Category Archives: thought life

…and correction?

…and correction?

Most Christian bloggers like to edify, exhort positively, and comfort us all, in our journey through this fallen world.

I have received from a number of Christian blogs, the encouragement I needed for a certain ‘day in the life’.

It would seem though, that some subject matter is best avoided if your goal is to be popular, when blogging.

However most Christians would agree that we are not called to win popularity competitions, and yet they love the ‘amen’ to their posts, and often (or mostly) it is genuinely given.

They are glad when others are edified, and rightly so. We all need encouragement.

But again I often wonder if anyone wants to address the mess?

Sometimes we need to repent and return to the first works – indeed repentance from ‘dead’ works returning to our first love of the Lord Jesus Christ, entering into a closer walk with Him.

For this to happen we need to be corrected.

The human heart and mind is prone to wander. And sometimes in the midst of our convicted conscience –  the last thing we need is someone laying heavies upon us that point out our faults and failings.

But conversely – does this mean this should never be done? We live in a world where no one wants to listen to correction.

Does that include the Christians? Who are told:

NKJV – Hebrews 12/5 …do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him…

Amplified version – 

My son, do not make light of the discipline of the Lord,

And do not lose heart and give up when you are corrected by Him;

Going on to say:

For the Lord disciplines and corrects those whom He loves,…

This is like a foreign language to some Christians, who have been fed on daily bread that is only buttered on one side and coated with sugar.

Having said that – some have suffered dry bread with no butter or sugar!

If you get the analogy – I refer to an unbalanced diet. Too much or too little of one thing. Christians who are ‘unexposed’ to necessary teaching to enable proper spiritual growth.

You see we all need different sustenance. We all need a different word from The Lord, according to our developmental requirements.

God the Father has one priority, like any good father, He wants to raise His children well, and allow them to reflect more perfectly the image of their brother – The Lord Jesus Christ.

We by inheritance are also children of God. There is only one ‘Only Begotten’, but:

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

So correction is very much a part of a good wholesome growth plan for a child’s life.

Not some harsh unfair manipulation or provoking of children, through abuse – but a balanced diet of edification, exhortation, and comfort – and correction.

But what about God’s adult children, who are still children in grown-up bodies manifesting self-absorption and injuring others?

This is a big subject I know. And I am not going to do it justice in this short post.

But let’s remember we are meant to grow in grace (thank God it’s grace!) and be changed from glory to glory, as by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, who might just tell us from time to time:

 ‘You are wrong’.

I don’t find correction easy to take – do you? Especially if it comes from a source other than God. But that’s where we must step away and examine and discern if it is just our own flesh and self-will that doesn’t like the truth, or if in fact the devil is trying (as we say) ‘to do a number on us’. Usually his condemnation has a tiny reference to something true and a whole deluge of lies. Know the difference.

 

Prayer: Lord help us to hear the still small voice of edification or correction. Amen

 

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Extremes or…

 

EXTREMES OR…

There are many extremes in life. Extreme cults, extreme doctrines, extreme sinful behaviour, extreme fanaticism, extreme politics, indeed – extremes in everything.

Proverbs 11

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.

Balance is a word we could use to describe the antithesis of extreme. However, the opposite to extreme in a dictionary definition may not include the word balance.

But in the context I wish to use it – usually extreme views allow for none other, and are completely unbalanced or imbalanced.

There is a closed heart and mind in extremity, that is obsessed with a particular aspect of something, to the exclusion of all other considerations that might be presented as just as, or more feasible.

A just ‘weighing-up’ in considering a given view, is necessary.

A willingness to allow for – another aspect, without leaving already held convictions, which you are in no doubt about.

To come to a balanced view on a given subject in the context of biblical truth, we need to search the scriptures.

Understand that we cannot contain all of God’s understanding.

Job chapter 36/25-26

All humanity has seen it;

    mortals gaze on it from afar.

How great is God—beyond our understanding!

    The number of his years is past finding out.

Romans 11/32-34

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,

    and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

    Or who has been his counsellor?”

It is difficult to remain true to something or someone when we don’t understand that persons attitude, opinions, behaviour, words, etc.

But the character of God communicated in the pages of scripture – if we seek them out diligently – will inform us of the fact that ‘God is love’.(I John 4/8) His character is revealed clearly – and He can be trusted!

But we must not mistake what love is.

And the poets have been trying to tell us for centuries.

If we are to hold a balanced understanding of God and his attributes of love – again – we need to make a study. Many form lifelong conclusions on little to no knowledge of the Word of God.

Vehemently denouncing God as simply a tyrant who is out to destroy us all.

Lack of knowledge or the desire to seek it out – leaves us with an extreme view.

Yes God is long-suffering forgiving the humble who request that forgiveness.

Yes God will eventually judge the world and destroy evil, and whoever chooses to remain in rebellion against Him.

Yes God does not always reveal things He knows we cannot handle.

Yes even when we don’t understand He asks us to trust Him.

When all hell breaks loose – let us remember:

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

…and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand…

There we have it – Paul by God-given revelation still spoke of some things that even the Apostle Peter admitted were some times hard to understand.

But the balance to this is there are things clearly shown to us – upon which we can trust – guaranteeing our eternal future, if we embrace them and the giver of all truth Himself.

Prayer – Help us with hard things, and assure us more – of the certain things.

Spiritually natural

Spiritually natural

It’s difficult to write about many of the wonderful things of God – in the present climate, when so much needs fixing.

There needs to be a turning wholeheartedly to The Only Living and True God, through His Son The Lord Jesus Christ.

There is nothing new under the sun. In simple terms good and evil is in conflict, and has been since the beginning or before. 

The rise and fall of evil men will go on. The Rise and Rise of good men will also continue.

There is an event we term The Rapture, when Christ will return, but no man knows the hour or the day. That will be the greatest ‘uprising’ in history!

Meantime evil men grow worse and worse.

There is a scripture that encourages those who carry precious pearls to not throw them before swine:

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

This is a snippet of wisdom communicated by The Lord Jesus. Clearly informing us that there are precious and beautiful things God is willing to reveal to mankind. But these precious things are not to be shared with animalistic natures, who will have no discernment as to their beauty, and who will trample them under foot.

Treating the things of God’s nature with disdain, ‘like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding….’

John 2:24 Amplified Bible:

24 But Jesus, for His part, did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people [and understood the superficiality and fickleness of human nature],

Superficiality and fickleness will not receive the things of God. God will not entrust His precious hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge and revelation of Himself to such.

This teaches us that to even begin to understand, experience and prove the goodness and self-evident existence of the creator of the universe – we must first approach Him with a heart that desires to depart from evil, whilst honouring and respecting the things of God.

All around us is animalistic and ungodly defiance. But read ‘the book’ to see how it all pans out.

Most genuine preachers, feel their own inadequacies when it comes to the things of God, desiring to be a more worthy expounder of His truth.

If only we could walk flawlessly before Him, practicing everything we preach.

God does not however require an unnatural ‘holier than thou’ attitude, cloaked in false humility, whereby we unrealistically take on some kind of pseudo ‘holiness’ – as one preacher put it becoming so heavenly minded we are no earthly use.

Conversely however – some are so earthly minded they are no heavenly use.

God wants us to be human and spiritually-natural, able to laugh, be normal, have fun and talk about everyday things.

But at the same time holding close to our hearts the things of Himself He has revealed to us.

Allowing His thoughts (Bible) to fill our minds – giving them priority over the natural things of life.

There is no holiness without The Holy Spirit!

Balance – a great word to keep us on track.

To sum up we are to mind the natural things as in for example: culture, – with the enablement of God – who gives us spiritual discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. So that we can enjoy those everyday things of life because our minds, hearts and spirits are fixed on God.

As a painter and a poet (as far as I know 😎) I cannot enjoy any of these or any other activities for that matter, unless my heart is right with The Lord. Then I experience His promise:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Helped and energised to enjoy all the things that make up life – He has given us – to enjoy.

I Timothy 6/17

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Endurance

ENDURANCE

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Hebrews 6:14-16 King James Version (KJV)

14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

James 5:11

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

There are people who have endured terrible things and have come forth as gold tried in the fire.

I want to sit at the feet of such people, and confess that because of your experiences, (and there is no knowledge without experience) – I can learn of you.

Compared with many folks, – I have only experienced a light affliction by comparison.

It would be right therefore that I sit at their feet to learn of them.

But if you are a lesser mortal like me – one of the biggest things you have had to endure IS YOU!

Hello? Often I have been my own worst enemy. When God is ‘straining’ as it were – to get me to accept His word, His promises, and His forgiveness – I have failed to receive because of my own thoughts. And He tells me (Isaiah 55 7-9)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

All of us are born only knowing OUR WAYS. And mankind seeks answers WITHIN THE CONFINES and notice I emphasise the CONFINES of his own thoughts and his own ways.

But this is the word of  God – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Regardless of how many people corrupt this Word, regardless of how many twist it to mean what it doesn’t mean and throw it aside like SOME CULT LEADER who lead hundreds to their death – THIS WORD WILL NEVER PASS AWAY.

This Word will never conform to man’s opinion, man must conform to THIS WORD.

And this word tells me –

 ‘Last days’ things we must do:

Matthew 10:22

… you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

So that tells me that part of THE GOSPEL MESSAGE OF SALVATION and there is no other message for the salvation of the world, other than this one.

This message tells me that part of salvation entails

ENDURANCE. Notice ENDURE – BE SAVED.

So the terrible times we are living in – must court the response of endurance, having entered into the free gift experience of acceptance with God through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

How’s your endurance level?

And when we hear of some of the things people – Christians fall out over – it lets me know their endurance/tolerance level is very low.

A somewhat humorous illustration of weak endurance is the fact – that – if a man takes the flu he needs a woman to show him how to ENDURE IT.

But this message of ENDURANCE is the Word of the Lord

And when we want answers of how we should respond in these days we will ONLY find them in this word of God.

This Word who was in the beginning…and who is God – was sent forth to call into being the very planet we live on. (John 1/1-5)

That’s how powerful this Word is –

That same word was sent forth by the Holy Spirit into the hearts of mankind – to open the heavenly realm to them.

And this Word comes to give us many different instructions. And instructions for these end times.

I do not have a strong Theological position when it comes to eschatology. But I see enough to know that end times – means hard times.

And hard times – end times or not – sometimes must be endured.

But part of the ability to endure comes from the very word that tells us TO ENDURE. It is our rock-solid foundation that insulates us from the bad times to come.

God’s word is the BALM that takes away the pain. It ‘rights’ the mind.

A man demon-possessed met the word of The Lord which was – ‘…come out of him’ – and the result was healing. Concerning God’s Word the people asked:

“What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

If you are like me you consider yourself a rather weak kind of soldier, whose endurance level is poor. But one thing I know – without the Word of God and the Presence of God in my life, as I trust Him daily – I could not cope.

…His truth shall be your shield and buckler. (Psalm 91/4)

God is a very present help in times of trouble.

Prayer – 

“God give us your tenacity to endure joyfully to the end!”

Poetic Pause VI

EXHIBITION CONVERSATION

“I just quickly wanted to say…

I enjoyed your work

Not in a position to buy – you understand…

But just love it

I like the way you handled this lower part…

And I like the way you did the mountain…

I’d love to have them all…

But anyway – 

Nice stuff

How long did that take?

How much did you leave out..?

I just love art

But I can’t make the next exhibition I’m afraid

I think artists add spice to life…

I won’t be buying one tonight

But thanks for inviting me along

I’m buying a new car next week

Otherwise I would buy one of your pieces…

I love art”

Those difficult questions

THOSE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS

It is difficult to come to an exact conclusion with regard to answering certain questions concerning the fate of mankind.

Some of these questions are not to be answered in the first place. But being human and curious we find ourselves posing such questions.

For example – how many will actually inherit eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord? No one knows the exact numbers, except The Lord Himself.

What exactly – will happen sequentially in the last days concerning all the events that will take place according to the prophetic aspect of scripture and fulfilment of history?

At what point does the long-suffering gracious and merciful aspects of God’s nature have to give way to His requirement (due to His holiness) of justice and therefore just-punishment of those engaged in antichrist activities?

What happens to those who die without ever hearing the gospel?

What exactly does God require before He will send Revival. Put a better way – what does He require before He will visit a given group of people in an (‘extraordinary’) manifest and tangible way?

We can all offer an opinion on these matters. We can even back them up with scripture. But our exactitude will be riddled with the imperfections and limitations of human flesh, and human reasoning.

I know I emphasise the need for spiritual God-given revelation often in seedsinmotiontruthnart.com.  But I can’t get away from this paramount truth. And so here we have the word ‘revealed’ turning up again: Deut. 28/29:

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

But this time I want to stop at the first part of the verse. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:

The above questions can merge into this category of truth, and the answers belong to God. I’m not saying we should not ask the questions – but that it is important that God helps us approach Him for help, in His required attitude of heart. (My main point in this post).

The inadequacy we feel when faced with spiritual questions of this nature leads us to an attitude that many saints-of-old had in abundance.

Namely – a humility that led them into a deep trust of God no matter what. They were willing to accept the will of God as the will of One who of course knew better than they.

Their faith didn’t falter, at difficult questions, or events that left them perplexed.

To the outsider looking in – it seemed  nieve and  lacking in intellectual prowess. But they knew in whom they had believed. They knew the One in whom they placed (yes often unquestioningly) their trust.

But their acceptance and humility was based on the acknowledgement of who they were and who God is. God is Almighty! So we will have to leave the secret things to Him.

And that includes some of the hardest questions we can ask.

That does not mean we should not seek, ask, knock on the door of understanding. But rather that we need to come to a place of humility, and watch our attitude.

In the natural we have heard the line in movies, where the sergeant major, or indeed the disciplinarian-type father utters the words to the insubordinate: ‘Watch your mouth. Remember who you are speaking to’.

Harsh as this sounds, and although often spoken without love, yet there is a truth here. The truth being that we need to remember who is to be revered. None other than The Creator Himself.

Until we encounter Christ personally – we only have this truth second-hand. When we encounter the all-powerful, all-knowing Saviour of the world – we have no need that any man teach us.

But stopping at this point, I acknowledge that I still ask questions and will go on doing so, in the knowledge that there is only one who ultimately can supply the answers:

Amplified – Hebrews 12/2

[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity],… 

Natural and Spiritual

NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL

I came across this paragraph from old notes I still have from many years ago when I taught a Saturday morning Bible School, as part of the church I was a part of, at the time. I’m not sure if I was the author, or had taken on-board something someone else had pointed out:natural spiritual insert jpgIt reminded me of one simple truth that I will finish this post with.

But the pasted notes above, are in the context of how the church embraces the revelation of God’s truth (in this context the restoration of total immersion water-baptism for those who are of an age of understanding and who want to follow Christ).

God tells us in His word, however that:

14 …the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The truly bible-defined spiritual person – will receive and discern and know the things of God. But here we read of the ‘natural’ man finding them foolishness.

Having just embraced and accepted a biblical revelation of truth and acted upon it, man – the natural man – can reject a further truth of similar import. Which was what happened (as the above note pointed out) following the revelation of Water baptism.

Showing us clearly that there is a ‘natural man’ and there is a ‘spiritual man’. We all have the option of either remaining or becoming a spiritual person – or of returning to a hardened condition of heart that can’t grasp the things of the Spirit of God. Especially when He offers us further revelation from the Word of God.

To acknowledge the possibility of this retrogressive step, is only the first part in seeking to maintain our walk with The Lord so as to be open to, and receive further enlightenment, thus refusing to let the natural man take over.

It highlights the fact that God wants His people to remain true, and in fellowship with Him. Remain up to date in ‘first love’ relationship with Jesus.

This is a tall order when we are buffeted and our faith is tried – but it is God’s call to us all – and as we remain in close fellowship ‘near to the heart of God’ – we remain open to further enlightenment.

I marvel at how people fail to recognise the things of God. I marvel less when I consider that without God’s help I too, can be that ‘natural man’ with that ‘natural perspective’ that does not recognise the ways of God.

We are however in good company, when we realise that the first disciples were in the same boat. In fact literally in the boat, when they failed to recognise that nothing could harm them with Christ in the vessel. Their fear and therefore their natural man was winning the day. (Matthew 8/25)

We live in strange times – you who believe – will you join me in seeking the answers God wants to give us from His word – regarding how we should respond to and live in these perilous times? (II Timothy 3/1)

as unto spiritual…

AS UNTO SPIRITUAL…

I Corinthians 3/

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Who is Paul the Apostle addressing here?

Answer – ‘brothers’ – brothers-in-Christ of course, because all the Corinthians he is speaking to, were not his kith and kin.

Not natural kith and kin but ‘brothers in Christ’.

And in addressing brothers, (bearing in mind that his epistles were to the whole church) – he is addressing his ‘sisters-in-Christ’ also.

Is he addressing you and I? Bearing in mind that the Bible (used always-and-eternally in the hand of The Holy Spirit) – is addressing all believers for all time. We conclude readily then, that he is speaking to us also.

All you need to qualify for hearing this epistle – is to be a ‘brother/sister-in-Christ’.

Hmmm?

Can’t imagine that everyone I’m addressing has joined this family of believers?

Anyway – that is for you to decide.

But Paul reveals indirectly to us that there are varying depths of spirituality among believers in Christ.

And that there are matters they were not yet able to comprehend.

The surprise perhaps in this passage is this – he was addressing them all. And he puts them all in the same category (unlike John did in his epistle). Paul refers to them as ‘babes in Christ’.

John – in I John 2 refers to little children, young men, and fathers.

Paul speaks to them all as ‘babes in Christ’. And coupled with this designation is the idea that they are still carnal.

The word carnal can mean different things. But essentially it is the natural sinful mind we are born with.

Everything in the Christian life is a matter of exchange.

We trade in our thoughts, our self-righteousness, our selfishness, or mental problems, our limited reasoning, our emotional hang-ups – and in exchange we receive the joy of The Lord, The peace that passes understanding, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of The Holy Spirit, God’s strength, his righteousness, his holiness, his forgiveness and above all His love.

So now everything is ‘rosey in the garden’?

No – simply because we still have everything that life throws at us to contend with.

But with the attributes of Christ within us – we now must learn to yield ourselves to The Lord of our life, and allow those attributes to control us.

This takes time and inner development under the hand of God. But we grow, we mature, we enter into what the Bible describes as being grounded and settled – all through the exercise of faith that expresses itself in biblical meditation, praise and worship, prayer, and joining ourselves in true and real fellowship with the family of God.

Colossians 1/

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Notice the behaviour that accompanied the ‘babes in Christ’ designation that Paul reveals to us as the epistle continues – 

For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 

As we look and listen we recognise similar traits in the church today. Manifesting the fact that we all need to grow up – 

Ephesians 4

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 This calls firstly and foremostly for a willingness – yes a willingness – to come together at the foot of the cross and lay it all down – all the carnality – AND EXCHANGE it for His life.

Tomorrow as an area of my spiritual immaturity is made clear to me – I need to return to the one with whom I first made the great exchange – and offer Him my mistakes, my sin, my immature behaviour – “Sorry Lord please come and let your life rule over mine!”

Positive Thinking

POSITIVE THINKING

Most people have heard of ‘the power of positive thinking’.

And indeed remotely right thinking people would espouse this approach to life.

But notice – man by putting himself forward as the centre of the created universe – sees the source of development of mankind and everything progressive, as within man’s capabilities alone.

All progress and advancement is down to man developing his ability independently of any God figure.

Because the Christian message, as taken from the Bible, also espouses right thinking of the spiritual kind, the two approaches to life can eventually, unwittingly or otherwise,  merge in people’s psyche.

Merge to the point where the Christian message and the ‘Positive thinking’ message seem to be the same thing. Notice I say -‘seem to be’.

So that when discussions take place between Christians and non-Christians the non-Christians ask what all the fuss is about – and such declarations as e.g.: ‘But I believe that anyway…’ take place from the self-help, ‘we can do it’ school of thinkers.

They think that within mankind is untapped resources, waiting to be discovered and all problems of mental health, disease and violence will eventually succumb to man’s ongoing development (evolution).

So keeping this post short – it behoves us to understand the fundamental and crucial difference, between positive thinking on it’s own and one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith – expressed in Psalm 121

…From whence comes my help?

2  My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

Christian truth is not dependant on what man can ‘conjure up’ exercising his own reasoning powers, but is dependant on what God sends our way by revelation from on high.

We have the scrolls containing the Word of God, preserved (supernaturally) as God’s guide to and for mankind.

But unless we search for and enter into a living relationship with Christ – the book largely remains inaccessible to us or alternatively is largely hi-jacked to affirm our own ‘positive thinking’ (or otherwise) philosophy, subtracting what we think sounds affirmative to our own reasoned outlook, and leaving the rest.

Such folks extract from the pages of the bible whatever they can use, whilst ignoring the rest.

We can’t ignore any of the scriptures. They must be taken as a whole, and the progress (in God’s timing), of the Old Agreement merging into the New Agreement clearly unfolds as we seek God for further revelation on it’s pages, revealed to the inner man.

The word of God is meant to open us up. But for this to happen and true spiritual knowledge to come our way – we must actually open ourselves through a willing choice we make – and allow it inside, in the first place, asking God’s assistance to make it’s spiritual content known to us, in the same way as those who wrote it – first received it.

The Bible – full of life-affirming and positive words of encouragement, is nevertheless more than this.

It clearly presents Jesus Christ as Lord and Master, in fact, King of kings and Lord of lords. It tells us, the most positive thing we can think – is that

16 …God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

(John 3/16)

How can we get any more positive than this?

Paul’s Contribution

PAUL’S CONTRIBUTION

Paul the apostle, perhaps more than anyone else – paved the way – in seeking to understand what the problem was, and what the solution consisted of.

In a previous post, I talked about the law of the Old Testament, and how it clearly pointed out right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable behaviour and unacceptable behaviour in the eyes of a sinless God.

Paul heralded the New Testament or New Agreement, in preaching-form and teaching-form.

He, during his times aside with God, explored many facets of how to live the Christian life.

For those of us (perhaps all of us), who experience what it is to fail God, Paul we find, had the same struggles.

He, by experiencing what it was to be a sinner saved by grace, looked at the whole subject of how to be Christlike, and wrote in his epistles – teachings to instruct believers who would come after him – how to overcome sin, death and hell.

He experienced temptation to sin, like all of us, and found how to live victoriously, so that he could say: 

Philippians 1/

20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

He stayed in an expectant state of mind and lived in the hope of pleasing Christ in his 24/7 walk with Him until he departed this life.

But he was well aware of another law warring in his members that tried to bring him into captivity… (Romans 7/23): But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

In light of Paul’s determination and desire to walk perfectly before The Lord – he sought for answers regarding how to do this.

He found as all men and women will find, that sin is lying at the door of our hearts and minds, seeking our co-operation.

There are, I guess, folks who never seem to have a care in the world. Sinning is just a wrongly accepted part of life. But that means they spend their lives suppressing the voice of conscience. This is what the scripture describes as ‘hardening the heart’.

Others are daily looking to live as they should, in the light of what God asks of us, but find it an ongoing struggle. But the beautiful thing about them is the fact that THEY WANT to live a sincere and righteous existence. It’s just they can’t seem to find the ‘how to’ of doing so.

That’s what Paul sought and found for us, paving the way and exhorting us to grasp the truth that living righteously will automatically take place as we maintain a close relationship with Christ through prayer, and meditation on the Word of God.

There is much we could say on this subject but I want to simply make the point that Paul and indeed all – sin – and seek the same answers – as he did – to the problem.

Paul struggled for a period of time, as we struggle. 

However Paul the apostle proved that God could supply all we need to help us live the victorious Christian life, and penned the answers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The wisdom he was able to obtain – is clearly laid-out for us in the epistles God inspired him to write.

This was his major contribution to the church, remaining throughout it’s history and available to us today.

Read and inwardly digest – the answers are there!

Fallen? – Get up!

FALLEN? – GET UP!

You have fallen. Get back up. You have fallen physically – get back up. You have many bruises emotionally – come to Christ for healing. You are beset with clamorous confused thoughts – turn to God’s word, to replace them. Settle on His word(s).

In western movies we all remember the stagecoach, which having lost it’s two drivers/riders – runs wildly onwards – out of control, the horses having no guide.

A cowboy on horseback outrides/outruns the stagecoach hops on board and the two damsels inside are rescued, as he brings the stagecoach to a halt.

Regardless of how out of control things may seem – there is one who is willing to draw alongside and take control of your life beginning with your thought-life. He is always ahead of you, able to double back and embrace you and save you.

But how hard it initially is to ‘calm down’, stop and relax, gather up your thoughts to get past the turmoil of emotion.

But you can do it! Faith begins in God’s word, faith is strengthened by reading the Word, faith provides the ability to enter into rest again.

Easier said than done? Yes – but let’s be reminded that regardless of how instant the help seems, or not – trusting beats remaining in the turmoil.

Paul the apostle exhorts us:

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,

Bringing every thought into captivity is not easy when in a ‘whirl’ over a given negative situation.

That’s why some preachers exhort us to ‘Praise God in every situation’. Praise takes our mind and focuses it on God! His attributes are multiple – there is much to Praise God for.

Praise is the voice of faith.

I believe God needs our co-operation – if He is to help us. We are all slow to give Him or co-operation at times.

Sometimes the choice of the will is all we have. The choice we must take is to use our faith.

Lord we who are so weak – use our faith – to co-operate with you in order that your strength be made perfect in our weakness!

(II Corinthians 12/9)

The Only Potentate

The only Potentate

I Timothy 6/

14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting power. Amen.

It’s the world versus Jesus.

The world-system perpetuated by the powers of darkness.

Jesus Christ is holy harmless and undefiled. His life, more than any other, stands out as the antithesis to every failed attempt to live a righteous life.

There was no blemish found in Him.

But as I write these words there can arise in the hearts of men and women all kinds of thoughts exalted against the acceptance of the Son of God and His words.

As a result many won’t recognise Him for who He is.

He endured all kinds of contradictions of sinners against Himself.

His words and thought-life go contrary to what comes naturally to mankind.

Therefore He is not immediately embraced and welcomed. Just as He was rejected by those of His own in the region of His upbringing, so He is rejected by those who cannot get past their own thinking, which does not immediately correlate with His.

So if we truly stop and think things over – we can trace in ourselves thoughts of resistance to His gospel.

Even Christians need self-awareness of the things we still resist God in, because of our further need for more of His renewing work in our thought life.

He came to do a complete work – but in it all, in everything to do with us, He needs our co-operation.

God – to use a human phrase/description – is a gentleman.

He does not need to flex His spiritual muscle or demonstrate His ability to wipe us out, as some kind of self-indulgent egoist might.

I was fishing with my young son and his friend, quite a few years ago, when this tall and muscular guy arrived at our side – i.e. by the riverside.

He loured at us and asked if we had ‘caught anything’. When we said we had, he said ‘you wouldn’t be trying to fool me would you?’

He then proceeded, without permission, to haul onto the riverbank, the keep-net revealing the fish we had caught. 

Grunting he threw it carelessly into the water again. He lifted a piece of cloth, we had, and wiped his hands – throwing the cloth into the river.

It didn’t take a particularly spiritual man to discern the evil accompanying this person.

The whole time I remained silent.

He then began to say things to me, that I would not repeat in this post.

In all of this I remained in faith. Discerning the evil – but remaining in Christ’s peace.

He left – walking along the riverbank – I could see he was now engaging with someone seated in the distance.

So I immediately packed things up and we headed home. I was most concerned for, and conscious of, my responsibility for my neighbours son, (never mind my own) – who had been left in my care.

This person is a picture of the opposite to the God I serve. God dwells in unapproachable holy light. His nature is in complete contrast to ours, incomprehensibly so.

I have described in this incident with this human being and his controlling and threatening behaviour a picture of the complete opposite to the way of Christ.

The paradox is of course, God can reach the end of His long-suffering and eventually must judge the world and it’s incessant rebellion against Him, His name and His nature.

Yet we account that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation, for those who will receive it.

He is gentle by nature, but uncompromising in character. He is loving and forgiving, and when reviled – reviles not in return. He is wholesome in every way, humble, meek and lowly yet powerful and able to call ten thousand angels to His side. He is absolutely sure of who He is, has wisdom that is uncorrupted by this world. He stretches forth His hands as The Holy Spirit works upon our minds – and offers us the gift of eternal life to those who believingly-commit their lives to Him. He is never surprised and knows the end from the beginning. He is obviously extremely complex in His understanding and yet addresses us simply. He is touched by the feeling of our shortcomings and infirmities. Yet He watches daily as thousands pass from this life with an extremely limited knowledge of what to expect after death. Thousands who perhaps did not give Him a second thought for most of their days.

Some struggle with the God of the Old Testament and the judgement He meted out – but don’t stop to familiarise themselves with the corruption, debauchery, degeneracy, cruelty, occultism and so on – present and rampant in the nations He judged.

God had a problem on His hands – Almighty though He is – His creation went wrong. Due to the element of free-will God allowed to reside within his created beings.

To manifest His true character of holiness, meekness and gentleness – (great strengths and manifestations of His power), He needed (through the work of Christ) to bring man to a place where He (God), could begin to show Himself as He truly was.

It’s hard to trust someone we don’t know. The only way we can begin to trust them, is if they communicate to us in an acceptable manner, and we hear sincerely, about their character and life. Concluding (or otherwise) that they can be trusted.

Christ showed us The Heavenly Father – God was manifest in the flesh. Now man, unfit to partake of the things of God – could at least observe Him, and all His attributes:

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

God speaks – man can’t hear. God offers help – man doesn’t want it. Man is natural – God is spiritual. God gives (at least) 490 chances a day – to us – to ask for forgiveness – we ignore all of them through unbelief. (Matthew 18/22)

When we start accusing God and agreeing with the fallen god of this world – what audacity to think it strange that God should judge us.

Instead His long-suffering and ‘long’ arms are outstretched to us all, calling us to return to ‘… the Shepherd and Bishop of (y)our souls’.

Yes it’s the world system of darkness behind everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

But wait! 

Do you hear the still small voice beckoning us in the living room of our consciences – to come to Him, all of us who labour and are heavy laden?

The Only Potentate is calling us into His Royal courts where he steps down and washes our feet – what power! What beauty! What a Saviour!