Category Archives: understanding

Life

I’m not what I would call an ‘out and out internet kind of person’. I spend a fair amount of time thereon – but not near as much as many.

Call it a generational thing if you like. I much prefer the face to face fellowship of normal life.

Of course we are somewhat robbed of this at the moment, with Covid-19.

I’m also a contradiction, at least I would be – in some folks estimation if they equate a writer with a reader.

In other words I am not what I consider a ‘well read’ kinda guy, and yet I love to write.

The spiritual – from the age of twenty took over my life. Both experientially, having encountered the Living God – and spiritually/mentally in the study of the Bible.

I have not read a novel in years. I have read quite a bit on art, yet even on this subject I consider my education limited.

I do watch television dramas, and my claim to fame was acting in three school productions – a million years ago. But I’ve been told a million times not to exaggerate.

So (if you like), the bible and art have preoccupied my mental faculties.

I consider my walk with God to be an absolute priority, and of paramount importance.

I have done the maths and the – (although not fully realised yet)  – sphere of eternity, I reckon, will last a lot longer than time. 😇

So preparation for the journey into it, cannot possibly be less important than anything else, and indeed therefore, more important than anything else.

The only down side of this approach is that at times I don’t follow completely through on things that effect time, considering them less important.

Many find fame and fortune, position in society, followers, travelling the world, fitness, food – things to do with this time journey we are all on, to be all that life is about.

The held idea that it all ends at the grave, to me totally negates the purpose of being here in the first place.

If this is ‘it’ as they say – then what a waste of time.

God’s plan is to fellowship.

God’s plan was fellowship and companionship with His created beings, created in His image. Sin has blighted the image. Rather like the painter who decides to ‘scribble’ out the image he has created, only to afterwards decide how foolish he has been. And that the image was fine the way it was.

Sin scribbled over us ruining our pure image, changing it to one of ugliness – internally of course.

We were fine until the first man and woman decided to distort the image we reflected by disobeying the superior command of God.

People usually deal with the eternity question, probably in one of the following ways – trying to sum them up – helps us focus.

There is no God – so I can do as I like – eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

There might be a God – so I will try to be as good as I can but no one is perfect. I won’t think of eternity, or death that takes you there permanently – that’s being morbid.

There is is no eternal – you die – that’s it, game over, so forget about it.

If I don’t do God any harm – I’m hoping He won’t do me any harm. But no I do not have a relationship with Him.

All approaches lack the certainty that Salvation in Christ brings.

So all kinds of things can occupy us in this life. God will occupy us in eternity. So overwhelmingly wonderful will be the full revelation of the creator of all things – that we will fall in adoration before Him, if first we know Him in this life.

I must admit to my unanswered query as to why many spiritual things I experienced in earlier years seem to have diminished in the church.

This is not only an eschatological observation confirmed by scripture, but also an experiential one. Namely the change in the spiritual atmosphere that not only I, but others experience in this season.

All the more reason to hold fast to God’s Word like never before.

We think we understand things, but our faith is being challenged.

Here is our experience and our response: I Peter 1/

that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 

Tested by fire. Found to the praise honour and glory of God.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus help us please.

The Real Deal

THE REAL DEAL

There is either such a thing as sin – or there isn’t.

And quite clearly there is such a thing.

It’s as plain as the nose on your face. We can see the results of sin all around us. Often in epidemic proportions.

Sin is one of the most obvious phenomenons on the planet. And yet it is explained away under many guises.

The problem for preachers is – they too are subject to and can be guilty of – sinning.

So how can they stand in pulpits and preach against what they themselves are engaged in? Or so the commonly held view is expressed, by some.

“Is this not hypocrisy?” reasons the person who tries to say – no one should ‘judge’ others.

One perception held, is that preachers are hypocritical Pharisees who love to castigate everyone but themselves. Bringing people under their rule and control, as ‘holier than thou’ – potentates.

However have you noticed that those who say: “we shouldn’t judge”, are e.g. also those who can lose their temper and hit out with swear words, at the unknown person who stole their car? They wouldn’t be trying to ‘judge’ them would they?

Quite clearly proper judgement is necessary in life. Else why not close down all the courtrooms throughout the land, and allow anarchy to ‘rule ok!’

The fact that unjust judgements are made, and hypocrites can be found in places of moral responsibility, does not negate the need for proper, sound, just, judgement.

Problem is, at a time of increasing moral decay – the hypocrites seem to ‘rule ok’ in responsible positions, rather than the sincere just-persons, who should take up these roles.

Preachers, who have moral integrity, are automatically lambasted by those who don’t want their sins found out. Preachers that are tarred with the same brush as the hypocrites. Condemned usually without trial or examined evidence.

The result is confusion (and often every evil work).

So in societies – corrupt officials take bribes, and the unjust sinner goes free for the right price.

The almost automatic way to portray anyone of ‘the cloth’, in drama productions on television or cinema – is to create a character who has a snivelling, hypocritical, judgemental, narrow minded, self-centred, cowardly personality.

Such types find their way onto the playwright’s script  when a character is needed to ‘represent’ the church.

And the non-believing but ‘good’ villain who spares a dime for the beggar in the street – is the real deal. Even though he has killed and robbed.

So society relieves itself from any responsibility to take notice of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ‘Cause after all ‘they are not hypocrites’, like those religious types.(?!)

They don’t ‘pretend’ to be good or religious, or better than others. And so in all of this they spend their lives missing completely the ‘real deal’ of the Gospel.

So who is going to tell us we are sinners when all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?

Well the answer is – God Himself.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to make me aware that I who write this post – am a sinner.

And to be always talking about sin, without the rest of the message that makes the messenger’s feet beautiful is to get out of balance in presenting the whole gospel.

The whole gospel summed up is – we can have our mess (sins) removed.

We can know God the Father through Jesus the Son, and we can know the ‘real deal’ of fellowship with God.

To be liberated inside – in a way you have never experienced before is the result of receiving and obeying the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I’ve just summed it up briefly, (to accommodate the need for a short post).

REAL DEAL GOOD NEWS:

…Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

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

….Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Marvellous

Galatians 1/

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul the apostle, former rejector of Christ, now ardent follower – is speaking here, under God’s inspiration, in this passage of scripture.

And guess what?

He is marvelling.

Have you or I ever marvelled – ?

All kinds of things can cause us to marvel. Some good, some bad. Sometimes the things little children say can have that effect.

Like the time my middle daughter at the age of three or so – asked a friend of ours who was visiting with us, why his skin was so dark? 

Fortunately as a gracious Christian – his answer was gracious – and he (with a twinkle in his eye) informed her that God had just left him in the oven that bit longer than her 😇.

Being present to witness the miracles of Christ or to hear His words – caused many to marvel.

I can truly say I marvel that God in Christ can accept me and bestow love upon me.

3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 

A child of God – who me?

I don’t have to look far – to realise that in myself there is nothing that warrants acceptance by God, in light of the fact that His nature is so completely different than the one I was born with.

His divine nature described as follows:

…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

His unapproachable light – in whom there is no darkness at all – speaks of His absolute uncontaminated purity, and holiness.

 Enter yours truly – along with the rest of the human race and you have the complete opposite.

All boasting of any righteousness of our own is excluded – and the thing we need to marvel at is THE GRACE OF GOD!

His marvellous unmerited favour – He is willing to bestow on every sinner – Paul marvels here (Gal. 1/6) at the foolishness of not receiving and remaining in that grace – as was the case with the Galatian believers.

God imparts Himself to those who are willing to give their lives up to Christ. He favours us for this reason alone. We seek Him, call upon Him in prayer and ask for that unmerited favour, turning from sinful behaviour.

On sincerely doing so, He comes to us and The Holy Spirit imparts something wonderful and supernatural to us. That is why He is described in the following way as-

…the Spirit of grace…

Strangely enough this tail end of a verse of scripture is in a negative context, which doesn’t serve my purpose here. I simply want to make the point that The Holy Spirit of the Living God comes to us to impart this marvellous Grace that brings forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God. He is the Spirit of Grace’.

But it doesn’t end there. He as The Holy Spirit of Grace is present 24/7 to continuously remind us that we are accepted by God and loved by Him.

This is motivational and we enter more and more into fellowship as we keep coming on the basis of the bestowal of His unmerited favour. So that we can be continuously forgiven and accepted on the merits of Christ and not our own faltering failing nature.

In so doing 24/7 the faltering failing sinful nature is subdued and kept ‘under’ as we enjoy life and life more abundantly in Christ.

This is MARVELLOUS – or in the words of the hymn this is – AMAZING Grace!

Rich or Poor

RICH OR POOR

Mankind is struggling – to say the least or to put it mildly.

Those who are set on a course of money-making find solace if each deal is going well, or many are purchasing their product.

They are happy with the success that brings a monetary reward.

The Bible says (amongst many) – two things worth mentioning:

Psalm 62

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.

I Timothy 6/

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…

Notice the heart is set on riches, and therefore they are trusting in riches – this gives solace and a sense of ‘all is well’ drawn from their success, measured by monetary increase.

Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.

A strange virus comes along – and things are not working out as lucratively for many reasons. Now that person or persons is suddenly programmed to be not doing so well.

We all live for various things that seem to make life and living worthwhile.

A lot of these things are good and wholesome and many are not.

I pulled riches out of the hat as only one example of what brings satisfaction to many.

We learn from scripture that it is not riches that can cause problems – it is the love of them.

I Timothy 6/

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Riches are uncertain in an uncertain world, and cannot provide ultimate contentment all the way to the grave, where they end.

However –

1 Timothy 6:6

…godliness with contentment is great gain.

So putting these points together we have – those who trust in money, set their hearts and minds on it above other things, and all their affection (love) is reserved for all things monetary.

Now it’s all very well to point out these ‘financial trespasses’ but if you do not know where your next meal is coming from, or you are about to be  evicted from your home because of financial difficulties – suddenly money becomes a preoccupation.

It does not pre-occupy your heart and mind because you have plenty of it – but rather because you have next to none. Survival therefore becomes your priority, and no doubt that of your family.

So for entirely different reasons the heart is set on finance.

Don’t set your heart on riches or finance is justifiably an exhortation to those who are greedy and who will not lift a finger to help the less fortunate.

But what of those who have very little money?

Well, difficult, in such circumstances, as it may seem – setting our minds and hearts on The Living God in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – is an anchor for the soul. 

So that regardless of what befalls us – we open the door to God’s deliverance as we trust in Him.

For the rich or poor – the call of God is the same –

Proverbs 3/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 37

2I have been young, and now am old;

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;

And his descendants are blessed.

God will not forsake those who trust in Him – even though it takes a lot to stay focussed during lean times. 

But we are told that keeping our soul healthy before God through faith in Jesus the Saviour, will give God the opportunity to work in His own mysterious way, to prosper us according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.

3 John 1-3

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.

Phil. 4/

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

The right one?

THE RIGHT ONE?

Think of all the personalities in this world. All the personalities on social media. All the multitudes full of diversity and differences of opinion. All the different cultural backgrounds. All the varying needs, the rich, the poor, the man-made labels of lower, middle and upper classes. The age groups with youthful ambition, hard-nosed business men, older entrepreneurs with their individual ‘empires’.

Think of the crime syndicates, think of the secret organisations, the money pedlars, the inner city crime scenes, gang culture and warfare. Think of the pimps and prostitutes. Think of the elite – the millionaires and billionaires, the movie stars and pop stars.

Think of the dictators, the communist regimes, mis-used democracy, the politics of power and position-seeking, the judicial systems that differ throughout the world.

And so we could go on trying to describe the world in which we live – humanity-wise.

And then there is the description that perhaps fits you and I (?).

It is a term that I think originated in North America – the descriptive term is: ‘average joe’.

I’m not from the USA, but the term sounds like it fits most of us in the Western Hemisphere.

But ‘average Joe’ will also fit in somewhere in the list I started this post with.

Enter stage left – the Christian gospel.

Stating the obvious, the Christian gospel is sent to mankind. Think mankind – and then look again at my list.

How will this gospel sit with those who fit the above categories?

And then factor-in the fact that the onlooker can be forgiven for thinking that in fact there is more than one ‘gospel’.

Think of the observer, the outsider, the ones not involved in Christianity – and listen as they express their confusion over what Christianity is all about.

Just as individual Christians have individual personalities. So churches and church organisations seem to vary immensely to the ‘average Joe’ outsider, in their corporate ‘personalities’. The average Joe who is not involved in it all.

Terms and name tags are bandied about by Christians as they label their own particular ‘tribe.’

The outsider concludes – “But which church is the right one?”

Rather than pursue it – they decides to refuse it.

Giving it a little of his/her time they roughly peruse what immediately hits them. The showcase presentation on social media, websites, Facebook, YouTube, T.V. etc.

They perhaps haven’t the time to enter into a deeper examination of the warp and woof of a particular ‘brand’, they happen to have come across, via google search.

What are we to do if we are to navigate our way to the right church? 

Navigating our way to the church that is right – and thankfully there will be more than one. But unfortunately in some cases – there may not be one near you.

What are we to do when even Christians need to examine each individual group of believers to see if they are ‘sound’, ‘the real McCoy’, and are not as we say in my culture – ‘one stick short of a bundle?’

Well – let’s stop right there, and state that there is no escape from going to the gospel as an individual personality, firstly and foremostly. It’s meant to be that way.

The message is to the individual, before we get to what corporate body of people we should attach ourselves to.

Salvation is about the human heart finding the Only Living and true God.

A corporate body of people who claim to be Christian, or who describe themselves with the Christian label are not automatically the real McCoy, just because the ‘christian’ label is built-in to their PR description.

So individual, who is perhaps somewhere in my initial list above – get that bible open and get reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the four gospels.

Steep yourself in it and hear the message, as you talk to God at the same time.

It is sent firstly and foremostly to you, with divine love from Jesus Christ The Lord of heaven and earth.

Understand that He too ‘can’t believe’ some of the shenanigans His people get up to. Matt. 13/58, 17/17. Mark 6/6, 16/14.

He is flabbergasted by the unbelief (from which all misbehaviour stems), that even those who believe get up to.

He has experienced this from the beginning when He recruited the twelve disciples. But yet, He fully invited them on board without reservation.

Whoever comes to Him they were told, He would never cast out, and He promised to be with them always.

Yep – you heard it right – the believers can do unbelievable things, because you see when we come to Christ and find His acceptance and promise of eternal life, we have only began a journey.

Having believed on Christ as Lord, we still have many areas God has to work on, to bring change. And you might encounter some area in a person, or in the personality of a church – that still needs altered, changed, or overhauled drastically.

You are not to be put off by this, because Christ came to build His church, mature His church, cleanse His church, revive His church, and it doesn’t all happen overnight.

In the words of the song: ‘I owe you some kind of an apology.’

Christians owe the world an apology for the fact that the church universal, is so imperfect in behaviour.

Whereas the world owes God an apology for its rejection of Him.

But of course the church is made up of people who needed a saviour, in the first place, and who haven’t, and never will, stop NEEDING Him to perfect them.

Having found The Saviour, they now need Him to increase their faith more and more, so that they will not disappoint you (unconvinced unbeliever) – with their shortcomings, and areas of remaining unbelief, in the midst of their established faith.

Unbelief is the second original sin, (mankind) the first was self-absorption and pride, resulting in rebellion (the devil).

Mark 9/

Listen to the man (average Joe?) in great need:

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF!”

What it looks like…

What being a genuine Christian – looks like:

John 4

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Rather than a preamble to set this scripture in context – I want to get to the point straight away:

For all who enquire after the things of God. Seeking some starting point to understand what it is to worship God, or understand God, or grasp what it is to be a Christian believer, what it ‘looks’ like is communicated clearly in this verse.

Worshipping God is not confined to a given vicinity or building. The need for a religious label is not a pre-requisite for acceptance.

It is a 24/7 experience for all those who believe in and accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

He promises to be with us always – ‘us’ being the persons who give their lives over to Him.

This is a spiritual experience involving the heart, soul and spirit of a human being.

It is an encounter spiritually with The Christ of God.

Bob Dylan lyric…

Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind

Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign”

What kind of sign they need when it all come from within…

Reflecting on Mr. Dylan’s lyric we understand that true spirituality is again, to do with the innermost being.

So turning your life over to Christ is not some pie-in-the-sky bye and bye experience – but it happens when we reach out for Jesus at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, right now. Right now because:

2 Corinthians 6:2

For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

It’s a ‘now’ for all those who will believe.

Notice in the verse, first quoted, that the inner reality where we experience the Presence of God is to do with the human spirit.

the true worshipers will worship the Father IN SPIRIT…

But for this to happen we must first expose ourselves to the truth in The Bible.

…AND TRUTH;

for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

These two realities are inseparable in our endeavours to know the Only Living and True God and His Son Jesus Christ.

The truth supplied by the revelation of Jesus Christ will make you free.

As in all blog posts to do with Christian truth, we have space for only touching on subjects. The true seekers must: 

Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

Ask not – am I a baptist, a methodist, an anglican, a pentecostal, etc.-

Ask: ‘am I a worshipper in SPIRIT AND TRUTH?’

As I ask you the same question?

 

Miscellany

MISCELLANY

This blog started as a 3-fold sharing idea. I would share my paintings, my poems and Christian writing.

I stopped sharing my paintings approximately one year or so ago. I post only the odd one.

I have been preaching/teaching the bible for almost fifty years. Not in the capacity of a full-time pastor as they say – but e.g. as a joint leader in various churches, whilst holding down a job in a local newspaper as a typesetter.

I am like most people who are getting on in years, the older I get, the more I realise that life is extremely short/brief, even if you reach the grand ol’ age of Dame Vera Lynn, who passed away recently.

I would like the same amount of years over again. Highly unlikely I’m afraid.

It’s a bit like The Lord Jesus said: …The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few:…

There is plenty of work still to be done, and the privilege of serving The King of kings would create the desire for many more years to come, in which to do so.

I believe we are all unique. What we do – is often the result of what we are. It is meant to be that way.

The scripture instructs us –

Roman 12/6

…Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Though the context is spiritual gifts – I believe it is not ‘arresting’ scripture to conclude that it also applies to our natural/personality gifts.

I don’t think we should be overly concerned with how good or bad we are in expressing our particular gift, but are meant to do the best we can.

I have been painting since schooldays and writing also.

My poetry is a mixture of all kinds. Sometimes personal, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes just playing with words, sometimes (I hope) with the injection of profundity, other times I use lightness.

My painting is the same.

My preaching is always with the endeavour to ‘rightly divide the word of truth.’ Knowing that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

My expectation of what friendship brings, has somewhat diminished over the years. The realities of life are sobering.

If I did not have a friend I have proven – ‘sticks closer than a brother’ [Prov. 18/24] – I fear to think how empty life would be. (His name is Jesus).

Even when I don’t sense a lot in the spiritual realm – I know Christ’s Word is totally reliable, and it assures me I will never be forsaken by this God/Saviour/Friend I serve.

An observation I have made in life is to notice that there are two aspects of friendship-forming. Two ways if you like that we engage in the human experience of forming relationships.

There are the ‘initiators’ and the ‘responders’.

We are all initiators and responders, to varying degrees.

The percentage break-up of these two activities varies from person to person.

Some folks never initiate anything.

Often they communicate in ways such as: “We must get together for a coffee!” They never do. Or “ We must have you round some night.” But the invitation never reaches the date and time stage.

If you initiate the get together, they gladly respond. And they can be the ‘nicest’ people you know, but they are 90 percent responders and 10 per cent initiators.

There can be all sorts of reasons for this. Some folks are just ‘hyper-active’ and they are always initiating events. It has been said that in a church all the work of service is carried out by 10 per cent of the congregation. Probably their initiation percentage is high.

It causes incredulity to arrive on the doorstep of our minds, when we e.g. take someone out for a treat. ‘Wine and dine’ folks as it is referred to, and they assure us of the wonderful time they had, and how they too wish to initiate such an outing in return.

Only to find that months or longer go by and you never hear from them again.

Now of course the saving grace in this is found in the following scriptures –

Colossians 3/

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

And yet another principle:

Luke 6/35:

…lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

This gives cause for rejoicing when we do good to others, or offer friendship. Much as we have their good in mind – our reward, our satisfaction if you like is that it is pleasing to God and it is the answer of a good conscience to The Lord.

Doing it heartily, and hoping for nothing in return, tests our mettle. 

When people say and don’t do, we will experience frustration, (let’s be real) but what we do with that frustration is turn it into prayer and if we need to – into forgiveness.

A faithful friend is hard to find – David found one in Jonathon. It is as Christ changes us from the inside out – that we shall be able to give love when it is not returned.

This is why He, the Christ of God, shone in His perfection to show us how mankind aught to live.

Praise be to His Great Name!

Unaided

UNAIDED

I was listening to a lecturer, who was speaking (more or less) ‘without notes’.

Ad-libbing out of his wealth of knowledge and pre-occupation with art.

As in all communication on any subject we are also on the receiving end of a person’s subjective outlook or stance.

Mixed-in with all the history or theory or facts regarding the subject they are expounding on, is their subjective ‘in my opinion…’ aspect.

We are all the same in this respect. We mix knowledge of facts, with our personal subjective response and opinion based fully or somewhat on those facts, plus other influencing factors, perhaps unique to ourselves.

So that our personal subjective experience is mixed-in with what we are sharing.

Let’s take-in a definition of subjective. This would be helpful, in getting us to read from the same ‘hymn’ sheet.

subjective | səbˈdʒɛktɪv |

adjective

1 based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions: his views are highly subjective | there is always the danger of making a subjective judgement. Contrasted with objective.

In this lecturer I referred to, I perceived a man who was partly spilling his ‘insides’ in a somewhat ‘honest’ and vulnerable way.

This is a modern trend today. Spill all. Whereas wisdom would dictate that we choose carefully what we say and who we say it to.

A fool vents all his feelings,

But a wise man holds them back.

Proverbs 29/11

The honesty or at least candidness that spills out of the inner person, is usually admired. Admired for various reasons.

Some find the person is echoing their listener’s own inner conflicts, problems, conclusions, experiences and so on. And therefore it can be therapeutic bringing us to the conclusion that we are not alone in the world.

That we have – just been listening to someone who understands our conflicts, problems, feelings etc., by virtue of the fact that they just verbalised what we have known or experienced ourselves, – gives a certain ‘solace’.

This person spilling their humanness to all, during the lecture, are empathising with their audience, and this is usually appreciated, because we can associate with their confessed dilemmas, hang-ups, self-doubt, and therefore we perhaps applaud their contribution.

But in all of this it can be, that they provide – few or perhaps no – solutions to those openly confessed problems, shortcomings and hangups.

This  lecture on art inevitably included also this person’s outlook on life, so much of a mixed bag was their talk.

Their opinion on how to live was suggested indirectly or heralded emphatically. And perhaps unbeknown to them many of their utterances were (on closer examination) replete with contradictions.

The thoughts were coming so hard and fast, that giving proper consideration to them, by speaker and listener alike, was lost in the maelstrom of their delivery.

Why are people impressed? Well if, for example, what they say is mixed with humour, sometimes this alone can get the ‘A’ review and standing ovation.

They made us laugh, – take a bow. We enjoyed it.

All such talks or lectures [stating the obvious], are man’s ability to communicate.

It is the result of an active mind. It is the result of the workings of human ingenuity. The intellect has formed conclusions, experienced life, studied other minds, and in the example here – studied and looked at art for a long time.

‘It’s all in the mind’ is an old saying.

This lecture is the result of accumulated knowledge and experience. The experience of ‘viewing art’, and the experience of ‘living life’ mixed together into a subjective-objective soup.

It is a natural mind struggling it’s way through what it is – to be human and what it is – to grapple with whatever the individual has encountered in his or her journey.

They now stand before fellow human-beings and say: ‘This is what I have found – experienced – struggled with – concluded (or not)’.

There is no divine nature in any of this. It is man at his best or worst.

There is no pretence of it being influenced by the divine, even though there may be references to God or gods, in what they say in passing.

Talks can be punctuated by swear words or blasphemy, or spiritual references or terms utilised in their speech, but with no proper understanding of what those words really mean.

For instance today, quite often you will hear references to our ‘personal demons’. But there is no thought for one moment – that there are actual beings, fallen angels, known as demons. The sort Christ casts out.

So we have the use of terms adapted to cause a given effect, or to make some point – that are actually misused, or used without true understanding.

Increasingly in our world, there is an exultation of man’s intellect. The bible references this exultation of the intellect in the following divinely inspired statement:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

This lecturer, although speaking on the subject of art, spent a lot of the time referencing his subjective experience of life, and also his world view.

A king once gave an oratorial discourse and fell ill after it.

And the divine intellect (God’s) tells us the reason:

21 On an appointed day Herod dressed himself in his royal robes, sat on his throne (tribunal, rostrum) and began delivering a speech to the people. 22 The assembled people kept shouting, “It is the voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 And at once an angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not give God the glory [and instead permitted himself to be worshipped], and he was eaten by worms and died [five days later].

In this example, the natural intellect unaided by God, was put on such a pedestal that – the god of this world (satan) and his pride – resided to such an extreme degree in this king, that an angel from God Almighty, was despatched to end his life.

That is scary, but true.

We can satirise this story, make it into a cartoon, rasp at it, and get the applause and laughter from the crowd at the clever way we do it. But God has the proverbial – so called, ‘last laugh’.

As we listen to the many kinds of voices in our world, as human communicates with human, one thing we can say is – it can only be man at his best or worst. There is no divine impetus or inspiration in a lot of it.

That is not to say that it all has no value. Not at all. But rather its  ‘worth’ is usually in varying degrees.

Conversely some of it – or a lot of it – is foolishness to God.

Where is the wise man (philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the debater (logician, orator) of this age? Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom?

And

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The average ungodly person, who does not accept the divine, will quickly pass over the Biblical quotes in this post, and get to the rest of the author’s logic.

Because the ‘interruption’ of these bible quotes will not appeal to their natural mind. It is ‘unnatural’ to them, because it is the divine nature in these verses, which is contrary to their natural thinking.

As an artist I accepted  quite a bit of what this speaker communicated, when speaking of art, but heard the heart of a man who was (by what he himself indicated but not in so many words)…

Ephesians 2/12

…without Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.

Free from the grip

FREE FROM THE GRIP

And all alone

The skeptic in his corner – dim

While I – in my small corner – am lit

 

Dumb before the shearers taking my sin

While I in my small corner look to Him

Despised and rejected – you forget

While I remember daily

 

I can’t hear you – I can’t see you

I don’t know you –

 

no really –

you won’t say hello

 

You heard I am religious

And you don’t want to know

While all the while

I remember The Lamb and

how He freed me…

From dead religion’s grip

Sorted?

SORTED?

Is it possible for two people to say the exact same thing, using the exact same words – and yet mean something different?

It is.

“I believe in God”, says person A. “I believe in god”. says person B.

First question: ‘What god would that be?’

And if it is not the same god – then although they are saying the same thing, they are making two completely different statements.

One way to sort this – is to know the name of the god they believe in.

But if I tell you I believe in God, and your god is not my God, then when you click the ‘like button’ on reading my remark, you do so probably with your own god in mind.

And if the God I refer to, is not your god – you have hit the ‘like button’ by mistake.

Outcome: Misunderstanding.

Outcome: We are not in agreement.

Good I’m glad we got that sorted out…

 

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,…