Category Archives: understanding

Lost friendship

A Scenario…

A true friend indeed. One you have known from childhood. Then came the day when your friendship was tested. It was too painful for him to remain loyal to you.

In his own eyes – he would have suffered much loss while attempting to be true to you and your friendship.

Nevertheless you expect him to be true. And now you are devastated that you separated, and your friendship was split apart.

You couldn’t agree. You couldn’t forgive his actions. You can’t continue to argue to no avail. He did what he did. He did what he reckoned he just had to do.

Such is the human drama – the storyline differing from scenario to scenario, but the emotional conflict the same.

Write your own story to the tune of these words.

The script consists of – friendship – longstanding, conflict, disagreement, damage, hurt, separation, unforgiveness, and loss.

Human weakness that couldn’t handle the challenge of remaining true, couldn’t take the resultant disadvantage to the self, couldn’t embrace the ‘friends at all costs’ ethos.

The ability to disagree and lose the unity of friendship is common to man.

The sombre notes of dissension set in. On and on go the wrangling words trying to solve the situation.

The bickering eventually only stopping by separation and a long distance put between the persons involved.

It all comes from a nature man is born with. But many – don’t even accept this concept.

James 4/

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war…

The wars come from our desires, the old word is lust, – an uptight defensive, verbal hitting out at others – that catches alight – further, to sometimes awful consequences resulting in physical violence.

How is man capable of such friendship-destroying episodes?

He is  capable because it comes naturally.

These words I found in a Christian song, by DC Talk:—

Tell me what’s going on inside of me – I despise my own behaviour –This only serves to confirm my suspicions –That I’m still a man in need of a Saviour

I could end the post here.

But before I do (having highlighted the problem) – the closing statements are –

God is not the author of confusion. It is Christ’s desire that all believers in Him as the Son of God – be one in Spirit – one in The Lord.

If there must be a parting of the ways – then forgiveness must be that choice of the will, and from thenceforth no abiding return is to be made to the former hurt and disagreement.

And when the person or persons find themselves re-visiting the hurts – they/we must consign these thoughts to the cross by faith.

Ideally all should reconcile as Christian brothers and sisters. But unfortunately the floor of the church is littered with broken relationships, and we can’t pretend differently.

We can only exhort each other to reconcile in humility, laying aside the right to be right.

Finding, and returning to what we all hold dearly, holding The Head from which all the body is supplied and knit in love.

If the other party(ies) won’t come with you to the foot of the cross again. Then you/we must keep our own hearts in the choice of forgiveness.

(see Colossian 2/19)

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Conundrum (of sorts?)

CONUNDRUM (of sorts)

Some time-a-go a brother in Christ (with tongue in cheek) nicknamed me – ‘Brother Conundrum’. This idea was not based on how he found me – but rather as a ‘synonym’ for my surname: Riddles.

So – true to my name – here is somewhat of a conundrum.

I have noticed folks who hit the like button after reading my posts, those whom I have investigated with a view of reciprocating, – leave me wondering why they hit the like button in the first place?

Because some, not all of course, leave me with the distinct impression that their ‘philosophy’ of life is not in line with my own beliefs. In fact they are worlds apart.

But no doubt I am not alone in this observation, as you compare your own notes with other posts, by other persons.

I guess this poses the question again, ‘why do we hit the like button’? (I visited this some time ago…)

As one blogger put it – ‘he hits the like button to show his appreciation for the effort the person put into writing it in the first place’. Quite a noble reason, I think.

Here are just a few more possibilities –

‘I don’t agree with it – but like the way it is written’, ‘I hit the like button to let them know there is room for us all, even if I don’t agree with them…’, ‘my ‘like’ is ‘points for effort’, ‘I liked one sentence and it was enough to hit the ‘like’ button, but I don’t accept the rest’ and so on…

This might work out as – 

Atheists liking faith-filled posts. Skeptics loving the optimism of a faith blog. People who follow other religions, putting the words through the sieve of their religious beliefs, making my words into something I do not intend.

Again just a few ideas of how people hear things in different ways and having properly mis-interpreted 😳 find something to ‘like’.

All this goes to establish in my mind the need for God’s help, if any of us are to properly understand the scriptures and therefore spiritual matters. Or do we make do with the whole conundrum of things?

The help of the Third Person of the Godhead – the Holy Spirit is needed to enable anyone to understand the things of God, and therefore there is need for His help in order to understand what I write about His Word (The Bible).

Or to be more succinct – His help to understand the Bible.

I wonder are you familiar with…, have you ever read… the following scripture?

I Corinthians 2/

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But 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. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

I draw your attention to ‘nor can he know them’.

And closing this post abruptly – I ask you to please go on ‘liking’, but I…

Ephesians 1/16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Poetic Interlude I

POETIC INTERLUDE I

Thought Journey

As you journey on the highway of your mind

And change from lane to lane

you hit the bad roads and jiggle around

Seems there’s no

pothole-free-smoothness to drive

And for a vacation you drift back through time

Leaving bad memories for good

Prose left for the rhyme

Jaunting cars of rickety thought

Intermingle with soundness of cerebral ‘finds’

Then you take-off again on flights of fancy

Like the baseball bases you visit –

running round again with intermittent fun

Where are you going in all this stuff?

You hear the stopping horn and

start to clock-out

With some menial chore to attend to – previously left out

All thoughts abandoned except

the task at hand

Now banish irrelevances for something

more profound

But you just can’t reach it – that lost chord

of a thought

You’re not the man you want to be

And all of this is fraught

with anxiety

You decide to get out of here

Go have a night on the town

But you’re past that now – as you act your age

Living in the present –

Best to make the right decisions count

Everything is held up to the light

You don’t have to struggle or even fight

In this battle of life – time takes you away

To the last round-up of frailty and repose

But solace is here where God is to be found

So lie back after a stretch and a yawn

Tomorrow you can sing another song

Give yourself a certificate of

passed-with-credit

And make your way next time to a distinction

Your life is your own – it is in your power

But when you give it over as daily you should

Don’t lie to God – ask Him to judge

As random thoughts will find themselves together

as-kith-and-kin

Some sense will be made out of

strung-together verse

You stop at the great imponderables for solace

And know you’ll find acceptance

in The Beloved.

Religion

Religion

You have heard the saying to ‘squeeze the life out of something’.

This is what religion does.

Of course in order to sound plausible I need to start by defining ‘religion’.

My plausibility is not the type that involves deception, by the way.

‘Religion’ is a term used – in Christian churches that have experienced the life-giving power of Christ, – to highlight the opposite-experience. 

Another word that is used is ‘Legalism’, when describing the opposite to ‘joy unspeakable and full of Glory’.

The Pharisees are usually offered as examples of this negative use of the word ‘Religion’.

They were caught up in the outward appearance of things, they added to the Word of God, with man-made concepts, rules and regulations.

They majored on the minors and minored on the majors.

Jesus speaking of the Pharisees said:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Until Jesus completed God’s revelation to man communicating it in His New Covenant – the law stood it’s ground, as it were, as given in the Old Testament.

Jesus didn’t destroy the law – He fulfilled it.

Forgive my analogy but for me (as an artist/painter) I see the Old Testament Law and its demands as the drawing before the colour was added.

I know – not the soundest of analogies.

But Christ came to give us Life and Life more abundant. Whereas many Christians are like the Pharisees who wish to bind folks with heavy burdens.

One gentleman responding to a gospel invitation to become a Christian – was heard to say: ‘No thanks I have enough problems of my own..!’

You see all he heard was an invitation to ‘religious rules’ and a lack-lustre life of asceticism.

Jesus puts it this way, illustrating lifeless drudgery –

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

God has His laws – but they are the laws of liberty!’

James 1/25

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it…

Not religious servitude to a hard taskmaster. But words of life to guide us in our behaviour.

Speaking of the liberty offered to everyone who will believe – God says:

II Corinthians 3/

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

The Holy Spirit is the life-giver and He then feeds us spiritually with His word/law.

None of this makes sense until we meet Him.

But the purpose of this post is to say that ‘religion’ in the negative sense, in the sense that I have just described, and alluded to, will neither satisfy you or set you free from the influence of sin.

Only a living relationship with the Living God will do that.

There is a proper use of the word religion in James 1/27 (If you care to have a look).

As I write this it crosses my mind that I may well have written on this before? Well, I shall do so again.

But it is extremely important that we are not deceived into a Pseudo-version of Christianity.

As you enter the New Year – please search for the real thing!

Divine Intervention

Divine Intervention

Superman never fails, or so the illustrated narratives would want to show us.

He comes to the rescue – swooping into a situation and exercising his muscles to save the day.

God can ‘sweep’ into a situation with ‘Divine Intervention’ .

Whether in given situations or in people’s personal lives.

Divine intervention – What is it?

According to Wikipedia:

Divine intervention is a purported miracle caused by a deity’s active involvement in the human world.

I think it is true to say that in accessing Wikipedia I have accessed a source of information that most – if not all – accept as authoritative (?). 

For the Christian, however, the first source of reference for information of this kind, is of course the book we call The Bible.

Notice – Wikipedia uses the word: ‘purported’.

Here we go defining again:

purportedly:

as appears or is stated to be true, though not necessarily so; allegedly:

Notice the injection of doubt? – ‘not necessarily so…allegedly…and the first mentioned: ‘purported’’

All statements worded in this way, are written to suit the compiler of definitions himself, or to satisfy the skeptical agnostics or unbelievers.

I guess its an attempt to please all the people – all of the time. But it fails, – as it doesn’t please me.

There are many examples of divine intervention in the Bible. God – dividing the Red Sea. God consuming Elijah’s water-soaked sacrifice, Mose’s revelation of the burning bush, burning but not consumed, the conceiving of children when it was past the age of conception for the woman, angels appearing to a bunch of shepherds, a donkey talking to a man, five loaves and two fish feeding 5,000 plus and so on. I will add an etc. etc. here.

For some these are divine fairy tales.

For the believing Christian it is truly – divine intervention, and I have listed only a few.

God intervenes in major and minor ways.

He intervened in my life in a powerful and unmistakable way. I am extremely thankful for this intervention, It was so powerful and real I will never forget it, and it is the foundation upon which my faith is built, being a Revelation of Jesus Christ.

I do not experience this the same way or to the same degree every day.

That is how it is meant to be.

God doesn’t need to intervene, or introduce Himself in the same manner, as He is an abiding presence in my life, already.

But I am so thankful for His unique introduction in the first instance.

He can intervene miraculously if He so chooses, but not to convince me of His existence, He has already done that.

How many of my friends and I would love to see that Divine Intervention again in our nation and the nations of the world. We, as Christians, have put the title ‘Revival’ upon such interventions.

Elijah once considered himself the ‘only one left’ but God had secret plans, revealed in response to Elijah’s ‘I only am left’ – complex.

God revealed to Elijah that He had reserved for Himself 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to worship the false-deity called Baal.

Are you among the 7,000+ who have not bowed the knee to false gods?

Romans 11/

…Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant…

I almost feel like starting a survey and getting you to sign it – if you have experienced the divine intervention of Jesus in your life, and you are therefore ‘all-time voting for Him!’

As God intervened in the life of the world taking upon Himself the clothing of flesh in a virgin’s womb – and we have allocated this time of year to remember Him doing so – remember also that this was divine intervention – Jesus Christ has come in the flesh!

II John 1/7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

 

snow n sun
A Peaceful Christmas to all – Enjoy the Season!

TRUE LIGHT

TRUE LIGHT

In mocking tones, sometimes amidst a workforce, I have heard it said: “Oh – they have seen the light…”

What they mean is – they have become ‘religious’. Referring to anyone who starts professing to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly the reference they use to ‘seeing the light’ is usually connected to the experience of one ‘Saul of Tarsus’, who had a name change to ‘Paul the Apostle’.

He had a very dramatic experience on the Damascus Road, where he encountered a blinding light, and heard a voice, all part of a supernatural revelation of Jesus Christ. (full story – Acts 9)

He referred to this experience, later in his life, referring to this encounter with Christ – he adds – as ‘by one born out of due time’.

I Corinthians 15/

After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

So it was Christ and His radiating Glory that he saw.

The terminology used in describing this experience is arrested descriptively by innocent or not so innocent commentators when they discover someone newly come to faith in Jesus Christ The Lord.

And really it is a good description of conversion, whether used kindly or mockingly.

I saw the light in 1970 – 48 years ago.

The bedroom in which I saw the light no longer exists. But I walk in the light every day as I am enabled by the Giver of light.

There is no light without ‘The Life’.

John 1/

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

Christ’s imparted life-giving Spirit to the repentant heart illuminates the inner man in an unmistakeable way.

…The last Adam (Christ Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.

(I Corinthians 15/45).

However there are other ways of receiving ‘light’. 

Unfortunately there is ‘light’ that-is-in-fact darkness. It is offered outside of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is clearly referred to in the Bible in this way:

35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

How can light be darkness – it sounds contradictory?

But it isn’t. It is all to do with your source.

The electricity company supplies electricity and therefore light to my home. There are other companies vying for the business – they too can supply the light.

We could also quote the old adage – ‘all that glitters is not gold’ when highlighting that all ‘light’ is not to be embraced.

Let me sound a warning-shot over your bow – not all light is the true light that has come into the world, to illuminate mankind to the truth of the gospel, namely that there is

…one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

John 1/8-10

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

Luke 11/35-

Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

Jesus could not have made it clearer that all light presented in numerous philosophies and religions can in actual fact be darkness.

II Corinthians 11/14.

And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

May you and I encounter the true light of Christmas – born in Bethlehem – the true light has come.

Weakness

Weakness

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Ephesians 6/

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

A call to all Christians – to be strong.

Many years ago there was a western, and the theme tune included the lines: ‘Brave courageous and bold…’, referring to the cowboy hero.

Suppose Paul The Apostle was leaving on a train, and he had to exhort us with a quick shout from the train window, wanting to communicate the secret to being a strong Christian, faithful to God and Our Redeemer.

What would he shout with so little time? What would he give us as a key to strength? 

I believe it is found in the following scripture:

II Corinthians 12/10

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“That ol’ steam train is pulling out Paul – you won’t  even have time for a full verse – what can you tell us?”

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God loves to strengthen the weak. But we all need to learn the restful waiting of weakness.

They that wait on The Lord – we are promised – shall renew their strength.

As someone once pointed out – ‘some only know the struggle of perfect weakness, whilst others know the rest of perfect weakness.’

Therein lies the secret. Weak, unable, feeling unspiritual, had enough, battered, worn out, discouraged…?

Rest…

Expect that these conditions of weakness you are ‘fulfilling’ – will prime-the-well of God’s strength.

How come?

For when I am weak,…(condition met in your life?)

…then I am strong. (condition when God touches you).

Expect the power-of-His-might now – as you are fulfilling the condition necessary for God’s strength to triumph!

…for My strength is made perfect in weakness. (Saith The Lord!)

Humility

HUMILITY

Matthew 18/1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

When Jesus used a little child as an example of what we need to become, was He not simply saying ‘become small’?

The child was little.

Innocent – in the sense that they have not matured enough to join the fray of obnoxious behaviour.

However, they will – throw a tantrum without being taught to do so. And if it is not managed correctly, they will grow up as spoiled brats – a description we hear quite often today.

The bible teaches that we all without exception, are birthed in the same way and condition as the Psalmist:-

I was brought forth in [a state of] wickedness;

In sin my mother conceived me [and from my beginning I, too, was sinful].

That’s why we don’t need to teach kids to throw a tantrum when self doesn’t get it’s own way. The nature within automatically rebels and wants it’s own way.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

But the child He placed in the midst hadn’t yet learned to lust for the power of position.

Why was – ‘who would be greatest’ – on their minds at all?

Jesus goes on to confirm His point: 

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Humility then, is the lesson.

As far as we know the child didn’t enter into any kind of outward show of humility.

But there the child was – with all those adults staring at him/her. But that was ok – because the child was with Jesus!

Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to His Heavenly Father even unto death. (Phil. 2/8).

I was praying one day in my bedroom, and as I bowed before God, I was suddenly aware-in-spirit of the character of Christ just how full of humility He is. And so I in turn was humbled when this revelation came to me.

He is humble – not in some Uriah Heep, conjured-up, lip-service kind of way – but within His very nature.

He could throw His divine-weight around and sort-out a rebellious world, with judgement – instead His attributes make Him the God of Grace and the God of many chances.

…the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;

(II Peter 3/15)

He is The Lamb before He is The Lion.

When Jesus was at a feast on another occasion – He taught the lesson that we are to choose the lower seat first, not the higher one.

Saint Augustine said:

The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.

Humbling self is firstly a thing of honest appraisal.

When Peter denied Jesus, slipping into the bind – that self puts upon us, enabled by the devil – one look – from The Master was enough to send him to his knees, in humility, as self was exposed in hurting The One he loved dearly.

Luke 22

Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster [i]crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

We learn two things regarding how God works in our lives:

  1. The look of God
  2. The voice of God

When God looks upon you – you must notice it. When we notice it – we then remember what He has said.

Or if we reverse this we can find God’s revelation when we listen first to what he says (Bible) and in prayer notice His eye upon us – the result.

In Peter’s case a humbling of the self-life – and a searching for God’s forgiveness. In Peter’s case – Jesus called this conversion. Or a returning to God in prayer.

KJV: Luke 22:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

NKJV: Luke 22:

32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

His eye is upon us – we can receive the benefits of this or ignore it.

His voice is speaking to us – we can receive the benefits of this or ignore it.

May we all (like Noah) find Grace in the eyes of The Lord.

Political Correctness

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

This is a subject of course, that lends itself to a lot of discussion. But here are just a few considerations:

Why do we need Political Correctness? What is Political Correctness? What is Political Correctness trying to achieve?

One dictionary defines Political Correctness this way:- 

…the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalise, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against:

I’m pretty sure there would be a lot more definitions out there.

Indeed there is no – one narrow definition for PC.

Let’s take one phrase or implication from the above dictionary definition, that relates to all three of our questions.

‘…the avoidance of…(words) or action(s)…that…are…insulting…’

So – first question – why do we need Political Correctness?

Answer: To highlight the need for us all to avoid actions that insult other people.

Second question – What is Political Correctness?

Answer:  Some kind of spoken or written premise or rule that we must adhere to in order that others are not insulted.

Third question – What is Political Correctness trying to achieve?

Answer: It is written, spoken, or laid down –  to try to ensure correct behaviour or to change or alter the wrong behaviour of others.

We learn straight away therefore, that the need to change bad behaviour or to stop it occurring is the goal of the rules of Political Correctness.

Who has the ultimate say in furnishing us with the rules of political correctness? Do you set the rules? Do I? Does your government have the ultimate say? Does one group of people against whom certain words or actions are deemed unacceptable set the rules for everyone else to follow?

What happens if, by following the cultural rules set by one group that we are meant to conform to – we end up violating what is not acceptable in our own or another’s culture?

Well, what about everyone just laying aside all their cultural rules and regulations of what is and what is not acceptable – and let’s all find a new set of rules that everybody can conform to? 

Some might offer this as a solution. And of course as a Christian my ‘rule’ (and so much more than just rules)-book is the Bible.

Political correctness is confusing to say the least. And it somehow, goes on failing to produce the result that is intended.

Is it not a substitute for the real thing?

As a follower of Jesus Christ the Lord, my behaviour outside of a Christian culture is sure to displease, – is it not? Sure to be seen as politically incorrect? Especially, If the acknowledgment of their god is absent from me.

THREE MEN’S POLITICAL  INCORRECTNESS?

Daniel 3/

Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

So the three Hebrew ‘children’ as they are commonly referred to – were definitely ‘politically incorrect’ in the eyes of this king and his entourage.

When no acknowledgement can be given on my part of any other god, where does this leave myself and any other true Christian in the PC stakes?

Here is what my God says to me:

(Deuteronomy 5/7: You shall have no other gods before Me or besides me…)

But what of other kinds of Political Correctness that isn’t only to do with the god we serve?

If I am harsh and cold and acting in an obnoxious manner toward my fellow man or woman – acting in anger and bitterness toward anyone, does this not expose my inner being as needing transformation and highlighting my need for a better nature?

Jesus exposed religious Pharisaism, and highlighted the selfishness of the human heart by demonstrating His contrasting lifestyle – perfectly.

Showing how a man should be and live. He lived and demonstrated perfectly His own teaching.

The Pharisees amongst others, with their own brand of political correctness – fell miserably short of how human beings should be, and behave. Their Political Correctness failed to produce acceptable behaviour. 

Jesus taught and showed how we should live perfectly.

Met anyone else who does that? I certainly haven’t, nor am I going to meet such a person.

Genuine believers in Christ encounter His nature spiritually, and spend the rest of their lives allowing that nature to consume them.

We fail many times – but we see no other gods, demonstrating in a human body a nature that surpasses that of Jesus Christ… – thus we conclude the need to make him – …The Lord.

And rather than trying to work round-pegs into square-holes – we realise the rules of Political Correctness will never produce the result(s) that PC espouses.

Only a new nature that operates from the inside-out, will do the job. PC operates from the outside – trying unsuccessfully to change the inside of man. It doesn’t make the lasting difference it tries to achieve.

The only way we can even begin to achieve what Political Correctness cannot – is when we become transformed inside. When the Person of Jesus Christ is allowed into our lives to live His life through us.

He says we are to ‘come unto Him..’ and he will give us rest.

If we all experience this spiritual rest from Him – the need for PC will not be the priority, but rather maintenance of good wholesome relationships, will be the new goal. This will emerge if fellowship with Him is maintained, by all in the community.

When we have the Presence of the Perfect One with us, we quickly discover the need to change bad behaviour, lest we offend Him, the one we love.

But without a living-real-actual-spiritual-relationship with Him – then we are back to rules alone attempting to get the desired behaviour with the PC code.

So it is not Political Correctness that we need but

a Perfect Companion who says: ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the world’.

It hasn’t entered our mind…

IT HASN’T ENTERED YOUR MIND…

I Corinthians 2/But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

The phrase I wish to draw attention to in this passage of scripture is:

‘Nor have entered into the heart of man’

You have heard people say: ‘…in fact the thought never crossed my mind.’

Well, there are thoughts that have never entered our heads, nor ever will – cross our minds – this side of the heaven-of-heavens.

As a painter/poet/preacher it is my daily grist to the mill, to have no shortage of imaginative ideas. That doesn’t guarantee that they are good ideas. Nor that, (especially painting) they are ever followed-through on.

But when it comes to spiritual matters, the imagination mustn’t take over, to the negation of truth.

It can be customary, in some people’s minds to automatically equate ‘divine inspiration’ with the role of the artist, writer or composer.

I remember asking an accomplished musician, who was also a Bible teacher, and therefore a Christian, if he thought those with no spiritual confession or commitment to Christ, could possibly be enabled by Christ in any way to pen the overtures they composed.

His answer was: ‘No.”

And I agreed. That is not to say – that many who do not profess to follow Christ, cannot write or produce something memorable, worthwhile, of lasting worth, and that very much adds to our lives. To suggest that they couldn’t – would be totally wrong.

However, divine revelation or inspiration, if it is to come from Jesus Christ and therefore the Holy Spirit, demands first, the pre-requisite of knowing Him personally.

[NB: There are exceptions to this, when God has a task to accomplish, he may well give revelation to an unbeliever cpr. Pilates wife (?)]

However Christ’s genuine enablement is an experience, and will not contradict the Holy Scriptures in the content, that the enablement provides.

The way I see God’s enablement as an artist, or as a Christian writer is best explained in terms of direct and indirect inspiration.

There are times when, what I say or write, is very much with a sense of His inspiration and enablement directly.

At other times what I already am as a Christian, will influence what I produce, and I cannot claim any direct (prophetic) inspiration from God for the painting, poem, post, or preach.

When it comes to painting or poetry – I do not seek His direct inspiration all that much.

Paul the apostle says this:

Romans 9/

  1. I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit…

Notice Paul (as all Christians should be) was acutely aware of his conscience in a living-relationship with God’s Presence in his life.

Conscience plays a big part when it comes to having a sense of inspiration. The balancing of our minds with the Mind of Christ, must always be taking place.

We never become anything other than human, in this life. A human being in fellowship with God.

He has however, bestowed upon all true Christ-ones, the great blessing of now becoming ‘sons of God’ (Romans 8/14).

But it doesn’t yet appear what we shall be like – when we reach that heavily destination. We will though, be more than human when we get there. In one passage we are told we shall be like the angels…

Matthew 22/30: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.

All that this means is not clear.

Which brings me back to the phrase I have drawn attention to at the beginning:

‘nor have entered into the heart of man’

Think of it – things that we cannot as yet comprehend!

Beyond our imagination. Things too high and wonderful for us to comprehend. 

I Corinthians 13/

For we know in part and we prophesy in part….

…For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

So the atheist or agnostic who must have it all comprehended and packaged to meet the criteria of their intellect, is missing the whole point of the supernatural. We won’t understand it all.

The spiritual is not devoid of logic or the power of reason – it’s just that we use our reason to accept that certain things are beyond the limitations of that same reasoning ability.

Notice this verse of scripture – 

We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,

Let’s note here – ‘proud thing’. Unfortunately knowledge puffs up with pride. Pride was the original sin. We are told God resists the proud but gives unmerited favour to the humble.

It’s humbling to realise that the intellect is very limited, and has not yet received many of the things that God has prepared for those who love Him…

The proud mind that considers itself greater than God is headed for a fall, such thinking sets itself up AGAINST the true knowledge of God.

And it is the proud heart of man that despises and/or rejects God and His council for the throning of his own intellect, in all matters of life and death.

We must start by accepting… 

…as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My (God’s) ways higher than your ways And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

By taking the place of humility – we have a better chance of comprehending the things of God – and there is even a chance that we shall receive that Divine inspiration and revelation spoken of earlier.

In fact the verses at the top of this post go on to reveal that:

10 …God has revealed them to us through His Spirit…

He will lead believers into all truth – i.e. lead the prepared heart that fellowships with Him.

In simple terms there are things revealed and things not yet revealed.

But Oh – the wonder! The unimaginable beauty and superior life that awaits those who look for His Coming in faith and hope. Oh the wonder of the afterlife still not revealed! We have glimpses, yes – sometimes wonderful glimpses. But glimpses just the same.

And yet many prefer the lower life and instruction that comes from this world alone.

I thank God for the times my inner human spirit has rose to see like I had never seen before.

Glorious times, that don’t happen every day with the same intensity. But faith has been established in my heart. Faith that says:

Hebrews 11/6:

… he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

If I am to glimpse more – I must begin with the oracles* of God (Bible).

For more – I must meditate on these* things…

The Followed or the followers

THE FOLLOWED OR THE FOLLOWERS?

It’s interesting how persuasion works.

The salesman/woman gives us information in a confident manner, directing our attention to what is advantageous in their product.

They have a goal in mind – a sale, of course.

To that end they exercise persuasion. Persuasion through words.

Often we have done our own research and would not be there in the first place, if we had not already made up our minds to buy. Usually we are at least 90% persuaded already.

Sometimes though, if the salesperson is too pushy and overbearing, I go in the opposite direction, to the point where I decide to buy the same product elsewhere, or even, further my investigations for an alternative.

So their manner, sometimes exercising deceptive ploys, or punctuated with a belittling approach etc. turns me off.

But what if the product is the best one you can buy, the best on the market and at the best price?

If I take umbrage at the salesperson, I am (in this context) according to the old proverb: ‘Cutting off my nose to spite my face’.

But it’s difficult to get past the bad salesperson’s approach.

Nevertheless I must – as I am after value for money and a good performance product.

It would be great if it was otherwise, – but I’m afraid not everyone who says: “Lord, Lord…” is the genuine ‘article’, not everyone is the real McCoy, when it comes to their profession of being a Christian.

And not everyone who is genuinely and sincerely a child of God, is void of bad attitudes. 

They still need to change in that particular area, and need help to see it.

Jesus never finishes perfecting His people.

My point is this – if you want to become a follower of Christ – look away from the shortcomings of those who purport to represent Him, and delve into the Bible, to find the real thing.

Look unto Christ – examine His life and see His perfection, or be drawn to Him further, if you have already called on His name for salvation.

Don’t fall into the trap of using the shortcomings of imperfect human beings, as an excuse not to pursue the Person of Jesus Christ.

Christ is the light of perfection, in Him is no darkness at all.

One gentleman who examined Jesus Christ to find who He was, did so with the intention of disproving the Resurrection.

As one writer puts it – the book ‘Who Moved the Stone?’ by Frank Morison was…

…the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write another.

His persuasion in becoming a follower of Christ was the result of looking into the gospel stories, as opposed to being greatly impressed by Christ’s followers.

Man will always fail. Christ will never fail.

Jesus said to Peter:

22 …“If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Jesus was telling Peter in essence, that he was not to overly concern himself with other human beings, but to get his priorities right and follow Him.

By all means learn from genuine sincere believers in Christ – they should be that example you are looking for. But better still learn from the one followed rather than His followers.

Empty philosophical deceit

Colossians 2/8: Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

This verse of scripture meant a lot to me when I first became a follower of Christ Jesus.

Philosophy (to state the obvious) activates our reasoning powers.

Every philosophical opinion, from a held point-of-view on everyday life, to some political manifesto, is held in some loosely defined philosophical way.

I’m thinking of the word philosophy in a dictionary definition sense of:- a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour: and/or the study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience:

According to the above verse from the bible, philosophy can cheat us.

Philosophy of whatever kind, can rob us of the supernatural, because it does not readily embrace the idea of spiritual revelation from a Living God.

Rather it relies only on man’s ability to reason, and to find answers to profound and deep questions, through the use of his reasoning powers – alone.

The obvious conclusion we have to come to, when relying ONLY on man’s reasoning powers is this: – our imagination can justify, any ‘doctrine’ that mankind wishes to dream up.

Left to our own devices – we can create our own morality and find reasons, if we have enough fallen-imagination – to justify the most despicable behaviour.

And of course man has done so, many times.

If deviously-clever enough, man can embrace evil as good and make good – evil.

There has been such a slide from wholesomeness, that the imagination doesn’t know where to stop, as it manufactures justification(s) for whatever it chooses, producing  a man-made morality.

Today, long accepted norms are being cast aside with reckless abandon.

And many of the rejections of God-given morality are couched in philosophical terms that can sound so plausible, but reject many other counteracting considerations by simply not mentioning them.

In all of these ‘new approaches’ to morality – there is no higher power, taken into consideration. No revelation from the creator is considered. If man can use his darkened imagination he can dream up anything.

That’s the world we live in today. Man is his own god. When men disagree on questions of morality, they do not seek the One with the higher reasoning power.

But rather lean on their own understanding, and fail to acknowledge God in all, or any, of their ways.

Their wisdom is earthly, sensual and devilish.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

If there is no ultimate creator-God authority, then there is only one opinion versus another opinion, especially in areas of morality.

No one refers to the absolute, everything becomes relative and a war of words.

Your opinion if it differs from mine is going to remain different, while someone else comes along and presents yet another opinion, and another, and another.

A world full of views and opinions all trying to convince each other.

God in the person of The Lord Jesus Christ – intervenes and leaves us His divine thoughts of righteousness, revealed to chosen men and written down under His influence (The Bible).

These revealed precepts – are recorded in human language but with the hand of God on-them perpetually.

These are given as the ultimate light to which all ‘philosophies’ must be held up to.

Man-made philosophies are – weighed in the balance of God’s word – and found wanting.

Reach for the higher wisdom – written down – for our consumption, and don’t allow the aberrant philosophies that are rampant today to spoil/cheat you …through empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2/8)