Category Archives: word in season

…and correction?

…and correction?

Most Christian bloggers like to edify, exhort positively, and comfort us all, in our journey through this fallen world.

I have received from a number of Christian blogs, the encouragement I needed for a certain ‘day in the life’.

It would seem though, that some subject matter is best avoided if your goal is to be popular, when blogging.

However most Christians would agree that we are not called to win popularity competitions, and yet they love the ‘amen’ to their posts, and often (or mostly) it is genuinely given.

They are glad when others are edified, and rightly so. We all need encouragement.

But again I often wonder if anyone wants to address the mess?

Sometimes we need to repent and return to the first works – indeed repentance from ‘dead’ works returning to our first love of the Lord Jesus Christ, entering into a closer walk with Him.

For this to happen we need to be corrected.

The human heart and mind is prone to wander. And sometimes in the midst of our convicted conscience –  the last thing we need is someone laying heavies upon us that point out our faults and failings.

But conversely – does this mean this should never be done? We live in a world where no one wants to listen to correction.

Does that include the Christians? Who are told:

NKJV – Hebrews 12/5 …do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him…

Amplified version – 

My son, do not make light of the discipline of the Lord,

And do not lose heart and give up when you are corrected by Him;

Going on to say:

For the Lord disciplines and corrects those whom He loves,…

This is like a foreign language to some Christians, who have been fed on daily bread that is only buttered on one side and coated with sugar.

Having said that – some have suffered dry bread with no butter or sugar!

If you get the analogy – I refer to an unbalanced diet. Too much or too little of one thing. Christians who are ‘unexposed’ to necessary teaching to enable proper spiritual growth.

You see we all need different sustenance. We all need a different word from The Lord, according to our developmental requirements.

God the Father has one priority, like any good father, He wants to raise His children well, and allow them to reflect more perfectly the image of their brother – The Lord Jesus Christ.

We by inheritance are also children of God. There is only one ‘Only Begotten’, but:

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

So correction is very much a part of a good wholesome growth plan for a child’s life.

Not some harsh unfair manipulation or provoking of children, through abuse – but a balanced diet of edification, exhortation, and comfort – and correction.

But what about God’s adult children, who are still children in grown-up bodies manifesting self-absorption and injuring others?

This is a big subject I know. And I am not going to do it justice in this short post.

But let’s remember we are meant to grow in grace (thank God it’s grace!) and be changed from glory to glory, as by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, who might just tell us from time to time:

 ‘You are wrong’.

I don’t find correction easy to take – do you? Especially if it comes from a source other than God. But that’s where we must step away and examine and discern if it is just our own flesh and self-will that doesn’t like the truth, or if in fact the devil is trying (as we say) ‘to do a number on us’. Usually his condemnation has a tiny reference to something true and a whole deluge of lies. Know the difference.

 

Prayer: Lord help us to hear the still small voice of edification or correction. Amen

 

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Spiritually natural

Spiritually natural

It’s difficult to write about many of the wonderful things of God – in the present climate, when so much needs fixing.

There needs to be a turning wholeheartedly to The Only Living and True God, through His Son The Lord Jesus Christ.

There is nothing new under the sun. In simple terms good and evil is in conflict, and has been since the beginning or before. 

The rise and fall of evil men will go on. The Rise and Rise of good men will also continue.

There is an event we term The Rapture, when Christ will return, but no man knows the hour or the day. That will be the greatest ‘uprising’ in history!

Meantime evil men grow worse and worse.

There is a scripture that encourages those who carry precious pearls to not throw them before swine:

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This is a snippet of wisdom communicated by The Lord Jesus. Clearly informing us that there are precious and beautiful things God is willing to reveal to mankind. But these precious things are not to be shared with animalistic natures, who will have no discernment as to their beauty, and who will trample them under foot.

Treating the things of God’s nature with disdain, ‘like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding….’

John 2:24 Amplified Bible:

24 But Jesus, for His part, did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people [and understood the superficiality and fickleness of human nature],

Superficiality and fickleness will not receive the things of God. God will not entrust His precious hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge and revelation of Himself to such.

This teaches us that to even begin to understand, experience and prove the goodness and self-evident existence of the creator of the universe – we must first approach Him with a heart that desires to depart from evil, whilst honouring and respecting the things of God.

All around us is animalistic and ungodly defiance. But read ‘the book’ to see how it all pans out.

Most genuine preachers, feel their own inadequacies when it comes to the things of God, desiring to be a more worthy expounder of His truth.

If only we could walk flawlessly before Him, practicing everything we preach.

God does not however require an unnatural ‘holier than thou’ attitude, cloaked in false humility, whereby we unrealistically take on some kind of pseudo ‘holiness’ – as one preacher put it becoming so heavenly minded we are no earthly use.

Conversely however – some are so earthly minded they are no heavenly use.

God wants us to be human and spiritually-natural, able to laugh, be normal, have fun and talk about everyday things.

But at the same time holding close to our hearts the things of Himself He has revealed to us.

Allowing His thoughts (Bible) to fill our minds – giving them priority over the natural things of life.

There is no holiness without The Holy Spirit!

Balance – a great word to keep us on track.

To sum up we are to mind the natural things as in for example: culture, – with the enablement of God – who gives us spiritual discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. So that we can enjoy those everyday things of life because our minds, hearts and spirits are fixed on God.

As a painter and a poet (as far as I know 😎) I cannot enjoy any of these or any other activities for that matter, unless my heart is right with The Lord. Then I experience His promise:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Helped and energised to enjoy all the things that make up life – He has given us – to enjoy.

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.

Falling

FALLING

Unfortunately we hear of prominent and not so prominent Christians falling into sin.

We know of those on the front line, presenting themselves as leaders and wanting to please God in all things, who fall into sin. (usually sexual in nature).

Others who are depending on their leadership, are startled and disappointed and feel betrayed.

When this happens it creates the idea that in leadership, there seems to be no one to trust, no one living  according to God’s right way. There seems to be a dearth of victorious Christian Living, starting with leaders.

However we wrestle not against flesh and blood. And those in the front line are first to stand in the gun sights of the devil.

We must first therefore realise this fact, and cover them with prayer.

No one in leadership is any more ‘impenetrable’ than others. They are human and subject to the same like passions as anyone else.

Things of protocol must be put into place and the need to be covered with answerability to a plural leadership of their fellow eldership – lived out practically.

The wicked have drawn the sword

And have bent their bow,

To cast down the poor and needy,

To slay those who are of upright conduct.

We see from these verses who is in line for the ‘roaring lions’ attention – those of upright conduct. (I Peter 5/8)

Often before they fell they were men or women of upright conduct. We often forget quickly the character they have shown, and the good they have accomplished. The body of Christ (the church) killing their own wounded.

At the same time we must keep before us the standard God’s word clearly spells out. And not slide into moral laxity.

There is one paramount way to keep our hearts from the demands of the prince of the power of the air – and it is by having presence of mind to appropriate continuously what the Grace of God has provided.

Our God in calling us to forgive 70×7 per day – gives us a glimpse into the fact that He too will practice what He preaches. Plenteous in mercy and forgiveness.

He will not respond to pretenders however, who think to laughingly avail themselves of this promise of forgiveness, whilst they carry on sinning, as though it was acceptable to do so.

That’s called hypocrisy.

Grace is a revelation. It is a revelation not just for salvation – but that through the grace of God we can LIVE!

Always availing ourselves of His promises and His strength to maintain our hearts in good condition before Him.

Let’s pray for those who have fallen. And if they were in a position of leadership and injured others in their fall, let’s still allow them into fellowship with forgiving embrace – but only where we find the sincerity of humility and true repentance. Otherwise if they continue in sin, we become guilty of bidding them God’s-speed in their misdemeanours.

This calls for good discernment. The bible warns about wolves in sheep’s clothing:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

We shall (we are told) know them (the sincere men and women of God) by their fruits. The actions they take, the attitude they carry, the character they show, their speech, prayer life, fairness, empathy, and so on.

Prayer:

Lord help us to stand dependant on you alone. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 

Endurance

ENDURANCE

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Hebrews 6:14-16 King James Version (KJV)

14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

James 5:11

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

There are people who have endured terrible things and have come forth as gold tried in the fire.

I want to sit at the feet of such people, and confess that because of your experiences, (and there is no knowledge without experience) – I can learn of you.

Compared with many folks, – I have only experienced a light affliction by comparison.

It would be right therefore that I sit at their feet to learn of them.

But if you are a lesser mortal like me – one of the biggest things you have had to endure IS YOU!

Hello? Often I have been my own worst enemy. When God is ‘straining’ as it were – to get me to accept His word, His promises, and His forgiveness – I have failed to receive because of my own thoughts. And He tells me (Isaiah 55 7-9)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

All of us are born only knowing OUR WAYS. And mankind seeks answers WITHIN THE CONFINES and notice I emphasise the CONFINES of his own thoughts and his own ways.

But this is the word of  God – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Regardless of how many people corrupt this Word, regardless of how many twist it to mean what it doesn’t mean and throw it aside like SOME CULT LEADER who lead hundreds to their death – THIS WORD WILL NEVER PASS AWAY.

This Word will never conform to man’s opinion, man must conform to THIS WORD.

And this word tells me –

 ‘Last days’ things we must do:

Matthew 10:22

… you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

So that tells me that part of THE GOSPEL MESSAGE OF SALVATION and there is no other message for the salvation of the world, other than this one.

This message tells me that part of salvation entails

ENDURANCE. Notice ENDURE – BE SAVED.

So the terrible times we are living in – must court the response of endurance, having entered into the free gift experience of acceptance with God through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

How’s your endurance level?

And when we hear of some of the things people – Christians fall out over – it lets me know their endurance/tolerance level is very low.

A somewhat humorous illustration of weak endurance is the fact – that – if a man takes the flu he needs a woman to show him how to ENDURE IT.

But this message of ENDURANCE is the Word of the Lord

And when we want answers of how we should respond in these days we will ONLY find them in this word of God.

This Word who was in the beginning…and who is God – was sent forth to call into being the very planet we live on. (John 1/1-5)

That’s how powerful this Word is –

That same word was sent forth by the Holy Spirit into the hearts of mankind – to open the heavenly realm to them.

And this Word comes to give us many different instructions. And instructions for these end times.

I do not have a strong Theological position when it comes to eschatology. But I see enough to know that end times – means hard times.

And hard times – end times or not – sometimes must be endured.

But part of the ability to endure comes from the very word that tells us TO ENDURE. It is our rock-solid foundation that insulates us from the bad times to come.

God’s word is the BALM that takes away the pain. It ‘rights’ the mind.

A man demon-possessed met the word of The Lord which was – ‘…come out of him’ – and the result was healing. Concerning God’s Word the people asked:

“What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

If you are like me you consider yourself a rather weak kind of soldier, whose endurance level is poor. But one thing I know – without the Word of God and the Presence of God in my life, as I trust Him daily – I could not cope.

…His truth shall be your shield and buckler. (Psalm 91/4)

God is a very present help in times of trouble.

Prayer – 

“God give us your tenacity to endure joyfully to the end!”

Continually in conflict…

Continually in conflict… 

There is a ‘turn-off’ button or mechanism in every human being with regard to the things of God. This tendency can be recognised or ignored.

We are so far removed from God’s likeness, so different in nature than He is, that we do not immediately relish anything to do with God’s nature.

God’s nature is the divine nature of course.

It’s like hearing of a far-off land where we have never been. We have never experienced what it is like. It is contrary to what we are used to. It’s a land that we can only be told about, without ever experiencing it. So it is with our insensitivity and plain ignorance regarding God almighty’s nature, we haven’t been there.

Until we are – or if you like until we do!

That’s the difference between the true Christian and the unbeliever. Christians have encountered the divine nature.

So the nature man is born with and the nature of God – do not ‘co-habit’ in harmony.

Galatians 5:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

Change therefore is necessary, change to enable the two natures to become compatible. And the onus is on us to get into line.

Even after such a statement – the natural man can rise up and give us all the old cliche-negatives about not bowing to this ‘big ogre’ in the sky. Misrepresenting God and His true nature.

If God was to fully manifest His nature to us individually – we would die.

Exodus 33/

22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses privileged to encounter God (and His divine nature) in a powerful way, nevertheless could only experience a manifestation of God that would be described as seeing God’s back.

When the New Testament time had come – God found a way of showing His nature to man by taking upon Himself – human (in His case sinless) nature, in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

Mankind initially was made in God’s likeness – but that likeness or nature was lost when mankind chose to carelessly believe a lie, from another spirit.

Some say Eve was deceived into this – but Adam simply did not exercise proper judgement (discernment). He chose without due consideration.

The likeness of God that man was born with, was marred and increasingly lost, and was replaced by a fallen nature. Subsequently inherited by the human race, inasmuch as we can only reproduce after our own (fallen) kind.

Because we are contrary to God in our very essence, i.e. in simple terms – our minds and human spirits, we cannot appreciate properly just how far removed we are from the divine morally-perfect nature of God.

So everything man contemplates in the arena of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, is born out of man’s own spiritually-unaided intellect, unaided by the divine nature.

Unless that enablement is sought and found, through relationship with Christ and His Word.

So on subjects such as abortion, same sex marriage, gender, heterosexuality, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, Civil rights, to mention but a few. Man can only lean on his own darkened understanding, and try to be guided by [the/or/a] moral law. But man tends towards making up or changing the rules/laws as he goes along.

So that potentially man’s nature is able to take whatever comes into his head and present it as acceptable. Finding ways to justify everything and anything.

Given enough rope he will hang himself. An example would be to ask the question: “will man cross the ‘final frontier’ and justify child-molestation?” Dreaming-up and legislating so that it becomes morally acceptable?

We recoil from such an idea – but at one time man recoiled at things God finds unacceptable – which man now accepts as part of the fabric of our society.

Rather like children at school, who are given a subject in the debating society. Sometimes they are given what side of a given ‘argument’ they must defend. They have that side of the debate thrust upon them, and they must defend that stance.

They are instructed to present a case for or against the motion, depending on what their teacher gives them to represent.

There is in such an exercise – no conviction-starting point from which to offer their ‘arguments’ in the debate, it having been allocated by a teacher.

They can present arguments on both sides, as asked to, arguments obviously stemming from their own calculated reasoning powers.

But in preparing for the debate – there is no concrete unchangeable reference to begin with, when deciding moral issues, if it is a debate entailing the question of morality.

Rather – research, history, other personalities and their views, codes within people groups, and so on, comes to the aid of the teenager in trying to form his/her argument, regardless of whether they believe it or not.

They can debate well – something they have put a case together for, having been given no choice but to do so. In other words man can find ways of justifying almost anything, if he puts his mind to it.

And according to the nature we are born with – we will desire certain things – and seek justification in indulging in those things.

As the result of many cooks spoiling the broth, and no acceptance of an authoritative God-standard the result is ultimately confusion and every evil work.

So rather than conforming to the divine law – we change it so we are ‘free’ to indulge the lower nature, in whatever form it manifests. Self-justifying our actions according to human nature, but not according to the divine nature.

There are therefore (in matters of morality) many disagreements on many different subjects, because everyone bases their formed opinion on conclusions that have come, unaided by the divine nature.

Someone skilled in persuasive argument or speech – will probably win the day.

But rather – a starting point must be found that we put first – in all our reasoning.

An inerrant guide must be sought. This inerrant guide might be mis-interpreted, but it is the only means of reference, because it contains the words of eternal life. (John 6/68)

The words that are birthed in the divine nature, rather than the flawed human nature. That guide of course is The Bible.

A lot of the conclusions we come to are marred, not taking into account realisations or conclusions that can only come into our minds, through encountering God Himself and partaking of His divine nature in contrast to our own.

II Peter 1/4:

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

So here we have the majority of the human race who have never encountered God and his divine sinless nature, trying to come to right conclusions on sex, abortion, fairness in trade, human relationships, etc. etc.

As a result mankind is left to his own devices. We alter God-given norms, trusting in our own intellects, we are blind to the fallen nature, that remains untouched by God. Untouched because we refuse to let Him do so.

Mankind then, uses the attributes he possesses that are faulty and inadequate to say the least.

So two things – Regarding the fallen human nature of mankind:

1) Mankind can justify and defend anything he wishes, as being morally acceptable, as there is no (he concludes) flawless standard to contradict him – only the opinions of others.

2)   Mankind has no idea of how abhorrent to a Holy God the terrible acts of sin that are taking place to an increasing measure, on this planet. Therefore he fearlessly continues on in his stubborn way.

Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding…(Psalm 32/9)

Mankind has no concept of this. One encounter with The Living Holy and Loving God and man will immediately know how abhorrent and unacceptable this sinful nature is, and as a result he will cry out for salvation.

Paul the Apostle did that very thing:

“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

There are periods of time when God seems unreachable. But the fact is He is never unreachable. There are degrees of encounter, as Grace provides.

His promises are true – 100%, but we must know what we are asking for, and how God works to provide that divine encounter that opens us up spiritually – in a way that is incomparable.

James 4/

9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

He will lift you up in spirit – that’s an actual, supernatural, spiritual experience! When it happens we know for sure that we have encountered the divine nature, by encountering The Lord himself.

In these verses we find the instruction as to what to do – and with it the promised result!

The result is an encounter with God and His divine nature that changes us forever!

Those difficult questions

THOSE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS

It is difficult to come to an exact conclusion with regard to answering certain questions concerning the fate of mankind.

Some of these questions are not to be answered in the first place. But being human and curious we find ourselves posing such questions.

For example – how many will actually inherit eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord? No one knows the exact numbers, except The Lord Himself.

What exactly – will happen sequentially in the last days concerning all the events that will take place according to the prophetic aspect of scripture and fulfilment of history?

At what point does the long-suffering gracious and merciful aspects of God’s nature have to give way to His requirement (due to His holiness) of justice and therefore just-punishment of those engaged in antichrist activities?

What happens to those who die without ever hearing the gospel?

What exactly does God require before He will send Revival. Put a better way – what does He require before He will visit a given group of people in an (‘extraordinary’) manifest and tangible way?

We can all offer an opinion on these matters. We can even back them up with scripture. But our exactitude will be riddled with the imperfections and limitations of human flesh, and human reasoning.

I know I emphasise the need for spiritual God-given revelation often in seedsinmotiontruthnart.com.  But I can’t get away from this paramount truth. And so here we have the word ‘revealed’ turning up again: Deut. 28/29:

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

But this time I want to stop at the first part of the verse. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:

The above questions can merge into this category of truth, and the answers belong to God. I’m not saying we should not ask the questions – but that it is important that God helps us approach Him for help, in His required attitude of heart. (My main point in this post).

The inadequacy we feel when faced with spiritual questions of this nature leads us to an attitude that many saints-of-old had in abundance.

Namely – a humility that led them into a deep trust of God no matter what. They were willing to accept the will of God as the will of One who of course knew better than they.

Their faith didn’t falter, at difficult questions, or events that left them perplexed.

To the outsider looking in – it seemed  nieve and  lacking in intellectual prowess. But they knew in whom they had believed. They knew the One in whom they placed (yes often unquestioningly) their trust.

But their acceptance and humility was based on the acknowledgement of who they were and who God is. God is Almighty! So we will have to leave the secret things to Him.

And that includes some of the hardest questions we can ask.

That does not mean we should not seek, ask, knock on the door of understanding. But rather that we need to come to a place of humility, and watch our attitude.

In the natural we have heard the line in movies, where the sergeant major, or indeed the disciplinarian-type father utters the words to the insubordinate: ‘Watch your mouth. Remember who you are speaking to’.

Harsh as this sounds, and although often spoken without love, yet there is a truth here. The truth being that we need to remember who is to be revered. None other than The Creator Himself.

Until we encounter Christ personally – we only have this truth second-hand. When we encounter the all-powerful, all-knowing Saviour of the world – we have no need that any man teach us.

But stopping at this point, I acknowledge that I still ask questions and will go on doing so, in the knowledge that there is only one who ultimately can supply the answers:

Amplified – Hebrews 12/2

[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity],… 

Consider what I say…

Consider what I say…

There is something very simple yet very profound in this one verse statement made by Paul The Apostle – truly one of the father’s of New Testament faith.

II Timothy 2/

Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

Let’s break it up and learn how spiritual truth works:

1) – CONSIDER.

Let’s keep it simple and say many do not even consider biblical truth. They don’t (selah) ‘stop and think things over’

So without this simple attentiveness given to scripture – there can be little hope of spiritual understanding.

We can prefer our own personal philosophy or learning from ordinary books, rather than from the divinely inspired Word of God.

2) – WHAT I SAY.

Paul wanted Timothy his son in the faith – to take on board what Paul under the inspiration of God was penning to him. Paul knew the difference between what he received directly from The Lord, and what came out of his accumulated understanding. He likewise wanted Timothy to experience God’s enlightenment, rather than just giving a mental assent to what Paul was sharing.

He knew in other words, the necessity of God’s enablement when it came to spiritual matters. And so with this in mind he says:

3) …THE LORD GIVE YOU UNDERSTANDING

And indeed understanding in ALL THINGS.

I can testify to spiritual illumination and revelation in my life, if it was not for this I would still be walking without Christ.

This revelation is not a constant stream – day-in and day-out – but once (when it does come) and it has entered the human spirit it remains, and can be brought into the mind again by The Holy Spirit.

So meditating on the Word of God – opens us (if we are willing) to ongoing revelation and greater understanding of spiritual matters. Here are the matters Paul had just conveyed to the younger Timothy – 

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

In all of these he (Timothy) must CONSIDER them prayerfully and look for God’s understanding in them.

Paul is the messenger – God is the revealer of true understanding.

Subjects?

* – Endurance – Staying free from cumbersome earthly distractions – pleasing God – walking God’s way – partaking of the blessing.

But – but!

Would you not be better really meditating on these verses over and over – and asking God to speak to you – rather than only taking on board the subject matter and lessons as I see them, as listed above?*

Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

…is not tedious?

…is not tedious?

It might be true to say that most of us who write and publish posts, (I haven’t taken a survey to prove the point 😎 ) – forget what we have published and haven’t.

I guess most of us have writings (potential posts) – on stand-by – ready to be used. But if you are like me, you forget whether you posted what is on your desktop or not – and so have to check older posts.

Also – depending on our personalities as we try to objectively view our work – (again I’m surmising) – notice that we have a certain emphases – there are certain opinions or held beliefs we return to often.

This is usually because they are ingrained into our lifestyle and we have proven them to be true and/or are convinced of their importance and that therefore we do others a service by sharing them. 

In the case of Christian writing – there are certain truths that we find essential and foundational and important and we want to keep drawing the attention of others to these truths.

So although perhaps we ever change the angle we come at these truths from – we fundamentally want to say those things again!

I have noticed some of my emphases, just as I have noticed the tendencies/emphases of other writers/bloggers.

Sometimes the artist in me wants to act on the old saying: (it may have originated in some comic TV show, I’m not sure…) “And now for something completely different…”

Poetry allows me to discover, share and explore a wide range of subject matter, from the profound to the ridiculous.

However when it comes to exercising my gifting as a teacher of the Word of Truth – I do find myself returning to the same important truths again and again.

Paul writing to the Philippians says (PHILIPPIANS 3/1):

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 

 NKJV –

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

He obviously wrote what he thought necessary for their spiritual health and wellbeing – and indeed God has to repeat Himself over and over to us as we are slow of heart to believe, slow at grasping spiritual realities.

But it is true that people look on the surface of things, and are happier with what is immediately ‘grasp-able’. 

Our mental or spiritual inertia slows us down from pursuing, – as though our very lives depended on it – the spiritual dimensions, God calls, all willing-persons into.

But it can be a thankless task to preach what people do not want to hear. Don’t want to hear because such preaching can highlight the need for change, and we can’t face change – “just at the moment thanks…”

People who have gone from one piece of misfortune to another, or who have gone through traumatic experiences or who have gone into the valley of despair, are often the most likely to look for something better, the most likely to desire life-changing answers.

Then there is the ‘God-factor’ (in preaching) the part that God plays in drawing people to Himself. One needs to come to a realisation that God is actually on your case, and wants you to fellowship with Him.

He has ordained that He will draw you to Himself, through preaching. We might (even rightly) conclude that He has chosen a very imperfect means of reaching mankind.

Because there is not a preacher on earth who doesn’t need to listen to preaching himself, in order to embrace change.

Preachers are imperfect persons, but sharing the Word of God as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is a mandate they have received from heaven.

But people easily turn-off, distracted in their minds and preferring something easier, something they are used to. 

Something that brings entertainment instead. It’s easier to hit the like button for things that interest us already or that ‘tickle our fancy’ in some non-threatening or non-challenging way.

There is no end of subject-matter in the scriptures, but there definitely are majorly-important truths that must be given priority.

It is the calling and requirement as ministers of reconciliation to preach the gospel message, and to delve into and share the truths God would have us all to walk in.

If I could partake of God’s unlimited insight and supreme knowledge, for a moment,  I think I would like to know, by receiving a list from His hand – everyone who is at that point in their lives where they are ready to transition from the ‘dead in sin’ state of existence to finding the righteousness of Christ through His life-giving Spirit.

Here’s how the word of God describes that transition, a post-salvation description:

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Now is this (if you have got this far in the first place) where you now switch off – or will you look into these things, i.e. the things of the gospel of Jesus Christ for yourself to see what you will discover?

Natural and Spiritual

NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL

I came across this paragraph from old notes I still have from many years ago when I taught a Saturday morning Bible School, as part of the church I was a part of, at the time. I’m not sure if I was the author, or had taken on-board something someone else had pointed out:natural spiritual insert jpgIt reminded me of one simple truth that I will finish this post with.

But the pasted notes above, are in the context of how the church embraces the revelation of God’s truth (in this context the restoration of total immersion water-baptism for those who are of an age of understanding and who want to follow Christ).

God tells us in His word, however that:

14 …the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The truly bible-defined spiritual person – will receive and discern and know the things of God. But here we read of the ‘natural’ man finding them foolishness.

Having just embraced and accepted a biblical revelation of truth and acted upon it, man – the natural man – can reject a further truth of similar import. Which was what happened (as the above note pointed out) following the revelation of Water baptism.

Showing us clearly that there is a ‘natural man’ and there is a ‘spiritual man’. We all have the option of either remaining or becoming a spiritual person – or of returning to a hardened condition of heart that can’t grasp the things of the Spirit of God. Especially when He offers us further revelation from the Word of God.

To acknowledge the possibility of this retrogressive step, is only the first part in seeking to maintain our walk with The Lord so as to be open to, and receive further enlightenment, thus refusing to let the natural man take over.

It highlights the fact that God wants His people to remain true, and in fellowship with Him. Remain up to date in ‘first love’ relationship with Jesus.

This is a tall order when we are buffeted and our faith is tried – but it is God’s call to us all – and as we remain in close fellowship ‘near to the heart of God’ – we remain open to further enlightenment.

I marvel at how people fail to recognise the things of God. I marvel less when I consider that without God’s help I too, can be that ‘natural man’ with that ‘natural perspective’ that does not recognise the ways of God.

We are however in good company, when we realise that the first disciples were in the same boat. In fact literally in the boat, when they failed to recognise that nothing could harm them with Christ in the vessel. Their fear and therefore their natural man was winning the day. (Matthew 8/25)

We live in strange times – you who believe – will you join me in seeking the answers God wants to give us from His word – regarding how we should respond to and live in these perilous times? (II Timothy 3/1)

Instant coffee?

INSTANT COFFEE?

None of us can pretend to know everything there is about prayer. Just when we think we have it sussed – another aspect is revealed to us.

That prayer is not always ‘instant coffee’ in it’s results is shown in scripture.

We think of Daniel when events took place in the heavenly places before the full answer arrived. 

Daniel 10:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard;and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

There was a time factor involved in this instance of prayer. But Daniel’s words were heard, his prayer involved finding ‘understanding’, and it also involved humility of heart on Daniel’s part.

When The Lord Jesus prayed to His Father – there was in one sense an ‘instant coffee’ result – in the raising of Lazarus from the dead. But even here there was a time lapse (He stayed another two days before going to the dead Lazarus). Before the need of a resurrected Lazarus was met and came to pass. (John 11) Jesus did not rush immediately to pray that prayer. 

And yet it is a given that the days leading up to His “Lazarus come forth!” declaration, continuous communion with His Father took place.

We know too that Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane prayed a number of times (3 times in fact) until the answer arrived in the spoken revealed answer from His Father.

We think of Elijah and Ahab in I Kings 18, when Elijah in anticipation of the sound of abundance of rain – instructed his servant to go and walk through the seven: “There is nothing’s” until the cloud appeared in answer to Elijah’s prayers.

The time factor is hard to avoid this side of heaven. The old saying God’s delays are not God’s denials, has truth in it.

Just what exactly is ‘instant’, we might well ask? Everything takes time – it took God seven days to create the world. The point being time was involved regardless of what theological debates we wish to enter into as to what was meant by ‘days’.

The Five loaves and two fish prayed-over by the Son of God – took time to distribute before the miracle could actually be witnessed.

So let’s allow our prayers to be stored in God’s memory bank: Revelation 5/8

[ Worthy Is the Lamb ] Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Enjoy your instant coffee if you receive it – but perhaps some percolation needs to take place first?

as unto spiritual…

AS UNTO SPIRITUAL…

I Corinthians 3/

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Who is Paul the Apostle addressing here?

Answer – ‘brothers’ – brothers-in-Christ of course, because all the Corinthians he is speaking to, were not his kith and kin.

Not natural kith and kin but ‘brothers in Christ’.

And in addressing brothers, (bearing in mind that his epistles were to the whole church) – he is addressing his ‘sisters-in-Christ’ also.

Is he addressing you and I? Bearing in mind that the Bible (used always-and-eternally in the hand of The Holy Spirit) – is addressing all believers for all time. We conclude readily then, that he is speaking to us also.

All you need to qualify for hearing this epistle – is to be a ‘brother/sister-in-Christ’.

Hmmm?

Can’t imagine that everyone I’m addressing has joined this family of believers?

Anyway – that is for you to decide.

But Paul reveals indirectly to us that there are varying depths of spirituality among believers in Christ.

And that there are matters they were not yet able to comprehend.

The surprise perhaps in this passage is this – he was addressing them all. And he puts them all in the same category (unlike John did in his epistle). Paul refers to them as ‘babes in Christ’.

John – in I John 2 refers to little children, young men, and fathers.

Paul speaks to them all as ‘babes in Christ’. And coupled with this designation is the idea that they are still carnal.

The word carnal can mean different things. But essentially it is the natural sinful mind we are born with.

Everything in the Christian life is a matter of exchange.

We trade in our thoughts, our self-righteousness, our selfishness, or mental problems, our limited reasoning, our emotional hang-ups – and in exchange we receive the joy of The Lord, The peace that passes understanding, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of The Holy Spirit, God’s strength, his righteousness, his holiness, his forgiveness and above all His love.

So now everything is ‘rosey in the garden’?

No – simply because we still have everything that life throws at us to contend with.

But with the attributes of Christ within us – we now must learn to yield ourselves to The Lord of our life, and allow those attributes to control us.

This takes time and inner development under the hand of God. But we grow, we mature, we enter into what the Bible describes as being grounded and settled – all through the exercise of faith that expresses itself in biblical meditation, praise and worship, prayer, and joining ourselves in true and real fellowship with the family of God.

Colossians 1/

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Notice the behaviour that accompanied the ‘babes in Christ’ designation that Paul reveals to us as the epistle continues – 

For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 

As we look and listen we recognise similar traits in the church today. Manifesting the fact that we all need to grow up – 

Ephesians 4

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 This calls firstly and foremostly for a willingness – yes a willingness – to come together at the foot of the cross and lay it all down – all the carnality – AND EXCHANGE it for His life.

Tomorrow as an area of my spiritual immaturity is made clear to me – I need to return to the one with whom I first made the great exchange – and offer Him my mistakes, my sin, my immature behaviour – “Sorry Lord please come and let your life rule over mine!”

Positive Thinking

POSITIVE THINKING

Most people have heard of ‘the power of positive thinking’.

And indeed remotely right thinking people would espouse this approach to life.

But notice – man by putting himself forward as the centre of the created universe – sees the source of development of mankind and everything progressive, as within man’s capabilities alone.

All progress and advancement is down to man developing his ability independently of any God figure.

Because the Christian message, as taken from the Bible, also espouses right thinking of the spiritual kind, the two approaches to life can eventually, unwittingly or otherwise,  merge in people’s psyche.

Merge to the point where the Christian message and the ‘Positive thinking’ message seem to be the same thing. Notice I say -‘seem to be’.

So that when discussions take place between Christians and non-Christians the non-Christians ask what all the fuss is about – and such declarations as e.g.: ‘But I believe that anyway…’ take place from the self-help, ‘we can do it’ school of thinkers.

They think that within mankind is untapped resources, waiting to be discovered and all problems of mental health, disease and violence will eventually succumb to man’s ongoing development (evolution).

So keeping this post short – it behoves us to understand the fundamental and crucial difference, between positive thinking on it’s own and one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith – expressed in Psalm 121

…From whence comes my help?

2  My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

Christian truth is not dependant on what man can ‘conjure up’ exercising his own reasoning powers, but is dependant on what God sends our way by revelation from on high.

We have the scrolls containing the Word of God, preserved (supernaturally) as God’s guide to and for mankind.

But unless we search for and enter into a living relationship with Christ – the book largely remains inaccessible to us or alternatively is largely hi-jacked to affirm our own ‘positive thinking’ (or otherwise) philosophy, subtracting what we think sounds affirmative to our own reasoned outlook, and leaving the rest.

Such folks extract from the pages of the bible whatever they can use, whilst ignoring the rest.

We can’t ignore any of the scriptures. They must be taken as a whole, and the progress (in God’s timing), of the Old Agreement merging into the New Agreement clearly unfolds as we seek God for further revelation on it’s pages, revealed to the inner man.

The word of God is meant to open us up. But for this to happen and true spiritual knowledge to come our way – we must actually open ourselves through a willing choice we make – and allow it inside, in the first place, asking God’s assistance to make it’s spiritual content known to us, in the same way as those who wrote it – first received it.

The Bible – full of life-affirming and positive words of encouragement, is nevertheless more than this.

It clearly presents Jesus Christ as Lord and Master, in fact, King of kings and Lord of lords. It tells us, the most positive thing we can think – is that

16 …God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

(John 3/16)

How can we get any more positive than this?