Category Archives: TRUTH

United understanding

UNITED UNDERSTANDING 2021

I’ve noticed that certain words become characteristic of different groups of people. 

Organisations, sales teams, philosophers, artists, baseball fraternities, churches or mega church movements with different campuses. Media groups. Indeed there is accompanying word-talk in every area of life, involving groups of people.

Plumbers can sit and have an intelligent conversation about on-the-job experiences, and leave me feeling that I am listening to a foreign language. Not foreign to them, because they all know the acquired lingo.

New-age-type-people similarly have a certain language where the same words come into play in their communications.

Even in this dictionary definition we find some of those commonly used words:

a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism: the New Age movement.

Particular words/phrases and their popularity in the Christian church worldwide seem to come and go. 

Words such as breakthrough, prosperity, soaking, story, and so on.

If you listen to people sharing – one after the other – you will find these common expressions cropping up in their speeches.

Now where exactly am I going with this? Well I’m drawing attention to language to lead us into considering the awful blight of mis-communication.

When you mix with Christian church members for a period of time – you will pick up on the in-house lingo. And find yourself using the words you are hearing them use.

When I was a young Christian I went to serve God on a team that included an older American believer. 

When I arrived home and amongst members of my youth group again, I was addressing God as Gad, as my acquired American pronunciation prevailed for a short while.

Taking on board common terms of expression, helps us to feel that we fit in. Plus we adopt/adapt these words because we have a desire to communicate and be understood.

But this does not always end well.

It’s always been of interest to me, and at times a matter of incredulity on my part – to realise how difficult communication can be, between human beings, in the church or otherwise.

Slightly digressing but illustrating my point – I remember a lady making a comment after seeing one of my paintings in a post I did some years ago.

She commented that she was wary of the painting, because in her eyes it was ‘new age’.

Nothing could be further from the truth, but she remained unconvinced, even when I assured her of my soundness, when it came to Christian doctrine.

It looked new age to her, and in her eyes, new age it was going to be.

That’s the similar problem with words.

In this case regarding the painting – she couldn’t grasp the fundamental motivational aspect and style of my paintings – which is a search for, and expression of – good design. Basically that’s it!

When we are young we all speak a similar language, using words common to the ‘gang’.

I have experienced the difficulty of trying to express from the heart – truth with integrity, only to be misunderstood and/or misunderstood completely.

There is nothing new under the sun. The disciples walked with God every day but had the same difficulties. Wanting privileged seating rights, and debating who should be the greatest. What sort of communication was this?

It is part of the blemish of the fallen race: mis-communication, misunderstanding, dogmatic division, disunity, factions, false-accusations, biting and devouring one another, and so on. (Galatians 5/15, I Corinthians 1/10, 3/3)

An awful state of affairs. And yet!

Psalm 133

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!…

…For there the Lord commanded the blessing—

Life forevermore.

So how come the church seemingly cannot utilise this wonderful truth of unity to see the manifestation of God moving in power?

Because of mis-understanding and an ingrained inability to speak the same thing. To agree. To be of the same mind in The Lord, despite using similar lingo.

To be perfectly joined together. To agree to differ and still be able to have transparent fellowship.

Man in his nature wants to be right – even when he is wrong. Often digging our heels in – in a conversation is the beginning of disunity and division.

There doesn’t seem to be a mechanism to reach agreement by using language. By conversing – a lot of the time – disunity becomes worse.

That’s because the sinful nature contained in these bodies of ours is set on fire by the tongue, which has the characteristics of hell fire. (James 3/6)

The only solution is when believers 100% set themselves to be wrong – and corporately hear ‘the same thing’ from The Lord Himself, who is always right. (Phil. 2/5)

Allow His mind to be in them – in understanding, in speaking and in agreeing what is right.

I Corinthians 1/ Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

‘So’ speaking

SO’ SPEAKING 2021

Acts 14: v1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.

The gentlemen who are doing the speaking here, are Paul the Apostle and Barnabas. They have gone into the Jewish synagogue and are provided a platform to speak.

If I randomly (post-Covid) entered a church I had never been in before, the chances of being allowed to get up to speak are pretty slim.

But this seemingly random voluntary taking of the ‘podium’ and speaking, was the tradition of the time.

I’m not sure how the credentials of Paul and Barnabas were determined by the ‘powers that be’ who ruled the synagogue, but they were permitted to speak.

Having started my Christian walk in a ‘brethren‘ assembly of believers, (long time ago), It could be observed, that there too, pretty much any believer was allowed to stand and share from the bible at the breaking of bread/communion service.

I would like you to notice that Paul and Barnabas ‘SO’ spoke – in such a way that many Jews and Greeks believed on The Lord Jesus Christ.

How does anyone – ‘SO’ – speak?

So what does ‘SO’ stand for?

Here is my take on it – Supernatural Oratory! ☺️

You see God is supernatural. He uses words to reach people. To reach their hearts and minds. Producing the response of faith.

So we read then – that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.

But – but…!

V2 but the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.

There will always be the believing and the unbelieving. And the unbelieving will always rise up in opposition to the believing – we see this pattern throughout scripture – are you – am I – one of the believing or the unbelieving? We can only be one or the other. There is no middle ground.

Some may think there is – but there isn’t. Agnostics are unbelievers.

Despite this opposition – the two apostles stayed there a long time and continued to ‘SO’ speak.

Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

In fact their ‘SO’ speaking – is confirmed to be supernatural oratory by the manifestation of God’s power in bearing witness to the fact that these men were chosen to do this/His speaking, in one of the most demonstrative ways possible, namely…

granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

But to the unbelieving this will not do, and isn’t enough – their unbelief will not be quenched. And again so it has been throughout scripture – God-rejectors, Christ-rejectors will not acknowledge the miracles. Even when a man is healed – stands, yea leaps-up, and walks having been unable to do so before.

We see it throughout the New Testament that the unbelieving Christ-rejectors would not believe Him, even though the miracles were as plane as the nose on your face.

Many will feel justified in not believing, by immediately turning to point the finger at the charlatans who have cheated the public with their shenanigans.

Where ‘healings’ have been arranged beforehand in imitation of the real thing – when the religious circus has come to town.

The problem with these false miracles is – it reinforces unbelief. And…

…poisoned their minds against the brethren.

False healings and miracles – poisons the mind even more.

It is not hard to be skeptical of the supernatural. It is easier than being open to God touching your life. Why? Because it comes ‘naturally’ – and the natural man does not receive the things of God’s Spirit.

Whereas all who are believing are exhorted to- 

20 …not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

We must not reject things out of hand. We must not automatically assume it is not of God – but discern good from evil properly.

It takes a bit of time with biblical meditation and spiritual discernment, to find what is correct and separate it from what is not.

We are not to be naive, however – neither unbelieving. Lest we are found to act like these Jews in the synagogue.

There are varying degrees of the manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit – the first thing anyone must do is latch onto the word of His grace…(see verse 3 above)

The word of His Grace was the message they ‘SO’ spoke and that was accompanied by miracles.

Miracles or no miracles…

[for with God all things are possible. Mark 10/27].

First step – run and embrace this – the word of His grace!!

Real as real can be

REAL AS REAL CAN BE

Acts 21/10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”

12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

Ok – so you may have ‘stumbled’ upon this Post.

Grab your seat and don’t move – you, who quickly pass on uninterestedly from any thing Biblical.

This passage is about Paul the apostle and his response to a prophet and his Christian companions.

Paul is warned that if he goes up to Jerusalemn – he is in for trouble. He will be ‘handcuffed’ and delivered to the Gentile authorities.

Imagine with me, what Paul could well have said:

Thank you God for warning me about this, through this prophetic utterance, I can now escape by some other route! How faithful you are in giving me a means of warning and therefore deliverance.

I can now testify of how God protects His children, just like you protected me through this warning prophesy. Just like you did Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus on a few occasions. Enabling him to go elsewhere out of danger’s reach.

However his response instead, was to accept the warning as true and to go to Jerusalem anyway, – prepared to suffer.

Why? Because he was convinced that God wanted him to go there.

Acts 20/22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

His was the destiny of a martyr.

From his first supernatural encounter with The Risen Christ on the Damascus road and immediately thereafter – he was informed that he would suffer for Christ.

Acts 9/16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

This causes us to realise a few things. First the encounter He had was so real, so powerful and so ‘out of this world’ that nothing could cause him to forget it or deny it. It was as real as real as could be. 

So powerful and real was the tangible Presence of God in this man’s life He needed no other intellectual persuasion as to the fact that Jesus Christ (whom he had before opposed in his head) was indeed the Son of The Living God.

He had just encountered Him on the Damascus road – blindingly! (Acts 9)

The existence of the afterlife, having invaded his world, was so real, he saw no alternative but to obey implicitly, everything He was instructed to do.

Which was exactly what he did, so that he could, in his latter years, make this statement: II Timothy 4/For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

You and I – have to take the word of a man who had this powerful assurance through this powerful experience – that Jesus and His claims MUST be taken seriously. It’s a matter of life and death.

You may not have had as powerful an experience as Paul – yet he pleads with you to obey his words. The words of the gospel he preached.

So here we are – those who may not have had this blinding experience, this tangible indisputable encounter with God – being asked to give our lives to Christ through prayer.

Before we leave this world and have the ‘Damascus road experience’ of heaven itself.

Provided that is – we accept Christ as Saviour according to the message that Paul preached.

Peace

PEACE

John 20/

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Jesus having been crucified dead and buried – arose and stood in the midst of His followers.

It is not new to anyone at all familiar with The Christian Faith to realise that all Christians believe that Christ Rose from the dead.

And not only arose but appeared to various disciples at various times before eventually – many of them saw Him ascend upwards into the realm of the heaven of heavens. A spiritual dimension beyond the natural eye.

It is difficult for us to describe exactly, the bodily form of The Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ – when He appeared to His disciples. It is the dimension of the spirit manifested visibly. There is a mystery regarding it.

*NB: [Did He ascend to the Father just before this? He tells one woman not to touch Him, and yet Thomas to put his fingers into His scars. Food for thought and another post.]

It is not the purpose of this post to go into this phenomena.

But that He appeared before them is beyond doubt.

I want to think for a moment, of not only what He showed, (His resurrected self), but of what He said:

“Peace be with you.”

There are all kinds of things that disturb our peace. And let’s be honest we all like to live a peaceful life.

Except maybe for those who have never known peace in the first place. Or those so controlled by their lower nature that peace is something they neither know in experience or pursue.

Here is a mix of biblical exhortations concerning peace:

Seek peace and pursue it…

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:…

Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it…

And finally what Jesus said to His followers:

My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

There is one source of true peace: Jesus Christ Himself. A relationship with Him brings inner peace, because of sins forgiven and acceptance into His spiritual kingdom, through fellowship with Him.

For any Christian to pretend that they never lose their peace, or are never troubled would be a lie. Indeed Paul the apostle who knew the peace of God perpetually in his life, nevertheless did not see the need to pretend in order to make his case for God-given peace.

He says: (II Corinthians 7/5)

For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus…

Inside were fears. Fear attempts to disturb/destroy our peace. He finishes off, however, with the great truth: NEVERTHELESS – GOD!

When there’s nothing else to cling to and, as the song says: ‘When our time has come…’ We have the promised and abiding peace that tells us that all will be well with our soul and spirit.

Peace returns – [as an old female saint I once knew would say] – when we: Let go and let God.

There will always be things that seek to disturb our peace, rob us of our peace, distract us from abiding in Christ – but the great truth is – we have been given His Peace in the first place, just like He delivered it to His disciples in His resurrection power, as He came into the room, having risen from the dead!

Thank God for the peace and assurance that we can meet Him without the fear of loss.

Even so come Lord Jesus!

…………………………………………………………………………..

* JOHN 20 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

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).

What does this mean?

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

What does this mean?

What does it really mean?

If you are not in the scientific community, you may not have a clue, as to what a particular communication means. If you are not in the Household Calvary you may not understand the instruction being handed down. If you are not in the Plumber’s Guild you may not comprehend the words in the manual and so on…

In other words you need to be what we refer to as: ‘In the know’.

To be ‘in the know’ often requires us to be ‘in the club’.

When it comes to spiritual matters we need to realise that certain words are not dissimilar straight across the religious spectrum. But in actual fact can mean completely different things to different adherents of particular religions.

The bible talks about those: Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. II Timothy 3/7.

And so we ask our question: “What exactly does this mean?”

These words are found in the context (if you care to look it up) of the end times. The end times can be a day or a thousand years. One day still to go. Or one thousand years still to go.

It is the ‘end-times’ from God’s perspective. As to Him – outside of time – who looks into time – a thousand years is the blink of an eyelid and likened to one day.

So we are given a list of (last day) end-time things in II Timothy 3.

One of the characteristics of those walking in the end times is people learning, (knowledge increasing) – but unable to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Therefore what chance have you, of knowing the truth, if you have only the road of learning to walk down?

There is need of some other element. Some other means. Some other experience that will take you from simply using your cerebral faculties in an educational pursuit of learning.

According to this scripture there will be those who are always learning, but never able to find the truth.

So are you, am I, ‘in the know’? What club must I join to truly understand the communication?

It’s not a club. It’s a kingdom we must enter into, through the door, Jesus Christ.

To begin with, we need to stop searching in all other religions, because they will only provide somewhat similar turns of phrase, and knowledge that leaves us still void of knowing the truth.

Ever increasing in learning – yes. But unable to grasp what only Jesus Christ can reveal.

This post is challenging you to stop learning and seeing learning, as the only means of knowing the truth. And start asking who the Person of Jesus Christ really is? Jesus answered, “I am the way and THE TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

As we come to a revelation of who He Truly Is – it’s only then that we can KNOW the truth. Knowing the truth is firstly knowing a Person.

Examine His claims and seek to enter into a relationship with Him.

That’s the ‘if you are not in – you cannot truly know’ aspect of the gospel.

Jesus Christ said:

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

And knowing the Person of Jesus through submissive prayer, we can go on to know the truth as taught by Him through His word.

Words

WORDS

I’m writing words for the love of words

But in writing words I ‘m not saying a thing

I finish my piece and pass it to you

But you look puzzled and don’t know what to do

                          …

I’m writing words for the love of words

The love of words is what I sincerely bring

But the love of words doesn’t mean anything

                          …

I’m writing words as your attention dwindles away

I’m writing words without anything to say

                          …

Like a child I look for praise

As you start to look – but divert your gaze

Finding other things to laugh and cry about

Just before you excuse yourself and walk out

                          … 

I’m writing words now – all alone

Looking at my page as it bends to my tone

I love the words I start to compose

But they are not saying anything – I suppose

                          …

By the love of words I will stand

As one more sheet is stored up for the band

Never to see the light of day again

I sit before another white sheet semi-art and plain

                           …

Hitting the keys this time hard and fast

Hoping my love of words will last

Lasting – as – long – as it will take

Composing words – a poem doth make

                           …

What’s this business all about?

Poem after poem – for deaf ears – I spill out

This stringing of word-beads together

The love of meaning and the love of words in tether?

                           …

No – I won’t listen – it’s words today

Let the meaning drift away

                           …

The love of words – the love of words

The love of words – the love of words

                           …

That’s all I have to say

Prophesying today

PROPHESYING TODAY

It is dangerous to ‘generalise’ when we have limited information.

Limited information can cause a limited conclusion. A faulty judgement can therefore be made about a given scenario.

Jumping too quickly to conclusions.

However, in some situations in life, in extenuating circumstances, a decision needs to be taken quickly, because

of how a particular scenario will or might play-out and effect us personally.

This ‘deficient information factor’ makes that decision hard to make.

We do our best – and proceed to make the decision, even with inadequate information, because if it goes a certain way, it will perhaps effect us personally.

I would imagine those who deal in the stock market, find themselves in that situation daily (?).

It can be, that we may not have the time to make full enquiry. And our decision as a result can be a good one or a bad one – as time will usually tell.

We can best hope that by our necessary decision making, no one gets hurt or damaged, as we make the decision.

I’m thinking of how people resign from a particular position they occupy, in perhaps a company, a political party, a Medical Practice, a church etc.

Making their decision, but not basing it on full knowledge, sometimes just suspicion.

It is still true to say, that unless one undertakes a thorough comprehensive research study, our lack of information can cause us to form the wrong conclusions.

The Bible says in James 1/So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; . It’s easy to reverse this – speaking with limited knowledge and without proper discernment, and in self-righteous anger (quick to wrath), making wrong judgements.

Biblically we are exhorted in different ways to be careful about judging given situations or people. 

Some make the mistake of thinking we are never to judge anything. The bible doesn’t teach this – but it does call us to ‘judge righteously’ according to the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus said: John 7/

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The spirit in which we judge is also of paramount importance. Anger and bitterness in our hearts and we have judged wrongly already, and must hear ‘judge not that you be not judged’.

Matthew 7/ v1“Judge  not, that you be not judged.

It may seem now that I am about to change tack to a different subject, but that’s not what I am doing.

Because I am thinking of the discernment necessary and the full knowledge needed, of what is said – before judgements can be made in response to modern day prophetic utterance.

Prophecy in the bible in it’s basic definition is simply ‘inspired utterance’. Jesus spoke with supreme wisdom and perpetual inspiration/revelation. 

Those who penned the scriptures were given Grace of an unequalled kind. No one (as in ‘ordinary’ Christians) prophesying since the Apostles and prophets, chosen by Christ, will be given that same calibre of Grace. Therefore they will not speak as authoritatively.

That does not mean that someone with a true gift of prophecy (inspired utterance), will not speak with authority.

Just not of that particular unique kind that penned The Word of God.

The Bible cannot be added to, it remains perpetually in the hand of The Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever God sends it to accomplish. Isa. 55/

11 

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Whether this ‘accomplishing’ takes place in the individuals heart or in accomplishing the task of giving to mankind foreknowledge of the future, in prophesying what is to come.

But modern day, inspired utterance, still calls for men and women to be in touch with God.

We are exhorted to speak as the ‘oracles of God’.

1 Peter 4:11

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.

Some Christians live more incomplete lives than others, when they exclude from their experience the possible exercise of Spiritual Gifts, as found in I Corinthians chapter 12 etc..

Even those who believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and therefore accept the ‘manifestation of The Holy Spirit’ doctrinally, (another way of saying ‘the gifts of The Spirit’) – even so, may not fully manifest those gifts.

Certain cessationists dismiss the Gifts of The Holy Spirit – as not being for today.

If the manifestations of The Holy Spirit, are not taking place today – it is not because God has turned the tap off, or that such a thing is not possible, but rather for the reason, that  they are not sought for fully, or not allowed in the assembly of God’s people, usually as a result of cessationist theology or limited revelation/experience in the leadership.

The lack of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit may also be because of the ‘falling away’ that is happening on the earth and even in the churches. We read of a somewhat parallel time in the time of Samuel the prophet: 

I Samuel 3/1…And the word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open vision.

The gifts are not as manifest as in previous eras. (This can also be the result of how much there is – full or limited pursuing thereof): Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 

Those who accept the gifts, rightly so, as being for today – may not, however in practice, manifest them in the church.

Prophecy is for every member – we may all prophesy one by one.

All may speak ‘inspired utterances’.

These utterances of the spoken gifts are as follows – prophesy, speaking in different tongues and interpretation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge.

There are other gifts, or manifestations of The Holy Spirit, but the above are the spoken gifts.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

When it comes to prophesying – we are told: 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 

All prophesying’ does not make us all prophets.

A prophet is someone who has a proven track record in words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophesying by forth-telling or fore-telling.

The fruit of which gives help, direction and deliverance to the church.

It may entail foretelling, but must include:

 3 (But he who prophesies speaks)… edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

Except, on the rarer occasions when it can contain correction or rebuke, depending on the situation. Such correction should come from an established proven Prophetic ministry, that God has set in the church.

The rest of the church present, where a prophecy is given, are meant to engage in discerning if the prophecy is brought by The Holy Spirit and does not violate the principles of God’s Word.

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 

We must be careful to:

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Unfortunately some dismiss anything prophetic, when we are told we can all prophesy, (and the Word of God cannot be broken).

We must judge firstly the prophecy – and after this depending on the fruit in their lives – if need be – then the vessel who brought the prophecy.

If what they are – in themselves, clearly shows them to be false prophets, or carrying a wrong spirit, or disrupting and damaging the people of God, then they need to be subject to the sanction of the church.

But – and this brings me back to my original point – full or limited knowledge…

If a foretelling prophecy does not come to pass, being of a foretelling nature, the first thing to establish is – is it completely wrong? Genuine prophets can make mistakes, but this does not mean they are to be dismissed as charlatans.

To dismiss them out of hand, is to get the cart before the horse. We are to judge the prophecy, as to it’s correctness or otherwise. But if it is wrong, we should not automatically disqualify the prophet.

Unless he/she has a track record of damaging the church, causing confusion, and perhaps obtaining a ‘following’ through dishonest gain.

Titus 1:

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 

The Gifts or manifestations of – The Holy Spirit are for our profit as the Church. 

And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

There can be a lot of ‘hype’ in televised prophesying, especially in a certain country. But we need to see-through the hype and ask the question ‘Is this of God?” Secondly is this person a true servant of Christ – who loves The Lord.

Not easily or immediately discernible sometimes. But we must not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.

Regarding foretelling and not the less consequential type of prophesying, (edification, exhortation, and comfort), here is the safeguard:

Deuteronomy18

21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

There is both warnings for those who hear the prophetic word, in this passage:

 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

And for the prophet who prophesies:

20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

However these warnings aught to be heard in the light of the greater Covenant of The New Testament.

Bread and oil/water

BREAD AND OIL/WATER

Following on with the ‘dry bread’ theme. (See previous post). There is no doubt that we are all made-up intellectually of different stuff.

The same grey matter, but personalities and therefore preferences, as different as – the proverbial chalk and cheese.

This is another reason, it can be said, that we respond with differing perceptions of what is a ‘happy meal’ as opposed to what we dismiss as ‘dry/stale bread’.

When it comes to preaching – many Christians and possibly non-Christians, have different preferences, when it comes to the pulpit. 

For some, unless the preacher’s saliva reaches the first row of the congregation, it isn’t real preaching. 

Unless it is accompanied by the highs and lows of the organ accompaniment, it isn’t real preaching.

Unless sweat appears on brow and shirt – it isn’t the real thing.

A preacher reading his sermon is a ‘no no’ for those who prefer extemporaneous deliveries.

Conversely those who have a greater intellectual need to be informed – shun the ‘blood and thunder’ exhortative approach, wanting good theology instead.

I usually know ‘dry bread’ when I hear it. And I hope I can discern bread mixed with the welcome oil or water of the Holy Spirit.

I embrace most preach-‘expressions’ – I look to experience The Presence of God, I look for soundness in what is shared and I try to listen to God The Holy Spirit, – one ear on the preacher and one for what God wants to personally say to me.

The truth that sets free – is the bread I hunger for. I appreciate information that helps re-enforce the establishing of godly truth. Usually that is what the scholars provide through bible helps.

But – no biblical author ever wrote under the inspiration of Hebrew or Greek. Therefore we cannot truly learn that way either.

We need in other words the inspiration and revelation of the Holy Spirit Himself.

Lord help us to receive fresh manna and not dry bread. Help us to be in an intimate place with you where all the dryness of human endeavour will give way to the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

Dry Bread?

DRY BREAD?

‘Dry bread’ – can be a metaphorical description of something that is not appetising.

We read a blog, a book, an email, a news item, and it seems dry to us – consequently we remain ‘unfed’.

But then in favour of the communicator –  ‘you can please some of the people some of the time but not all etc…’

Dry bread for one person however, can be a happy meal for another.

And that’s why pleasing: ‘all of the people all of the time…’ is an impossibility. Because the meal/message  will be ‘dry bread’ to some.

In the Old Testament the people of God, collected fresh manna (food) each day.

But to them it became stale, even though it wasn’t.

And so staleness can be in the people – not in the food.

Stale people spiritually – do not respond to fresh spiritual bread. It doesn’t appeal. It isn’t appetising because their palette is not sympathetic to it.

Their palette is corrupted. It’s like salt …’but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’.

(To slightly arrest the scripture) To those who have no taste for it, the food has lost it’s savour.

But the food has not lost it’s flavour/savour – instead the palette of those who are offered the food, can be non-appreciative.

[We see this in Numbers 11/4-6]

This is an illustration of the truth we find in…

I Corinthians 2/14

…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.

To be able to get the natural man who has no taste for the things of Jesus Christ, – to stop, listen, learn, and respond is impossible. Unless – unless – God touches their heart and mind.

For those who want God to touch them. They must deny their natural appetite (as in earthly thinking) and put themselves in a place where God has their time and attention. It is called prayer and bible meditation.

In that place – low and behold – spiritual food becomes an acquired taste.

In which place, He (God), will eventually serve-up a spiritual meal.

Such folks entering into real prayer will suddenly find the things of God extremely appetising – and such a meal, will change their whole life.

It may not happen straight away – but with patience it will happen. (See also Luke 5/39).

Oh, TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

(Psalm 34)

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.

Elusive certainty

ELUSIVE CERTAINTY 2021

To be absolutely certain about anything in this life, is difficult, to say the least.

I’ve been taking an interest in the political news of the USA. I am not an American, and I am generally not interested in politics per se, but I am interested in truth.

There is contention over the results of the Presidential election. And the perceived evidence of fraud in the minds of thousands of Americans is plainly manifest.

As far as I can determine – the mainstream media either ignore or play down all the conclusions the many Republican followers are convinced of.

That there is fraudulent balloting as in computers set to favour one candidate over the other, is hard to prove. Especially if the forensic examination of the machines is not permitted or ordered by the governing powers that be.

So until there is certain proof of all the claims that are being made regarding fraudulence – we are left with uncertainty.

Even though the many ways fraudulence can take place (as itemised by affidavit testimony etc.) is proclaimed until investigation and proper and thorough examination takes place – we have in the meantime – uncertainty.

Life is full of uncertainty.

John the Baptist is an example of a follower of Christ, who when faced with his imminent demise at the hands of a foolish king – entered into uncertainty. (Matthew 11/2-4)

Our human make-up, our human condition, is fickle. Strong today, weak tomorrow. Beset with uncertainty and doubt.

But there is a difference in human beings who live in similar ‘bodies of death’ as Paul the Apostle describes them. (Romans 7/24).

He for one, had a certainty of faith to his dying day, as described below:

2 Timothy 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The difference between human beings, when faced with the uncertainty we are all subject to – is our response to it – How we face or deal with uncertainty.

The human mind can change – and does change every moment of the day.

Many when offered the Christian gospel message – will listen for a short time and then change their minds and get on with what is at hand – entering back into uncertainty and holding to it, as a reason for making no response to Christ’s claims. The bible calls this unbelief.

The Christian believer, when similarly beset with uncertainty of whatever kind – knows deep within what is taking place.

It is what the scripture describes as ‘the trial of our faith’.

1 Peter 1:7

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

When doubt enters the changeable mind – it is time to:

1 Thessalonians 5:

21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

We hold fast to what we are convinced is truth. God has proven it to be so through the word of truth (the Bible) and through the spiritual experience we have had in encountering Christ. This is the truth we have been convinced of in our past experience, and biblically, will not change.

John the Baptist was sent a specific word from Jesus, telling him how to respond to his doubts:

Luke 7/22

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Uncertainty can precede believing a lie, or believing the truth.

For example what do you believe – was the election fraudulent – or was it honourably executed?

My topic is not the election – my topic is truth and certainty/uncertainty.

How many things are you uncertain about? How many things are you sure about? Maybe we should make a two column list?

One thing is for sure – there is truth and there are lies.

Here is how to find the truth – it may take some time!

Matthew 7/ KJV:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.