Category Archives: thought life

‘Positive Only’ preachers

POSITIVE ONLY’ PREACHERS

PART I

There is a certain kind of preaching which is A to Z, wall to wall, positive.

We could say it’s the best kind.

Some Christians have experienced only a little of what ‘100% positive’ preachers preach. 

[But then again who can make such a statement – as to what other Christians have experienced when it is subjectively between you and God?

How much you have experienced of the Divine nature, just as a measure of faith is given to each Christian, is determined by our hunger for The Living God, and the acts of Grace The Lord of all, deems suitable for each individual. Though Saving Grace is equally exercised for all. (II Peter 1/4) (Romans 12/3).

Conversely it is true that the depth to which, we have experienced God, will show in our lives.]

Christian knowledge is true knowledge when accompanied or married-to spiritual experience (of the Christian kind of course).

I am not overly familiar with the controversies that some folks engage in with regard to criticising what I think is called ‘Word of Faith’ preachers. (?)

I personally only see preachers. What they preach I try to discern on an individual sermon per sermon basis.

Many of the ‘Positive-only’ preachers (my description), emphasise faith, faith, faith.

Rightly so – they refer to all the promises of God – 

II Corinthians 1/

19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

We are challenged to believe the promises, embrace them, and allow the Holy Spirit to make them real, real, real.

When you listen to faith-(‘only’?) preachers, their main concern is to get people out of their limited mentality when it comes to the mightiness of God. 

We as human beings sooooo limit God, in our mental appraisal of His Greatness.

But one is tempted to say we are in good company. If you consider Peter and the rest of the disciples good company (?).

I’m guessing we could objectively conclude, that they did not live up to what the faith preachers, would perhaps suggest should be in everyone’s life, permanently, perpetually.

Conversely, once we concede perversely, that ‘all spiritual blessings in heavenly places’ –  somehow should ‘not!’ be in our daily lives, then we go against God’s desire for us. (Eph. 1/3)

But the reality of the disciples limitations is also apparent:

Mark 9 – 17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”

19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”

The disciples openly (howbeit privately to Jesus) confessed their limitations:-

Matthew 17

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

When we think of how Peter was used after Pentecost, we can see his/their improvement was down to the work of The Holy Spirit’s actual manifestation/moving, and not just to their mental/spiritual faith development.

So the next time you marvel at how little faith you seem to have, marvel too at how little Peter, James, John, Andrew, et al also initially had.

The ‘Positive Only’ preachers who preach the promises, or simply the Word of God, can seem to be in a league of their own. Elite, untouchable, head and shoulders above the rest of us.

The reason we can perceive them as such – is because they preach The Word of God, and emphasise, rightly, all the promises of God, and all that Christ has purchased for us on the cross, and so it seems that they are swimming in a faith-filled, problem-less existence, where they have only success, success, success.

Unless they tell us of their failures also (?).

As a possible consequence of ‘positive only’ preaching (again my term for it), we can be persuaded to consider that they are as perfect as The Word they preach, (the Bible) and that they have it together 100%. Whereas if such were the case there is no room for improvement, or spiritual growth in their lives.

If what they preach is in The Word, then we aught to embrace it and seek to live-it-out – miracles an’ all.

But sometimes these preachers, in correcting those who have criticised them, or their ‘positive only’ approach, are prone to creating the impression that they (those who criticise them) are lesser individuals, because they do not ‘get’ their positive-plus preaching, or the results that they claim for their lives.

And (it must be also pointed out) that sometimes their critics don’t get what is being preached, because their hearts are skeptical to the point of blatant unbelief.

But it is also possible that those who have faith, are having their present measure of faith undermined and belittled, because it doesn’t fit the preacher’s idea of what it should produce.

Jesus Himself, of course, corrected many:-

O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me…

But Jesus was perfect in thought word and deed and as such is seated at the right hand of God The Father, in the heaven of heavens – as we speak (and forever).

Preachers representing Jesus the Christ of God, must preach The Word (II Timothy 4/2), and all the purity and perfection of that Word.

But they too are ‘works in progress’.

The ‘positive only’ preachers, having preached against those who believe things are unattainable for mortal man – can create the impression that they have ‘arrived’, and perfectly practice and walk by faith.

Again they may not mean to do this – but the impression can be taken from their positive-only stance.

With that message there can be a certain kind of ‘positive dogmatism’, that leaves out of the picture, e.g. the fact that they had a bad day – the other day – and said something in the flesh. Or that something they prayed for didn’t come to pass.

For example, having prayed for someone to be healed, who subsequently rather – died, wouldn’t exactly re-enforce their faith building message. So often this example from their experience is not mentioned.

Unless to make the point, or suggest, that the person who died, didn’t fully embrace faith as they should have. (Which may or may not be the case).

They can’t bring this failed moment, into their preaching as it takes away from the ‘Positive Only’ message.

However someone listening carefully to a ‘faith/positive only’ ministry, may discern correctly, hints of imperfection, in the course of their presentation of all things bright and beautiful.

That’s just how it is – people not only get the benefit of God’s gifting in an individual whether as an apostle, prophet or teacher, but also we receive the ‘benefit’(?) of their limitations and idiosyncrasies.

(Look for Part II in a few days time)

Born a second time?

Born a second time? 

There is no doubt that approaching the things of God in a cold theological way is not enough when it comes to being convinced that you should give your life over to The Son of God, – done so – through prayer.

But what’s the difference between studying presented truth, perhaps presented in some book of theology from whatever source and coming into a Living relationship with The Christ of God?

There is no fixed way that a person must adhere to, when it comes to experiencing the born again experience. No fixed way in the sense that every personality is different and must discover God’s working in their life, as it lines up with His Word.

The term ‘born again’ is found in the gospel of John 1/1:

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

So Jesus is calling all, to an experience that He calls ‘being born again’.

Unless one is born again…..

Well – unless one is – we cannot see, – experience, – understand – know the things of God as God intended us to know them.

However many have started their born again journey in the very way I have suggested at the beginning – namely: in a cold theological way.

The reason for this is that such a person may be genuinely looking for the answer or answers regarding this born again experience.

And as I have stated before a number of times – the door of truth must be gone through or initially sought before this born again experience can take place.

Buy the truth and do not sell it—

    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

Notice I have clumped these few verses together without even giving the references – simply to say these verses could be the start of the search that will bring you to the born again experience.

Rather than elaborating on the ‘how to’ – let this be the start of your own search of the scriptures, if as yet you have not been born again.

Acts 17/11

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Conforming?

CONFORMING?

I wonder if it were possible to make a survey of the world’s population – how many folks would fit into the ‘ordinary’ category?

Ordinary people. Only ordinary in the sense that they are married with children, working perhaps an 8-5 job or some variation on that theme, have a few holidays a year, and use their leisure time in pursuit of some ‘hobby’ (never liked that word). 🤔

‘Ordinary’ people who have some semblance of humanity, and morality, and hold no extreme views, politically or otherwise.

We might add: ‘having a typical suburban western society outlook’.

I think you get the picture, and if you, like me, consider yourself to be part of such a slightly suspect categorisation, you pay your taxes, decorate your home, love your wife and kids, and want to provide for them. Stated as a male person of course, but equally true of a female.

Covid has been released upon the world, it knows no class barriers, is no respecter of persons, and devastates many families. It has been an unwelcome motivation for change. And we need to ask ‘what kind of change?’ – for the better or the worse? But disease is another subject, not for this post.

The older one gets, the more one is able to look back on how things have changed.

And can form the opinion that the changes – are not for the better.

But this may be too sweeping a statement. (?)

[Depends on the subject matter of our conversation]

After all technology has given us an improved existence with all the positive things it has provided.

Conversely it has given us greater headaches.

Are we, the ‘ordinaries’, holding society together? While the ‘misfits’ (Dict.: a person whose behaviour or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way:) are forcing us to accept the abnormal as the new normal?

Back in the day (my pre-Christian days) I had no intention of conforming to society’s norms, if it hindered my creative ability. After all I was an artist! I was unique!

And then I woke up.

And Jesus slowly but surely renewed me in the spirit of my mind.

Now normality for me is to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.

I still don’t conform – but in an entirely different way.

My goal is not to conform to the abnormalities all around me, and which are being increasingly promoted as normal.

Likewise my goal is to not conform to dead religion, which can have a ritual-like involvement by adherents but with no life of God in it.

II Timothy 3/

having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!  

Rather I desire to live in spiritual awareness and escape the corruption that is in the world through evil desire.

2 Peter 1:3-5

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Romans 12/

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Hyper-art

HYPER-ART

When I was younger, I painted my pictures in a state of emotional turmoil.

Intensity was the name of the game, affirmed in certain quarters as necessary for good art.

The heat of passion was mistakenly understood as some kind of inspiration, without which, it was supposed, no good art could be made.

(I use the word ‘passion’ – not in the ‘serious- dedication-sense’ but in the emotional turmoil sense)

Art practice was sometimes being referred to variously in terms of energy or fervour etc.

The age-old debate about ‘real’ art, ‘true’ art, etc. discussed in the multifarious schools of art-thought, is never ending.

That it’s ‘a matter of opinion’ saves the day. And allows for no definitive answer to the question.

What is art? Craft versus art. Art versus craft.

The mental and emotional fervour I experienced, meant I couldn’t stop painting until the early hours of the morning. I couldn’t leave the brush down.

Now, when starting a painting, such a state of being is no longer there, nor sought, or allowed to be there – by my choice of will.

And especially from a spiritual standpoint I never wish it to return.

One of the fruits of The Holy Spirit is self-control. (Galatians 5/22-24)

Emotional turmoil cannot be allowed to lead our lives as Christians.

We can experience and be led by what ‘blazes in the soul’ or what ‘burns in the spirit’ (W. Nee). The latter being preferable.

There is a difference – and the Grace of God at work in us determines and teaches us the difference by experience.

We can lapse into the soul-dominated life or stay in the Spirit-led life.

Though I/you face the trials of ever-present straying emotions, that beset us easily, (Hebrews 12:1) – bringing temptation of whatever kind –

There is need to:

1 Timothy 4:15-16

16 Take heed to yourself…

and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Taking heed to what is going on within us and seeking God’s enablement to stay in relationship connection with Him. That is the priority goal for all Christians.

In my culture we often use the saying: “Catch yourself on!” Which means – stop what you are doing and realise that you are not in a good state  of being, or pursuing the right path, or acting in an acceptable manner.

Much – cries out – to distract us from this paramount endeavour of maintaining our right relationship with and in God, including emotional ‘hyperactivity’ that can hinder our Peace with Him.

There is always a way back from this.

God desires –

II Thess. 1/

7 …to give you who are troubled REST WITH US…

Ignoring

IGNORING

It is difficult to share with those who won’t listen – is it not?

God has the same problem:

John 8:46-48

And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

God mentioning those who …do not hear

You may have seen elderly (or young) ladies sitting outside department stores holding-out magazines – and usually muttering something like ‘Thank you sir’ whilst naming the magazine they want you to buy, held forth in their hand.

They are usually ignored.

‘The harsh’ – usually mutter something like: “Go and get a job”, under their breath.

I remember once giving a gentleman, doing the same thing, a fair amount for the magazine – only to receive a rather nasty rebuttal and refusal to give me the magazine. 

Apparently (I can only guess), I had insulted him with my contribution (?). What made things worse was the fact that I couldn’t reason with him as he had very little grasp of English.

So I let it go – he with my contribution and I with no magazine.

No one likes to be ignored.

Yet because God isn’t seen to be sitting in front of them – many choose to ignore Him.

Nor will they consider listening to the means He has chosen, by which He wants to communicate.

Therefore they do not hear what He has to say. 

Programmed – mind already made up – habitual shut down of the natural faculties – when (just as with the magazine seller), someone tries to engage with them.

Engaging with them to present the Gospel.

There are a bundle of questions not easily answered when it comes to God and His ways.

This inability to answer all the questions under the sun can be – stumbling block number one – for some folks.

Whereas in contrast they fail to consider the many answers already given in the book of books. (The Bible)

A few immediately unanswerable questions about God, and ignoring Him therefore, becomes the easy option.

There is a closing of the mind to any words purporting to represent God and His salvation.

But there is a spiritual element in this, revealed in scripture:

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

This scripture tells us a number of things. …god of this age… The ‘god of this age/world’ has various other names – most common of which is ’the devil’.

minds…blinded: A blinded mind is the mind that immediately switches off and ignores the message – and can be demonically programmed to do so.

The means God chooses to reveal Himself is through the words of a message, usually preached = For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord,

should shine on them….Lastly what is supposed to happen and will happen to those who have ears to hear and will stop in their tracks to give the gospel a chance, is the reception of God’s enlightenment (light) inside – as you experience it’s transforming power. Light received through His Word (Bible).

…gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

The Bible’s words are light – light shines – and God wants to shine His Words on and into you and I. So we will hear/see them in our hearts and turn and be converted.

If anyone responds to this and seeks Him…

John 5:25

Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

Communication

COMMUNICATION 2021

There are innumerable voices, philosophies and mind tutorials loosed upon us all, through the media platforms available today.

If we are to sort the wheat from the chaff, it would be a good idea to define wheat and define chaff.

But we might find this difficult, in this post-modern cosmos we live in today. Difficult because minds are already made-up in a way contrary to our own values and assessments regarding what wheat and chaff is.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison etc.

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure etc.

(Why only ‘one man’s’ – What about the women? Anyway…)

The above are weak limited expressions in the context of what I’m considering, but maybe you get the idea – that what we consider valuable differs greatly from person to person.

Problem is – the most important message on the planet is ignored by many who must consider it junk rather than treasure?

The simple gospel, as in the gospel of Jesus Christ – can be universally understood and experienced.

We can state it plainly, without complicating it’s message.

Yet the human mind being what it is, we are confronted with the fact that people have mindsets that vary from person to person, culture to culture and country to country.

So how do we address these people-groups, or cultures with this ‘simple’ gospel? Is there a ‘one size fits all gospel?’

If we were to start to try to Tailor-make our expression or communication of the gospel to reach an individual, to reach a perhaps – unique culture, somewhere in the world, we might find ourselves giving up, as we vainly try to cover every communication angle, in order to reach and be understood by that culture group.

Perhaps someone who is an immigrant and has lived in the new culture a long time, has a better chance of communicating in a more understood way?

Returning to the simplicity of the gospel again, we might find, on examination, that our original approach is too complicated, as we still lose their attention.

Paul the apostle tells us his endeavours when it came to sharing the gospel –

22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

All things – all men – all means.

His goal was to save some.

So again – ALL things – ALL men – ALL means.

To ‘get’ the gospel in order to be saved – cannot be dependent only – on how it is explained to us.

This is where God Himself steps in – you don’t have the real thing unless God steps in.

I wouldn’t have become a Christian except for the fact that God supernaturally stepped-in, in a mighty way, so that I was left unable to deny the tangibility and reality of the encounter.

I can dress up as a punk, get tattooed, spend time in your combo, and seek to explain the gospel using your language, but some will still get it and some won’t.

The message is plain. Listen to Paul as he explains the way he communicated it:

12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

This plainness can also be translated boldness.

Listen again as he explains what he considered to be how he should communicate:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

So his ‘how to’-‘go to’ when it came to sharing the gospel – was 1) not in wisdom – as in what this world considers wisdom because that is spiritual ‘chaff’.

2) The cross and all it stands for is the message!

Lost world – somebody has to pay for the behaviour of it’s shambolic inhabitants expressed in man’s inhumanity to man (in short  sin), — you should pay – I should pay for our sins – Christ paid instead. The just for the unjust – Christ suffers – Barabbas goes free.

All we need now is to accept the gift.

Could I explain that more fully? Yes ‘but…’

(“Lord please step in…”)

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Thought for the…

Thought for the

‘Thought for the day’ is a familiar phrase, especially amongst Christians.

I was contemplating this phrase.

What – only one thought for a whole day?

Is that ‘a thought’, as in a theme for the day?

Maybe I should be fare and admit that it can also read: ‘Thoughts for the day’ (Plural).

‘Thoughts for this day’ – like now – what thoughts, should we be having, in our present day, as we pass through this strange year of Covid?

Is there good thoughts we might have missed?

Thinking is usually preferred over mindless behaviour.

Bringing us to the phrase: ‘Mindless aggression’. Suggesting someone who wants to be mad at the world regardless of any restraining thoughts offered by others to assuage their anger.

Aggression where the voice of conscience is drowned-out in unrestrained abuse, heaped on anyone who stands in the way. We see plenty of that in society – do we not?

Thoughts for the day – hmm – how about: ‘love your neighbour as yourself?’

Or ‘humble yourself under God’s mighty hand’?

Or ‘turn the other cheek’ when struck?

I played the part of Lentulus a Roman courtier, in Androcles and the Lion, by G.B. Shaw, a school production – back in the day.

Do you turn the other cheek when they strike you?” I said to Androcles in my snivelling cowardly voice tapping him weakly on the cheek, with trepidation, per chance he didn’t agree with turning the other cheek, after all.

The play suggesting (in my view) that such ‘turn the other cheek’ behaviour caused consternation, or incredulity. Lentulus looking for some kind of explanation for such extraordinary behaviour.

Who wants tested on turning the other cheek?

But to return good for evil is certainly ‘a thought for the day’ worth embracing.

Thoughts for the day – I marvel at how many thoughts we think in just one – 24 hr. – day.

God also thinks continuously. The difference is –

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Higher thoughts – for the day.

If His thoughts are higher, then there is no point in looking to understand them – using our lower thoughts (minds), alone.

How about having the thought of embracing His ‘higher thoughts’, for our ‘thought-for-the-day?’

Open the book (Bible) anywhere and meditate thereon – and you will find higher thoughts entering the realm of your lower mind.

Happiness?

HAPPINESS?

I was thinking of the word – Happiness.

Happiness – where do I stand in the ‘happiness’ stakes?

My dictionary gives us this for happy:

  • feeling or showing pleasure or contentment:

Happiness – hmmm.?

Paul the apostle tells us that (I Timothy 6) / Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

I do have a deep abiding peace in my spirit.

In fact – a peace I can’t explain – one that passes my ability to figure it out.

Philippians 4/

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

However I like the old sayng that made it’s journey around the church years ago:

I’m satisfied with a dissatisfied satisfaction.

In my own nature and personality I’m a discontented kind of a guy.

When we find a negative tendency in our personality – (and we are all so different) – we need to feed ourselves, as Christians, with God’s antidote: – the Word of God.

This both counteracts our negative tendencies and also brings change.

God is in the changing business. He, as a faithful Heavenly Father takes time to raise His family correctly.

Raising us in the nurture and admonition of His Word (see also Ephesians 6/4)

Reminding ourselves of all the wonderful promises He has given us, through the New Testament and Old Testament writers, is giving God the opportunity to work in us.

He uses His Word to accomplish the changing and maturing of the Christian’s heart.

I Thessalonians 2/13

…the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

This brings greater wholeness in our lives – and consequently greater contentment.

So role out your own definition of happiness, if you wish. But perhaps, godly contentment may not be what you have in mind?

Godliness brings contentment – whereas the pleasure of sin is only for a season.

Contentment starts deep within – growing from the assurance that Christ has made me acceptable, through no merits of my own.

I drift from the contentment He provides – and get restless, but when that happens it’s time to get back into the power-house of contentment, through prayer and Bible meditation.

Passivity and contentment are not the same thing. How easy it is to become passive, especially in this present lockdown situation.

But, nevertheless, I need to be reminding myself that my contentment is in Christ.

Complete by Grace bringing contentment:-

Colossians 2/

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

Foolish

FOOLISH 2021

Galatians 3:

v1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so [c]many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain

Paul the Apostle is addressing this Galatian group of believers.

But of course it is ordained of God that, when one of His Specially Chosen Early Apostolic leaders, writes to a particular ‘branch’ of God’s church – it is more than meant for, or sent to – just them.

It is sent to all believers throughout history who follow on, by inheritance, from the early formed church/churches.

The Word of God will never pass away. Anything that the Holy Spirit  has placed His indelible fingerprint upon – will remain as His Word forever.

Jesus said:

Matt. 24/

34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Paul, saddened, grieved and a little perplexed, is addressing a fundamental problem pervading the Galatian church.

This problem can, or has, pervaded the lives of believers ever since, and indeed at one time – knocked me off-course for a couple of years in my Christian life.

Paul is very straight with them, out of love and concern, trying to wake them up to spiritual reality. Wake them up to the completeness of Christ’s Salvation.

“O Foolish Galatians…” – exclamation mark!

“Who has bewitched you…”?

Without even going into the original meaning of the Greek etc. as we can do, when seeking to expound some aspect of God’s New Testament. Let me instead pass on what the dictionary means by the word ‘bewitched’:

to attract or interest someone a lot so that you have the power to influence them:

to put a magicspell on someone or something in order to control him, her, or it

Either definition will do – First – attracted and therefore distracted. Distracted from the real wonderful message, into their own ideas. (Manmade gospel)

Second – (bewitched)  – Coming under the control of something, someone, or a spirit not of God.

That was how Paul found these believers. They got away from the wonderful New Testament message of Salvation by Faith – through God’s Amazing Grace – and their whole focus was on themselves and their own performance.

He spends most of the rest of the epistle addressing and correcting this legalistic distraction, in order that the Galatians will become re-focused on Christ.

We must look to Christ in prayer for everything to do with the spiritual life.

The following is a spiritual seeing:

25 For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,

For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;

Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

This was the spoken spiritual reality of someone staying on course by faith – seeing the invisible God – (see also e.g. Heb. 11/27) so as to walk pleasing to Him, without wrongly, losing sight of Him completely and then trying to live like Him. It doesn’t work. The Galatians were trying it and failing.

Paul put them right.

Are your eyes on God in prayer? Will you respond (by the hearing of this encouragement) – in faith? (see verse 2).

Wilderness

WILDERNESS

Matthew

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said…

There are different things to be said about a wilderness. Though not completely synonymous with a desert – nonetheless I think of miles of undulating untarnished sand, when I think of a wilderness, as by my own definition.

[NB: wildernesses are probably more rugged than what I have in mind cpr. Wilderness of Judea etc.]

In one sense a wilderness can be a beautiful place. However with no water to drink – a nightmare scenario.

Jesus went there as led by The Holy Spirit. Led by God The Holy Spirit – Jesus the man however encountered another spirit in that wilderness.

That other spirit 1) came to Him 2) took Him somewhere and 3) spoke to Him.

Came to him more than once in His state of fasting, and no doubt more than once throughout His life on earth.

Jesus was tempted like any other man.

Hebrews 4/

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

That temptation came, in the form of words from that other spirit. Jesus dealt with the words with Words. His much more powerful Word of Truth dispelled the words of deceit that came from the fallen angel.

When we are told that the devil ‘took Him’. This is a description of what it is to be tempted – the thoughts he subsequently suggested were sinful – the thought to go to the Holy city or the high mountain were not sinful. The Christ allowed this. Just as He allowed the demons to enter the pigs/swine. (Matthew 8/31)

In all of this wilderness experience, Jesus emerged triumphant having held to His shield of Faith and the sword of the Holy Spirit which is the Word of God.

Let’s do the same in 2021.

Neutral zone?

Neutral zone?

This lockdown experience can ‘slow-torture’ our lives into neutral zone.

Neutral zone as in shelving all our endeavours into ‘suspended animation’.

That could sound slightly peppered with the idea of despair. (?)

If we take our example from one of the fathers of the faith it’s a case of – far from it!

Paul the apostle gives us insight into his humanity, but also his triumphal experience as a born again Christian, coming as it does through faith.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

He tells us of trouble and perplexity but without despair.

So a 24/7 joyous trouble-less high is not what being a Christian entails.

It does of course firstly entail matters of life or death before it is a whole pile of other things.

‘Where and how shall I spend eternity?’ Is usually a foundational question when examining the Christian faith.

No despair, Paul the apostle indicates in the above verses.

Reason? Because we are never forsaken. 

It is the unforsaken-ness that gives the Christian the strength and sustaining solace they need regardless of the situation, they might find themselves in. God is with us (Emmanuel) always, even to the end and further.

However I must admit to a certain neutral dwelling zone that I can drift in and out of. What about you? 

I examine this – in order to come to fresh conclusions.

Conclusions that will spur me on to lay hold, more firmly, upon eternal life again.

I Timothy 6/12

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…

Disillusionment knocks at the door, in light of the chaos abroad.

With no immediate change, or with prolonged sameness, can come disillusionment.

But there is no disillusionment when it comes to the things of God, they are constant.

As the old hymn says: “All may change but Jesus never – Glory to His name!”

Shaking off disillusionment, like Paul did – with the serpent into the fire. (Acts 28/4-6)

Nevertheless I must admit to missing, gathering with, God’s people and lifting the roof in praise. And I mean really lifting the roof!

As far as I am concerned all the clever-most technology will never substitute for human beings – being together ‘in the flesh’, but the great thing and advantage Christians have is being together ‘in the Spirit’.

If that was not the case, being in the flesh as in gathering physically together, would be of little consequence.

What a blessing to be both together in each others company and to worship in ‘spirit and truth’ at the same time.

Meantime, we’ve been doing Zoom. We edify and exhort one another. I’m sure you too are tapping into some online expression of church life?

Depending on the changing shifts of covid-safe rules, we can gather together as church, in a limited way.

In all of this invisible attack (virus), on our world – the question that is exchanged between non-Christian and Christian persons alike, is: ‘What is this achieving – why is it happening – what’s the cause, what’s the point etc.?’ Or something similarly expressed.

What ‘it’ (the pandemic) is supposed to do – as with all trials and tribulations we encounter as human beings – is to cause us to fall on God.

Luke 20/

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken and shattered in pieces; and on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”

There is a brokenness that accompanies humility where the failures of our own efforts and the empathetic hand of God meet, as we fall at His feet in prayer. Falling ON the Rock Christ Jesus. There is coming a terrible day when the Rock Christ Jesus will fall ON all ungodliness.

But many do not recognise The Rock upon which we must fall.

Romans 9/33

As it is written and forever remains written, “Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offence; And he who believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”

One of the ways the God of the Bible is a stumbling stone to many is – expressed in the old chestnut: “Why does God allow these things?” (Pandemics)

So they stumble in unbelief (through skewed reasoning).

Whereas whoever trusts in Christ will not be disappointed now and in the long term, especially in the long term.

The way of Christ is in total contradistinction to the other spirit that dominates human beings. He hates anything to do with Christ. He is the antichrist spirit.

Christ is a rock of offence to him, and to those opposed to the gospel.

But he who believes in Jesus Christ the Son of God, will not be disappointed with Him.

Like everyone else I am disappointed in how things are in this world at the moment. An understatement don’t you think?

But I am not disappointed with Christ.

But here is my abrupt end to this post – Christian out there, what is God saying to us? 

How does He want us to respond to this pandemic and the state of affairs we find ourselves in?

One thing is for sure our God-dependancy increases with the weakening effect and lack of answers this pandemic has produced.

Who out there will turn to Christ in acknowledgement of how inadequate we still are in the 21st century?

Does this virus not clearly expose the weakness of mankind, and knock him off any self-satisfied or ‘smugness perch’?

Our need of God is self-evident, brought home by things such as this pandemic.

Nevertheless mankind will continue to look for answers through his own ingenuity – until the next humbling event hits the earth.

Give me ingenuity for vaccine finding – but with the big big plus – of welcoming individually, the Presence and Person of Christ in this lost and dying world.

Seedsinmotion

SEEDSINMOTION

The name of this blog – seedsinmotion – truth – n – art, summed up the way I wished to go in blogging.

I wanted to share the teachings of God’s Word and at the same time, remind us to embrace and enjoy life as it has been given.

Embrace it, for example, through enjoyment of art and writing.

False religion might suggest something different. In former times, visual art seemingly was rejected by some religious folks arresting the scripture that says:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Taking it out of context and failing to read the verse before it:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Art is not here to be worshipped but certainly enjoyed.

The fact that mankind was created in our Creator’s image suggests to me that mankind should prioritise being creative. Expressing creativeness in various ways, whether in how they lay out their garden, decorate a room, sculpt, or paint etc.

A creative approach to life should be perpetually engaged in.

All without bowing down before any of it – and reserving worship to that same creator, maker of the heavens and the earth.

Let’s make things.

I initially in this blog, almost daily exposed my paintings to ‘the world’. It’s almost two years since I stopped posting my work, in such a prolific way.

Thereafter ‘Likes’ soon diminished, when I stopped. After all it’s easy to view a piece of art rather than patiently explore a written post.

My walk with God is the most important thing in my life. How could it be otherwise?After all…

For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away…(James 4/14)

…away into the arms of a Loving Saviour, if you are a friend of His.

This is how Stephen – a ‘vapour’ like the rest of us, left his body:

Acts 7/29

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

God loves us so much – He so loved the world that He gave…. (Jn. 3/16)

God wants us to look into His personality and nature, and has provided The Word of God – to make that possible.

This brings me to another part of my seedsinmotion blog: TRUTH.

Increasingly TRUTH is an illusive ‘commodity’ in these days.

There has never been so much manifest confusion, in my lifetime.

How difficult it is to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

It seems almost impossible to find it in the words of men. ‘Fake’ has almost replaced real.

Pilate stood before The Christ and asked the question: What is truth?

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all…”

Standing before Pilate was the Personification of all truth and he (Pilate) couldn’t see it, he didn’t know it.

And he didn’t find the answer to his question. He did not find the truth, just like many thousands, as we speak.

So this exposes man’s dilemma. There is a blindness that is upon the minds of men. And the blind try to lead the blind – but all fall into the ditch of error and lies.

In this day and age – the biggest carriers of confusion seems to be the politicians on the big world stage.

They can’t agree on what the truth is.

There is so much inconclusive debate going on. There is so much that seems to be the truth, but with insufficient evidence to confirm it.

Indisputable evidence is often a slow train coming.

Meantime, failing to see their own inbuilt bias – many fail to see it is from their inbuilt-bias-held-views – that cause them to fall down on a particular opinion and to conclude it is true.

Even though it should not leave (as yet) the place of mere possibility or suspicion.

A man is innocent until proven guilty.

How about applying that rule to truth seeking?

Truth should be sought still – before randomly attaching the truth label to an unsubstantiated opinion.

It’s easy to conclude something as true for all kinds of reasons often because it feeds into and suits our pre-conceptions, or because it suits us to say it is true, even though it isn’t.

In emotional fervour it is easy to jump to the wrong conclusions.

Many, thinking ‘it’ to be the truth – actually believe a lie.

Christian truth overflows the Bible. I trust it because it is God’s Truth and it makes us free.

It is the only thing on earth to be trusted completely, more than any other writings or any other person.

So I write my seeds of truth.

But also poetry, which can be fictitious, observational, or whatever, and because it is fiction – well, that’s the only time it doesn’t have to be true, in the strictest sense, – is it not?

Maybe each piece of poetry, needs an explanatory proviso, or do we all know, fiction can be true or false?

Fiction can be make believe, and is acceptable, because the author is not trying to deceive us in the real world?

True art is simply an individuals self-expression, i.e. true to themselves. That’s enough for it to be genuine (another idea of true), without plagiarism, but, in my opinion, not necessarily communicative of a given truth, or absolute truth.

Seeds of biblical truth, truth spoken in love, and art – painted, written and spoken poetically, that’s my ‘manifesto’.