Category Archives: sharing

Toma(ay)to

Toma(ay)to

I have always marvelled at the inability of humans to really understand each other in their communications. This spills over into the Church (as in the company of God’s people).

It’s a bit like – you say tomato and I say tomayto – and if it goes on-through to fuller mis-understanding into vehement anger and division – we end up calling the whole thing off. ‘The whole thing’ being our friendship and fellowship.

When we examine examples of this, they are of course, innumerable.

But boiling it all down, I see it, as part of the fall of mankind.

There was a time in God’s perfect creation that mankind did not have the knowledge of good and evil. He only knew life without sin.

However one ‘shall not’ and he ‘did just that’. In Genesis we read:

2/19

And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

2/17

but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now as a result of listening and obeying another (Genesis 3/1) – the woman’s and the man’s human spirit fell and mankind became dominated by his fallen nature. His mind began it’s journey of corruption.

And today there are many varying degrees of this fallen nature, this sinful mind, this earthly, sensual, devilish, make-up, manifesting itself in innumerable ways in mankind’s individual or corporate mindset. (James 3/15)

The fallen nature manifests itself in the little ‘white’ lie all the way to murder and rape by ruthless regimes.

Out of the heart of mankind comes:

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

There are other lists of sins in the bible that describe the result of this nature that has inherited the knowledge of good and evil, from our forefather Adam. This is referred to as the ‘Adamic nature’.

But what I want to draw attention to, is this inability to properly communicate.

To properly understand each other.

I have noticed it over the years, and realised that unless Christians having fellowship, take the time to ensure that mutual humility is present, before they communicate, then when misunderstanding arises, it will end-up in some kind of division or parting of the ways.

If we fail to believe God’s truth as it is found (unadulterated), in the Scripture (The Holy Bible) – then as a result, we fail to encounter the One who is ‘The Truth’.

Christ gives us a new nature, as He gives Himself to us and enters us by The Holy Spirit, if we respond to the Word of the Gospel. This new nature is a renewed or born again human spirit.

Ephesians4/

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

But it is the old nature that has the knowledge of good and evil, that corrupts the true truth of God’s pure word. Man on innumerable occasions has corrupted the letter of God’s word.

Christians meeting to hear the public reading of God’s Word are hearing pure truth.

Proverbs 30/5

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

The preacher may present this pure truth well or corrupt it with his old nature.

Both things are possible.

The safest possible ground that believers have for communicating with each other is to simply repeat the Word of God from mouth to ear in the assembly of God’s people.

If I speak a scripture to you, and you in turn speak a scripture to me – we have communicated perfectly.

That’s why we read in Matthew 5/

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

It is easy for communications to become confused, divisive, and eventually outright evil as we…

Galatians 5/15

bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

So apart from necessary everyday communication in the workplace, school, or where tasks are being carried out corporately, being slow to speak isn’t a bad idea.

James 1/19

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

But even yea or nay can be misunderstood.

What are we to do?

We can only talk until things become clear. But sometimes it makes the situation worse if ego and oneupmanship take over, and talking becomes bickering.

The fact that divisions come, the fact that the world is in the mess it is in. And governments are at loggerheads internally and with other governments of other nations – shows clearly that the world is held captive by an inherited nature that can’t find agreement easily.

I’m reminded again of the humorous misunderstanding that took place between my friend’s wife and the weather forecaster on the car radio.

She heard the forecaster say: ‘Mister Fog’ will be about’.

So she made the comment to her husband (also in the car): ‘Who does he think he is addressing – children!?’

What he actually said was: ‘mist or fog will be about.’

If only the results of misunderstanding were as innocuous as this.

Grandmother I

GRANDMOTHER I

My grandmother was a Christian lady. When I was a little boy (pre-teens) I used to visit with her, along with my mum and her son (my dad).

Her husband, my grandfather, died before I was born, so I never knew him.

How easy it is, when we start to write about relatives, to lose ourselves and those listening, with the necessary jargon needed, when explaining.

[e.g. My uncle’s grandmother’s son, and my cousin’s grandchild on their daughter’s side, or my mum’s mum’s brother – crazy!

Not amazing – just a maze].

So – my grandmother was my father’s mum. That’s simple enough. If you still don’t follow please ask a practicing historian.

She was probably in her eighties at the time of my visits, and was cared for by her daughter, who later became a missionary in Japan, and remained a spinster, until she went to be with Jesus in 2008.

My paternal grandmother would sit very still in her chair. And would ask: ‘if we were never going to make a cup of tea’? She asked this every ten minutes or so.

She would sit with me by her side, looking straight ahead. She couldn’t see very well.

As though unbeknown to everyone else, she would move her arm slowly across to me, and slip a sum of money into my little hand.

The large sum of one penny.

I would sense by the way she did so, that it was top secret, and I fought the smile that would try to break forth on my face, afraid of betraying her act of kindness, and exposing  this great secret.

She would sing a song from her younger days and I always remember the chorus: I did a painting based on the song, it is long gone. I forget who has it.

(As with many paintings a great curiosity comes to me at times regarding where a painting is. Lost in the world somewhere, like a long lost child.)

Here is the chorus, I searched it of course, and found it on the internet. ‘Riding on a load of hay’ (author unknown).

Oh someone stole my heart away

Riding on a load of hay

I looked up and he looked down

Handsome sunburnt Johnny Brown

She told me of her extremely naughty youthful antics. Extreme things like banging on people’s front doors and running away.

Hiding, while she and her co-conspirators, observed the reaction of the house owner, as he or she looked up and down the street, baffled as to the invisible visitor.

And that was about the sum total of her reported naughtiness. (Naughtiness? – My! – how times have changed).

I remember nothing of her passing. I was twelve years old at the time.

As she sang the song, her voice was still as sweet, as when she graced the platforms of Christian Meetings, being the invited soloist.

In Northern Ireland we designate some church buildings as Gospel Halls. And they still exist.

Her daughter went to be a missionary in Japan, as previously stated, and I often reflect on my aunt’s faithfulness in prayer for me.

Indeed I often query with The Lord, just how much a part my grandmother’s prayers, played in my mighty encounter with The Living God, seven years after her passing!

When my dad, was nearing his journey into eternity, though that is for another blog post, I remember him telling me, that his mother taught him how to pray.

How important that young lives are taught the Word of God, at an early age. It will impact them fully or partially – it all depends on how they respond to it as they journey through life.

The bible describes it this way:

Cast your bread upon the waters,

For you will find it after many days.

I’m sure everyone has the experience of failing to ask enough questions regarding their family history, and suddenly it is too late. Those able to furnish us with details are gone, we didn’t ask them.

Nevertheless we can cherish what we do know. And I can still see plainly my grandmother’s facial expression as she sat – ever so still – in her armchair.

I think I must have spent the pennies.

My name’s Ken from…

by Ken Riddles

My name’s Ken from…

I have been blogging since 2015. I’m not exactly a technophobe – but can think of better things to do with my time 😎.

By so stating I’m indirectly communicating that I take minimal interest in my ’stats’ regarding followers, viewers, etc. I commented recently to a fellow-blogger that I look at my stats about once a year! ☺️

A bit of a tongue-in-cheek remark but more or less true.🙂

[Notice: that is three emoji’s in a row. A record!]

Initially I posted my paintings more or less – all of the time.

Then I removed all paintings and settled for posting my Christian teachings, and poems, with the odd painting still displayed.

This is more or less how things are at the moment.

My idea back when I starting blogging was to let the work speak for itself. No need to proclaim ‘boring’ details about myself (?).

So that the art, the art appreciation, the poems, the Christian teaching would stand (or fall) on their own merit.

Up until this point little to no, personal references as to who I am, where I live, what I do (daily life), has been revealed.

I’ve decided to share along the above lines. I feel another emoji coming – 💡

My name is…

Well that’s already been revealed

What hasn’t been revealed is that I hail from Northern Ireland, that six county province on the island of Ireland.

[Maybe this ‘whereabouts reveal’ – comes as no surprise – maybe ‘I thought so’ might have crossed your mind – or you remain non-plussed either way?]

What has been revealed before, is that I married my sweetheart from The Netherlands. We celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary back in March.

Other snippets of ‘identity’ can be found somewhere in the fog of old blog posts.

I came to a revelation of The Lord Jesus Christ on the 20th November, 1970, when I was overwhelmed by the Presence of God. And fell to my knees in repentance in my bedroom, in a little terrace house in Belfast. The house and therefore the room no longer exist.

The house was demolished many years ago, as part of the redevelopment of the area.

So I was born in one of the three upstairs rooms. And was born again in one of the two remaining.

[Mostly natural births today, in western culture, are in hospital wards as you know – although don’t quote me].

So what difference does this beginning of further information make?

I’ve no idea.

But I must confess I find the personal story of others – interesting. So maybe time to explore that approach in some writing.

That’s about it – carry on eating your lunch. Any questions?

No? Well, have a nice day.

What is ‘being helped’?

WHAT IS – ‘BEING HELPED’?

Sounds like a strange question – one easily answered?

First port of call – the dictionary:

improve (a situation or problem); be of benefit to:

This is only one part of the definition, but perhaps the best part.

‘Be of benefit to:’

When you read one of the posts you follow – I’m sure it is usually ‘helpful’.

Placing money in the charity box – is helpful.

The child reaching out for the toy again, when you are trying to put their shirt on, can illicit the parental response of: ‘John this is not helpful’.

The Beatles gave us ‘Help’:

When I was younger, so much younger than today

I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone I’m not so self-assured

Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors

[Younger – not needing anyone’s help. When really that’s probably the time we need it most].

What do we consider helpful? What remarks/blog post(s) do we find helpful?

Sometimes it can be someone’s post that is mixed with emotion. 

The blogger writes about some experience we have all had, and the person writing the post has an angle on it – that stirs us. Empathy arrives in our hearts and we concur (usually with a like-button-hit).

Help must be appropriate or concurrent with the situation of need.

Sometimes people try to help but their suggestion is not appropriate, lacking in sensitivity to the situation. 

Sometimes people are genuinely moved to help, but feel inadequate and blunder into doing something more unhelpful than helpful.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

In this passage of scripture we read of different mindset-responses to preaching. In simple terms some perceive it as helpful and others?: ‘‘Paul this is not helpful’.

We read that the preaching for some was a Stumbling block (difficulty) or foolishness. This can be the perception of some who read a Christian-themed post, — and the post will get less like-button hits than a painting of a ‘bird’.

The other response is: ‘This is so helpful – please give me more of the same’.

The gospel message, referred to here in the above passage,  is meant to be 100% helpful. It is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

This present post, I believe to be helpful – it might even fit the category of ‘helps ministry’ (I Corinthians 12/28). 

It is encouraging you to hear and respond to the gospel wherever you hear it.

But I know also it is a stumbling block and foolishness to others.

I hope this clarification is helpful?

talking to AMSTERDAM

Talking to AMSTERDAM

Once again coming across old literature, caused me to look back on my evangelistic visits to Amsterdam.

Flying to the Netherlands, my wife’s home country.

I would ‘tithe’ a week per year, of my holidays from work, to go on the streets and into cafes etc. to engage in conversations with all kinds of people. Wherever I found a willing, listening ear.

And of course it takes all sorts to make a world.

I took an 8-person team there once for the same reason.

Otherwise I usually went with a friend or a few times on my own. I of course acquired friends who lived in Amsterdam and would sometimes work with others in local churches.

‘Gossiping the gospel’ as it is sometimes referred to.

It’s been a while since I was last there, on such a mission.

I wonder how empty Amsterdam is at the moment?

Those were enjoyable times. It appealed to my ‘hippie’ personality, (if there is such a thing).

Any Christians reading this post, might inform me, if hitting the streets (pre-covid 19) to spread the gospel of Christ, is still on the agenda?

If so, let me know of such outreaches that you know of, so my enthusiasm for the younger-generation-servants-of-Christ, can be boosted, knowing the baton is still being carried.

Putting seeds-in-motion, was my foundational  motivation, in going to the streets of Amsterdam.

The bible tells us that one sows, another waters – but God alone can give the increase of the shared message of the gospel. (I Cor. 3/6)

If there was ever a time (though there always has been), when the good news of God’s love is greatly needed in a world staggering around in zombi-like fashion, needing answers – it is now.

Now indeed is the accepted time (II Corinthians 6/2).

I enjoyed my times encountering all kinds of weird and wonderful people, and of course, had the bonus of going to visit the art galleries.😎

As the old cliche goes: ‘I’m not as young as I used to be…’

But watch me as I slap my wrists and tell myself: ‘That’s no excuse – get out there.’

Anybody want to go with me?

See you post-covid 19!