Category Archives: word in season

Marvellous

Galatians 1/

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

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

And guess what?

He is marvelling.

Have you or I ever marvelled – ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A child of God – who me?

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

His divine nature described as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…the Spirit of grace…

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

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

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

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

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

Rich or Poor

RICH OR POOR

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

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

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

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

Psalm 62

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.

I Timothy 6/

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

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

Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.

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

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

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

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

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

I Timothy 6/

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

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

However –

1 Timothy 6:6

…godliness with contentment is great gain.

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

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

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

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

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

But what of those who have very little money?

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

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

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

Proverbs 3/

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

Psalm 37

2I have been young, and now am old;

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;

And his descendants are blessed.

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

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

3 John 1-3

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

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

Phil. 4/

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

Frustration

FRUSTRATION

Frustration – a common experience to all – in all walks of life.

Frustration occurs in different contexts.

Waiting on a shop to open – twenty minutes past it’s official opening time. A feeling of frustration.

The repeated bad habit of someone else, that effects you adversely – but which they seem to constantly repeat when in your presence. A feeling of frustration.

People telling you they will do something – which they repeatedly fail to do. A feeling of frustration.

A person you have hired to do a job and they keep postponing to another day. When the day comes – they postpone again. A feeling of frustration.

Someone in a car in front of you – who dilly-dally’s – at 20 miles an hour in a forty mile zone. A feeling of frustration.

When a flea – yes a flea – you know those things you rarely get but expose their presence when that itch starts and the lump appears – you want to get that flea out into the open to end it’s life. (Do they still exist? 😊)

So we need to get those thoughts of frustration out into the open and…

Regardless of the problem that causes frustration – often it has a devil on it’s back.

So trace and destroy. Really know what it is that is causing the frustration and take God’s remedy for it.

For the Christian it is turning to the Word of God and

letting… 

Colossians 2/

5 …this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

We are called to constantly give way to God The Holy Spirit as we appropriate His mind found in His Word. His thoughts kill frustration. Back in the day when people dropped ‘acid’. It was a common exhortation from Christian to Christian – ‘hey man drop some Matthew, Mark Luke or John’.

That takes care of your woes!

Job tells us…

Job 23/

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Frustration is an emotion, but commonly besets us all. It is having the presence of mind to draw upon The One who supplies all our need through His life-giving, frustration-destroying Word.

Philippians 4/

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Attributes

SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES

I Corinthians 16/

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

To the unbeliever the words of this verse from the Bible may as well be in a foreign language.

They probably could make something of it. But within the confines of their own natural experience of life.

Firstly – all words in scripture are given by God – in that He is inspiring and influencing and empowering the person who is penning the Word(s) – and they are not describing natural experience(s) but spiritual.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

And if you have not had the spiritual experience of encountering The Living God – then the words can only be interpreted with the natural mind and in reference to common-to-man experiences.

For instance: ‘stand fast in…faith’ (leaving God out of the equation) could be wrongly interpreted as simply ‘don’t give up’.

Everyone knows they shouldn’t ‘give up – but rather – see-the-thing-through’. Whatever the ‘thing’, or exercise is, in which they are engaged.

That is natural ‘faith’, faith in yourself, stickability, natural empowerment and so on. Same with the other words, – brave, strong, love.

But it isn’t the faith spoken of here. It isn’t the strength spoken of here. It isn’t the courage spoken of here. And it isn’t the love spoken of here.

In simple terms it refers to faith in Christ Jesus. Kind of obvious right? When the whole bible is an exhortation to believe in God.

He, if we truly know Him, supplies the enablement necessary to maintain these attributes in our lives.

Of course we can all, (with self-effort), be strong, brave, have self-belief, and have loving feelings, Christian or non-Christian.

But the difference is – the existence of a relationship with God.

So the question is – What or who is the source of our strength? Is it natural or spiritual?

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul clearly knew the source of his strength, clearly stated in the above verse. And perhaps like no one else in the New Testament apart from The Saviour Himself, Paul needed that strength to see him through the hardships he suffered as an apostle.

Christ is the source and supply of all the Godly attributes we need in our lives, appropriated by faith and supplied by the supernatural enhancement of The Holy Spirit.

Some know of this. Many don’t. Comprehending or accepting what I speak of – is not the result of philosophical argument-winning or convincing, but rather is the result of encountering God.

I Corinthians 2/

…5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

The right one?

THE RIGHT ONE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter stage left – the Christian gospel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rather than pursue it – they decides to refuse it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark 9/

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

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

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

Another Gospel?

ANOTHER GOSPEL? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty straightforward and dogmatic – but absolutely true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said:

Luke 12:5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By that I mean – the words themselves, because:

Matthew 4:4

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

Notice the EVERY word aspect.

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

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

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

John 16:13

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

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

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

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

Christians beware.

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

Rejected

REJECTED 

Isaiah 53/3

He is despised and rejected by men,

A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Not every preacher has found ministry/sermonising plain sailing.

Not every sermon that is preached is welcome.

At times the majority of the population are wrong – and can’t hear what they need to hear.

This is just a fact of life. The fact of a fallen world.

Smoking was once welcomed and embraced by the majority. The majority were wrong.

What does the preacher experience who is on the receiving end of his rejected message and person?

The Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Father, have a long list of descriptions in the scriptures, regarding their character and personality.

We could list the names of Jehovah, each adding a nuance to our understanding of who and what He is.

Jehovah-nissi, (The Lord our banner), Jehovah-tsidkenu (The Lord our righteousness), and so on…

Jesus is the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star, the fairest of ten thousand, Emmanuel (God with us), Saviour, and so on…

But Jesus, The Son of God, was also an itinerant preacher.

So He is the first we can think of – whose message and person were rejected.

Yet also – the common people heard Him gladly.

He was received by some and rejected by others, and yet the calibre and spiritual immaturity of his needy followers was exposed when everyone ran away, forsaking Him,  at the time of His wrongful arrest.

Paul the apostle is another example of a person and their message being rejected.

2 Timothy 4:14-16 (NKJV)

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.

16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.

Again some believed and received – others rejected Paul and his words – and we read the list of the hardships he endured because of the gospel, and it’s rejection.

There are modern examples of persons rejected along with their message.

Not every preacher gets pats on the back after delivering his sermon – in the every (Sun)day setting – of church.

Perfect oneness of mind is a marvel to me. I could probably count on one hand the number of experiences I have had – of being in total unity with fellow believers. I mean real unity.

Truly it was a blessing and very pleasant. (Psalm 133)

But it calls for oneness of mind and right attitude of heart.

When we don’t agree with the preacher and his message – do we reject it?

If it is a false doctrine we need to reject it, there’s no denying that.

But with what attitude, do we do the rejecting?

Is it possible we fail to realise our attitude is worse than the points we don’t agree with?

Partaker

PARTAKER 

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

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

But that does not surprise me.

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

2 Peter 1:4

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

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

So God’s understanding too, is partaken of.

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

1 Timothy 1:18-20

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

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

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

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

IT’S WONDERFUL – to partake of Christ.

Hebrews 3:14

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

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

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

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

Philippians 1:23

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

Romans 11:33

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

Partaking of the spiritual food Good provides – satisfies.

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

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

The Great Exchange

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

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

Now that can be open to different interpretations.

But what I believe it should mean is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christ in us the hope of glory.

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:45

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

 

God loves you…

GOD LOVES YOU

God loves you!

What more needs to be said?

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

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

Luke 12:6-8 (NKJV)

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

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

1 Samuel 16:7

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

So God who looks into the heart – loves you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8/5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demonstrated at the cross of calvary.

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

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

Familiarity breeds…?

Familiarity breeds..?

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

Concerning the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

we can only speculate how his brothers viewed Him. 

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

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

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

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

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

But we are told in the gospel of John:

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

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

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

Suffering also His brothers spiritual indifference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Peter 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 30/5:

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

Matthew 24/35:

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

What is required?

What is REQUIRED?

Nearing the end of last year I organised an Open Forum. I invited various folks – pastors and others to an event where they were invited to share on the subject: What does God require of us?”

This was based on the scripture in (Micah 6/7-9).

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Each person had an eight minute opportunity to share. And so everyone got to share, before we knew it, the night was gone.

Some came more prepared than others. And I realised I had not made it clear enough that the exhortation through the invitation and theme was to seek God seriously in prayer and wait upon Him for direction.

I was hoping that I would be educated through God’s members of His church and enlightened further, as to how God wants us to respond to the days in which we live.

My own sense of what God requires is/was UNITY. We are assured that God commands a blessing when there is unity – it is good and pleasant, and fruitful.(Psalm 133)

Unfortunately human nature is prone to wander. Human nature is prone to self-righteousness. Human nature is that which must be subdued and harnessed so as not to hinder the ‘unity of The Spirit in the bond of peace’ – This is what the Lord requires. Only as we seek God, pray, and worship etc can the old nature stay ‘under’.

There is unity in error or unity in truth. Unity among thieves, or unity among the saints.

Light has no fellowship with darkness and therefore has no unity with it.

There is political-type unity or spiritual-unity.

Even the devil by dictatorship has unity in his own kingdom of darkness.

Matthew 12:24-26 (NKJV)

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by [a]Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

Division or unity. There cannot be unity at any cost.

Differences of opinion can only be resolved when believers, laying aside their own ‘pet’ opinions, are willing to wait on God for fresh revelation.

Then having heard together from God’s word, after patience and perseverance, they enter into unity as they hear the same thing from The Lord, they fulfil the condition described below:

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

There are degrees of unity amongst believers. There is however, a greater unity that the church falls short of achieving.

And this unity brings the commanded blessing of God. To my ears – that is what we refer to as revival.

Unity must be wrought by the Holy Spirit amongst believers. It is the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4/3) – as we hear and speak the same thing together.

No one else left me, at the Forum, with a message that went beyond what the opening scripture upon which the forum was called contributed to our understanding:

i.e. But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Each (esp. Christian) man or women must answer the question individually, regarding what God requires of them. It is more difficult, however, to answer it as the corporate body of Christ.

What He requires of the church – we continue to search for, in order that we may respond correctly and in keeping with Christ’s proclamation: …I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

In these days when the church may end-up going ‘underground’ – I want to hear from and be part of the genuine followers of Christ, throughout the world, who find the wisdom of God and respond corporately to His requirements.

As what is coming upon the earth purges and perfects those who have not bowed the knee to Baal, I hope I will know many of the true, the genuine, the wholesome, and the sincere. The true members that make up the bride of Christ, the church of The Living God.

What is your hope?