Category Archives: thought life

True disciples

TRUE DISCIPLES

John 8/31:-
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Christ Jesus is The Word – we must invite Him into our innermost person if we are to abide in Him, – His words abide in us, – and His life giving Holy Spirit is to occupy our innermost being.

So abide in the Word. Best to – read it consistently and often – for that ‘abiding in’ to take place.

Abide in the Word – better stay focussed on this word in order to live it. Allowing it to determine our thoughts, words, and deeds, that too is abiding in it.

Meditate on (not just read) – by so doing the word becomes inwardly digested and gives spiritual strength.

Disciple means learner. Keep reading/meditating, and by so doing, become enabled to- keep learning.

Not just a learner-disciple, but INDEED a true disciple – the real thing. A disciple indeed!

Learning the truth in the word we are abiding in – and the result of all of this – we get to know the truth and that truth sets us free.

A true learner who finds truth and true freedom in Christ the Word.

Imagination

Imagination

Somebody must have said at some time – somewhere – ‘that imagination is a wonderful thing’.

Brian Wilson writes – ‘It’s your imagination running wild…’

Where will it run to..?

Someone said: on a cold winter’s day: ‘My nose is running…’. Someone replied ‘well, run after it…’

Mankind is either lying down, walking or running in his psyche. Where is he ‘headed’? What is he headed for? Or what is he sleeping through?

Have you, too many things to be getting on with, to spare the time to think about, never mind answer, these questions? Bills to be paid, job to be kept, stuff to be hoarded or tended to, work to be done, family to raise and so on…

Imagination.

Imaginative new decor in the room you have just DIY’d. The story you made up on the spur of the moment, communicated to your child. It did the trick and they fell asleep during your bedside monologue, ad-libbing in your imagination.

Imagination.

Imagining life as it could be. Imagining what it would be like to live in France. Or castaway on an island in the Pacific. Imagining a different career.

Imagination, the stuff dreams are made of.

Surrealism – imagination as depicted by Dali.

The artist painting from imagination whilst forgetting about the rules of depiction. (As an artist – my favourite approach)

‘What an imaginative name to pick for your dog!’

Then there are those suffering from a delusional disorder, another kind of imagination.

‘Imagine…’ sang Mr. Lennon – inventing his own reality, producing  lyrics which partially at least, set aside true reality.

Out of the imagination comes good things and bad.

Consciousness goes on forever – liberated or bound.

Best to anchor imagination on solid ground.

The King James version of the bible uses the word imagine/imagination quite a lot.

It is usually not in a positive context. Positive like the way we would commend someone for a great poem, song, piece of art…etc.

The fact is the imagination – the reasoning power of man has been flawed in a strange way – in fact the fact – that man is able to sin naturally is in itself, a strange, but true, phenomenon.

Take any atrocity you care to think of and it is the result of this fallen nature/thought life/imagination of man.

There was a time when the imagination of man reached an all-time low. And God tells us:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Hard to comprehend this? Well if things can get worse – then it ain’t really hard. Things getting worse have to reach a place – an all time low place – if nothing checks the downward spiral.

Down down down. As I stop to think of some paintings I admire, or better still – take a long look at God’s handiwork in nature – I find it easy to consider the designer of it all.

But this imagination gone wrong into increasing moral chaos, must be arrested by God and His thoughts (The Bible), if man’s imagination can rise again.

If we allow ourselves to be ‘arrested’ by Jesus Christ, He will offer us His mind to replace ours. This is the truth – I’m not imagining it.

 

Impressionably irretrievably indelibly…

IMPRESSIONABLY

IRRETRIEVABLY INDELIBLY

Those were the days of my youth

You can’t change it

Turn yourself inside-out

And you can’t change it

The years have fallen like a pack of cards

And will not be put back in place

We have shuffled through time

And we find – ourselves

Emotionally –  irretrievably

Visiting our past

And gluing these memories

To six vinyl records, one old kaftan,

a bunch of magazines, a hippie hat

And a partridge in a pear tree

Long-grass ‘hippied’-through

With laughter

As the persistence of memory

In flights of fancy returns us to longing

And embracing of new faces

Time is the enemy that stops us

changing places with our by-gone’s

We can’t change this clock

The time in this watch is set

To go-off some place else

Other than fair memory-gatherings

Of moments of youth

Couched now in emotion’s hand

All generations have been similarly effected

And similarly are unable to retrieve

The experiences of the upside of life

It was all possible in those days

When music played its anthem to

Our manifesto of taste

And we – all-heads-together agreed

Speaking and talking the same language

This persistent movement of time

Will not allow us to return

Our wonderful days are gone

Our bodies creak with age

Our minds revisit but cannot visit

The days are gone

‘Things ain’t what they used to be’

But impact has been made

Indelible is the feelings returned to – 

These are the springs of youth

That linger in old age

The highlights of the journey

The best sought moments

Are the best thought moments

This is so strong – tight rope walking

Between hope and melancholy

Still we cannot reach the past

We cannot go back

Though back we would go

In a minute

If only we could

Our life consists of this

But shining brightest and

Strongest of life’s sum

Is what got – into us

First time round

When our teenage minds

Opened like flowers

to the possibilities of a new world

Always sought – but always gone

In a moment

Grasped – but slipping away

I can only tell you of what I have found

With feet firmly on the ground

Affections set on things above

Full provision for the journey is made

The past and the future

No longer memories to make

In the future eternal now

You search…

You search…

Someone shared a story with me, some time ago. I will probably get the details wrong, but remember one part of the story. I’m sure someone out there could relate the actual story better than I.

To summarise – it went something like this: Someone bought a piece of land and spent a number of years drilling for oil. All to no avail. So they gave up and sold the land.

A new owner, not long after the purchase, drilled once more and struck black gold, immediately.

Preacher’s could use the story to teach us to ‘never give up’. Others could tell us ‘anything worthwhile takes time and effort’. Yet another could bring out the truth ‘that we need to get below the surface and the obvious – to find the true riches of truth buried in the bible’.

I like that one best.

Proverbs 23/23: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The amplified version of the bible gives us this helpful footnote:

The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.

But it is possible to be taught the truth and ‘entertain’ it in our lives on a superficial level, rather than giving ourselves – to it – in prayerful meditation, so that we do not fit the category of those described by The Lord Jesus: 

John 5:38-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Such students find all kinds of truth on some level, but fail to realise that all scripture points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God – to be believed and received as the personification and embodiment of all of God’s truth, and indeed the Saviour of The World.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

All scripture points to the author who revealed it to the hearts of chosen men, who in turn penned it under God’s special visitation and influence.

But also it has the redemptive thread throughout it’s pages from Genesis to Revelation. And to search these books and fail to discover by a living encounter, that Christ is The Living Word, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – is to search and miss eternal life. 

Again Jesus said: You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;…’

The point being that this is not enough. But the true searching of the scriptures as God intended – is to encounter Christ:

‘and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

We must come to Him and not just the pages of the book to find eternal life – in/through the pages of the book.

Human effort

HUMAN EFFORT

As human beings our lives consist of three things:

Things we think, things we say, and things we do.

I don’t know of any others – do you? Things we see, hear and smell – yes.

But these – activate the mind or open the mouth or cause the response of action.

As we look back at our lives – have we thought some good thoughts, said some good things, or carried out some good deeds?

In my self-analysis mode – I’m afraid if it were left to me to judge my ‘performance’ in this, it would be of miniscule achievement. Judging by my perceived standard of ‘good’ that is.

‘Don’t be too hard on yourself.’ I hear that empathetic person say.

No? I’m not being too hard on myself. It’s just that the standard I have in mind I have only seen in one person. And I always fall short of His example. Fall short because I am still trying to give way to Him. I’m still learning how to let His life reign in me.

How much harder must it be for those who have not invited Him to be their friend and mentor.

Most who have glanced at this blog, know of whom I speak.

Here’s what He tells me: 

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

This completeness is achieved by accepting the gift of Himself. Free fellowship in spirit and truth.

I am complete, not because my thoughts, words and deeds satisfy, but because I have believed in the One who satisfies my desire to know His goodness and mercy. They shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in God’s house forever.

(Psalm 23/6)

The Cross

The Cross 

Matthew 10/34

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,

    a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

36 

    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Taken on face value this statement by The Lord Jesus Christ – is strange.

It might be wrongly concluded that He is a divider of families and friends. Out to break up homes and marriages etc.

But of course the sword referred to here, has to be the Word of God.

Hebrews 4/12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The dividing that takes place is the dividing of the spiritual from the natural. Those who want God’s right ways, and who stand on His Word – will find opposition from those who prefer the natural realm only. The realm of their own ways, rather than the Way of The Lord.

It is firstly a challenge to those who have already decided to go God’s spiritual way – when they encounter their own natural ways within themselves to begin with – and struggle with themselves never mind relatives.

The Sword of The Spirit of God pierces our own lives to cause us to turn to and embrace God’s superior ways.

But in the course of doing so – and increasingly so on the earth at this time – we will rub shoulders daily with those who prefer their own ways. Even amongst our families and closest relatives we will find them opposing this Word of God.

Consequently Jesus warns us beforehand that division will result.

Not because He is the author of such division – but as the author of all truth – the conflict arises and the division occurs because others will disagree with His ways, and therefore oppose those who stand for it.

How we need to be united as families. How we need to care for our families. The family unit is paramount in society, and it is being eroded constantly by the powers of darkness.

Nevertheless good versus evil, truth versus lies, and so on – and the call goes out: “who is on The Lord’s side…” (cpr. Joshua 24/15)

It will be that families will be divided by the differences in whom we choose to serve.

In the middle of what Paul is saying in Galatians chapter 5 – we pick out a short statement:

…Then the offence of the cross has ceased….

The cross is an offence to those who don’t want to know what it all means, choosing their own thinking above the Word of God.

Because they take offence at the preaching of the cross – they stand in opposition to it, and consequently to those who believe the message of the cross.

The message of the cross and all that it means, is the only salvation for mankind.

Stirring…

Stirring…

John 5:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralysed waiting for the MOVING OF THE water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool AND STIRRED UP THE WATER; Then whoever stepped in first, after THE STIRRING  of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.

I reckon it’s a blessed company of believers where we can’t get a word in edgeways!

By that I mean – the group, company, body of believers we belong to, have all something to share for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the church.

I Corinthians 14/30-32 tells us

30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can ALL PROPHESY one by one, that ALL MAY learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of [i]confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Notice the word ‘all’. All usually means all.

There’s a story of a man (see above) who lay by a pool – ill. Jesus arrived and the man communicated that he had no one to help him into the pool, where, at certain times special healings were allowed to happen. 

The man didn’t realise at the beginning, that the source of all healing was standing in front of him.

But he spoke of a ‘stirring of the waters’. In a meeting of God’s people there is/should be – a stirring of God in the midst. As we sense this, the whole company of believers can respond individually.

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were ENRICHED in everything by Him IN ALL UTTERANCE and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed [b]in you,

Notice in this company of believers, they were all enriched in ‘utterance’.

I am not a secessionist – I believe God still speaks prophetically in/to His church. All may prophesy, but not all have the office of a prophet.

There are two dangers with prophetic utterances:

1) In unbelief we can despise them by relegating them to the past, as though God couldn’t inspire us any longer. (I Thessalonians 5/20).

2) The other danger is to place too much importance on them and over-exaggerate their significance. Some have foolishly placed them on a par with the written revealed Scriptures of God.

We read in the incident I referred to (see John 5) that the man said: ‘while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Someone sensing the stirring – was getting in first.

Different to this man’s situation of missing out – if someone senses God’s stirring in the assembly – getting in first should be a joy, as we give place to one another, and receive that exhortation, edification and comfort through the ‘joints’ we make, as the body of Christ.

It is a healthy church, that hears from each member periodically. How often can depend on the number of people we are talking about.

That’s why house churches lend themselves to each one responding to the stirring of God.

Falling away on the earth or no falling away. Let us not believe for anything less than God working in us, His church – building us up by the gifts and fruits of The Holy Spirit, as we open our hearts to Him.

Family

FAMILY

As a young dad – comparatively so

I grabbed my girls and lifted them high

They enjoyed that – and so did I

Fun and games we three had

And then

I handed them back to mummy’s grasp

I did it – so quickly – she let out a gasp

“You can’t get out – you can’t get out!”

Was a favourite game – as I held them in armlock

Very gently – you understand – in pretence deadlock

They loved to escape and stand triumphant

As I continued with “you can’t get out!”

They laughed at dad because they had won the bout

In this age where natural affection for our kids

Is slipping away as parents fall-out

Join me in loving them to bits

Leave them without a shadow of a doubt

Sounds like…

Sounds like…

Once upon a time the cure was found.

But no one believed the doctor – so they all suffered-on.

The cure was stockpiled and left out for all to see.

A message went out: “come and partake of the cure”.

But no one believed it. All thought – it was madness with a multitude of reasons not to accept that it was true. So everybody died, except the doctor and his family.

Sounds like Noah and the ark?

Today the message is sat upon or ignored by ingenious methods. Reasoned away by the prideful intellect of man.

The cure of the gospel message is sent out – but…

What will you do with Jesus – the great physician?

Poetic Muse II

ALL SMALL

Doesn’t matter how big a man

Big bolstering impressive frames

 

Doesn’t matter a dicky bird what

A man might say

swinging ball and chains

Raising shoulders to ear line

Flexing muscles and gasping aloud

 

Doesn’t matter

No answer to be found

In his brain

 

‘Cause the final curtain to all must come

The stepping over – out of range

The hereafter beckons – the call goes out

We are leaving the planet there is no doubt

 

Big confident mentor to you

Whose got it together in mouth and tongue

Money in the bank – and having fun

 

Film star smile – and intellectual bent

Doesn’t matter – when it comes to – good-bye

Where’s he headed for – beyond the sky?

Big as King Kong – or dominant stance

Been round the world and back to France

 

Doesn’t matter if alcohol fuelled

Macho man or Mr. World

He’s as small as a bird –

a robin’s territory

may be his domain –

but ruling roosts is no gain –

when it comes to the departure lounge

 

You feel safe when he’s around

Sitting with your smile at his performing rant

You’d be like him – but admiration

says you can’t

Don’t put your trust in got-it-together-guys

They are as clueless as you –

why are you surprised?

 

So take note and remember the final line:

The shortness of our sparkly fuse

And start to ponder what we all have to lose

 

It’s time to take stock

(Have a vitamin C drink)

Men are less impressive than you think

 

So envy no one – be yourself

Accept your smallness on a day of grace

And you will find the answers

For what lies beyond outer space

Poetic Muse I

THE STREET IS NOT FOR SALE

The street is not for sale

Even though progress claimed it

Even though I left it

The street is not for sale

Even though I need the money

Even though it isn’t funny

The street is not for sale

It goes beyond the pale

Spiders, smells, and the odd snail

The street is not for sale

Best memories keep intact

You prise ‘em out with a jack

It’s all my front and all my back

My rearview and my heart-beat attack

My ancient recall and all

Reference to better times

Memory and emotion intertwine

The street is not for sale

It could have been somewhere else

A thousand streets in Paris or Rome

A back alley at the Picturedrome

A spontaneous sneeze before I leave

Taste the street at my feet

You can see now – why I think it’s neat

A special-any-old-asphalt surface

Always my purpose…

To return again and again – but

Times change – we move away

We have less to know and more to say

About the childhood street I do picture

It emerges at the end of my finger

Hung up on the wall

– pencil, pen and ink – fountain or ball

No price tag – not for sale

Price too high on the Richter scale

So –

The street is not for sale

  

Authority

AUTHORITY

The Son of God – Jesus Christ – walked and talked like no other (God) man.

Compared to the religious leaders of His day – ‘never man spoke like this man’ – because He talked as one who had authority. (John 7/46).

So did that mean the religious leaders – the Pharisees, Sadducees etc. – didn’t have authority? After all they were in positions of leadership.

Positions of leadership – but many of them, if not all, did not have the authority He had.

The authority with which Christ spoke, is divine authority.

That authority and power of God is not readily shared with men or women. There is no willy-nilly distribution of this power, given at random to whoever happens to be in leadership. Certainly not if only appointed by man.

God knows the hearts of men. And only the hearts that He knows are in love with Him, will He allow his authority and power of the authoritative Holy Spirit to dwell with or upon them.

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

The man who loves God we are told – is known of him

God knows us all. He knows exactly where we are-at in our relationship with Him. And He not only has the facts of our walk or lack of walk with Him.

But He knows how intimate our relationship is with Himself. He knows putting it simply – who really loves Him.

God cannot share His secret things with just anyone.

He cannot reveal all the intricacies of His plan for mankind and the unfolding of history to be played out before and after the Second Coming of Christ. It is all there, but hidden in the pages of the scriptures. And unless He chooses to reveal these things, we cannot know them.

In other words man cannot contain the infinite insight God has, because he (man) has not the capability within himself to be able to carry it.

Man’s nature cant comprehend the things of The Spirit of God. God however will reveal secret things to certain men and women. But it calls for an intimate relationship with God first, before He will unfold the things of His Spirit.

We talk of trusting God – but can God trust any of us?

God’s nature, His plans, His truth, His wisdom, His understanding of future events can only be partaken of, rather than owned 100%. Because man is not able to hear these things or handle them. It is too much for human flesh. And he can only know glimpses of the totality of God’s counsel.

Only those who have received Grace enough to enter into that deeper relationship – of loving God – will begin to have insight into the mysteries of God.

We (as true Christians) are allowed to partake of the divine nature of God. It is God the Holy Spirit who is the authority. And to receive Him into our lives as we accept Christ Jesus as Lord of all, is how we partake of His authority.

To as many as have received Him to them He gave this authority (power/right).

John 1/

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Amongst the things we could say about the ‘talking authority’ that He carried – is the fact that His words were perfect and pure. Pure in the sense that they were not contaminated by sin, not weakened by the flesh, not tinged with lying subtlety.

They were not just words of ‘theology’ but words spoken in demonstration of God’s power to heal and deliver.

These were the same words that He released before the world was fully formed, calling into being the planet as we know it.

Needless to say – He was not a man at that time of beginnings. But was in situ with His Father, as it is written –

He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

When He spoke 

Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

He was 100% different than anyone else who ever walked the planet.

Sinful man tried desperately to ‘catch Him out’ but His superior wisdom could not be successfully spoken against or resisted.

They tried to latch on to the  things that came out of His mouth, so that they might accuse Him falsely, or prove Him wrong or prove Him a deceiver, which of course He was accused of being.

When they could find nothing against Him – they had to start inventing things.

We have only an inkling of how perfectly Christ was able to judge a situation. The depth of His wisdom and knowledge is phenomenal. How perfectly He knew what was in men’s hearts and minds. Think of it – able to say the perfect word every time.

I stand back and marvel at this – and yet those who run from His light, preferring their own pride and self-righteousness – will still try to pick holes in His words, even today.

Matthew 22/

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”

So they brought Him a denarius.

20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”

21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.

You and I have our own lives. Our own stuff. It is in the power of our own choice – what to do with it.

(Of course some have had that privilege taken from them by tyrants of one kind or another e.g. people traffickers)

But as we hold fast to our own lives, free to make our own decisions, free to look after our own families. Will we in rendering to Caesar the things that are his, – and the government – the things that are their’s…

…Will we render to The King of kings and Lord or lords the things that are His?:

The worship He is due. The obedience we know He asks for. The love and honour due to His name?

Prayer – Lord help us to render to you as a Loving Saviour who moves in the authority of His love – the things that are yours. Let it be our hearts first, – that we give.