Category Archives: spiritual

Consisting of…

CONSISTING OF…

The Christian life consists of thought – word – deed – spiritual experience – and doctrine. (No particular order intended).

Spiritual experience – John 3/

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

– Acts 2/

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Thought – II Corinthians 10/

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

Word – Colossians 3/

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Deed – John 3/

21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Doctrine – Titus 1/

9 …holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

All the above is sound medicine incorporating the nature of God.

Incorporating God’s ways, (doctrines) and the fact that in thought, word, and deed, He wants  human beings to experience Him in their lives, He will come to you and I, by invitation only, as we remember that…

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

(Hebrews 13)

What’s it really about?

What’s it really about?

You might call this a poem – but I doubt that it is.🤔

In the culture I have grown-up in, this ‘list’ might have more application than in other cultures. Nevertheless it’s remarkable how many people get it wrong, when it comes to knowing what Christianity is really about.

You think it is all about good works

Or not drinking

Or not gambling

Or stiff-upper-lipness

Or stiff collars

Or “never never on a Sunday…a Sunday…”

Or giving your money – ‘in’

Or being controlled

Or getting a good scolding

Or wearing your ‘Sunday best’

Or pointing the finger of gossip

Or not smiling

Or wearing hats

Or not dancing

Or not listening to secular music

Or judging others only

Or being supremely better than others

Or not using electricity or modern goods

Or playing with snakes

Or not watching TV

Or…

All this proving you don’t know what it’s really all about.

Milk and Meat

MEAT AND MILK

When the scripture refers to milk or meat in the context of doctrine or simply truth, what is God telling us?

Some might think that this refers to education or the lack of it.

But if it is education, it is of a spiritual kind.

Progress in the Christian life must come directly from God Himself.

Who would deny for one minute that the names known by most as stalwarts in the faith such as Finney, Wesley, Khulman, Graham, Muller, Bonhoeffer, Spurgeon, Nee, and so on…

(some will subtract here or add – there is a lot of opinions always present amongst Christians),

…were mature ‘meat’ lovers.

Let’s turn to the verse where we find these terms:

Hebrews 5:13-14

13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The King James uses the term ‘Strong meat’ and as you can see above, the NKJ gives us SOLID FOOD.

I think this helps paint a better picture for us. Because immediately we can think of babies fed at the breast or with milk from a bottle. They haven’t moved on to solids yet.

Firstly though let’s establish the fact that there is only one kind of food. 

Matthew 4/4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

So whether milk or solid food – we cannot stay alive spiritually without the milk of The Word. Or the solid food of The Word. But it is the same food (or menu!)

You are reading this blog post, I’m glad you are. But let me assure you that the red letter verses herein, will feed you in a far better way than anything I say about them.

So if you abandon this post and turn to and open, your bible – heh! You can’t go wrong!

Are you still here?

So what’s the difference between the milk and the solid food?

In my view, spiritual experience and experiences, is the answer.

Paul the apostle was a well accomplished individual in his religion – in many ways surpassing his peers:

Galatians 1/14

And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

But he was spiritually blind. A head full of knowledge but his experience was limited and religious.

Until one day he ran out of steam fighting his conscience and he experienced/encountered the Living Christ on a road to Damascus. (Acts 9)

There and subsequently, he came to visions and revelations of The Lord. (II Corinthians 12/1).

He used his ‘spiritual faculties’ – serving God with his spirit in the Gospel, from that day onwards. (Romans 1/9)

He was changed and transformed by the working of The Holy Spirit in his life. Finding that spiritual things were spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2/14)

He advanced, just as he had advanced in the Jewish ‘religion’, so that all that he had learned at the foot of the scholars of his day, gave way to all that he learned at the feet of Jesus. (Acts 22/3)

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself learned all from His Heavenly Father, not from the local rabbis. Yes he conversed with them, but did not travel the accepted route to ‘the meat’ school. (John 7/16) 

It was His intimacy with The Father that was His place of schooling as a man.

John 7/15

And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”

That’s the great challenge for all Christians, namely intimacy with God. In that place of communion our senses are more and more exercised to discern…

Inner development is the result of communion with The Father, responding to His revelation, growing stronger in spirit, eating His Word, developing our spiritual senses, as we more deeply know, what we might even have known before. That is going from milk to meat.

It is a challenge to be malleable in God’s hand, to seek greater intimacy and to respond daily to His developing hand in our lives.

Lord please give us grace.

Contending…

CONTENDING…

Jude 1

2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

You will notice I have highlighted a phrase in bold type. What does it mean?

You ask me – and I will ask you – and we can both ask God what it means.

A lot of preachers/teachers will reach now for the greek lexicon or seek, by whatever means, to understand the original words.

Let’s instead, look at the phrase in different bible translations:

fight for the faith…

defend the faith…

fight hard for the faith…

continue your fight for the Christian faith…

put up a real fight for the faith…

earnestly persevere in the faith…

stoutly defend the truth…

carry on the struggle for the faith…

to hold very strongly to what you do believe…

strive strongly for the faith…

to agonize for the faith…

Well – does that help us grasp what this means?

Seems to me there is no simple thought that sums up, all that is contained or built-into this exhortation from the writer Jude.

There is more involved in ‘contending earnestly for the faith’ than just one thing. And I hazard a guess that this post will touch on but a few.

I observe that in America (USA) there is a ‘movement’ that calls for the return to the principles that America was founded on. In a nutshell summed up in the word ‘Freedom’.

Many of the actions of those who contend for this return, give us one possible definition we may or may not want to embrace, as an example of ‘contending for the faith’ (?)

The greatest challenge in contending for the faith, once delivered to the saints, is to move in God’s anointing in all that we think, say and do. A tall order in light of our wayward contrary natures.

It is possible whilst contending for the faith to grieve or quench The Holy Spirit. How? By allowing that which is of the flesh to get the upper hand, so that abruptness, rudeness, anger and eventually resentment and bitterness takes us into a different kind of ‘contending’ or ‘contention’.

So that we are no longer contending in a godly manner.

But to know the difference between warring according to the flesh or according to The Spirit – whilst taking our faith into the public arena – can be a lost art. (II Corinthians 10/3, 4) (Ephesians 6)

Jesus was daily involved in highlighting behaviour. Good behaviour and bad behaviour.

Laying out in His sermons all that pertained to acceptable behaviour in the sight of God. Thus doing He was contending for the faith.

Some of this behaviour he addressed, was within a political or secular environment/background. So in that sense it could be suggested that as salt and light we should enter the political or media realm to put forth the righteous principles of Christ and therefore by so doing – contend for the faith.

(I am not an American – but a Northern Irishman) – and I have seen in my country, things done in the name of religion which for me have nothing to do with contending for the faith. Yet they are – in some people’s perceptions – exactly that.

Very quickly – if we stand with political activists who (perhaps on certain topics) contend for the tenets of scripture – we get pigeon-holed and branded with all the other policies they hold – which we may not want anything to do with.

So it’s a difficult mix – faith, principles of righteousness and political stances.

Proper contending for the faith I believe, is summed up in the words of Paul the apostle:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

If we read-on-into the rest of the verses, we started with, Jude is obviously telling the believers that a mix of doctrinal error and lies are to be addressed and counter-acted with the unadulterated truth of God. 

This is contending for the faith, because faith comes by and stays by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10/17)

Jude also covers the subject of sin and sinful men in the church. Contending for the faith then, is becoming aware of the behaviour that can creep into the company of God’s people, which is contrary to the behaviour of Christ The Lord.

A watchful eye therefore is called for, by leadership, and everybody else, to enable the people to keep to the faith, and the uprightness required.

So – contending for the faith is holding to sound doctrine. And adhering to the great foundational truths once delivered to the saints, and – experientially walking in The Spirit. (Romans 8/1, 4)

Living like Jesus is contending for the faith. Glorifying God in our body and spirit is contending for the faith. (I Cor. 6/20)

Entering in to spiritual warfare in the enablement of God is contending for the faith. (Ephesians 6/12)

Intercession in prayer – is contending for the faith.

Punching someone on the nose for not following us – is…

You spotted the deliberate mistake, right?

The Crowd v The Individual

THE CROWD v THE INDIVIDUAL

Daniel 6:15-17

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

There are many examples throughout history of the crowd versus the individual. Many times the individual has been wrongly treated, mis-judged, wrongly accused, misunderstood and so on.

To mention a few, we could look at: Joseph by his brothers, Lot by the Sodomites, Samson by the Philistines, Paul by the Jews…

There are many examples, but in the New Testament:

We think of Stephen the martyr, preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, that brought him a stoning at the hands of those (the crowd) who wanted to shut their ears to this truth. (Acts 7/57-59).

We think of course, of The Lord Jesus Christ the ultimate example in His sinless perfection suffering at the hands of mankind (the crowd).

The great irony in the case of The Lord, was the fact that though he was taken and crucified by the free-will choices of many – it all played into God’s ordained plan. In the sense that His wisdom and prescience, decided that as man would do this – it would be the very thing that would liberate man from the dominion of sin and eternal separation from God.

It was God giving Himself to meet His own requirements for an eternally efficacious sacrifice for sin.

There is always an inconclusive tension between man’s free will choices and God sovereignly ordaining that certain things should come to pass.

It is of course, the age-old theological debate that will always end in us knowing IN PART.

Whereas for God the knowledge of how this works is, as they say, ‘A breeze’.

Being convinced of the personality, character and deeply benevolent heart of Our Heavenly Father – we ought to prove it, by believing Him even when we don’t understand.

We shall not understand eternal matters fully until fully in eternity.

Daniel was thrown to the lions – the crowd had decided he must be – and used a ‘politically correct’ decree to see him put there.

We are not told what was going on internally with Daniel, as he ventured into that den to face the lions.

The devil since then and before, walks about like a roaring lion…

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Notice the good advice given to prevent his unseen, but real presence, having sway over us – Be sober, be vigilant…

We are to keep a proper watch over our minds as we yield to God – this keeps us insulated from the devourer, as we remain fixed on The Lord. (James 4/7).

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4/4)

Darius wasn’t keen, to say the least, that Daniel should be put as a pigeon amongst the cats, but a law and it’s unrighteous application to Daniel’s case prevented Darius from freeing Daniel.

It was nothing short of a miracle that Daniel was not devoured by the hungry beasts.

Darius issued a decree that ‘he only should be worshipped’ – that’s what it boiled down to.

And his word once written could not be altered.

It’s wonderful to know that if a sinful human king had to keep the word he had written, how much more is the Word of our Heavenly Father, The King of Glory, written forever and cannot be broken. (John 10/35)

He has promised Eternal Life to those who repent and believe and His word cannot be broken – it is decreed forever.

God’s Word is not some whimsical law written to re-enforce God’s ego (He doesn’t have a sinful ego). It is the Word of God that shall never pass away. (Matthew 24/35)

The result of Daniel’s innocence was that the angel of God shut the mouths of the lions. 

And in case we think they had their teeth removed before Daniel got there, here is the result when the false accusers, were subsequently cast into the den by the same King who, as a result of seeing Daniel’s survival – had a demonstration of the power of God Almighty shown to him.

And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

If we read the whole chapter and more, we will discover, as with the whole Word of God, many lessons both for this life and the next.

The crowd versus Daniel – when the crowd seems to win. In the crucifixion of The Lord Jesus, when the crowd seems to win. In the life of Stephen the martyr when the crowd seems to win.

When in actual fact the victors in all three examples is Stephen, Daniel and The Lord Jesus Christ – simply because the eternal purposes of God had been served.

So that whether deliverance in this world – Daniel.

Or deliverance for the next – Stephen.

They both were winners through The One who conquered the crowd’s inflicted crucifixion – demonstrating deliverance in this life, (returning from the dead), whilst releasing the gift of eternal life to all who would believe, thus serving that eternal purpose of God.

Zechariah 3/

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

At the right time

AT THE RIGHT TIME

For those of us who have been travelling the narrow way that leads to life eternal, and are familiar with all things Christian, know what it is, to sit under – or to give – sermons.

There are all kinds of different approaches to sermonising – sermons in series, prophetic words straight from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration for the moment, Systematic sermons on a given subject, book-study sermons – where e.g. an epistle is expounded from start to finish.

But here’s a word about The Word. It’s found in Proverbs 15/

23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

There is no expounded word for you like the word that comes at the right time.

Perhaps you are going through a time of trouble. Perhaps you are deliberating over a particular decision you hope to make. Perhaps you are downhearted and feeling disappointed. Perhaps you are struggling due to physical infirmities. Perhaps you have been attacked verbally or otherwise by the insensitive and uncaring. Perhaps you are struggling to understand life, or people, or indeed the Bible itself.

Well, God can quicken (make alive) inside you the very Word you need to hear.

Jesus said:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

That’s the word you need in the situations mentioned above.

When God quickens His Word to us – it will always set the Christian Free. Even when He corrects us it is given to set us free – free from the mistakes and free from the condemnation of the mistakes we all make.

So, much as we can continue to appreciate the expounding of God’s Word generally – we must always remember to look for the word – (amidst the Preacher’s word and all he is saying), – that is a ‘word in season’ for you. 

Even if you forget the rest of the sermon but walk away with what The Holy Spirit speaks into your life – the sermon has been worthwhile.

A word such as this, that reaches to the very core of your being, is once again God Himself speaking to you.

We cannot live by bread alone as Christians. We need the Word of God quickened in such a fashion.

How good it is to receive this 

word spoken in due season, how good is it!

Following…

FOLLOWING…

As we are growing up and travelling through life – we look up to, and follow (in whatever way) – certain individuals, usually ones that we admire.

Mentors, those in authority over us, parents. But also those hailed as heroes, (perhaps in our own peer group), are often looked-up-too.

Successful athletes would be an example, as borne out by the aftermath of the Olympic Games.

Young teenagers imitate the behaviour of footballers, as they argue with referees or get into scraps with the opposition players.

Paul the apostle exhorts the people:

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

This ‘following’ referred to, could mean various things.

Wherever Christ is going – you follow Him and go there too.

Whatever behaviour Christ engages in, – you follow – you do the same.

Or like the first disciples when people were looking for Jesus, the disciples indicated the inquirers should follow them as they led them to Him.

20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

On this particular occasion we are not told if Jesus addressed the Greeks, or if they were in earshot of the next words He said. But if you follow real disciples today, they will lead you to Jesus.

Also as we listen to others expounding the Word of God, we have the opportunity, if what they say agrees with the Bible – to rise up and obey the instruction – this is also following them, and what they teach, in some cases, until you find Jesus for yourself.

Contentment

CONTENTMENT

1 Timothy 6:6

Now godliness with contentment is great gain…

Godliness produces many spiritual fruits in our lives. If we follow Christ and He enables us to reach a godly lifestyle reflecting the Person and characteristics of Our Loving Saviour then one of those fruits can be a deep contentment.

In the Old Testament when the people of God, the Israelites, where walking in a godly manner – they were under the cloud by day and the fire by night. (This refers to the Presence of God visible in this way).

In so walking correctly they were content.

When discontentment enters into our lives either through sin, unbelief, or adverse circumstances – it can be difficult to enter into contentment again.

Sometimes discontentment can lead us to many wrong choices and actions – discontentment in thought word or deed.

I have always liked the saying (as we say: ‘That old chestnut…’) – ‘I’M SATISFIED WITH A DIS-SATISFIED SATISFACTION.’

I have always considered myself a discontented kind of human being. Even when I achieve something successfully – I’m already looking for the next thing that needs achieved.

Failing to take the time to enjoy the sense of accomplishment, in the first place.

I do know this, that when the scripture ties these two together (i.e. Godliness and contentment) – it does so with purposefulness and intent.

Reaching Godliness and the heart is content. In fact nothing will produce lasting contentment apart from a living relationship with God Himself.

All subsequent discontentment that we allow to creep back into our lives, must be brought to Him and He will give us peace again.

Here are some scriptures that reference contentment or lack of it.

Jesus giving advice to Roman soldiers:

“Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Paul the apostle speaking:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I would suggest the secret he refers to is a walk with Christ and the Godliness it gives.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Strength is the second part of the ‘secret’. Strength from God that produces godliness and therefore contentment.

Conversely – It can be a clear sign that God is influencing you if you are a non-Christian – if you enter an emotional state you can’t quite define.

God strives with men, until the discontentment we feel as a result brings us to the realisation that we are in need of Christ as Saviour and Lord. This is a kind of discontentment to do with a convicted conscience.

Finally God says:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

He has to be with us in the first place before He will never leave us 

– But maybe you have already asked Him into your life?

The Mood Factor

THE MOOD FACTOR

Dunseverick – watercolour by Ken Riddles 

One of the aspects of art appreciation that is overlooked, is the ‘mood’ aspect.

What ? – Moody landscapes do you mean? 

No. I’m referring to the emotional state of artist and viewers alike.

It is difficult nay, perhaps for some folks, we could say, almost impossible to trace the origins or cause of mood swings.

We enthusiastically buy a piece of art. “Just love it!” Is the exclaimed conclusion when the money has been paid and it hangs on the living room wall.

But a year later they have a bad day and go ‘off-it’ completely, and set about to find a way of ridding themselves of the piece.

What do you mean that never happens? 

Really?

I remember sadly, that a friend of mine bought a painting I created,  entitled (I think?) ‘Couple’. It was a semi-abstract of two figures hand in hand.

She bought it for her fiancee, as an engagement present, owned by both as they entered marriage.

Unfortunately she had been duped and the partner wasn’t what he presented himself to be and the marriage ended.

She could no longer appreciate the painting and gave it away. A rather extreme example of how our subjective experiences can turn our emotional appreciation away from a formerly appreciated object.

I’m only too willing to concede also, however, that some pieces of art stay in favour throughout the life of the person who possesses it/them. Their daily experiences – good or bad – high or low – do not affect their intellectual and emotional attachment to the work.

I guess that is the ideal scenario, I’m just not convinced it is always the case.

Everyone likes a change. That’s why we RE-decorate our rooms.

As a painter I have moments of joy over what I have produced but I must confess it is sometimes short lived.

Fortunately there are works I do not want to part with. But not many.

As Christians we are not meant to live by our ‘moods’, as in –  only setting ourselves to please God, when we ‘feel’ like it. But to suggest we are not all subjectively motivated some of the time, would be unrealistic.

However, if The Lord Jesus had acted only on ‘nice or good feelings’, He would never have gone to the cross.

That’s where the will of God ‘kicks in’ for the Christian. Doing things because they are right, not because we feel right.

I certainly do not claim mastery in this sphere – only that The Master (Jesus), provides the help I need.

However in these considerations, and as part of this discussion is about art, we must also allow for the fluctuation of ambiguous artistic feeling. 

When an artist places his next mark on the paper, guided by an inner knowing and decision making mechanism, this can be referred to as ‘intuition’.

Put simply – an example would be – illustrated by the utterance: ‘I feel it needs something red down here…’

What do you mean ‘I feel it needs…?’

Explain that one…

There is no doubt we are all subject to whimsical feelings when it comes to taste. We get tired of always looking at or listening to the same thing. It is just part of human nature.

So I realise when it comes to my own art that those who have purchased or been gifted with my paintings may get tired of them.

The artist shouldn’t get too offended by this.

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life is self-control.

Therefore that effects all our decision making. 

In that – we are to know ourselves, and ‘collate’ our thoughts in the Presence of God.

This leads to God’s Peace being arbitrator between what is acceptable and unacceptable (Colossians 3/15).

No Christian gets this correct all of the time, but when we don’t – we run back to God for His understanding forgiveness – He understands that we are sheep that too easily go astray.

So by all means enjoy being a human being – allowed to have likes and dislikes, our own ‘taste’ buds – our individual emotional responses to the sight of the eyes.

But art dealer ‘Joe Bloggs’ having an off-day (or mood swing) and as a result rejecting your art – should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Self-control wins the day as something to aspire to. An emotional roller-coaster life, and – the car gets so out of control it heads for a crash.

Galatians 5/

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The Last Jump

THE LAST JUMP

Something can mean a lot to an individual or to a lot of individuals.

In western society it is still (more or less accepted) that all are free to like or dislike, agree or disagree, live together in the same society even though poles apart in opinion. It is taken as a given, that taste is down to the individual. 

Certain individuals are ‘thrown’ together because their tastes match.

Opinions on all subjects vary, but when they coincide and an opinion extends beyond the singular, – groups are formed.

The forming of political parties, or sports clubs, or art societies, or golf clubs, or… and so on and so on.

All these groups of individuals who hold to one common opinion or pursuit, are together adhering to a common manifesto.

Some agree that ‘majority rules ok’ is to be embraced as a rule of thumb. Hindsight they say is a wonderful thing. The Nazi Party became the ruling majority. It wasn’t a good thing.

Dictatorships destroy this commonly held belief in freedom, or so it is commonly held to be the case.

Where am I going with all this?

Inner freedom is exactly that – something inside the individual. One can live in a ‘free’ society, and yet be bound-up inside.

Bound by fear, discouragement, shyness, bound to a particular habit, bound by duty, circumstance, bound (by financial considerations) to a given means of employment, bound by sin.

Inner freedom is to do with the mind and heart of every individual.

The bible in Hebrews 2/15 talks of those who 

…through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives.

Death is the ultimate border to cross. The final experience to be had. The final valley to be gone through. For many this thought of death brings bondage rather than freedom. 

The thought of death for many produces slavery to fear, the fear of the unknown, in the minds of many, as described in this scripture (above).

For the Christian(s) individually and corporately – death as it is for everyone else, can be likened to a metaphorical jump from an aeroplane – the only difference being the Christian has a parachute.

1 Corinthians 15:53-55

53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 

“Where, O death, is your victory?

    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we encounter The Christ of God in this life – and experience His Life-giving Holy Spirit – then we can be assured that there is more of the same to come, as Christ promises to be with us always – into eternity.

II Corinthians 5/5

Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].

Spare a Prayer?

SPARE A PRAYER?

There are innumerous ways of looking at the subject and idea of prayer.

There is what is commonly known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (Matthew 6/9-).This can be repeated or enacted in an emergency, at moments of desperation.

It can be vain repetition with no faith or proper understanding and yet because it is so powerful – being The Word of God – as it is, that God might surprise you and step in to answer it – even though you don’t know what you are doing, having never prayed before.

The atheist is going to experience many human dilemmas where ‘vain is the help of man’. Where many situations expose clearly their inadequacy that comes rushing to the fore.

Situations where he/she reaches rock bottom, their faith in unbelief, crumbles and they cry out: ‘God help me!”.

I consider that I have experienced many ‘variations on the theme’ of prayer.

There is the zealousness-of-youth kind of praying – fervent and loud.

There is the spiritual experience(s) aspect of prayer where you can experience God taking over and praying through you. (Romans 8/26).

There is the ‘in quietness and confidence’ kind of prayer where the believer waits on God, sensing His Presence.

There is the entering into a burden kind of praying – where we release the concern and burden we carry – back to God.

There is the God-consciousness kind of praying that can be a 24/7 walk with God. (Galatians 5/16).

There is the ‘praying without ceasing’ kind of praying where we commune with God continuously, perhaps at a time of crisis.

(I Thessalonians 5/17)

Someone once said it isn’t the long prayer, or the loud prayer that is effective – but the prayer of faith.

And in this short post, I have only scratched the surface of the subject of prayer.

The honest prayer has to take priority and is the foundational pre-requisite for successful praying.

Look up the full story of an honest gentleman in need, and how honestly he addressed The Saviour:

Mark 9:24

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Seek

SEEK

I’m assuming I am the exception that proves the rule.

To what do you refer ‘young man’?

Well, I am not a prolific reader. I am not as they say: ‘Well read’. I have not read a novel in many many years.

I read the Word of God daily of course and know what it is to saturate myself in it’s life-changing power. 

I read also the odd Christian ‘theology’ book, and I also used to read books on art regularly.

I of course read the odd blog post also. 😎

But – I write a lot – I write and leave it aside for future scrutiny and don’t always get back to giving it that scrutiny.

Usually writers are good readers right? That’s the exception I speak of.

I do love words, however. Putting them together in new ways. Playing with words. Poetry – I like to keep an enigmatic element to some of it. Like my approach to art (as in painting) – I like to invent – and have fun.

But when I write on Christian teaching – I am obliged to be as clear as I can. Knowing that, regardless of how clearly I speak the truth – it will not always be understood.

The Lord Jesus had the same problem:

50 …But they did not understand what he was saying to them…

That’s how it can be with the things of God.

Everyone should ask themselves if they have searched enough, in the scriptures, to find out it’s true meaning. It is an exercise no one can do for you.

The exhortation to ‘search the scriptures’, can be either ignored, dismissed as being religiously incoherent, responded to with minds that are already made up being filled with everything that contradicts what the Bible says – or you can make such a search a long term prospect – it’s up to you.

But be assured:

…seek and you will find;