Category Archives: thought life

Spiritual Matters

SPIRITUAL MATTERS

When it comes to Divine matters, like a soaking cloth eventually wrung out to stiff dryness, we are comparatively barren in spiritual knowledge.

If someone tells us the message of the gospel – that message, if we get well into it, talks of things that are not easily understood. Not because the person doesn’t use plain English (or Greek?) when sharing the message, but because of the content of the message and it’s deeply spiritual nature.

Concerning Paul the Apostle we read:

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

One of the lessons from this is that, when we have questions we can’t answer, or see injustice in the world we don’t understand, – we must not blame the God of the Bible. The ‘untaught and unstable…’ can (to their own detriment) in their spiritual ignorance foolishly accuse the God of the Universe wrongly.

Our lack of true spiritual insight poses a dilemma. Not only to be faced by the, as yet, unbeliever, but also by the believer, who is also limited in his revelation of these deeply spiritual matters.

We talk of short attention spans in children. But it’s the same for adults. And especially in matters of a spiritual nature, spiritual attention span can be lost quickly.

The disciples of Jesus had been there and bought the T-shirt regarding the supernatural feeding of thousands, but failing again to understand The Lord, they illicit His response, and He said: Matthew 16/

Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

They had experienced the supernatural, but quickly losed the reality of it.

Life is either too busy – or offering all kinds of things, to distract us, and we initially would prefer these things over spiritual truth and experience.

No man we are told in the Bible – straightaway desires the new wine of God, for he says that the old is better. Wine can be a metaphor for various things, keeping it simple – let’s say in this context – it is spiritual matters. (K.J.V – Luke 5/39: No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better).

We do not warm immediately to spiritual matters. There are hurdles we need to jump, hurdles of sin and unbelief, before we start to get to the finishing line and receive the prize of spiritual revelation. This cannot be done except with Christ’s help, help we must ask for.

It is true that we can mentally comprehend truth up to a point – even spiritual truth as in understanding the things of God. But this is a limited understanding.

We can liken this to reading the authors book without meeting the author, and therefore failing to get a developed insight into the story, by getting first hand knowledge straight as they say – from the horses mouth.

This conversation and the getting to know of the author adds greatly to the understanding we have of his work.

Comprehending The Lord Jesus Christ as The Son of The Living God – is a revelation.

Jesus told Peter and therefore us, that God the Father Himself, had enlightened Peter to the fact that regardless of who other men said Jesus was, Peter had received a revelation that this was indeed the Son of the Living God, the Christ, the Messiah.

K.J.V – Matthew 16/17: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

John in the book of Revelation received the book ‘…in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.’ (Revelation 1/10)

The book is entitled Revelation and spiritual revelation is needed to understand it.

Men love to debate doctrinal issues, and intellects vie for pre-eminence.

However the things of The Spirit of God, knows no man, except for The Spirit of God who lives within him, (He either does or doesn’t live in us, depending on whether we choose God’s offered gift of salvation in Christ, or sadly reject it). (I Corinthians 2/10-12).

Only The Holy Spirit of The Living God can open our eyes to spiritual matters. Only He can enlighten us to the meaning and application of Holy Writ.

Every Christian especially those who teach the Word of God, must periodically examine themselves, to see if they are becoming more dependent on their concordances and commentaries, rather than the sought help of God.

The bible, when it comes to the recipients of spiritual teaching, refers to babes, young men, sons, fathers, wives and so on.

Just as there is growth from the womb to maturity in the natural, so it is in the spiritual life.

It is possible for a yielded vessel of what man might consider a lesser intellect, to actually walk in greater revelation than those of superior natural education and intellectual prowess.

Paul (a man of good/great intellect) refers to those who are the called of Christ: 

For ye see in your calling, brethren, how not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

Notice the key expression here: wise men ‘…according to the flesh…’

In other words those who have strong natural abilities of intellect and perhaps educated understanding, are not automatically superior when it comes to spiritual understanding.

Often those intellectually capable beyond their fellows, can inform us beneficially regarding the ‘about’ of Christianity. 

Helping us through Greek or Hebrew scholarship or historic research to grasp an expanded view of words, or the culture of a given time. But this is only beneficial when we have first received spiritual insight, as given by God Himself.

Scholarship helps re-enforce any revelation we have received, but revelation is not dependent upon it.

The opposite is true also, that those with good or great intellectual capacity are not excluded either, if their intellect goes through the dealings and/or purgings of God, as He strips them of self-dependence, self-reliance, when it comes to spiritual matters.

Some of the men used of God to see Revival were men who knew God. They had intellectual ability. But they recognised their dependance on The Lord God, they knew the reality of the scripture that says:

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. Amen.

Paul counted everything he had gained with his natural ability, as rubbish, in exchange for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, that flesh and blood had not taught him. (King James version):

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

He also tells us of how dependent he was on God’s revelation:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Conversely the gospel message in essence is simple. It has to be – in order to be understood by all men, so called high or low.

But the key to all spiritual understanding, is the influence of God upon the mind of the person hearing the message. 

When God ‘gets on your case’, though we do not straight away desire the ‘new wine’ He offers, His patience and long-suffering causes Him to continue to speak to us through His ordained means, namely the preaching of the gospel.

But the deep things of God, if they are to be revealed to us – must come as The Holy Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. (I Corinthians 2/10)

The regenerated spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, and in the human spirit, God works to reveal Christ and His knowledge to us, but always in harmony and accord with The Holy Bible. (Proverbs 20/27)

So the human spirit receives light, of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4/6).

If you have not yet grasped or received the spiritual revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and received Him as Lord and Saviour. Start by asking for His help.

If you are a babe in Christ, a ‘teenager’ in spiritual years, or a mature follower of Christ – be reminded, as I remind myself, that we really need God’s enablement, if we are to progress in our spiritual life.

Let’s unitedly ask for His help as the body of Christ, the church, on the earth.

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Mis-Non-communication

Mis-Non-communication

I have been reflecting again on the communication dilemma that besets mankind.

Mankind is greatly handicapped when it comes to understanding his fellow man/woman.

I believe – that man is born with sin ingrained in his nature. And although it’s somewhat of a mystery, it is clearly seen by it’s fruits of death. It greatly effects his ability to discern and judge properly.

I realise that not everyone takes that view.

Let me start by being overly-simplistic in my illustrations of what I would like to share in this post.

The number 4 – is what I mean. But you think I mean four. And someone else thinks I mean IV.

The same thing only different?

I saw a beautiful blue sky the other day – I meant cerulean but you thought I meant ultramarine.

Two friends sitting conversing, while the radio weather forecast is being shared. One friend heard: ‘Mist or fog will descend…’

The other friend was aghast at the weatherman treating us as children in sharing the forecast:

“Imagine…” she said – “referring to Fog as ‘Mister’…”

I speak of the resurrection of the dead, a fundamental belief in the Christian Faith – but you read into my statement – the idea of coming back from the dead as in re-incarnation, something I do not believe in. You have misunderstood my words.

I talk of freedom of spirit – you think I mean a so called: ‘free spirit’ – someone who dabbles indiscriminately in every experience under the sun, eventually experiencing the negative consequences. No I meant Christ setting us free.

‘Jimmy’ tells ‘Carol’ he loves her. Poor Carol goes away on a high, looking forward to the future romantic interlude with Jimmy. Failing to realise he should have added ‘As a friend…’

A lot of verbal argument is not so much to do with disagreeing as it is in misunderstanding the other person in the argument.

He thought you meant this – when you meant that.

Mis-communication is common to man.

‘Put the bin out…’ meant – for refuse collection. You ran for the fire extinguisher.

When it comes to sharing the Christian faith, many think what is shared is A-ok and even hit like buttons – when they have in actual fact misunderstood.

I was largely guilty of ignoring the signs, when God was trying to get through to me. Every prompt He sent my way I dismissed with my own reasoning.

This was not always a conscious act on my part.

I misunderstood.

Paul the apostle tells us of his pre-conversion days that the wrong he committed was done ignorantly and in unbelief – actually going way off-track – in that he thought he was actually pleasing God.

When any kind of message is sent our way – it can either create fear, indifference, annoyance, or we misunderstand it, and wrongly conclude what it actually means.

Think about this. Why do we so easily misunderstand? And misunderstand each other?

Man’s condition.

Just part of the result of a fallen world under the limitations of human flesh, the natural mind forms all kinds of wrong conclusions.

I love Candy.

No not the girl – the sweets – the confectionery. What did you think I meant?

Ephesians 3/4

Your kinda preaching?

(Just a preliminary note – I’m having a hit and miss scenario with ‘liking’ peoples blog posts. Some I can hit others I can’t – sorry if you haven’t received a ‘like’ for some time. I don’t expect to resolve this 😎 ?) Also – Even though I’ve checked through my older posts – I’m still not sure if I am posting or re-posting the following:

Your kinda PREACHING?

Everybody is different in their choice of preachers that please.

Everybody is different when it comes to likes and dislikes on the subject of preaching.

Some like to be entertained. Some like to get answers, because they have many questions regarding their spiritual life.

Others look for a particular type of delivery of the message. For some it must be loud and demonstrative. Others can’t be bothered with all ‘that shouting’. Some look to be greatly moved emotionally. Again others – greatly informed intellectually.

For some unless the preacher’s saliva is hitting the front row of the gathering – he isn’t really preaching properly.

And again some would walk out – as the noise level is deafening.

What about you?

And what does it matter about the delivery anyway – if what is being delivered is neither relevant to our spiritual life, nor biblical?

Some love many illustrations interwoven into the preacher’s message. A good story, they say, goes a long way.

Testimony of people’s real life experiences in which they have proven God to be ‘a very present help in time of trouble’, are hard to improve on. So some prefer this kind of ‘speaking’.

The Lord Jesus Christ – was not only The Master – but the master of the use of illustrations. We call them parables. Without which He rarely preached, unless perhaps conversing on a one to one basis.

He did speak to His disciples in a more direct fashion, without parables. It might be interesting to reflect upon the fact that perhaps Illustrations/parables should be less present when the saints (His disciples) are being addressed (?).

Matthew 13:9-11 (NKJV)

9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” 10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…

Anyway, it is true to say that He passed on to others His teaching, illustrating His truth with examples from everyday life. We are told in the Bible that the ‘common people’ heard Him gladly. Mark 12:37

He spoke their language, when it came to the use of illustrations. In other words the parables He used were based on everyday life.

So it’s safe to say that illustrations were acceptable with Him, when it came to preaching or teaching, without being dogmatic about their use or absence in sermon making.

But it is also true to say that the words of Jesus were more than simply good illustrations, given to interest, amuse or in some way show Him to be a good ‘public speaker’.

The words He spoke (and no man ever spoke like this man) – were ‘Spirit and Life’.

The same words He spoke when He called everything into being, spoken from eternity, when He was still in heaven. Spoken in co-operative unity with the Godhead, and before He took upon Himself the form of a man. All things were made by Him, and without Him there was nothing made that was made.

He is the creator of the universe. Bearing in mind that He created all things before He took upon Himself the body of a man, we also therefore need to realise that when He speaks, His goal is not to impress, – it is to reveal, enlighten, change, comfort, exhort, correct, heal, instruct, deliver… and so we could go on.

He doesn’t need a pat on the back for giving a good illustration, or preaching a good sermon, nor does He need the response: ‘Good speaker that chap’.

He wants us instead to believe what He says, but also to ‘eat’ His words, let them sink deep down through our ears into our spirits, where the dynamic power that indwells His every word will work in us to once again create something new!

So next time you critique the preacher’s sermon, and reflect on the good illustrations, the humorous anecdotes, or that he was full of ‘blood and thunder’, ask yourself the question: ‘What did The Lord Jesus just say to me through this preacher’s words’?

Chaotic Maelstrom

calm in the midst of terror

Calm in the midst of terror (Watercolour – Ken Riddles)

CHAOTIC MAELSTROM

One of the things I marvel at is the slow-slide downhill from truth. that is taking place on this planet. The only reason I am not overly surprised is because we are warned prophetically in the Bible, that such will be the case (II Timothy 3). 

I should categorise the area where truth is being eroded, by pointing out that I mostly refer to spiritual and moral truth (with no reference for example to political ideologies). 

Some moral standards that were 100% in place in our societies are almost eroded away.

Normally, examples would follow when making such a statement. And of course the daggers would come out if I became politically incorrect in my statements. Political correctness can be an attempt to impose rules that forbid us to correct the violation of Christ’s standards, lest we offend.

But giving shameful lists of acts of moral decay is not the purpose of this short piece.

I simply want to ask the question: Are we asleep, or using another analogy: are we adrift at sea in the maelstrom of moral chaos?

Will we wake up before it is too late?

We can of course only wake up individually, before we wake up corporately. Enough people waking up to the moral decline in an ‘anything-goes’ world, will bring the corporate change.

Without a moral compass we will continue to drift on the ocean-waves of depravity.

Christian preachers will go on preaching, and people will go on ignoring, until they wake up!? (or not).

It’s complicated I know. But as you reject hypocritical religion – sound the tuning fork of your own conscience and it will give you the right note.

Buy the lie – and anything goes.

Anything goes – all the way to man’s destruction.

Mentioning destruction – “What are you?” I hear you say. “Some kinda hell preacher?”

Yep – ‘Fire preacher’ – You burn your waste in the fire. You do not believe Hitler deserves a place in heaven – right?

Well guess what? No one does – except we be born again, according to The Lord Jesus Christ.

For it is by the unmerited favour of God’s gift – that a man or woman enters the promise of heaven on acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

John 3/3:

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

That’s it in a nutshell.

Some receive this – some reject this. There’s no need to tell me of your vehement rejection, I don’t need an explanation as to why, I reckon I’ve heard enough over the years.

It’s just that God’s long-suffering – after ‘the long’ is over – will run out.

And the disease will have to be burned up.

The disease that is the root cause of every conceivable violation of justice and every moral misdeed, and reception of lies.

Who is going to hell?

Not for me to say – who am I that I should judge you, in the context of hell?

God is the judge of all the earth. But is there a place that will end the degradation and destruction caused by the spirits (human and demonic) behind the chaos?

Yes.

Most of us, have either an inkling, or through the process of bad experiences – a conviction – that the world has gone terribly wrong.

Trouble is – many won’t acknowledge that wrong (sin) is why it has all gone wrong.

The solution to every problem is to put the wrong – right.

Too mammoth a task for you or I to make a mammoth difference?

Self-preservation is a basic instinct in mankind.

Here is the dictionary definition of self-preservation:

1. Protection of oneself from harm or destruction.

2. The instinct for individual preservation; the innate desire to stay alive.

So it begins with the individual who can find the truth through their own individual quest.

Aware of the many sometimes intricate and varied philosophies that people allow themselves to drift into – one thing is common to many of them: they start with self – continue with self – are worked out by self – and leave ‘the divine’ – out of the mix.

Most self-help programmes – good or bad – revolve around the individual ‘sorting themselves out’ through the application of the instructions of the given programme of teaching.

In contrast – 

The Christian ethos is basically – ‘we can’t make it – we need help from above’.

Here is my first paragraph copied and pasted again:

One of the things I marvel at is the slow slide downhill from truth that is taking place on this planet. The only reason I am not overly surprised is because we are warned prophetically in the Bible, that such will be the case (II Timothy 3).

To have actually experienced help from God Almighty through His Son The Lord Jesus Christ – was the most tremendous experience in my life.

There is salvation in none other:

Acts 4:12

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Examine other philosophies or religions and the emphasis is on man as the source of his own salvation, when it comes to self-preservation or deliverance from ‘wrong’ – the Christian solution is to call upon the one (prayer), who offers His gift of Eternal Life. So I reckon this is: God-preservation.

I Thessalonians 5/23:

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a bombardment upon the mind of the human race and the result is untold damage. This bombardment is from the spirits of darkness. It is chaotic. Now we must have the invasion of God’s hand and angels – released to provide the help man cannot provide for himself.

Poetic Interlude X

BEST

Best addressed

This way

Best seen not heard

So they say

Best arranged in this manner

Day after day

Best take the elevator

Depending on how much you weigh

Best stay at home

There’s such a rainy spray

Best open a tin for tea

Just forget the buffet

Best leave before its dark

It’s raining – protect your toupee

Best wear a jumper – too cold

Even in the Subway

Best set the alarm for early rise

Perhaps more lessons in ballet

Best stop before it’s too late

Better to stop and pray

Who am I addressing?

WHO AM I ADDRESSING?

The subject of ‘How to live the Christian Life’, occupies the ministers of God’s word in their capacity as Pastor, Minister, Padre, Teacher or whatever job description they choose for themselves.

The ‘How to’ covers the outworking of thoughts, words and deeds, rather than just the ‘academic’ aspect of bible study, which is not what it is all about.

God gives His word to change us.

To live the Christian life, is – in the eyes of most fair-minded people – to do with being good.

You profess to be a Christian – you therefore, it is assumed – profess to be good.

However “I’m a  good person”, can be an oft repeated phrase from the mouths of Christians or non-Christians, alike. It would take another post to expound and examine the scripture that tells us: They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Christian Blog posts offer encouragement in this ‘How to live the Victorious Christian Life’ endeavour, i.e. how to live as a Christian should.

How to overcome life’s problems, how to have confidence, how to think positively, how to handle adversity, overcome fear, share the faith – one could continue the list of topics. All relevant to Victorious Christian Living.

Prophesying as described in the New Testament must include edification, exhortation and comfort. (I Corinthians 14/3)

And who doesn’t need those?

Christian writing attempts to edify the believer, exhort them to better things, and provide the comfort that the Christian needs in an alien environment, where Christianity is mis-understood and maligned out-of-hand.

However, there is a saying about ‘putting the cart before the horse’. And I sometimes question that when it comes to Christian posting this can happen.

I have asked myself the question when posting: ‘Who am I addressing?’ And of course it is, in one sense, a limited audience, and we cannot answer the question exactly.

But it does need to be stated that Christian teaching apart from the preaching of the message of ‘Salvation through Christ’, is not always for everyone.

By that I mean that children in Primary school are not taught adult themes, unless the teachers are mis-guided and unwise.

There is ‘growth level’ to be considered, before many subjects can be approached. If a child asks an adult-themed question, then of course paring-it-down to their level, without too much incomprehensible detail, should be done. 

Rather than dismissing the subject and rejecting the child’s genuine enquiry. This calls for wisdom of the first order.

So when handing-out different exhortations to Christians, it might be fair to ask: ‘who is listening in?’

The Christian life can be lived on a natural plain, by good-living people. Humanists perhaps claim to be just as good as any Christian, and they don’t see the need for all the ‘super-spiritual’ stuff.

So what do they do with the teaching on ‘how to live’ from the Bible?

Leave out the supernatural aspect of Christianity and there is nothing left.

I can teach you ‘person of the planet’, alive and well on planet earth guy or gal, how to live a morally correct life, without you being a Christian!

But what a contradiction! I’m simply informing your humanist quest for good or moral living. Appealing to your sense of moral fair-play, but in all of this you remain an unbeliever, relying on your own self-effort and attempts to – be good, overcome, be positive, fulfil your dreams, be confident – all of this can be equally un-Christian as Christian, for one reason only:

You have not yet received, encountered, met or had a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So who is my audience? To whom do I address my posts? To whom are Christian posts directed?

To stand a chance of getting what is said, there must be what the scripture talks of as a starting point, a place of first principle(s):

Referring to Christians who should have matured more than they had – the writer says:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food…

First is first – we can’t benefit as we should from all the other principles ie. the second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on principle, until we have embraced the first principles of repentance from dead works and faith in Christ as Saviour.

The good news is however, that the work of conversion to Christ is not the work of man’s hand, but God’s. That means He has His own way of feeding your mind with truth, and there is no set formula, or learnt mantra that you must possess in order to grasp the things of God.

There is a progression, as there is in most things, but if you get chapter six read-to- you in a book, without the first five chapters, you may in fact still get the gist of what is being written, ie. get an idea of the story.

God can use any Christian teaching to penetrate the human heart, and there will be something, even though addressed to Christians, something in there, that He can use, to bring you to Himself. So I encourage you to read Christian posts.

But coming to first things first we read in the bible:

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Dogmatic as this may seem to the unbeliever – it is true-truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Get this and your understanding begins to flower in the things of God and Christianity.

Those Christian blogs then begin to address you as a believer who has a relationship with the one who has the words of eternal life.

I pray for blessings in your quest to find Him.

Uncool language

UNCOOL LANGUAGE

The next generation considers the last generation uncool.

Nothing new under the sun.

That’s just how it is. Mindsets change in art, fashion, culture, taste, etc etc. and if we do not conform to the majority’s take on things – we are relegated to the ‘uncool’ waste bin by others.

Then the pendulum swings and certain things return – back in vogue again.

The traditional ‘whatever’- has a certain appeal and many are interested in everything historical, but they don’t think of using a gas light to light their bedroom, or wash their clothes by hand to save electricity. I speak generally of course – western world – and all that.

So we visit museums, and read books to re-enforce our interest, if it happens to be in the things of the past.

What about religion?

Because two thousand years has passed since Christ walked the earth – there is the inevitable historic-context-aspect of all things Christian.

Don’t let the historical context deceive you into thinking it is not relevant for today. We are talking eternal truth here!

In a previous blog I drew our attention to religion as a label for things not necessarily desirable. To sum this up – Isaiah 29/13:

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honour Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

That for me sums up the bad aspect of religion. We look for bad religion personified in the Pharisees, and Pharaisical hypocrisy. It’s a paying of lip-service only, to spiritual matters.

An outward conforming to rituals and a system, but one void of compassion, tenderness, heart or spirit, and relationship with God.

But sometimes when we encounter in a piece of writing – an old fashioned means of expression, it can rob us of the relevant content of the utterances, simply because we straightaway relegate the wording to a bygone era, and dismiss the content as uncool, and irrelevant in today’s world, simply because of it’s tone, or it’s King James English.

We too-quickly overlook the message because the wording smacks of a dead and buried past.

There are many different expressions of Christianity – and if we are wise we will bypass the awkwardness of the language, or the off-putting phrases and ambiguous language and seek the heart of the message.

Receiving or rejecting it on it’s content only, not on it’s choice of words.

If the heart of the message is good then listen more attentively. If the message is true-truth, then embrace it.

Pilate with The Lord Jesus Christ standing before him, asked the question: ‘What is truth?’.

Well – he missed it completely! But of course, there is nothing wrong with the question.

Pilgrim’s Progress is full of truth (circa 1678). For those who don’t know, it is a book written by John Bunyan. 

There have been re-written, more modern, versions of the book, as far as I know.

But grab a copy of the original – sift your way through it – to find sound, revelatory truth – good for all peoples.

It’s about a journey, the journey we are all on. And it is based fully on Biblical truth.

Read of Pilgrim’s progress through the many obstacles that stand in the way of those who sincerely, one hundred percent, want to know true-truth.

You are fighting against the odds increasingly in these days, but find the ancient message in ancient language or otherwise. Sift your way to the true-truth of Eternal Life!

Poetic Interlude VIII

IF IT’S ALL THE SAME TO YOU?

I saw across the crowded room

Nothing more than a glimpse

Of mankind and all it’s worth

All-bound-by-all-there-is – in the same way

All thrashing about in the pool

Unable to swim against it’s own tide

And while I contemplated the momentary glance

And all the sameness struck a chord

If I could grow a giant hand

I would reach out

And with a pat upon mankind’s head

Try to encourage all

In their mad pursuit of difference

As each vie for admiration

And clutch at vanity’s straws

Boxing clever and strutting stuff

Eyeballing cameras and posing aimlessly

Or kicking harder in having a shot

Ball juggling onto the head

And down again in keepy-up glitz-style

Or turmoiling emotions

And screwing up their insides

To give an Oscar performance

Here today in limelights green shroud

Whilst tomorrow repenting at leisure

Money money money the thing they love

Money money money the thing they hate

Money we need to survive

Talent and restless need to create

Giving way to the sway of money

Monet has painted and the hand moves on

On the scene/screen another arrives

in digital pre-eminence

Just to say:

“I’m different”   for a day

While the sameness magnifies itself 

In contemplated momentary glance

Across the room – across the sky

We live we breath – et al

Nothing to say – it’s all here today

No difference – docked in originality’s bay

Of Biscay –

Take the humorous approach

And have a biscuit with your coffee

Sorry – but you are going to have to admit

Hands and feet and mouths and noses

Greetings and sleep and holiday

And jobs and exercise and sleepless nights

And buying and trying to keep ‘er lit

And tossing and turning and fingers in every pie

And rags to riches and gesticulation awry

And appointments and you scratch my back

And…

Out on the town

Old meal in old place called new

Mankind is – all the same – doing the same

Talking the same – aspiring en masse

Everyone the same as the last

Truth must get inside

TRUTH MUST GET INSIDE

If I told you, they were giving away an introductory voucher for a large sum of money down at the new store. And I wasn’t lying. You have two options – suspicious response, or allowing the information into your psyche as you believe me and make your way down to the store for the hand-out.

So it is with the truth – we either respond with suspicion, our minds entertaining all kinds of other information by which we question what is shared with us, by way of comparison.

We don’t wish to be gullible, especially with the arrival of ‘the scam’, and it’s spread in epidemic proportions.

But letting the truth in is more important than simply hearing the truth.

There are many things offered to us, which we do well to refuse to allow in on us.

But at some point we must allow ‘true truth’ to get inside us, we must yield to it, and allow it to effect and change our lives.

The one million dollar question to be asked though, quite clearly is: ‘is it really the truth?’

If we are convinced it is and it isn’t, we are in big trouble.

Especially in light of eternal issues, and in the context of eternal truth.

The truth is a person, the second person of the Godhead Jesus Christ. (John 14/6)

What’s the response? Suspicion and comparison with the collection of information and knowledge you have obtained throughout your life’s journey – or in a child-like way – reception of the stated fact?

Letting this truth inside you, calls for more and deeper examination once it is inside, once it has been received, entertained, allowed space in your brain.

The only thing to avoid is ignoring it.

Ignoring is good if it is not the truth. Ignoring (when it is the truth) is to remain ignorant of the truth.

Paul, one of the major leaders of all time in the church, was a man on a mission to destroy the Christian church, he was as maybe most of you will know – stopped supernaturally in his tracks. It happened on a road to Damascus. (Acts 9/1-7)

After his conversion, and he became a follower of Jesus Christ he had this to say:

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

NOTICE HE PRACTICED HIS RELIGION IGNORANTLY AND IN UNBELIEF.

That’s where, as they say, I rest my case. The truth is the truth, even if I am accused of dogmatism when I share it.

Buy the truth, and do not sell it,

Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Proverbs 23/23

Art/Poetry/Scribing

abstract
Untitled by Ken Riddles

ART/POETRY/SCRIBING

There are recurring questions that have been asked throughout the history of art.

The two simple questions I have in mind are:

What is art? And/or – what is poetry?

Perhaps I am least qualified to ask the questions, or offer an answer, as perhaps I don’t take either too seriously, or should I say: serious enough, as is the manner of some.

I enjoy both creative-expressions, but my spiritual aspirations are inclined to place art and poetry in the shadow category of less importance.

I may therefore, fail to get a listen from you, as you think of the artist or poet or art critic you hold in high esteem, and to whose opinion you turn quickly, and firstly, to help you form your own conclusions.

But in light of seedsinmotiontruthnart – and blogging in general, I thought I might explain.

ART – art for me can’t seem to get too far past painting. Although it would seem that painting almost needs re-defined as it seems it is becoming only antique.

With all that makes up the post-modern conglomeration of art-expression through conceptualism and any other ‘ism’ et al, painting seems to have transitioned from the place of  premier expression in the upper echelons of the art world, to a secondary place.

Of course the pendulum is always swinging when it comes to ‘art-fashion’, and no sooner has the statement in my last paragraph been made, when it becomes redundant, in our eclectic ever changing hodge-podge art world.

So my: ‘art is painting’ statement is limited, uncool, retrogressive, etc. – however – once again one needs to add: i.e. ‘at the moment!’

For those who have followed this blog from the beginning and are aware of the changeover from ‘posted paintings’, to Christian writing, and for those who might be curious – my art at the moment seems to be pre-occupied in exploring the abstract (see above). 

Even though painting in the art world, as in applying a physical substance to a physical ground seems to have taken somewhat of a backseat, it is somewhat paradoxical (though I admit it’s guesswork only, on my part), to state that I reckon that the manufacturers of art materials for painting – have never had it so good?

From what little I do notice as to latest trends – would I be right in thanking New York for keeping painting alive?

POETRY – well, here – I am even less qualified, as I am the exception that proves the rule, namely, that a good reader or a widely read reader, is a good writer. Or that a good poet has to be a prolific reader. I’m not an obsessive reader, by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a widely read one.

Guess I better hide in the same shadow of less importance, that I have placed my paintings and poetry in?

Here I go anyway, expressing what poetry is for me. Poetry is the enjoyment of words. I guess that’s about it – my raison d’être of poetry.

Poetry in my view, is not restricted to definitions of what it should be. I favour ‘words for words sake’ running parallel with ‘art for art’s sake’.

This can be dangerous I realise.

As when I write poetry it could be mistaken for profundity, when at times that is far from the case.

I’m just enjoying the expression of words.

At times profundity will be involved in the poem, but sometimes I will write at the other end of the scale, allowing myself to have fun.

Which will leave me disqualified from being taken as a ‘serious poet’. The other end of the scale verging on Edward Lear type ‘nonsense’.

Then again somewhere in the middle is the goal, but the enjoyment of words strung together, can be a major concern of mine.

Also sometimes I ‘play the part’ of the someone who is mentioned in the poem. Or the poem expresses a concept or view simply because it has emerged un-premeditated (as it were) in the course of writing the poem – as I juggle with the words.

An example would be a poem I wrote entitled: ‘The Biker’s Reunion’ – truth is I have never ridden a motorbike. (Apart from an off-road bike my son owned when younger, when one ride was enough for me!)

The person’s story in the poem may not be my story. The description I use of a particular scenario is simply playing with words. The conclusion one comes to as expressed in the poem, may be the opposite to my own personal opinion.

So what does that make it? Poetic fiction?

And so on…

There has to be a ‘…and so on…’ to cover all the possibilities of the varying ways poetry can be enjoyed and emerge from the pen.

In short it’s all imagination – sometimes with reference to ‘my reality’ but equally just as many times – not.

I enjoy words, and putting them together. That’s about it.

CHRISTIANITY – My Christian writings, however are a field apart. I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I try to write things as I genuinely believe them to be.

I’m thankful to God for His enablement. I’m thankful to God for the ways He has opened the eyes of my understanding in the face of Jesus Christ. I know in part, according to scripture, but the part I know I hold dearly. I know what I have been delivered from.

And if my poetry does not reference directly – my spiritual life, this is because I have too much to say plainly and without apology when it comes to Christian Truth and if the poetic form is not my choice, it is because of my priority which is to make things clear.

Paul The Apostle speaking: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

So in Christian writing – I write to pass on what I am convinced about, and so therefore mostly choose, straightforward language to do so.

I write as a scribe, teaching the Christian Gospel, without an over indulgence in wordsmith-ing.

I enjoy wordsmith-ing mostly, rather, through poetry.

Spiritually speaking – I’m called to be a scribe.

I pen what I come to understand from the scriptures.

But art and poetry are fun and enhance our everyday lives.

I cannot take my Christian writing seriously enough, as it is a matter of life and death.

I cannot take my art and poetry too seriously as it is to do with intellectual, visual and emotional enjoyment of life in this natural world and there is so much more to life – the afterlife.

Of course my poetry can have purpose and meaning, but I always bear in mind that ‘…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God’. (I Corinthians 3/19)

Poetry and literature doesn’t compete with the weightier matters of spiritual life – in light of an awaited eternity.

So – suspect that in my poetry, I might have my tongue in cheek sometimes, at the same time you may also find profundity and reference to the truth as it overlaps into the spiritual, – or there again – not, as the case may be.

There is no fixed rule in art or poetry.

But I will continue to obey God and write for Him, while providing you with Poetic Interludes.

So in summary, my Christian writing is written that you might believe in The Lord Jesus Christ and through believing may have life in His name.

My poetry and art follow the dictates of imagination.

Please call again. 😎

Said like it is.

SAID LIKE IT IS.

Most of us like to hear and live in good news. We all thrive on encouragement. To feel we and our efforts are worthwhile.

Accomplishing goals, perhaps in our work situation, and being congratulated as we advance the business in whatever way, is very rewarding.

We know that children thrive on encouragement, during both their formative and teenage years.

And a lot of us can look back and perhaps surmise that we should have received more of said encouragement, as we grew up. Looking back also on the fact that perhaps we should have encouraged our own children more than we did?

There’s an old doo-wop song (maybe I’ve miss-genre’d it) that goes something along the lines of: “I love how you love me”.

That’s an interesting line. Does it mean I love the fact that you are in love with me, or is it a case of  ‘I’m so glad you love me, as I love you’, ie. I love your reciprocation, or is it the particular way that the love is shown?

Everyone thrives when they are treated well.

There are many Christian ministries that make the edification of the believer their priority.

In some Christian cultures more than others – everything must be and remain positive. There is no room for the negative note. It is assumed that any negative sentence in some way negates faith.

Sometimes this lacks reality. It can drift into a sugar-coated smarmy-type message if it becomes insincere.

Conversely – other Christian messages only express what they are against. So much so that we never find out what they are for.

What I appreciate about the Bible is that it only ever ‘says it like it is’.

Both positively and negatively.

The fact that the human race has fallen, and is in need of salvation – is a negative fact. It’s broken and needs fixed.

The fact that God is Love – incorporating His Divine-love (Agape) attributes of love, such as justice, mercy, righteousness, judgement, longsuffering, joy, peace, correction, compassion, empathy, healing, acceptance, eternal life, deliverance, and so on and so on…

Should cause us to wonder why we are running away from Him? The one who is real and only speaks and says it ‘like it is’?

God is sincere.

I was recently preaching, and shared the point that most ideologies have a smattering of truth. It’s only (to use my illustration) when you lick the chocolate from the bar, you find out what the rest of it consists of.

And if it’s marzipan it’s going in the bin, as far as I am concerned.

Now there are professing Christians, who are not the real McCoy. Just as there are charlatans in every other walk of life that we can think of. From con-men salespersons, to rogue builders, from corrupt governmental officials to sport-cheats. Usually what is underneath – eventually comes to the surface, and we find out that the smattering of positives are a gloss for what is below.

Truth(s) on the surface are not enough, regardless of how ‘positive’ and ‘seductive’ they may seem. It’s what is underneath that is important, what is the foundation on which the ideology is built?

As far as the Christian message is concerned – Paul, God’s wise-masterbuilder tells us: 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

The same God who says: He so loved the world that He gave His son a ransom for many, is the same God who says He will turn the wicked into hell. (Psalm 9/17)

If He was only interested in sales-talking you into His kingdom and onto His ‘team’ as it were, He would leave the negative realities of life to the side. But He doesn’t, because He is the God of all truth.

So when you are told, for example, to follow your dreams. Stick with it and prosper in whatever you set yourself to do.

All of this kind of talk may well be necessary, and fruitful. But it can pre-suppose that there is nothing wrong in the world that needs addressed and changed.

The broken need positive love. But the negative is: life has taken it’s toll and that’s a fact. For all kinds of reasons people suffer, and not to state that fact out of some kind of perceived performance necessary in positive thinking is to live in fantasy land.

True faith confesses the positive message of Christ’s deliverance and His willing impartation of all that is spiritually positive to see us through this dark world.

So let’s hear the facts of life as they are, but let us fully and completely embrace the positive message of a Loving Saviour, who lays down His life to take it up again in resurrection power. Life-giving life-changing power to transform us internally to embrace the wonderful positives of a walk with Him.

Romans 8/31:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

No Open Vision

NO OPEN VISION

I Samuel 3/1 –

Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord [a]under the supervision of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know [or personally experience] the Lord, and the word of the Lord was not yet revealed [directly] to him.

So the Lord called Samuel a third time. And he stood and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli understood that it was the Lord [who was] calling the boy.So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and it shall be that if He calls you, you shall say, Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’”

The state of affairs regarding the nation of Israel at the time of Samuel’s birth and during his childhood growth – were not good., to put it mildly. And leadership (Eli & Sons) led the way in failing God. 

Just as the times in which we live are not good, to put it mildly.

One could go into the historic aspect of what was happening, but I prefer to sum it all up by saying – the major result of the times they lived in, was that a revelation of the divine, was very rare, if not completely missing, because of the disobedience of God’s people.

Somewhat similarly Elijah, at one time, looked around him and concluded that he only – was left. He only – had any godliness in his life.

I Kings 19/

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I AM THE ONLY ONE LEFT, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Romans 11/4 – But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

God, despite Elijah’s perspective on how things were – spiritually in the country, sees everything and everyone, and had reserved by His divine influence upon human hearts, seven thousand who had not bowed in worship to the false gods of the day.

Despite the spiritual decline – God reserved for Himself many who had not bowed to the prevailing moral perversity.

Mankind leaning completely on his own understanding and clinging to his rejection of anything God-given, without as it were, giving an inch, causes a situation where God seems the proverbial million miles away from any individual or people.

At such a time as the one referred to in Samuel’s youth,  God sovereignly chose and began to speak to this young man, who had to learn how to hear and understand the voice of God.

The ageing Eli had failed, but though not up-to-date in his relationship with The Lord God, he nevertheless knew of the reality of God’s existence and the reality of the fact that when God chose to speak and give revelation, He both – had His own way of doing it, and nothing could stop Him.

Eli therefore, was able to instruct young Samuel about how to respond when the voice of God came to Him.

Now – man to this day can easily dream-up Pseudo revelations and make claims that he has heard from God.

However conversely, those who genuinely hear from God – as Samuel did – may find that they are placed in the same category as these false prophets, despite their genuine authenticity.

The Lord Jesus was accused of working with the devil, so the genuine receivers of Divine revelation will similarily be accused of charlatanism.

But the people of the land were dull of hearing, and so today, many don’t have a clue about spiritual matters.

They dismiss true Christianity out of hand. Preferring to exalt and magnify their own intellectual efforts.

Empathetically though, It is difficult to get past our own thoughts and feelings when it comes to spiritual matters. Especially if there seems to be no ‘open vision’, in the land.

In times of moral collapse, God’s influence or intervention seems to be missing, and evidence of His existence or interest in mankind is perceived wrongly, to have disappeared.

Stop and think this over – ‘What is God’s perspective on mankind?’ It’s easier to be conscious of our own perspective on God. But what is God’s perspective on you!

And so in times of ‘no open revelation’, many have a totally limited minuscule viewpoint when it comes to understanding the things of the Living God.

Mankind drifts further and further away from God’s right way.

But what about the seven thousand today? And what about the young man or woman God has His hand upon, and is teaching how to hear His voice?

When this was happening with Samuel, only Eli knew. Elijah didn’t know about the seven thousand, until God revealed it.

Will (this young man or woman today) know when God is speaking? Samuel initially didn’t, yet he grew up to be the man who knew and experienced God’s ‘open vision’ and divine revelation on many occasions.

And many others knew that he could hear from God.

Is God speaking to you? Will you know when He is? Maybe you need an Eli to help you realise that He has already spoken to you on a number of occasions already?