Category Archives: understanding

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

The Agreement

THE new AGREEMENT

God has drawn up an agreement. He would like you to sign it. But He wants you to sign it willingly. He will not force you to sign it – even though it is the greatest agreement you could ever sign.

He had an old agreement that He improved on. If this old agreement could have given you the ability to be a good person, then no doubt He would not have sought to draw-up another.

But the New Agreement has made the old obsolete, by virtue of it’s greater revelation.

The new agreement is based on better promises that God has made.

In the Old Agreement, God laid out clearly what was expected of you, had you agreed to adhere to it and sign up for it.

The problem was, it told you what was required on your part to fulfil your side of the covenant (another name for the agreement), but the old covenant failed to enable you to do what was required. It told you what not to do – but not how  – not to do it.

It told you what was required to fulfil your side of the agreement – but no one who has ever signed up to the old agreement has ever kept their side of the covenant.

Regardless of how much those who signed up tried, it was impossible to fulfil every jot and title of what was required of them, in keeping their side of the ‘bargain’.

God found it incredulous that they were unable to keep His requirements in this old agreement. Incredulous because He had never experienced the nature your first forefather and mother chose to have.

God had never experienced human nature up to the time of the New Agreement, and therefore couldn’t grasp why human nature could not keep the old agreement.

This was the only thing God had no experience of, as it (sinful human nature) was totally and completely contrary to His nature.

This nature was destructive and potently disastrous for all of God’s creation.

So to understand your nature and it’s corrupt state – He came to earth, took upon Himself your human nature, and although His human body was incorruptible – He allowed it to become corrupted as in loaded with sin in death – so you would not be punished forever, and giving you His divine nature to partake of, you are now able through Him to keep your side of the new agreement.

Will you sign today?

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.

EPISTLE-ising

EPISTLE -ising 2020

Everything off-line, is in abeyance with Covid.

I reflect on the fact that coming into certain situations over the years my answer was to write ‘an epistle.’

Putting my thoughts down on paper when addressing situations, where I tried to help folks.

Offering advice, offering the way I saw things, in the hope it might do some good, or provide balance, – and doing so in writing.

I look back on one such ‘epistle’ to a group of Christians who were having problems, and who confessed to being duped by ‘prosperity teaching’. This was many years ago.

If I re-read what I left them with, in a sincere attempt at helping – I realise many years later, that what I wrote was too complicated for them.

I should have operated more on ‘the KISS’ principle – Keep it simple stupid.

But my point is that – my offered perspective was in writing.

When I was courting my wife we had to content ourselves for a year – with being apart.

She on a Christian mission to London and myself at home, at work, and involved in church life.

So we communicated and built our relationship by letters.

As in land mail – (remember those?)

(It turned out to be a wonderful way to grow our love)

In these days we see the ‘big storm’ coming. We see time eking away – drifting into the last of the last, and we are aware that scripture tells us to be amongst those ‘who endure to the end’ (Matthew 10/22).

Many are of the opinion that there will be one final ‘big time’ move of God – bringing World Revival. This is based on the former and latter rain principle – but others don’t see it in scripture.

Meantime – we all ask questions. Questions are ok – if they are not accusations in disguise.

God knows what is happening. He has all the answers.

One thing that helps when we don’t see the change we long for – is the fact that 1,000 years = 1 day on God’s calendar.

Who doesn’t want God to move and revive? All Christians should want this.

But in weakness – we bow before Him – asking help.

Being careful not to limit God – nor be duped by sweet dreams not based on scripture.

I am hoping (and let’s not underestimate hope) – that revival is ‘in the wilderness’, but it is on it’s way. (Luke 1/79-80)

A new season, a new move of God, salvation that comes by the hand of God, rather than just mental assent.

But if I know this in certainty, then I aught to have faith for it. If I am not certain – then I should live in hope.

And if we only have darkness increasing – then still, we are to love.

But these three – faith, hope and love must remain.

My prayer is for ‘the greatest of these’ – may it be a STRONG love. One that will love God no matter what.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Once again: “Lord please help us”.

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’.