Category Archives: Prose

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)

Advertisements

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.

A question of thought

A QUESTION OF THOUGHT

Regardless of the purpose or subject matter of our blogs, I wonder do you ever have the thought that perhaps we should be thinking about more important matters?

Everyday life presents us with many demands upon our thinking power.

I marvel at how prolifically our minds produce thought after thought. Never in the same order, day after day.

Oh yes, there are things our minds return to often, but nothing is programmed en masse to repeat exactly what we have thought before.

The greatest of all ‘computer systems’ – the human mind.

It would be customary, as the subject matter of this blog would suggest in recent posts, to move on now to some profound biblical subject, directing our thoughts to what I would deem of most importance.

But rather, I’m stopping short of this. I simply ask myself the question and therefore you – what should we apply the use of our minds, our cognitive abilities – to?

What should we be thinking about? What is of most importance to you?

We can’t dwell on profundity 24/7, the necessities of life demand that we focus on the warp and woof of daily living, that tax our thought life.

Did you leave the trash cans out? What about that bill you owe – is it paid yet? That couch could do with a new ‘throw’. The cat needs fed. That programme starts at 8.30. Did you call your sister? You haven’t finished reading that novel, where did you leave it? Thinking about another tragedy in the world?

But you are home – the busy working day is over – what now? Thought about what is next? Or has what is next determined your thinking?

TV on? Wow! Six Ads. in a row – telling you what you should be thinking about.

What are you thinking about anyway? Anything important?

Luke 12/24-26

25 And which of you by being overly anxious and troubled with cares can add a cubit to his stature or a moment [unit] of time to his age [the length of his life]?

Pondering

PONDERING

The pace of modern day living (or is it post-modern living?) is great.

It seems to accelerate with each passing day.

When we factor-in the fact that we are all inescapably getting older, this increase of pace is not always welcome.

When we reach a certain age, we become resentful of the increased pace, and simply don’t want to keep up with it.

Staying abreast of all IT developments, becomes boring to those of a certain age. We don’t want to know anymore. Our curiosity has wained.

And unless needing to know the recent developments for our job, we run out of interest and enthusiasm.

But of course I must be fair, and add: ‘personally speaking’ 😎!

In contrast many folks just love the latest gadgets and updates and new discoveries. They can’t wait to engage the cogs of their brain in the latest advancements.

And that’s fine – ‘whatever floats your boat’.

Maybe I’m not so much a ‘technophobe’, as a ‘techno-slob’, ie too lazy to find out the latest.

But my main point in this piece, is the fact that speed sometimes because of greed, calls for mental gymnastics and involvement in business and busy-ness – and robs us of contemplation that may lead to something much more rewarding.

Luke 2/18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Mary had acquired supernatural angelic insight – not directly from the angels, but from the message communicated by a bunch of shepherds. Just like you and I are – in this post.

She had no reason to doubt this news that they brought, simply because she knew about encountering angels herself, and she knew about how special the child was – to whom she had given birth.

But notice what she did with this and no doubt with all that had been revealed to her: she…pondered them in her heart.

Are we too busy to ponder? Especially things of tremendous import? Are we so caught up with the pace of daily living that no time is left to ponder our destiny?

There are some, if not many, blogs that address Christians. Which is fine.

How can this blog address everyone and anyone, in spiritual terms?

Since the spiritual terms are a learnt language only those who have experienced them can truly or fully – understand.

Just like Mary she had previous spiritual experiences of truth given directly from God. And was able to receive and ponder, the shepherds revelations.

So we find then a spiritual principle, if, having received spiritual revelation, it is followed by meditation (pondering), our understanding of what we have received – will increase.

But here is the good news – the reverse is also true – as we ponder the scriptures – revelation, or greater revelation – is given as a result!

In other words it works both ways.

Now all we need is for you and I to mentally slow down, and give enough time to the pondering meditations that bring us to the life of Christ’s revelation.

Jesus speaks to Peter:

Matthew 16/17 – Then Jesus answered him, “Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, favoured by God] are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood (mortal man) did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

 

 

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!

In case you didn’t know.

IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW

1 Corinthians 3/ (Amplified Bible)

  1. However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ!

In case you didn’t know – this is Paul the Apostle speaking to the Corinthian – Christian believers.

Firstly he addresses them as ‘brothers and sisters’. All true Christian believers, share the family resemblance of Christ. He has instructed us to know and address each other as part of the same spiritual family.

So Paul is speaking to Christian brothers and sisters.

Every Christian claims that there IS a spiritual life, and not as the atheists would claim i.e. zero now and zero after the grave.

Spiritual people then?

Apparently not.

“I could not talk to you as to spiritual people…” 

What does that mean? The whole point of the Christian message, or teaching, is that all Christians have become spiritual people – out to share the message that Christ is Lord! He is to be worshipped as the only living and true God, and all His followers worship Him in spirit and truth. Becoming increasingly spiritual as Christ is.

So what’s this? –

 “I could not talk to you as to spiritual people…” 

In understanding this, it is first necessary to say that the great thing about acceptance with God is acceptance of God!

However, acceptance of God – is no excuse for doing things that find no acceptance with God.

Confused?

Christian acceptance with God (Salvation of repentant sinners), is based on man’s response and acceptance of Christ personally as Lord and Saviour.

This is a two-way acceptance.

This two-way acceptance is sealed amidst an experience Christian’s refer to as ‘being born again’.

We accept Christ and the sufficiency of His sacrifice for sins, and He in turn accepts us.

Christ comes into our lives in a very real and personal spiritual way.

Now we are in the family of God.

Every family has acts of obedience and disobedience in it. Children mis-behave, but (I hope) mostly are still accepted and loved, despite bad behaviour.

The bad behaviour varies in magnitude or seriousness.

The spiritual nature of these Corinthian believers was subject to the frustration and hindrance of the nature all men and women are born with. The sinful nature.

This conflict/warfare/frustration is described in 

Galatians 5/17 –

17 For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in DIRECT OPPOSITION TO EACH OTHER [CONTINUALLY IN CONFLICT], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

I have capitalised to make the point.

Until we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit – we cannot know the spiritual nature that can be inherited from Christ Jesus.

When we do have such an encounter – it does not mean that the old nature we are born with disappears.

All Christians at some time, continue to succumb and yield themselves to this lower nature, even though they are spiritual people.

There are degrees of this.

But hopefully, true Christians, mostly allow the new nature to have pre-eminence in the battle described above. (Galatians 5/17).

The Corinthians were not doing so well in this warfare.

Consequently Paul could not address them as spiritual, but as weak and as yet immature believers.

So to share the deeper things of God, would not yet, be appropriate, when the instruction they needed was of a more foundational type.

In order to properly hear and obey the truth of God, we must enjoy the inner life of Christ filling our inner beings, in order to hear as we ought to hear, and understand properly the things God wishes to teach us.

When the old nature is strong – we end up in the place the Corinthians were in – accepted in Christ – but with unacceptable behaviour manifesting, rather than the fruits of the Holy Spirit winning the day.

In the rest of I Corinthians, Paul, speaking on Christ’s behalf, under the enablement of The Holy Spirit – addresses some of the unacceptable behaviour.

After teaching many more things to the Corinthians, (sixteen chapters in fact). Paul partly ends with these words, in I Corinthians 16/22 (quoted below).

Instructing us that acceptance of Christ and His ways, is essential, even though the Corinthians were immature and needed to grow in greater spirituality.

Paul highlights the only disqualifying ‘heavy’ note that he can’t put down to anyone’s spiritual immaturity.

Someone then, would not be his brother or sister in Christ if the following applied:

I Corinthian 16/22 – …If anyone does not love the Lord [does not obey and respect and believe in Jesus Christ and His message], he is to be accursed.

Freedom

FREEDOM

The word – freedom – can mean different things to different people.

There are Pharisaical religious bondages that many need to be freed from.

Hostages know all about the joy of freedom when eventually they are rescued.

To be able to visit your place of worship freely without restriction is another appreciated liberty.

Freedom of speech is championed by many.

The lines of a chorus come to mind – “Are you free!?” “Have you got the victory?”

Succinctly that’s what freedom consists of – victory.

Free from an addiction, free from oppressive bullies, free from a restrictive governmental regime, or on a lighter note – Free from having to pay to park. Free from nuisance phone calls.

I have read that in some countries such as the USA an ornamental key – the key to the city is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others whom the city wishes to honour. This is a variation on the freedom of the city tradition.

But true freedom is not – being allowed to do exactly as we wish, especially at the expense of others. So freedom, must also include, having rules.

The imposition of one persons will on another is generally interpreted as oppressive, and robbing them of their freedom. It certainly can be.

But the imposition of a long-suffering and tolerant Saviour-God’s will upon mankind, if we would only wake up to it, is the imposition of a rule of love that brings mankind to the best possible place he could be in.

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to ellicit our willing response out of the freedom of choice that we have. He wants us to honour the rules of His kingdom, the kingdom of God.

True freedom is the ability to do what is right.

Jesus is willing to give that freedom, that liberty, that ability to walk with Him, and so overcome all that this present world contributes in binding us to the tyranny of sin.

But there must be a strong desire to escape to spiritual freedom.

Paul the Apostle says: Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?

He goes on to affirm the way of freedom:

Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

We have all seen the movie scenes where there is an exchange of the kidnapped for the ransom, and it usually involves a walk of some kind, from one place to another, from the oppressors into the arms of a loved one.

Jesus has paid the ransom, now a walk must take place from the bondage and imprisonment of sin – to Him. 

Seems only appropriate, as you or I consider our imprisonment of whatever kind – for me to ask have we begun our walk to freedom in Christ?

Some bible verses without the references – 

So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Calling

CALLING

I mentioned in a previous post that the church are the called out ones pertaining to The Lord.

Called.

What do you make of that word?

In Christian and ‘religious’ circles – we often hear that someone has a ‘calling’. Or has received a ‘calling’.

We used to talk of ‘callings’ in life – doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, and other noble professions.

We might ask if that is still the case?

When does a ‘calling’ become just a job?

Called’ – Paul the apostle was ‘called’.

Romans 1/1 – Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God

All true Christians are ‘called’.

There is much to say about this ‘calling’. I will only touch on it, in this relatively short post.

Hebrews 3/1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.

In this verse – ‘calling’ – has an adjective preceding it. – the adjective is Heavenly. Christians are given a heavenly calling.

A calling that comes to us on earth, but is of a completely different nature and experience, and is spiritual – not earthly, sensual and devilish. (James 3/15)

There is the earthly and the heavenly and they are ‘worlds’ apart.

Notice the heavenly calling spoken of, by the Hebrew writer is something, – as one bible version puts it – to ‘partake’ of.

This calling, of course, refers to our future – coming home – totally translated state – into the heaven of heavens to ever be with Christ. (NB: But not just our future).

We are called to go there – to ever be with The Lord.

So there is a place called heaven (I like to refer to it as the heaven of heavens – so we don’t get puerile accusations that we mean the clouds in the sky or outer space or something…)

But true Christians have already been translated into the kingdom of God, even though our bodies are still upon the earth.

Colossians 1/13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

So the heavenly calling of which true Christians partake of or share in – is firstly and foremostly a spiritual – phenomena, experience and place.

According to scripture we have already been raised up, and are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2/6 …and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

This is the connection every true believer in Christ experiences, whose spirit has been born unto God through Christ Jesus.

You see Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father. And the new birth – (which is experiencing the result of asking Christ into our innermost beings) brings us into daily contact with the one who is already in the heaven of heavens.

That means we are there also – even though still living in this earthly body.

So the heavenly calling is to be experienced every day. Too often we become ‘earth bound’ in our thinking, and weak in our experience of the heavenly realm that we are called to enjoy in Christ.

Those who do not know (spiritually) The Lord – have only this present earthly, bodily, fallen state of being, to live in.

So can you hear the call?

It comes through the Word of God. How is God going to get your attention as the author of your faith – if you refuse to read the book He has authored? (Hebrews 12/2)

When you ‘expose’ yourself to the Book – you expose yourself to hearing the call.

Romans 10/16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (The Bible)

To hear the call – is to hear the Word.

God has ordained preaching and preachers – it is God’s idea. But there are also false teachers and preachers and prophets.

So turn to the book – to hear the preaching.

And to hear the call to the heavenly relationship God has for all those who will put their trust in Christ.

As you read the book – you will get to know whether God can be trusted in the first place.

Many have a very limited view of God. Based on a few things picked up second-hand over the years. They probably couldn’t even tell you why they believe what they do.

So again – ‘calling’ from God – is into fellowship with Himself. It is of a spiritual nature beginning now in experience and finalising when we pass from this life into His eternal present/presence forever.

That word ‘church’…?

That word ‘church’…?

You probably know that the word church (Gk. ecclesia) apart from other nuances we might speak of – chiefly refers to those who are the ‘called out ones’.

The word sanctified – is to do with being ‘set apart’.

Called out and set apart.

Hmm?

Now of course men love to enter into all kinds of ‘disputes’ over original Hebrew and Greek words, and are often found to …strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Apparently those who do so are blind guides,

Matthew (Amp.) 23/24 You [spiritually] blind guides, who strain out a gnat [consuming yourselves with miniscule matters] and swallow a camel [ignoring and violating God’s precepts]!

Man loves to step into the debating chamber and skew these and other words to make them into all kinds of things.

One commentator, (Not a ‘skewed’ one as far as I know) writes the following. From which I glean he isn’t too happy with the word Ecclesia, or at least, maybe how he perceives what man can skew it to mean (?)- 

He writes – 

In the earlier Greek It was pronounced “ku-ri-a-kos” or “ku-ri-a-kon.” As you can see, this word doesn’t even resemble the Greek word “ecclesia” whose place it has usurped. In the earlier Greek It was pronounced “ku-ri-a-kos” or “ku-ri-a-kon.” 

The meaning of “Ku-ri-a-kos” is understood by its root: “Ku- ri-os,” which means “lord.” Thus, “kuriakos” (i.e., “church”) means “pertaining to the lord.”

As far as I can see there is nothing wrong with this comment. But neither is there anything wrong with the message, – that the disciples of Christ form a body of folk who are ‘called out’ of the world system of spiritual darkness.

So let’s take both words on board (ecclesia and kuriakos) – what have we now?

Called out ones pertaining to the Lord.

That’s ok with me!

The use of the word KISS – seems appropriate here?

KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid.

Let’s try. The church is the people. Not a building, not bricks and mortar.

The church are ‘called out – ‘ones’. Just like Christians are Christ – ‘ones’.

‘Ones’ are human. Followers of Christ are human beings, apart from the faithful angelic host who remained in allegiance to The Lord Jesus Christ.

The church – made up of individual Christians – refers to every individual on the face of the earth who is/are the true (the real thing) followers of Jesus Christ.

“Hello out there!  You are part of my forever family, if you are a Christ-one. If you are set-apart, and you are amongst those who are the ‘called out ones’.”

Just think of it – you may not see my face this side of heaven – but you might get an invite to my mansion in the heaven of heavens, when we both arrive there! (John 14/2)

In case there is someone reading this who thinks to themselves – “What presumptuous self-righteousness! – to consider himself sure of heaven”

To think of oneself as so righteous and above everyone else that God is somehow obliged to allow such a presumptuous human being – entrance into His eternal abode – bah!

At this point the thought crosses the mind of yours truly –

“I wonder – if what is obvious to me is perhaps completely unknown to some readers”?

Namely my guarantee of entrance into the eternal heaven of heavens, is based on the fact that (metaphorically speaking) I have signed the contract – but God Himself is the one who has drawn it up!

There is nothing in me  – no good work, no impressive noble thoughts, no wonderful behaviour, in fact in my flesh there is no good thing, that God could be remotely impressed by.

And yet I am going to heaven when I die!

Just one thing gives me entrance to His heavenly kingdom. Just one thing gives me ‘membership’ to the world church of Called out ones pertaining to the Lord. Only one thing enables me to enter the place of being set apart, and only one thing has made me a Christ-one.

In a phrase – The cross of Jesus Christ.

But at this point I better end by allowing God to do the talking:

Psalm 107/2

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…

(I just did)! Redeemed and heading for heaven.

Romans 5/9

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Justified – and I’m justified – in saying – heaven awaits me because I am told I shall be saved from wrath through Him. He (and His sacrifice on the cross) is the only thing I’m relying on.

Acts 2/38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(I did repent, I was baptised, my sins were remitted and I did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit)

No wrath to come, God with me now and for eternity, Justified, called out, set apart – and I have nothing whatsoever to boast about. Not even any good works that I do!

When it comes to heaven I simply receive the free gift. 

My mind is blown – at this agreement I have entered into with The Living God!

Ephesians 2/8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

Shaken or Stirred

SHAKEN OR STIRRED

II Thessalonians 2/1-3

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,…

Soon shaken in mind – This scriptural ‘turn of phrase’, I have highlighted by underlining it, as you can see.

Because, regardless of the subject it refers to – the experience of being shaken in mind is one we have all had.

There are many examples of this – ranging from spilling a glass of milk – to hearing that a friend has been suddenly taken ill.

Momentarily shaken, (spilling milk) or being shook up for a prolonged period of time (struggling over a friends predicament).

We all know that James Bond preferred ‘shaken’ and not stirred.

But there is a good – being ‘stirred-up’ – and a bad.

The bad – being ‘stirred up’ – is when anger, bitterness and resentment takes over and we seek revenge.

The good – being ‘stirred up’ in mind, – is when we sense fresh resolve welling up within our beings to once again set ourselves to do what is right and good.

Christian or non-Christian can experience this kind of ‘being stirred up’.

Athletes failing to win their race, can feel stirred-up to win the next one. A child failing an exam, with good encouragement from a parent, can feel stirred again to pass the re-sit.

Rescuers trying to reach those trapped, can suddenly feel stirred again by a noise coming from the depths of a pile of rubble, and so redouble their efforts at rescue.

Someone whose father or relative was destroyed by some overcoming weakness or addiction, follow in their footsteps, or get stirred up to resolve that such a thing will never happen to them. 

They stir themselves to not be similarly duped.

So when we are shaken, is it followed by being stirred up?

It certainly is a preferable state of mind.

But notice in this passage of scripture that the shaking referred to can come as the result of different things.

The first source is a ‘spirit’.

Many have come under the deception of spirits – unseen – that propagate lies. Often of the most subtle kind.

Part of the deception they are under is to find it incredulous that spirits even exist.

Many sit with an incredulous mentality that is dismissive of anything spiritual.

Such folks are the easiest to deceive, and spirits know this.

After all if I want to do damage to you, and you know nothing about the source of it – then I have an even greater victory, and can expect no resistance.

Next we are told not to be shaken by ‘word’. There are many voices in the world crying and vying for your attention – many speak to shake us up, to harm us, to get unfair advantage over us, to scare us into submission and so on.

Next we are told not to be shaken by ‘letter’. We can mistakenly assume the source of certain messages and mis-appropriate their source to the wrong person(s).

But many times there is no mistaking the source of the venom.

Emails, social media and all the means of 21st Century communication, take the place of plain old pen and paper, in letter writing.

But they are letters just the same, and can shake us with their content.

Being shaken is similar to being under stress. Many people seem to have no inner resources to call upon as an antidote to stress.

Thankfully Christians can appropriate Christ’s inner strength by faith.

But often as a result of mental shaking – a nervous breakdown can ensue, and many Christians similarly prone to such an experience, testify that it was only their faith in Christ that brought them through.

Shaken by spirits, shaken by words heard, or letters read.

This is where a post such as this is limited, in that, I have highlighted the experience of being shaken, but as yet, have only hinted at solutions.

There is much to say on how to stand, having done all to stand, in these days, when things are beginning to be shaken all around us.

Other blogs may need to be written.

But we know as human beings that avoiding the ‘all shook up’ condition is not always easy.

We spill the milk – and stir ourselves with the words: ‘No use crying over spilt milk’, – sorted – we soon forget it, and move on.

Many in the past, and in the present day, have been shaken to the very core of their beings, and no common quip is going to solve their problems.

In the scripture quoted above the Christians are told not to allow themselves to be shaken from the truth. The truth – as it was communicated at that time – was that Christ as yet had not returned.

Concerning The Second Coming of Christ, we are not to be shaken from what the scripture reveals to us.

There is to be a ‘falling away’ first, and a deceiving, plausible spirit with words and doctrinal ‘letters’ will appear and will deceive many.

Don’t be shaken from believing it to be so, but don’t be shaken either by that same malevolent spirit, who has come to steal, kill and destroy, as he works through men.

In light of the anti-Christ spirit already at work – Look up – all you who believe that Jesus is the Christ – for your redemption draws near!