Category Archives: TRUTH

True disciples

TRUE DISCIPLES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagination

Imagination

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

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

Where will it run to..?

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

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

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

Imagination.

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

Imagination.

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

Imagination, the stuff dreams are made of.

Surrealism – imagination as depicted by Dali.

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

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

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

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

Out of the imagination comes good things and bad.

Consciousness goes on forever – liberated or bound.

Best to anchor imagination on solid ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Questions answered

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The answers to all the questions a person might have, regarding Christianity, can be found in The Bible.

A lot of questions are answered directly, but if not, then indirectly.

Because of one particular truth, we can have insight into another.

Life is full of questions, especially about the hereafter. The answers are either crystal clear in the Bible, or shrouded in mystery.

Some questions are difficult to answer, others simple.

A lot of us get stumped regarding such hereafter questions, and indeed questions on how to behave and what to believe in – in this life – never mind the one to come.

Then also, people’s spiritual experiences differ from person to person. Differ, either in kind, or in intensity.

Many are either confused or open to everything and anything under the ‘spiritual’ label, going astray in their desperate quest for the right and real thing. The real McCoy as we say.

Some gullible, fall prey to evil disguised as good, attaching themselves to some ‘ulterior motive-type’ cult.

We need to exercise great caution about what we ‘sign up to’ spiritually.

Yet we can close ourselves – out of hand – to anything ‘spiritual’, without due consideration and proper search/research.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons that non-Christian folks do not entertain the gospel message, is because of the failure of it’s adherents.

All sincere Christians who are found confessing Christ as their Saviour, wish that it were true, that they lived as perfectly as others expect them too, because of the profession and confession they are often heard verbalising to others, in the hope that they too might become followers.

Christians with their imperfections and shortcomings, are a hindrance to others believing in Christ. The reasoning of the unbelievers can go something like this:

“You call yourself a Christian, but you are clearly a hypocrite, that doesn’t practice what you preach and yet lay on others…”

In response to this reasoning, we can say that there is sincere failure, and hypocritical failure.

But the whole good news premise of the gospel is that: yes we will fail daily, but we find forgiveness and acceptance through genuine confession of sin.

It is often true that the most difficult person to forgive is oneself.

In a particular incident the very thing that Christ’s audience accused Him of and rejected Him for – was the very thing He did for the wholeness of mankind. (Matthew 9):

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house.

So God being willing to forgive was shunned. God in Christ standing before them was unrecognised and rejected.

So the true Christian, very much aware of his own sins, has come to Christ and asked for forgiveness. Christ Jesus is faithful and willing to forgive, regardless of how many times we drop the ball, whether in a major or minor way.

But because we profess to Follow Jesus Christ, – others simply want to reject us because something is missing in our ‘performance’, in their eyes.

We don’t conform exactly to their expectations. We may have idiosyncrasies, not necessarily to do with morality, we may worship in a manner not appealing to them. We may have made a real mistake and are post-forgiveness, but they will never forget it, and hold it against us. They may hear of something in our pre-Christian believing life, and they hold this against us still.

Others pick on minor faults that we still have, to justify themselves in their rejection of Christ and His message.

Christians availing themselves of God’s unmerited favour and finding forgiveness when they fail – and yes sometimes though failing miserably – need to know in whom they have believed. And realise that:

Romans 8:31

[ God’s Everlasting Love ] What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

If God the supreme judge of the universe is willing to forgive us, we can with Paul humbly say:

1 Corinthians 4:2-4 King James Version (KJV)

2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

There is a time when we must stand in the confidence of sins forgiven and in God’s promises, regardless of what others might think of us or hold against us.

This privilege have those who truly and sincerely give their lives over to the God-man Christ Jesus, who will ever – be lovingly correcting us, but has totally accepted us – when we accept Him as Lord of our lives.

Proverbs 24/16

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,

But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.

 

 

Heaviness

HEAVINESS

We all experience different emotions in an average day. Christians experience also varying degrees of spiritual discernment.

For example, we can sense that God is grieved by our, or other peoples actions.

It’s true also that Christians or non-Christians can be repulsed by various acts of evil, that they find out, have taken place.

We can feel sorry and aggrieved that certain things have happened to friends or loved ones.

Being aggrieved by the actions of others and affronted by their awful behaviour, is both an intellectual and emotional experience.

Intellectually we become aware of the awful facts and process them with the accompanying emotions.

It is true also that we become accustomed to awful news and can become indifferent to it. Usually out of a sense that there is seemingly nothing we can do about the situation – and our sense of human powerlessness can have a numbing effect.

When bad stuff is up close and personal – of course this creates an even more difficult scenario to deal with.

And we have to handle the personal hurt we feel.

Again this is different for the true Christian because there is a spiritual sensing involved that adds to the intellectual and emotional negative experience we may be having.

Paul the apostle tells us of his personal heartfelt – intellectual/emotional/spiritual experience when he says:

Romans 9:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

Israel’s Rejection of Christ

9 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

This was not just being sorrowful over someones situation, condition or experience, but he was also sharing God’s burden. Entering in to sharing God’s heart.

Jesus reveals His burden to us, as the Son of God,  when He gives us insight into His heart of love and concern for His people. On this occasion regarding the Jews blindness to the Messiah:

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

He was also speaking prophetically as one who knew the future and their future.

So this was not just the heart of the human Jesus breaking, but the heart of The Son of God also.

That which is coming upon the earth – is increasing the spiritual heaviness, and the spiritual dearth, and Christians are conscious of this, sometimes more than others.

As a response to these negative and spiritually heavy times, we can only set ourselves to endure. Set ourselves to remain faithful to seek our solace in Christ through prayer and worship and fellowship, searching out true believers, and real genuine friends.

Regardless of how many times we are disappointed by the behaviour of others, Christian and non-Christian alike, we must set ourselves to seek first the kingdom of God. Take strength from the many great biblical examples of true men and women of God – the cloud of witnesses who have endured and gone before us into the eternal presence of God.

Hebrews 12:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Paradoxical

PARADOXICAL

The Christian life, or indeed things to do with the Christian life, can be paradoxical, verge on being paradoxical, or sometimes paradox-like when compared. 

There is the paradox that the Christian life is hard to live – but it’s easy.

Faith can only be the size of a grain of mustard seed, yet it can remove mountains.

Without Faith it is impossible to please God, yet He can help us in our unbelief.

No man can see God and live. Yet He appeared for all to see, in the Person of His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ.

God wants us to be aware that we have sinned. Yet He is willing to take our sin away.

The gospel message is both profound and simple, yet aspects of it are beyond our human understanding.

All other religions have some commendable points, yet they are anathema, if they do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as The Son of God, come in the flesh, who alone, along with His Father is to be worshipped.

All the good deeds a person can do will not change the very nature of their heart, and it’s capability of transgression.

When followers of Christ tell you to come and follow Jesus – they drive you away into incredulity – when they don’t live up to the standards they proclaim. Yet it is their very failures that drove them to Christ in the first place. And will continue to do so.

Some might even lay down their life for a friend – but…

Romans 5:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Much Ado…

Much Ado… 

The ‘saying’ – Much Ado About Nothing, I somewhat erroneously thought meant making a fuss over nothing.

It is of course a title to a Shakespearian play. And is something to do with the word ‘nothing’ really meaning ‘noting’.

Anyway I remain ignorant – not exactly motivated to find out about this play that is a mere vague schoolday’s memory.

For some Christmas and it’s true meaning is about ‘too much fuss over nothing’.

And indeed it may well be the case concerning the commercialisation of this time of year.

A child is born. The story is told.

The world is spiritually deaf dumb and blind. This child is no ordinary child.

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

He came into the world to give light to every man (to all humankind).

As humans are born into the world – so He too, took upon himself the form of a man, and came into the world.

Amidst the display of lights at this time of year, perhaps we could all pause to consider what true spiritual enlightenment really is.

Considering also it’s only source: Jesus Christ, whose entrance into this scene of time in the body of a child, meant that the message that brings the true light amidst the darkness of sin, could be proclaimed and received by all who are willing to worship Him.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Love and Peace

KR

You search…

You search…

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

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

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

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

I like that one best.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lining up

Lining Up

And one man said to the other

And the other said to a friend-connecting

And it was printed in notice form

And a text was exchanged about the death

Two passed within a few days

A generation dwindling – while others line-up

For departure – they have no ticket

And it’s treated with laughter

Side-stepped with a quip

Forgotten about

Going about

All engage in their daily business

Then another procession to slow down for

As the cortege makes its winding progress

And over dinner the mind thinks again

About the departure all must face

Then the bill is paid

And life goes on – getting into the car

The business of the day continues

At night lying below sheets

The mind wanders through

The orders taken – the stock ordered

The lunch bill paid

– the cortege

Human effort

HUMAN EFFORT

As human beings our lives consist of three things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what He tells me: 

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

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

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

(Psalm 23/6)

Hero

HERO

The heroine could – no hero find

She looked around –

and encountered every day

Nominees for the laurel crown

But no one worthy could be found

She looked with a long take

Or glimpsed for a short time

The behaviour and way they moved

How they treated ladies

And how they cut a caper

How they studied and searched the paper

How their frowns were worn

And how their clothes were crisp or torn

What they cared about

And if confidence was deserved

Or prideful arrogance

caused their loss of doubt

She continued her search

Until the dawn of a new year

left her quest undone and unwon

No hero was to be found –

it proved an uneventful task

Having reached the end of her tether

And having given up her study

A young boy lent a helping hand

To his mother

As she shuffled across the

cobblestoned street

This at last was her hero

as his heart was in the right place

And he gladly lent his hand

Without the mother’s demand

Though young – he knew –

and didn’t need to be told

That his precious mother was

his best friend indeed

So our heroine went to shake his hand

And asked “Will you be my hero?”

“Of course” was his reply

Without even asking why

Remaining Option

REMAINING OPTION

Sometimes we encounter a person who seems totally insensitive, regarding how they treat their fellow human beings.

We could mention – i.e. explore – delve into – the many reasons they have ended up like this in their character and lifestyle.

The challenge when we are on the receiving end of their folly and they treat us unjustly, unfairly, without due consideration of where we are at – is to ask the above person(s), questions in an attempt to find reasons (usually underlying unresolved hurts) why we are receiving their unacceptable attitude and behaviour.

Empathetically responding when we are on the receiving end of their immaturity. This ain’t easy to do – is it?

We, left to our own devices will react and put them right. An angry exchange usually takes place as we unnecessarily defend ourselves in response to their false accusations or attack.

At the same time we must consider the possibility that some folks are hell-bent on not changing. They don’t want help, and don’t perhaps even see the need for it.

From a Christian point of view when they refuse to entertain our helping hand or calm reason – we have one remaining option. 

Pray for them.

Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Persuaders…

Persuaders…

After four poems in succession, my pendulum swings again to spiritual matters:

God in Christ wants all men to be saved/delivered/set free – indeed all of the above. He desires to make Himself known to us.

But not everyone (needless to say) is going to see things that way.

History has unfolded the proof of this. It has always been so. The gospel of Christ is not readily accepted, and is just plain rejected by many. Just as Christ Himself was rejected.

The world is full of different belief-systems, faiths, doctrines (call them what you will) that people adhere to – the old saying has application: ‘but never the twain shall meet’. This summarises how these ‘faiths’ will never agree. Indeed it cannot be, and is not meant to be.

Light has no fellowship with darkness, would be one way of describing why doctrines don’t gel, in ‘faiths’, they are simply not the same.

Still, adherents to whatever belief, mostly feel it part of their ‘duty’ to spread their message. Spread the message to an often unheeding public.

An offer of a free £1,000 spending spree in a local store, will make most ears prick-up. First thought? Is this a scam? Having proof of it being a genuine offer – who in their right mind is going to reject, ignore or refuse the offer?

So the gospel message, if it is to be ignored, is ignored perhaps on the false premise that it is a scam?

The exponents of this gospel message are only after your money, it is thought? Not hard to know where this impression comes from through the mouths of TV evangelists. The gospel message is very balanced. But if we hear only one aspect repeatedly, it isn’t hard to understand how folks get a lop-sided view of things.

Or (it is sometimes thought) this message is to do with servitude, manipulation and control where everybody bows to some cult figure at the helm?

Or some – not having examined thoroughly the cross of Christ and what took place there, beyond the visible – see it wrongly, as some kind of ‘blood religion’. Some ‘gory’ horrible story of no significance?

Then again some reject the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some so-called adherents to this gospel of christianity. Not stopping to consider that there are false gospels, in the name of christianity, that we are warned about in the scriptures.

In a different vein – some just plainly don’t ‘believe’ in God full stop, the God of any ‘religion’.

And so we could go on laying out reasons for the ‘gospel of Christ’ being rejected, or reasons many refuse to give it their attention.

Maybe some ‘clergy’ have failed miserably and have been guilty of the abuse of others. And this is taken as a reason to reject not only them but the biblical message?

How can we begin then to give it our attention, or tolerate any kind of preaching? When so many reasons arise in our minds that stop us on the journey before we even begin.

Is this where we, the adherents of Christianity step-in to persuade you differently?

Or are we better leaving you alone – after all it is often quipped: ‘Religion is a personal/private matter’?

So no gospel for you? You will tolerate those who wish to believe that stuff – as long as they leave you alone?

And yet is it not true that some enthusiastically expound how worthy their soccer team is to be followed. Or how the car they have is the best on the market. Or the area they live in is excellent. Or the best way to cook the meal is to add particular ingredients, to give the best possible results, for the taste buds. Or their favourite politician should be voted for – because etc. etc.?

Maybe all those things should be kept to themselves? People will tolerate you if you keep your mouth shut and leave people alone?

Why are people blogging, they wouldn’t be wanting us to like their stories, opinions, or share in their experiences would they?

Truth is – we are all persuaders.

Paul the apostle was a persuader concerning the true-truth of the gospel message, and having opened His mouth with God’s enablement he got the following response, as he fulfilled his ‘duty’ by sharing the Christian message to a certain king:

Acts 26:27-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am…

So next question? What’s it going to take to cause you to realise that the Christian gospel is God’s communication to mankind, as it is, in it’s preserved written state, for the salvation of mankind from the tyranny of an evil spirit?

Maybe you are amongst those who are already persuaded?