Category Archives: understanding

Another Gospel?

ANOTHER GOSPEL? 

There are seemingly quite a few who are offering us – a more updated version of Christianity.

Challenging some of the fundamentals of the faith – confusing the fundamentals with the newly re-contextualised fundamentalism label.

Because there exists dogmatic Pharisees who want everything conformed to their image – they assume that those who hold fast to that which is good, has been good, and always will be good, are dead traditionalists/‘fundamentalists’.

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

That which is good is the articles of faith – long established and present in many Christian churches, from which we are never meant to depart, as per the charge of the gospel of Christ.

Those searching for a broader outlook. Those searching for a so-called more ‘enlightened’ approach – are apt to use the fact that we all cannot know all mysteries, and therefore this is a reason to alter, annul and eventually dismiss what is sound and cannot change, and has been established for centuries.

They do this act of watering down – in the name of tolerance, open-mindedness, and all-embracing love. And consider it theological progress.

The result is that they see so many sides to things that nothing ever becomes sure. But at least they reason we can ‘all get along’.

Soon they lead us to the ‘many roads to God approach’ – again in the name of tolerance and being nice.

And then slowly but surely we are meant to embrace every religion under the sun, in the name of tolerance and understanding of how the other half lives. As we partake of the ecumenical soup.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. There is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved and delivered from this corrupt generation. The God of the bible is called Jehovah and His son Jesus Christ The Lord. There is a heaven and there is a hell.

Pretty straightforward and dogmatic – but absolutely true.

To hold to this does not automatically make me an intolerant bigot, out to be rude and denigrate everyone who thinks differently.

The latest truth being tampered with – is the fact that there is a hell, there is a Gehenna.

Some so called ‘progressives’ consider the best way to get rid of hell is not to believe in it.

That way everyone is ok and marching to the promised land of heaven, regardless of what they believe or what lifestyle they practice or what god they serve.

Pan-everything-ism is the new (no, not really new – just rehashed) ‘enlightened’ way, they would have us believe.

And when someone makes a statement like my last paragraph they are perceived as dogmatic stick-in-the-mud fundamentalists who want to condemn everyone to hell. However there is only One who has the power/right/authority to do so –

Jesus said:

Luke 12:5

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

I believe in enlightenment/inspiration, or better put, revelation – but within the guidelines and confines of The Holy Bible.

As a painter/poet/preacher ‘etc’. I like to think I have some imagination. And I am open-minded enough to at least listen to those who have another slant on things other than my own.

I’m aware of dogmatism out of a heart bound-up with bitterness in the name of religion.

I’m aware that there are those who stand with Christ in doctrine, but with the devil in attitude.

But I’m also aware that there is such a thing as truth and error.

The bible is full of warnings (do a study on it – see how many you can find).

If there is no need to warn God’s true people – then there are no dangers.

Here’s a tip – Go for ‘sincere’ in people – rather than ‘nice’. And go for the bible and what it says even more than the preaching of it.

By that I mean – the words themselves, because:

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Notice the EVERY word aspect.

Regardless of whether we have experienced Revelation on every word – the revelation we have already received convinces us that the potential for further revelation comes through every word of scripture.

What has been established by revelation is to be adhered to. For example ‘justification by faith’ as revealed to Martin Luther. Does that mean that he is an infallible guide because he received revelation? No – but the bible is.

Sometimes we must take the word exactly as we find it, not blindly, (i.e. without a quickened understanding) but in trust – first. This leads to more revelation of what we are reading, as God has promised to lead us into more spiritual understanding:

John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

We take it on board first, and then we are free to ask God what it really is saying.

The truth has been established of old. Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, He needs-must die on the cross to offer mankind a way back to relationship with God, there is a Gehenna to escape through Christ, there was a virgin birth and so on…

The exaltation of the intellect of man over the inspiration of scripture will produce all kinds of theories and unbiblical conclusions.

Christians beware.

30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Trade-in Exchange

TRADE-IN EXCHANGE

There are many people who cannot see themselves being at all religious.

It just doesn’t ‘float their boat’.

They have a mental concept of what being religious means, and it just doesn’t appeal.

They haven’t taken the time to find out what true, pure religion is.

James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

James tells us (as above) what true, pure religion is.

But this is one verse in the bible – we must incorporate all of scripture in any conclusions we come to – on a given subject. That’s why we must search and study it.

A short post in a blog is unable to do this.

Religion is not a favourite word of mine, as it can mean all kinds of things that has nothing to do with the true meaning.

But true Christianity begins with a trade-in experience.

We exchange our life for – Christ’s Living tangible Presence, – that we experience when He comes to dwell in us.

John 14

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

God is a Spirit and He is omnipresent. He is everywhere. But He is not with or in everyone  in a relationship sense.

He must be invited into your life and mine if such a relationship is to start and continue.

He must be invited in.

Those who have invited Him in – in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – now must live their life by inviting Him also into every part of their thinking, and invite Him into their circumstances good or bad.

Our part of the deal is to trade-in our selfish, sinful nature and ask Him into our lives to live His divine nature in us.

This calls for a giving-up and a giving-in.

Prayer is where the transaction takes place.

Talk to God. Invite Him in. Ask Him to take the nature that causes all your pain, and replace it with Himself.

Acts 3

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,…

The Ultimate…

THE ULTIMATE…

You missed the train. Got that feeling in mind? You failed the exam. Got that feeling in mind? You went for the lottery – you were one number short.

Miss, lose, fail, fall short?

Hurt, rejected, guilty, condemned…?

Got those feelings in mind?

We then search for a reason not to feel this way.

We want to be released from these feelings.

I am the Way the Truth and the Life – the only ultimate ‘reason’ that will release us from these feelings with 100 per cent certainty and legitimacy.

We won’t miss eternal life. We won’t lose our life. We won’t fail to reach the eternal destination of bliss. We are reckoned – no longer to have missed the mark, or to have fallen short. All pain and hurt is removed. We are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1/6). Our guilt has been removed. We are no longer condemned.

The ultimate authority has provided a way – we can receive this salvation as a free gift.

John 8/

Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

 

Profound Simplicity

Profound Simplicity

The Truth of God in Christ is both profoundly simple and deeply unsearchable, at the same time.

It’s rather like the knowledge of a professor (a recognised expert in his field) who has recorded his knowledge in books. So that we refer to the books when seeking to solve given intellectual conundrums.

Or –

We alternatively, – can marry the professor! So that He is available 24/7 to apply the solution himself, in response to our questions, as we face these intellectual conundrums.

Because He is with us to answer the difficult questions – there is hope that even when we don’t understand, the expert who does, is with us to guide us. The expert in His field never leaves us.

God in Christ has provided a way to obtain fellowship, relationship and an ongoing developing acquaintance with Himself. 

It requires a ‘simple’ step of faith to come into this relationship. From then on we are dependant on His mercy and grace, to help us obtain answers to life’s dilemmas and our own wayward tendencies.

My aunt who was a missionary in Japan, where she spent most of her life, would remind me that the most difficult of sheep were: ‘straying humans’.

We need a good shepherd to guide us. A child can find Him in prayer. A towering intellect full of intellectual pride, has a bit further to go. But forsaking all others he too can bow the knee and ask in child-like faith that Christ come into his life.

In so doing he will then subjugate his intellect to God’s. 

God our ‘Professor’ has given us the book. And He is willing to answer our questions by applying it in His classroom of prayer.

In the book – taking heed, we read:

2 Corinthians 11:3

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

Hearing

HEARING

Sometimes when we make a point to someone, passing on something we think they aught to think about or do, we hear the response: “I hear you…I hear you!”

Sometimes there is a reluctance, exposed in their tone of voice – but at the same time they know what you shared is applicable.

Revealing a certain kind of hearing. Let’s just call it reluctant hearing.

Spiritual hearing, can start in a similar way – reluctantly. But deep down we know it is applicable.

Hearing begins in the natural – our natural faculties hear words in a message, a communication.

And we respond accordingly.

Our response is individual. Sometimes others agree and we respond corporately to what is communicated.

Everyone wanted to agree that the Health workers in the front line for us all – should be shown and assured of our deep appreciation for their valiant efforts.

So – many responded and stood at their doors and applauded, hoping the echo would resound throughout the community and be received as encouragement by these dedicated servants.

But if some stay indoors and don’t applaud, is this because they didn’t hear or don’t agree?

Or did they hear the call alright – but had a reason not to respond?

Unavailability – would be a possible reason for not taking part in the applause, i.e. engagement elsewhere, in some important activity.

Otherwise human reasoning – annulled their hearing. Because the hearing of the call to corporate applauding – demanded response.

They heard and didn’t hear, at the same time. Because they did not respond.

So it is with the gospel message, or any message of truth that calls for a right response.

In the corporate applauding situation, it’s easy to conclude that those who heard are non-appreciators.

We conclude they didn’t hear by virtue of their lack of response to this small act of appreciation, because they didn’t join in.

This is an illustration of how to hear and yet not hear.

So hearing and understanding can be two different things, in this instance. 

Usually understanding provokes your will to do something, this affirms that you heard and understood. Understanding usually calls for response of some kind.

Where am I going with all this?

Well not to disappoint your expectation of the spiritual point.🙂

Jesus said:

Matthew 13:19

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

What way are we meant to hear and respond to spiritual truths?

If there is no response – does that reveal that we have heard and yet not heard? Heard – according to this verse and not properly understood?

If you don’t like the idea of being a person that doesn’t ‘get it’, one who doesn’t properly understand – you can examine it further until you do.

In the verse above – those referred to, didn’t hear and understand – I submit to you – because they did not act upon what they heard, even if the response was to simply explore the thoughts and words of the gospel further.

Jesus said:

John 8:

43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 

So hearing/understanding/believing/responding with action/ are inextricably linked.

True spiritual hearing is followed by understanding and by a choice of the will to believe.

Jesus said:

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

You and I – MUST be born again – according to The Lord Jesus Christ.

MUST is pretty emphatic.

Do we understand what this means? Then we shall take the necessary ACTIONS  to prove we understand in the truest sense.

 

 

Drug delusion

DRUG DELUSION

All tuckered-out

Gasping for a bonus breath

All displayed-out across the sprawling floor

Horizontal jitterbugging – trying to rise

Collapsed again – with harmful jarring of limbs

 

At last – a staggered concertina – making it to the lamp post

Tree hugging imitation of the iron pylon

The head squeaks – needing oil – and tries to scan

The horizon – seeing a building walking like a man

 

No offered hand lest the helper fall too

No policeman to offer a – where to go – for you

And to think these drugs can be sales-talked

Into your life – held forth in dealer’s hand

Like some smiling python inducing romance

 

To get you persuaded and on board

Is the goal – so your puppeteer can return

With nothing to offer but death in a capsule

Producing frantic nervous-breakdown reward 

“C’mon” he says “take a chance…”

 

I cannot be heard above your internal din

When I cry “throw it in the bin!”

I cannot be heard when I say – “walk away…”

 

Find the other kingdom – get across the line

To the place that’s not in the war

A ‘land’ of peace and joy

Receiving what the new deal offers

We cry: “Only Christ can satisfy!”

Desire

DESIRE 

Matthew 14/

But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.

(also Mark 6)

As I continue my clear-out/re-appraisal of all things on paper.😎

I came across a sermon of mine entitled – DESIRE.

I have not looked at what I have written.

Desire – have you any thoughts on the subject?

Desire – common to humankind.

The King James uses the word ‘lust’. The dictionary defines this as:-

noun [mass noun]

strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust for her had returned.

[in singular] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.

  • (usually lusts) mainly Theology a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful: lusts of the flesh.

So even the dictionary in directing us to the term, includes theology.

But I’m guessing most folks in the 21st century reserve the word ‘lust’ for strong sexual desire.

So let’s stick to the word desire, good or bad.

We think of King’s sitting triumphantly on their thrones, with their ‘subjects’ doing obeisance. 

Perhaps the king waves his hand for all to be silent. And he offers the pleasing servant whatever he/she (the servant) – desires.

I’m sure this has happened quite a few times in history, with various monarchs.

In Herod’s case – “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” [see Mark 6]

Offered to a young lady who had pleased his other desires with her dance.

She in turn – lays aside her own desires in her desire to please her mother. (After all – a murder ‘prize’ instead of half the kingdom?!!)

Outcome of these whimsical desires? – A godly upright man is beheaded.

As any man would – John must have wondered if God would deliver him from his imprisonment? Instead of deliverance he was left with a returned greeting from Christ.

Luke 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 And that very hour He (Jesus) cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

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. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Many wonder at the loss of the lives of stalwarts, self-denying front-line workers in this pandemic. Laying their lives down in service to others.

I wonder too. God help them all.

The tragedy of lost lives in a Pandemic – into the thousands.

See also below The tragedy of lost lives at the hand of another sinful tyrant called Herod…

At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod, insecure in his position of authority, commanded that all the male children, under a certain age, be put to death:

Matthew 2/

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 

“A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

Refusing to be comforted,

Because they are no more.”

For many this Pandemic has brought great loss and great pain.

Today is it true to say – society mourns that bit more for the loss of children than adults? I think so.

Usually because they (children) have their whole lives before them. Herod’s desire was power and pre-eminence.

Amidst this pandemic, we desire all tragedy to end. Many desire their loved-ones to recover.

Amongst God’s desires, is the desire, that mankind would listen to Him.

And that we would return to Him and turn from sin that produces the actions of a man like Herod – to mention only one aspect of the manifestation of rebellion against God and His ways.

What do we desire?

We desire this pandemic to go away. And I pray to that end.

We desire comfort for the loved ones who have lost relatives – for this we pray.

We desire a better world.

But what else does God desire?

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Reminiscing in Rest

REMINISCING IN REST

In my youth I used to paint in a tension-filled expression of emotion.

The clock would ‘disappear’ into the early hours of the morning, as I couldn’t let the painting go, until the home straight was reached.

Likewise starting tasks of whatever kind and staying with them until they were completed, with no rest until finished.

So tasks may be important – but in what inner condition of heart and mind – do we carry them out?

In the Christian context – with years, comes maturity, and an entering into greater spiritual rest.

Christ offers, the child of God, rest from our turmoil.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Hebrews 4:10

10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

And so, as the material ‘clean-up – clear-out’ I have engaged in, continues – I do it at a leisurely pace, stopping to reflect as prompted by the writings of differing kinds, that I had filed away.

Writings I haven’t looked at for quite some time.

Reflecting on the past, sometimes fondly, and at other times with a sense of disappointment.

One of the things I came across was an article I wrote for the local newspaper. A report of my visit to the training centre in Germany, mentioned in my last post.

Also I came across an old ticket for a Bob Dylan/Van Morrison concert, where I had my one and only foray into photographic journalism, representing the same newspaper.

I almost got my camera confiscated, because the word from the platform was that – no photographs were to be taken.

Van Morrison allowed a ten minute ‘snap’-time, when all photographers came forward to take shots.

But Dylan (or his people), prohibited the taking of any photos.

Whilst taking a photo from a distance, even though he hadn’t appeared, I was affronted by a certain lady accusing me of being deceitful, and that I should not have taken any photos.

Suggesting that I hand over the camera. I wasn’t going to do so as it didn’t belong to me, it belonged to the photographer for whom I was the stand-in.

So representing the newspaper for the first time, and unable to take photos?

Strange.

I have the ticket memento, but won’t tell you how long ago it was 😎.

Next I came across old email addresses of old friends or acquaintances – and wondered ‘where are they now?”

Looking back – I reflect.

Looking forward – I anticipate.

Here is marching orders from Paul the Apostle:

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Partaker

PARTAKER 

After fifty years walking with The Lord Jesus Christ, I feel often that I have only begun to understand the ways of God.

The more I think I know – the more it is clear to me that I have so much to learn.

But that does not surprise me.

Quite some time ago I came to the realisation that God allows the born again Christian to partake of His divine nature.

2 Peter 1:4

…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

All that is in God’s personality. All that is in God’s character. All that is given to the Christian by inheritance as the free gift of God – is partaken of – by faith.

So God’s understanding too, is partaken of.

We continue to partake by faith and a good conscience which some having forsaken, end up floundering like a ship in a storm.

1 Timothy 1:18-20

… having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck…

A good conscience gives us boldness towards God, which, as a result, means our heart condemns us not.

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

But I want to stay with, underline, and emphasise the fact that we are PARTAKERS.

IT’S WONDERFUL – to partake of Christ.

Hebrews 3:14

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

So each truth we see – in fellowship with Christ, is like looking into a room or a palace where we see all the most beautiful, pure and loveliest things imaginable.

But we are at the threshold, and much as we would love to enter the room and partake of everything all at once. We must rejoice to be allowed to partake of each thing – one at a time. Otherwise it would be overwhelming.

So when I think I know something, I remind myself that it belongs to my Master, and there is much more He has in store.

Philippians 1:23

For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Romans 11:33

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Partaking of the spiritual food Good provides – satisfies.

Partaking of the Divine nature, in relationship with Christ – satisfies.

As the old saying/lyric goes: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim – in the light of His Glory and Grace.

The Great Exchange

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

There is a saying: God wants us to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.

Now that can be open to different interpretations.

But what I believe it should mean is:

God wants us to be spiritual without being weird. God wants us to walk close to Him in spiritual union – but we are free to enjoy life and the things that go with every day living.

Maybe a list of what I mean would be an idea?

Walking in nature, enjoying a well prepared meal, enjoying music, good humour (that is not at the expense of a friend), literature of a wholesome kind, family life, your own idea of what fits the hobby category (although I always think the word hobby is a poor description of something we really enjoy).

But in all of these things we are called by God to – ‘seek first His kingdom…’.

To put the spiritual side of life – first. When we do, we will, with peace of mind and conscience be then free to enjoy the natural things.

Certain ones in past generations had dwindled spirituality down to rigid rules.

In my culture if you didn’t drink alcohol, sleep around, go to the cinema, gamble and if you refrain from washing the car on Sunday – you had made it.

Failing to realise that you hadn’t started. God wanting us to change inside first, not outside first.

I am so thankful that the Christian’s life is all about EXCHANGE – exchanging our life for His.

As He comes to the welcoming heart – we yield ourselves to Him.

I like the old saying: ‘I can’t – but you can – thank you that you will’.

Christ in us the hope of glory.

Paul tells us – he died daily. Meaning the great exchange takes place every time we pray. Exchanging our life for His.

31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Faith says “I can’t do this Lord, please take over and supply your Life-giving Spirit and live your life in and through me…”

1 Corinthians 15:45

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a lifegiving spirit.

 

God loves you…

GOD LOVES YOU

God loves you!

What more needs to be said?

Paul Simon sings: “Who’s gonna love you when your looks are gone…?” And replying to his own question: he sings: “God will…”

Well – God is not really interested in our looks – even though He has our cosmetic count when it comes to hair –

Luke 12:6-8 (NKJV)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

He has an easier job with me – as my hair grew out completely to make room for my brains.

1 Samuel 16:7

… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So God who looks into the heart – loves you!

That’s good news – the only problem is – do you/we love Him?

Now let’s be real: How can we love someone we have never seen, or heard?

Telling me a friend of yours ‘loves me’, isn’t going to make much of a difference to me. It might be nice to know, but that’s about it.

I would need to meet this person and get to know them, before this information meant much.

When we were young, on odd occasions the word would be passed to us, perhaps through an acquaintance or friend, that a particular young lady ‘fancied us’.

Admiration from afar. The message meant they would be open to the possibility of getting to know us more.

Young ladies used to scream and cry over their pop idols.

As someone once said this is ‘puppy love’ – but nonetheless ‘real’ to the puppy.

God loves you – it ain’t no puppy love.

So for me or any Christian to communicate to you that ‘God Loves you’, might be limited in it’s impact?

Limited only because as yet it is only a fact. A piece of information. A conversation starter.

Because unless you explore this possibility for yourself, you will remain at the nodding acquaintance stage.

A nodding acquaintance with a truth some Christian wants you to grasp.

Great as that truth is to hear, it needs to be acted upon, in order that you and the person who loves you can get to know each other.

Having entered into a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, through the enablement of The Holy Spirit of God in 1970, I am still ‘married’ to Him in the sense that I am part of His church – referred to in scripture as His Bride.

I have experienced His Love in a powerful way. Specifically and tangibly on a number of occasions in an extra-dimensional spiritual way. This is described biblically in the following words:

Romans 8/5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This is a literal, tangible, spiritually-discernible experience, overwhelming in it’s import and unmistakable in its impact.

Regardless of how much I think I fail to be all Christ wants me to be – His love for me is undeniable.

Firstly because the message He confirmed to mankind – He confirmed to me personally, by allowing me to experience His Agape love. A spiritual experience – as we say – more ‘felt’ than ‘telt’.

But also because He has responded to me, as I to Him, I can now believe in His love. Even if there are times when I may think I am not experiencing it.

You may not have experienced it – but here you are being reminded of it.

Seek to know personally this saviour I speak of. And if you already know Him – I want to remind you too, that He loves you. Seek for a fresh reminder as you pray. I will too 🙂.

Christians all differ, of course, in their personalities, and you will find they often emphasize some aspect of biblical truth that kind of reflects their personality. A truth or truths they warm to, more often than others.

But this is how God tempers the body of Christ (the church members) together. Using our personalities to express differing aspects of the Life of Christ within.

But the greatest demonstration of God’s personality is His love.

Demonstrated at the cross of calvary.

Ask God to take you there and to open your eyes to His love poured out in demonstration on the cross and later poured out on the day of Pentecost.

Ask Him to manifest His love to you in forgiveness and acceptance.

Familiarity breeds…?

Familiarity breeds..?

NB: There is much speculation and differing views theologically regarding the exact connection between Jesus, and those who are referred to in scripture, as his brothers. I hold the view that Mary had a normal married relationship with Joseph giving birth to further children, after the virgin birth of Christ.

Concerning the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

we can only speculate how his brothers viewed Him. 

We can only surmise that they all eventually came to the spiritual revelation that He was indeed ‘the only begotten Son of The Living God’.

Literally and ‘metaphorically’ initially his brothers represent all unbelievers (like myself), who then become believers.

We know that one brother named James certainly came to the revelation of who His half-brother really was. It is the same James who wrote the canonical book, or epistle, of James in the New Testament.

If the rest did believe in Jesus as the Christ, it would certainly not have been before a certain time or period in His (Christ’s) manhood.

As they were all younger than He – how they viewed Him in the years that they grew up together, we have no description.

But we are told in the gospel of John:

John 7/5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

The old saying: ‘familiarity breeds contempt…’ comes to mind. Although I would imagine ‘contempt’, would be too strong a word.

He performed many miracles. He was moved with compassion for the needy. He supplied food for thousands. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and suffered all kinds of contradictions against Himself. 

Suffering also His brothers spiritual indifference

However we are not certain exactly, how His brothers saw Him as they gazed upon their eldest (half) brother, whilst growing up together as children, seeing Him work with his ‘stepfather’ in His capacity as a carpenter.

We extend the query to His half sisters – how did they view him?

Extending the query further we ask how He was viewed by His local community?

We learn that they did not believe in Him. The few that did – received a miracle of healing!

54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, [h]Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

His local community was offended by Him. Why?- because (we can safely surmise, they thought): ‘who is this ‘local boy’ that many outside this community are claiming to be someone special?’

We see that they were offended at Jesus, highlighted by the fact that in such a short number of verses we notice there are 6 question marks. Plenty to go around, summing up the consensus of opinion.

No faith – just questions. They had it all figured out – based on His ordinariness – just a man – just a carpenter’s son and so on.

They leaned on their own understanding and ability to figure things out. Even spiritual matters.

Do we realise that the consensus of mankind, means nothing when it comes to accepting Christ as the Son of God? You and I have to make up our own minds, regardless of majority or minority opinion.

Dare we say that the majority of mankind has rejected Him? This fact by no means makes them right. The majority have been wrong before.

The few that did believe, in His local community of rejection – received healing, as a result.

There is no way God wants us to accept sickness. If sickness comes into your life or mine you can own it or reject it.

Even if it doesn’t go away – don’t own it. It is part of the reward of rebellion and disobedience – it is part of the consequences of the fall of mankind. As a Christian you are to receive a full reward, which doesn’t include sickness.

Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have accomplished together, but that you may receive a full and perfect reward [when He grants rewards to faithful believers].

Be careful Christian that you don’t side with the principalities and powers that Christ made an open show of – and over whom He triumphed.

Will we see Jesus Christ through the eyes of his brothers – or through the eyes of faith?

Faith that is convinced by the Word of God that He is the Christ.

Faith that is convinced that His stripes and suffering on calvary and before, represent the total reconciliation of man to God.

If God in Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world, that means He took the penalty of sin, and the fallenness that included resultant sickness.

I Peter 2:

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose [a]stripes you were healed. 

Not blind unquestioning faith – but faith that is convinced by the sharp two-edged sword of God’s Word.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (including present or eternal healing).

Christian or non-Christian do no accept sickness as something that God happily allows. But see it as part of the characteristics of a fallen race.

We see a bunch of folks who did not believe He was the Son of God, and a few that He was – we read the result of so believing – they were healed.

As our minds operate and try to grapple with the contradictions our senses present us with (the old debate about how some get healed and others don’t). 

Let us look away in this to what the Word of God says and hold on to it all.

Proverbs 30/5:

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Matthew 24/35:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.