Category Archives: spiritual

Who are we addressing?

WHO ARE WE ADDRESSING?

When it comes to any kind of communication whether a blog post, a speech, an open letter, a sermon, a lecture, etc etc. – who we are addressing has to be considered.

However blogging and indeed, whatever means we use to address the public, is like casting a net into the sea.

We do not really know who we are addressing, unless it is a bunch of students in a lecture hall, who are studying the particular subject we have been asked to speak on.

Then we can at least be sure that they have some glimmer of understanding as to the information we are passing on. We certainly know about one part of their life – that they wish to put major time into the subject they are taking their degree on.

Even then, if the lecture is released on YouTube or such similar ‘devices’ – we do not know who is tagging along, or looking-in on the address we are giving.

Stop and think this over for a moment. The subject is: who are we addressing – or who do we want to address?

Is there any way we can be sure we are addressing the right people? The right people being those who understand enough of the subject to at least begin to understand and appreciate it, or who even want to listen in the first place.

Also – do we not desire in some cases – to reach those who, we hope, have never heard of this ‘stuff’ we are passing on – hoping therefore that they will latch-on-to our important message, as they are the ones who need it the most?

All the so called ‘followers’ of our blog whose avatar we see or never see, even if they drop by, once in a blue moon, have a rough idea of the kind of writing we engage in.

Those who have been here (Seedsinmotion…), at least once in their blog viewing life – know that I share poetry, paintings and Christian teaching. 

Emerging birds by Ken Riddles

I have short seasons when you get more of one than another.

Who is my audience? – well, besides the ‘like hitters’ I do not have a clue. I rarely check my stats page to try to get an idea.

And so I suppose I have failed at the first step, in ‘how to promote and increase traffic on your blog’.                                         

There is a spiritual element in reaching others. A principle attached to gospel communication: I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

We learn that God ultimately is the influencer when it comes to the spreading of His gospel message. He it is who changes the heart of a man or a woman and convinces them of His truth, regardless of who spreads it through blog or speech etc.

So what about response to what we share on our blogs?

You are hoping for a particular response in the context of your subject matter. You imagine how you would like things to be – lots of comments? Lot’s of ‘likes’ – will that do? Many products sold? Fame and fortune for you as a result?

I’m suggesting that we can only have a rough idea of our readership.

There are many profound things to share. But if we do not reach sincere listening ears, perhaps it is wrong to share those things (?).

An extreme example (in the Christian blogging context) of when not to share, would be:

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This refers to those who do not appreciate, but in actual fact, reject, mock, or ridicule you or what you share.

Rejecting what is precious to you. Too precious to be thrown to the dogs. But what of those who appreciate and concur with the profound truth you are sharing? Well – back to the original problem. How do we know they are listening?

So I refrain from sharing a lot of the spiritual truth that I would share if I knew for certain that the Christians who would benefit from it, are in fact listening.

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Jesus told His disciples that He had many things to say to them, but they were not yet able to receive them.

So all Jesus knew, was not all He shared.

The reason I share poetry and art is because they give life an extra enjoyable edge, as far as I am concerned.

They are creative activities.

There can be however, a leftover from past eras that lingers in the psyche of some Christians who consider art and poetry that is not directly concerned with biblical matters as being ‘of this world’ and best ignored..

This is the kind of narrow view that turns many non-Christian would-be seekers of truth, away from the Christian faith. Concluding that Christians, seem cold and detached and in their Pharisaical bubbles.

‘Holier than thou’ individuals who do not fulfil the law but are under it and it’s curse. In Galatians we read:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

The antidote/solution to this is also given in Galatians:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Someone has, I believe correctly stated: (I would imagine somewhat with tongue in cheek) that some Christians are so earthly minded they are of no heavenly use, but some are so heavenly minded they are no earthly use…

                                          …

When I write poetry it is with an open-ended approach, by that I mean, it can be profound or ‘light’, about real or imagined things, to be taken seriously, or humorously, as having real meaning or none.

It is not always spiritual, in the strictest sense of the word. It is written mostly because of my love of words.

Christians aught to understand that they must remain insulated from the spirit of this world. When we engage in cultural activities, we run the risk of our insulation becoming worn-thin. When we sense this, we must run into the shadow of the Almighty – or the name of The Lord which is a strong protective tower – in order to abide there and receive fresh sustenance. Renewing our minds in the Presence of God and His Word.

For the sake of the kingdom of God – I have often abandoned all creative activity for a season, in order to give myself to spiritual life, the life  of the kingdom. Serving God in praying, preaching, or witnessing to Christ’s saving Grace.

However, walking with a healthy spiritual life, means creativity enhancement.

When I paint, it is rarely about Christian subject matter. 

Jazz by Ken Riddles

Many Christian artists feel they can’t paint anything else, that they are obliged to paint Christian subjects. I am not of that persuasion. Everyone must respond to their own inner promptings.

To be naturally-spiritual and spiritually-natural, kind of sums up what I’m saying.

Again – I don’t have a clue who I am addressing. And try to strike a balance in giving vent (as all bloggers do) to what we consider worthwhile to share with others.

With regard to the need to communicate – that all bloggers have, – I would suggest we are simply – built that way!

Curtains

CURTAINS 2021

Have you ever thought about curtains? Of course you have – although the ladies perhaps more than the men?

But curtains – not as in room decor – but as in that which divides, separates, shuts out, covers, stops.

We have all heard of the iron curtain.

[The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

The term symbolises the efforts by the Soviet Union (USSR) to block itself and its satellite states from open contact with the West and its allied states].

So in real life, as in history – dividing and separating.

There is another curtain/veil mentioned in the Bible.

The curtain/veil that separated the holy place from the holiest-of-all place in the Old Testament description of the Temple.

However in the New Testament we are told that…

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (Acts 17/24)

This is very much a New Testament statement. Because of course it was a different story/dispensation/time under the Old covenant.

In the Old Covenant only the high priest could enter the most holy place (holiest of holies) – once a year. That was it – no one else could enter the Presence of God Almighty.

He is the intensely Holy God of light and perfect righteousness, who Presented Himself in the holiest-of-all place in the temple i.e. e.g.David’s tabernacle, or temple of Solomon.

One of the things the preventative curtain/veil represents is the extremely antithetical nature of God in contradistinction to the nature of man. 

They must stay separated. If not – and we see this on a number of occasions in the Old Testament – God can only consume, judge and eradicate the carrier of sin, who ‘stumbles’ into His Presence. (e.g. I Samuel 6/19)

We do not have the slightest notion of how perfect God is and of how awful and despicable sin is to God.

I have tasted how sinful my own heart is in the Presence of God – on quite a few occasions.

And – but for the Grace and Mercy of God as the scripture says: Psalm 130:

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You.

There is no standing before Him. Thankfully there is a veil to keep us out!

However – and this is the good news: If God can find us righteous – we can go beyond the curtain and dwell in the Presence of God without the fear of destruction. But He can’t find our nature anything but sinful – that’s why He must IMPUTE righteousness to us, as a gift to be received or rejected.

That veil that keeps us out of God’s Presence, is taken away in Christ. Now all that remains is for us TO COME TO HIM, ASKING FOR MERCY.

Receiving Christ as our Saviour ‘enables’ God to find us IN His Son – He now sees that acceptable, holy and righteous nature is with us, which enables us to enter into His Presence without fear of retribution. 

Because we inherit a new nature, that takes away our sin, and makes us righteous in Christ, we can enter and dwell continuously in God’s Presence, – with us always – even to the end of our life or the world itself.

We become – by accepting Christ – righteous enough to enter the holiest of holies.

Those who do not accept Christ have a remaining veil over their minds, the veil of the sinful fleshly natural mind. That cuts us off from spiritually experiencing the Presence of God, or appreciating the bible.

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

The veil that separates us i.e. our own fleshly nature, our sinfulness, with all it’s tendencies, is no longer the irremovable obstacle that previously prevented us entering the Presence of God, and indeed His Person entering us.

So that every believer in Christ becomes a temple not made with hands, but one that allows God to dwell within.

Christ’s flesh on the cross, represented the destruction of all that separates us from God’s Presence. As His flesh was ripped so the veil in the temple at that time was rent in two at the same time:

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

The reality of the complete opposites, as found in God’s nature and ours – is never diminished. It never changes from being so. That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of The Holy Spirit is spirit.

THE BIGGEST TRUTH THAT MANKIND CANNOT GRASP when considering God – IS HOW COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DIFFERENT GOD’S HOLY NATURE IS IN COMPARISON TO MAN’S.

That’s why man can blaspheme, ridicule, accuse, mock and reject the God of the bible. He hasn’t a clue as to what he is doing in rejecting Christ.

He cannot grasp what all the fuss is about – when God corrects or punishes sin.

God is some big ogre who is out to condemn and bully mankind – is the perception of the unbeliever. He never stops to think that he is a sinner and deserving of punishment because of how ugly his nature is.

The same veil on his mind, the veil of unbelief also stops him seeing the love, mercy, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, life-giving, all-wise and forgiving God who wants to come and give us spiritual life and life more abundantly! The One who has made a way for the nature of sin to be replaced with His nature in our lives.

Acts 16/31

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”

Ambition…

Ambition

Any great ambition I had to sell my paintings, and perhaps earn a living from doing so, got lost along the way somewhere over the years.

The ambition wasn’t big enough in the first place, to drive me to do all that was necessary to achieve such a goal.

Borland’s outbuildings (wax crayon)

The bible talks about seeking first the kingdom of God. And as far as I was concerned there was no other option, than to gladly do so. So spiritual ministry priorities were put first.

Consequently an 8 to 5 job in a newspaper office took the place of these ambitions as the responsibility of raising a family also came first.

So to sell a painting now is the result of some kind of connection with other human beings.

Whereby they see some of my work and would like to have it.

I do not spread the work around as e.g. in galleries etc. like I used to do. So I’m pretty much, an unknown – sliding into ‘oblivion’, in the background somewhere.

If someone through this blog wanted to buy a piece of work, this would entail individual email communications and financial arrangements. And gladly the forming of some kind of relationship.

I have in other words no selling mechanism of pay pal and all the rest of it, necessary, if you are running a business.

Multi-talented (inks)

Sometimes my mind wanders to Van Gogh – a man who was on a spiritual quest and through the rocky road of life with its hurts and rejections – eventually found solace in his art.

As far as I can discern he lost his way spiritually, because in biblical language he sought God by works and not by faith.

It isn’t my intention to elaborate on such a statement in this post. I realise it is more complicated than my thesis might suggest.

But I do see in his life and can understand, why painting became his passion and means of self-absorption, and quest for achievement.

Even in his art he did not find the acceptance and praise he justly deserved.

I see life in that way, and am so thankful that I have found in Christ what I was looking for.

In the old hymn Be Thou My Vision we read these words:

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance through all of my days

Thou and Thou only though first in my heart

High king of heaven my treasure Thou art

That succinctly sums up how the loss of ambition doesn’t matter, when it is replaced by the Riches of Christ. It is Christ who satisfies, not only in this world but in the one to come.

There is a place for doing things well, for creativity, and for enjoying the communication of life through the arts.

A place for someone to have goals and resolutely set out to achieve them (provided others do not get trampled-on along the way.)

But there is a fine line between seeking man’s empty praise and appreciating the love that others give, that makes us feel worthwhile and satisfied that we have something to give, through our expressed talent.

Life poses the question: ‘Are you ultimately empty?’

Funny question?

Perhaps – but there is a spiritual vacuum inside each one of us. That can only be filled through a relationship with Christ. 

Realised ambitions will not take this vacuum away.

Apple Gluttons (w/colour/acrylic)

Prophesying today

PROPHESYING TODAY

It is dangerous to ‘generalise’ when we have limited information.

Limited information can cause a limited conclusion. A faulty judgement can therefore be made about a given scenario.

Jumping too quickly to conclusions.

However, in some situations in life, in extenuating circumstances, a decision needs to be taken quickly, because

of how a particular scenario will or might play-out and effect us personally.

This ‘deficient information factor’ makes that decision hard to make.

We do our best – and proceed to make the decision, even with inadequate information, because if it goes a certain way, it will perhaps effect us personally.

I would imagine those who deal in the stock market, find themselves in that situation daily (?).

It can be, that we may not have the time to make full enquiry. And our decision as a result can be a good one or a bad one – as time will usually tell.

We can best hope that by our necessary decision making, no one gets hurt or damaged, as we make the decision.

I’m thinking of how people resign from a particular position they occupy, in perhaps a company, a political party, a Medical Practice, a church etc.

Making their decision, but not basing it on full knowledge, sometimes just suspicion.

It is still true to say, that unless one undertakes a thorough comprehensive research study, our lack of information can cause us to form the wrong conclusions.

The Bible says in James 1/So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; . It’s easy to reverse this – speaking with limited knowledge and without proper discernment, and in self-righteous anger (quick to wrath), making wrong judgements.

Biblically we are exhorted in different ways to be careful about judging given situations or people. 

Some make the mistake of thinking we are never to judge anything. The bible doesn’t teach this – but it does call us to ‘judge righteously’ according to the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus said: John 7/

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The spirit in which we judge is also of paramount importance. Anger and bitterness in our hearts and we have judged wrongly already, and must hear ‘judge not that you be not judged’.

Matthew 7/ v1“Judge  not, that you be not judged.

It may seem now that I am about to change tack to a different subject, but that’s not what I am doing.

Because I am thinking of the discernment necessary and the full knowledge needed, of what is said – before judgements can be made in response to modern day prophetic utterance.

Prophecy in the bible in it’s basic definition is simply ‘inspired utterance’. Jesus spoke with supreme wisdom and perpetual inspiration/revelation. 

Those who penned the scriptures were given Grace of an unequalled kind. No one (as in ‘ordinary’ Christians) prophesying since the Apostles and prophets, chosen by Christ, will be given that same calibre of Grace. Therefore they will not speak as authoritatively.

That does not mean that someone with a true gift of prophecy (inspired utterance), will not speak with authority.

Just not of that particular unique kind that penned The Word of God.

The Bible cannot be added to, it remains perpetually in the hand of The Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever God sends it to accomplish. Isa. 55/

11 

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Whether this ‘accomplishing’ takes place in the individuals heart or in accomplishing the task of giving to mankind foreknowledge of the future, in prophesying what is to come.

But modern day, inspired utterance, still calls for men and women to be in touch with God.

We are exhorted to speak as the ‘oracles of God’.

1 Peter 4:11

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.

Some Christians live more incomplete lives than others, when they exclude from their experience the possible exercise of Spiritual Gifts, as found in I Corinthians chapter 12 etc..

Even those who believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and therefore accept the ‘manifestation of The Holy Spirit’ doctrinally, (another way of saying ‘the gifts of The Spirit’) – even so, may not fully manifest those gifts.

Certain cessationists dismiss the Gifts of The Holy Spirit – as not being for today.

If the manifestations of The Holy Spirit, are not taking place today – it is not because God has turned the tap off, or that such a thing is not possible, but rather for the reason, that  they are not sought for fully, or not allowed in the assembly of God’s people, usually as a result of cessationist theology or limited revelation/experience in the leadership.

The lack of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit may also be because of the ‘falling away’ that is happening on the earth and even in the churches. We read of a somewhat parallel time in the time of Samuel the prophet: 

I Samuel 3/1…And the word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open vision.

The gifts are not as manifest as in previous eras. (This can also be the result of how much there is – full or limited pursuing thereof): Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 

Those who accept the gifts, rightly so, as being for today – may not, however in practice, manifest them in the church.

Prophecy is for every member – we may all prophesy one by one.

All may speak ‘inspired utterances’.

These utterances of the spoken gifts are as follows – prophesy, speaking in different tongues and interpretation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge.

There are other gifts, or manifestations of The Holy Spirit, but the above are the spoken gifts.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

When it comes to prophesying – we are told: 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 

All prophesying’ does not make us all prophets.

A prophet is someone who has a proven track record in words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophesying by forth-telling or fore-telling.

The fruit of which gives help, direction and deliverance to the church.

It may entail foretelling, but must include:

 3 (But he who prophesies speaks)… edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

Except, on the rarer occasions when it can contain correction or rebuke, depending on the situation. Such correction should come from an established proven Prophetic ministry, that God has set in the church.

The rest of the church present, where a prophecy is given, are meant to engage in discerning if the prophecy is brought by The Holy Spirit and does not violate the principles of God’s Word.

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 

We must be careful to:

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Unfortunately some dismiss anything prophetic, when we are told we can all prophesy, (and the Word of God cannot be broken).

We must judge firstly the prophecy – and after this depending on the fruit in their lives – if need be – then the vessel who brought the prophecy.

If what they are – in themselves, clearly shows them to be false prophets, or carrying a wrong spirit, or disrupting and damaging the people of God, then they need to be subject to the sanction of the church.

But – and this brings me back to my original point – full or limited knowledge…

If a foretelling prophecy does not come to pass, being of a foretelling nature, the first thing to establish is – is it completely wrong? Genuine prophets can make mistakes, but this does not mean they are to be dismissed as charlatans.

To dismiss them out of hand, is to get the cart before the horse. We are to judge the prophecy, as to it’s correctness or otherwise. But if it is wrong, we should not automatically disqualify the prophet.

Unless he/she has a track record of damaging the church, causing confusion, and perhaps obtaining a ‘following’ through dishonest gain.

Titus 1:

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 

The Gifts or manifestations of – The Holy Spirit are for our profit as the Church. 

And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

There can be a lot of ‘hype’ in televised prophesying, especially in a certain country. But we need to see-through the hype and ask the question ‘Is this of God?” Secondly is this person a true servant of Christ – who loves The Lord.

Not easily or immediately discernible sometimes. But we must not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.

Regarding foretelling and not the less consequential type of prophesying, (edification, exhortation, and comfort), here is the safeguard:

Deuteronomy18

21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

There is both warnings for those who hear the prophetic word, in this passage:

 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

And for the prophet who prophesies:

20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

However these warnings aught to be heard in the light of the greater Covenant of The New Testament.

Bread and oil/water

BREAD AND OIL/WATER

Following on with the ‘dry bread’ theme. (See previous post). There is no doubt that we are all made-up intellectually of different stuff.

The same grey matter, but personalities and therefore preferences, as different as – the proverbial chalk and cheese.

This is another reason, it can be said, that we respond with differing perceptions of what is a ‘happy meal’ as opposed to what we dismiss as ‘dry/stale bread’.

When it comes to preaching – many Christians and possibly non-Christians, have different preferences, when it comes to the pulpit. 

For some, unless the preacher’s saliva reaches the first row of the congregation, it isn’t real preaching. 

Unless it is accompanied by the highs and lows of the organ accompaniment, it isn’t real preaching.

Unless sweat appears on brow and shirt – it isn’t the real thing.

A preacher reading his sermon is a ‘no no’ for those who prefer extemporaneous deliveries.

Conversely those who have a greater intellectual need to be informed – shun the ‘blood and thunder’ exhortative approach, wanting good theology instead.

I usually know ‘dry bread’ when I hear it. And I hope I can discern bread mixed with the welcome oil or water of the Holy Spirit.

I embrace most preach-‘expressions’ – I look to experience The Presence of God, I look for soundness in what is shared and I try to listen to God The Holy Spirit, – one ear on the preacher and one for what God wants to personally say to me.

The truth that sets free – is the bread I hunger for. I appreciate information that helps re-enforce the establishing of godly truth. Usually that is what the scholars provide through bible helps.

But – no biblical author ever wrote under the inspiration of Hebrew or Greek. Therefore we cannot truly learn that way either.

We need in other words the inspiration and revelation of the Holy Spirit Himself.

Lord help us to receive fresh manna and not dry bread. Help us to be in an intimate place with you where all the dryness of human endeavour will give way to the revelation of the Holy Spirit.