of scripture meant a lot to me when I first became a follower of Christ Jesus.

Philosophy (to state the obvious) activates our reasoning powers.

Every philosophical opinion, from a held point-of-view on everyday life, to some political manifesto, is held in some loosely defined philosophical way.

I’m thinking of the word philosophy in a dictionary definition sense of:- a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour: and/or the study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience:

According to the above verse from the bible, philosophy can cheat us.

Philosophy of whatever kind, can rob us of the supernatural, because it does not readily embrace the idea of spiritual revelation from a Living God.

Rather it relies only on man’s ability to reason, and to find answers to profound and deep questions, through the use of his reasoning powers – alone.

The obvious conclusion we have to come to, when relying ONLY on man’s reasoning powers is this: – our imagination can justify, any ‘doctrine’ that mankind wishes to dream up.

Left to our own devices – we can create our own morality and find reasons, if we have enough fallen-imagination – to justify the most despicable behaviour.

And of course man has done so, many times.

If deviously-clever enough, man can embrace evil as good and make good – evil.

There has been such a slide from wholesomeness, that the imagination doesn’t know where to stop, as it manufactures justification(s) for whatever it chooses, producing  a man-made morality.

Today, long accepted norms are being cast aside with reckless abandon.

And many of the rejections of God-given morality are couched in philosophical terms that can sound so plausible, but reject many other counteracting considerations by simply not mentioning them.

In all of these ‘new approaches’ to morality – there is no higher power, taken into consideration. No revelation from the creator is considered. If man can use his darkened imagination he can dream up anything.

That’s the world we live in today. Man is his own god. When men disagree on questions of morality, they do not seek the One with the higher reasoning power.

But rather lean on their own understanding, and fail to acknowledge God in all, or any, of their ways.

Their wisdom is earthly, sensual and devilish.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

If there is no ultimate creator-God authority, then there is only one opinion versus another opinion, especially in areas of morality.

No one refers to the absolute, everything becomes relative and a war of words.

Your opinion if it differs from mine is going to remain different, while someone else comes along and presents yet another opinion, and another, and another.

A world full of views and opinions all trying to convince each other.

God in the person of The Lord Jesus Christ – intervenes and leaves us His divine thoughts of righteousness, revealed to chosen men and written down under His influence (The Bible).

These revealed precepts – are recorded in human language but with the hand of God on-them perpetually.

These are given as the ultimate light to which all ‘philosophies’ must be held up to.

Man-made philosophies are – weighed in the balance of God’s word – and found wanting.

Reach for the higher wisdom – written down – for our consumption, and don’t allow the aberrant philosophies that are rampant today to spoil/cheat you …through empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2/8)

Age

AGE

You are a person of your generation. You look around to notice that a generation, has passed on from you.

Sorry to inform you – but there is a generation that sees you as old.

Everybody is young or everybody is old depending on your telescope usage, that spies on time.

I have a 25 year-old inside me, but I am not 25. I’m seen as old to real 25’s.

You are fit?

You are fit, but getting past it – old to that young whippersnapper, who moon-walked past you on the street the other day.

His moon-walk revved up to full throttle.

You can do twenty press-ups, but beware of your green face, when the guy ten years younger than you – does forty.

The march of time. Grow old gracefully.

I heard of the death of a forty year old. Many die young.

Where does the Lord God figure in the age stakes? 

He has neither beginning of days nor ending.

Hebrews 7/Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Age is the result of corruption. Old bones and skeletal collapse.

Passing through this scene of time – we distract ourselves with what is here and now. With what the world has to offer.

And pop star after pop star – deflated, dejected passes away in tragic fashion. 

They received all the adulation, attention, idol worship ‘all this will I give you…’ said the god of this world.

But the fame and fortune and adoration is a big let down, and yet many crave it. Too young to think there is another side to the coin of fame.

‘This is the most important moment of my life’ they gasp, as they wait to be voted in or out by the entertained public.

We are all passing-through.

A man named Solomon sought to find what was beneficial to do and be involved in – under the sun. He bought the T-shirt on most of the possible things we could give ourselves to.

He tried ‘em all and remained convinced that it was all – emptiness.

He concluded despite his fame and fortune, there was only one maxim – Fear God and keep his commandments.

But, even so, Solomon in all his glory, had not tasted the new covenant that was-to-come in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, It is spiritually duller than before – and we need Christ’s help more than ever, to enter behind the veil, into the absoluteness and veraciousness of the Almighty – through His Son.

Yes we age with each passing day. Time and tide waits for no man.

Now is the acceptable time to awake to the gospel, before age takes it’s final toll.

John 6/67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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.

 

Foolishness

FOOLISHNESS

If someone took a $100 bill or £100 note, and tore it up – allowing it to flutter over the mountain side.

I’m pretty sure everyone would agree that they were being foolish?

However – I don’t often hear the word foolish being used nowadays. Is it just me?

Foolishness is usually not used as often as swear words to describe the unacceptable behaviour of others.

There are approx. 84 bible mentions of the word foolish, 20 for foolishness, and 189 for the word fool.

Here are a few to ponder –

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. (Psalm 53/1, 14/1)

A fool despises his father’s instruction, (Proverbs 15/5)

…any fool can start a quarrel (Proverbs 20/3)

A fool vents all his feelings, (Proverbs 29/11)

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, (Proverbs 12/15)

The somewhat dated story is told – (It goes something like this): –

A lady, when questioned by a bible salesman, if she read the bible much?

Answered – “Oh yes, all the time!” 

“Would you mind going and fetching it for me to have a look?” (No doubt with the idea that he could sell her a ‘superior’ printed version).

When she returned, in the act of handing him the bible to scrutinise, a small pair of rimless reading glasses fell out of her large bible.

“Oh!” she said – “I lost those years ago!”

Does that behaviour fit the ‘foolish’ category?

I wonder how much behaviour is just plain – foolish-lying to ourselves?

…………………………

James 1/22: …deceiving your own selves.