Ho ho ho here I am in chi chi chic Coal Yard London, so hipsterly couture you need fingerless hands in your fingerless mittens to fit in. It is so shallowly pointlessly hard-stoop erstatz inspired it gently appalls. My father owns the sheep on a thousand hills and as regards the rest, well I lived in real designer land for 30 years, so for me their fabulous Tomorrowland is so passé. This place is gentrified to the point of desertification. The Kingdom of Heaven on the other hand, is the real thing, whereas this place is just the sad worldly imitation.
Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.
It would be fair to say, a lot of philosophers, theologists, linguists, psychologists, neurologists and other accidental or deliberate ontologists have expended a great deal of time, thought, ink and small patches of electromagnetic difference on this topic.
The current secular physiological stand is roughly that a complex patternated network of neurons with differentiated potential transmission capabilities along the pathways within it, gradually forms in response to stimuli and that this is a knowledge representation of the world, in which the constant activity eventually also forms a representation of the self as part of this world-model. The relating of the self-portion of the model to the rest of the world-model, constantly necessitated through the interactive experience of agency (tocsin – reticulating actions in babies*) as part of this learning of the self), causes the emergent phenomenon we call consious experience.
This is of course a wholly self-referential system. As such it gives me some cause to question whether such a flying by pulling on ones bootlaces model is really sufficient to explain consciousness. Is it rather that the current theory just cobbles together the few bits of information it has into a partial theory that scientists hope is right and hope to be able to make more robust as more evidence, hopefully supporting it, comes along. Well of course it is, as that is what all scientific theories do. However, as such incomplete things, all scientific theories also have to suffer the slings and arrows of logical objections picking them apart, offering alternative explanations, and demanding a re-think. I present my slings, arrows and demand.
The self-referential emergence (I’ll shorten that to SRE) theory of consciousness does not really drill down into that nub of the question we all really want to get at: Who or what is it that experiences being? SRE just says, in effect, “It is me that experiences being me.” This kind of answer does not satisfy, me.
Generally wholly self-referential answers are deprecated in science, logic and philosophy. The whole thrust of these branches of enquiry is to constantly seek what the next underpinning layer is, with perhaps some vague vain hope that eventually there will be some irrefutably logical underlying truth. The secular scientists of today hope of course that this will not turn out to be some supreme deity forever beyond their understanding. That would bring a whole heap of consequences that society after thousands of years has only just managed to stop worrying about.
The problem is that firstly there is unlikley to be any end to the secular process of scientific burrowing because the answer would need to be sustained by logic and the question is then: “But what sustains logic?”
Are we to arrive at yet another self-referential answer – logic sustains logic? This would seem very unsatisfactory. Despite many attempts to burrow to the bottom, nothing more fundamental has yet been obtained.
We are given clues however. The problem is these clues point to the theistic explanation. One such clue is the etymology of the word we use “logic.” This greek word means “that which is spoken; the word.”
We are burrowing down to look for the bedrock, the underlying truth, the progenitor of being, the foundation upon which logic itself rests.
Let me tell you, anyone that is willing to hear to the (initially) difficult (in terms of personal and social consequences), THIS truth. We have arrived at the bedrock!
It is there written for all to see. Logic (the word) you seek. The spark of being that experiences consciousness you seek. The basic original progenitor you seek. Your answer was already written with absolute clarity by the man who was given all the answers 2000 years ago. He was told to tell them to us. His name was John and he tells you what he was told to tell you, then he tells you who he is, that he is just an ordinary man given a mission to hear the truth and pass it on, then he explains why people will find it hard to believe him. He does not say anything in this immediate answer part, about the consequences of you knowing this truth (that information comes later), he simply answers these ultimate existential queries that we all harbour.
John 1 King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
You can stop digging only if you are prepared to yield that there is a God, that God underpins everything, including space and time so you cannot ask what was before God or where did God come from. The answer is not however self-referential for us, as it refers us and our world to something beyond. It refers us to God. God may seem self-referential to God, but we cannot apply logic to God as God is logic.
If you seek some Biblical confirmation – you will find that important things are usually stated in the Bible more than once – I can refer you to:
Colossians 1:17 King James Version (KJV)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
There are numerous cross-references of course:
John 8:58 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Proverbs 8:22,23 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old…
Isaiah 43:11-13 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior…
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, …
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Revelation 1:8,11,17 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, …
Psalm 75:3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up …
John 5:17,18 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work…
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also …
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …
Finally, why am I spending my time telling you this? Because all my nearly 60 years I have enjoyed having an enquiring mind. “Why, why, why?” has been my way of thinking. Finally God came into my life and supplied answers. Incredible answers. Answers to questions that everybody asks. Answers that can be very hard to beleive, but there they are anyway. Finding answers is joyful and it is my joy to share them. In Mathew 7:7 you find the famous “Seek and ye shall find” passage. Matthew actually tells you that if you seek answers from God, He will give you them. John actually told you the answers already because God knew you would ask those questions. There of course many other questions people have, some very philosophical, some personal, some socio-political, some moral and ethical, and some very scientific. Pretty-much the answers to these are actually already in the Bible, and usually in shockingly more detail than you might suppose.
Today, instead of being in Sunday morning church (usually I am but not today), I have instead read some Bible and chosen to pass on some information, in the hope it might bring joy, enlightenment and blessing into your life. I cannot think of a better thing to do with that freely given by God than to share it.
Enjoy Being as God intended.
God Bless You. Amen.
* The presence of repetitive movements, described as the repetition of the same movement multiple times, is considered a necessary step for the development of voluntary purposeful movements and seems to have an adaptive role during limited temporal windows of psychomotor development.
(Thelen E. (1979). Rhythmical stereotypies in normal human infants.
Anim. Behav. 27 699–715. 10.1016/0003-3472(79)90006-X [PubMed] [Cross Ref])
Sometimes the spiritual radar just looks at something and instinctively knows it isn’t right in some way. Fidget spinners for instance. What is it about those eh?
Well they are infantile toys that don’t exactly encourage the adult in us for a start. The Bible says “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV.
They encourage a repetitive meaningless movement, a distraction and an addiction – a nasty habit like chewing gum or smoking. In Titus 2 throughout, we read about the need for self-control – the very antithesis of addictions and compulsions, which fidget toys serve only to develop. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” – Titus 2:12 KJV.
There are also those little titanium spinning tops, another “executive” toy. Now really, and not that they are models we should look up to, but do you seriously think that “executives” spend their time fiddling in their offices with expensive silly toys? Stop and think about the language there too. “Executive” – what is an executive? An executive is the somewhat more junior director that has the job of telling even more junior people (managers) what to do. The non-execs, presidents and chairs get to do the thinking and are actually the more senior. None of them of course play with toys because they are adults, and the execs and managers are too busy for the playground anyway. The toys are for the really junior people, the working class proles that are sufficiently lacking in understanding to perceive that using the word “executive” is just a way of dressing up the toy so they can feel it is acceptable, perhaps even aspirational, to buy what is actually a time-wasting distracting habit. The devil just loves it when you get hooked on some time-wasting habitual pointless distraction.
Now here’s a thing. You will have heard of prayer wheels, the things that non-Christian religions like Buddhism spin round in a paganistic ritual to repetitively send their incantations to… well not the real God so it must be the other guy. Did you know that they put prayers on hard drives so they get “sent” as they spin? So, what about those fidget spinners and little metal spinning tops, do you suppose that some satanic folks might have attached their bad prayers to them, for hapless “kidults” to unwittingly propagate their incantations?
Oh of course I am talking nonsense right? Well check out what is behind the Driedel (Jewish top); the spinning top amongst the toys used by the Titans to allure and kill Dionysus (about as Orphically “underworld” as you could want); the shoji piece spinning top; the human danza de los volodores; the British Maypole dances, the use of a spinning top in the movie “Inception” has led to people experimenting with the highly dangerous practice of inducing lucid dreams to rely on spinning tops as a “reality check” (think Hatha/Raja yoga meditation’s chitta kaj). Now I could go on, but really, it isn’t just me, just Google “spinning top satanic” and you will get over 64,000 hits.
Wow, what a year it has been. My wife passed her driving test, I got told I don’t have cancer, I went the the XCEL men’s conference, and we sponsored a second child in Kenya. Career-wise I’ve worked as a Principal Designer on the biggest Mosque in Britain (yes Christians help people that don’t yet know Jesus also to have a nice place to meet – love thy neighbour… who is my neighbour?…). I have also worked on the biggest school ever built in our county, and on the largest project University of Cambridge have ever built (£1.2 billion). My wife and I attended some lovely functions including Cambridge Architecture Awards, the LuvEly winter ball and a lovely party with my colleagues at the Grad-pad in Cambridge. Christmas day this year (yesterday) was spent with my family and it was so lovely. We presented my wife with her Christmas gift, her very first car and course it had to be the car of her dreams, a Smart car. There have also been some awful challenges and fights, with cancer attacking many friends. Two have had the fight of their lives and beat it, two are in the fight of their lives against it now, another one is waiting to hear if he has it, and I was just told I do not have it. We just keep praying and hoping and trusting the Lord. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It has been a roller coaster of a year, but this Christmas has been a real high note.
Here’s a thing. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would do the things I have done since Jesus took me from my old life. In 2017 I am living a life that I could not have dared dream for. I am married to the girl of my dreams and she is the best wife I could ever ever imagine, I have a fabulous job that I always wanted, working with architects on building design, we are sponsoring children in Africa and that feels so good, and I just bought my wife a brand new car. Five years ago none of these things were even in my mind. I had a hum-drum job that did’t pay so well, an appalling wrong relationship and the girl I was one day going to marry I had not then last seen since nearly 40 years.
God’s grace took me and put me in a place that I could not have foreseen or hoped for. Part of me never quite stops being amazed and asking the reason, but grace really has no reason except love, and love knows no reason as to where it lands, being a bird of the heart not the head.
Right now you may be in a hard place where you have forgotten to even dare to have dreams of anything different that the life you know, or awful health or financial issues are devastating you or those you love, but I now know from experience that He can change all of it in a second, and sometimes He does just that. Not only in your lifestyle and relationships, but in your health and the health of your friends. DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. DO NOT STOP BELIEVING. There are miracles, healings, breakthroughs, reconciliations. Jesus does save lives, and He does love you. Remember Lazarus – even when hope seems irretrievably lost, yet Jesus can even rebuke death itself. He makes a way where there is no way. The Bible says: Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” and Acts 2:21 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The timings and reasons of the Lord are not fathomable to us, but we can start to understand a little if we study His Word and try to follow his teaching. Ecclesiastes 9:3-5 teaches us that where there is life there is hope. So if you are in a hard place, call upon Jesus. Have the faith to ask. Do not be afraid of asking in case you are not answered. The evil one wants you to stay silent for fear of not being answered. Do not give in to fear of rejection, for you have nothing to fear except fear itself. The story of the prodigal son tells you that the father will not reject the child, regardless of what the child has done. So do not be duped by the devil’s deception, for deception is all he has. Call upon Jesus, put on the full armour of God, fill yourself with the Holy Spirit and stand, and when you can do nothing more, yet stand.
Jesus gently prompted me out of an old sinful life of which I had truly had enough, He made a way for me and I chose to follow Him, not knowing where it would lead, but just feeling comfortable that it was the the right path. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” That’s the closest I can come to understanding how and why He put so much blessing into my life.
As far as I can see I do not deserve this, but He in His grace and love and generosity has said it’s OK, take these gifts simply because I want you to have them. When you feel blessed, you start to want to bless others. Jesus lights a fire of love in your heart, and so here’s what I have learned yet more deeply this Christmas: It is far better to give than to receive. The pleasure of knowing I am helping to give children a hope and a future in a poor country far away, or of giving food and gifts to the poor in my own town as our church did, or of making my wife’s dream of a owning a car come true – these things fill me with a so much joy so I have literally walked along dancing.
Perhaps Jesus feels that sort of joy when He helps us in grace. Perhaps when we accept Him as real and enter into true friendship and relationship with Him, and through Him with all mankind and His creation, He feels such joy. If so, then I maybe I am starting to learn after all, why he extends grace to those that do not yet deserve it. Because He stands outside of time, He does not only see the people that we are, He sees the people that we can become for Him if we choose to accept fully His gift, which ultimately is the gift of His very own life itself, given freely for us, even though we did not deserve it.
May the Lord bless you, and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you – Numbers 6:24-26. Amen.
There are a couple of nice music vids at the foot of this post. Enjoy.
Fair use stills for review purposes:
The children throw coins into a fountain. Ever heard of a wishing well? It’s an ancient pagan ritual. Occult.
Ever heard of pennies for a dead man’s eyes. How sinister do you need?
An octagon, in church symbology midway between heaven (the circle) and earth (the square) – why show the octagonal form of the fountain so clearly? Remember – in this 30 second commercial so there are no wasted shots.
Oh that logo is a bit illuminating isn’t it. Three 6-sided cubes? 666?
Does NatWest have a monopoly on such symbolism? Hardly. One of its competitors has a dark horse that canters down through time like a death horseman of the apocalypse into a maternity ward.
Christians recognize these symbols. Our Lord reveals what is hidden in plain sight. The love of money is the root of all evil, the wages of sin is death. Now there is some money sense.
As it is the Rio Olympics at the moment, I thought that games and races might be a pleasent topic to explore. So let’s do a quest game that is a race!
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV)
Oft times people only remember the part “seek and ye shall find.” However what Matthew says is so important, it is in essence repeated in the very next sentence. Experienced bible readers will know that if something is important it is repeated, either in the same book, or elsewhere in the bible. “Seek and ye shall find” is initially given in a context – that of asking, being given, seeking, finding, knocking, and opening. Lest you be tempted to take any of these six elements out of context, Matthew repeats all six elements in the same order in the very next passage. I think it therefore safe to say that all six are essential to the concept Matthew is trying to convey and in that order.
So, when you need something – perhaps something you have lost, or maybe something you simply need – don’t just say to yourself in a “secular” way “seek and ye shall find” as if like some hopeful mantra this will simply aid your perseverance “acting in your own strength” and so lead to your finding whatever it is you seek. Matthew is telling you to ASK first, then you will be GIVEN something to help you in the seeking (the Holy Spirit) THEN SEEK and you will FIND. Sadly even then most people will stop. Hey-ho I got what I was seeking game over. No! Matthew has reiterated that there are still two elements to do. KNOCK and it shall be OPENED. But surely you have what you sought? How about some gratitude though? Maybe knock on God’s gate just to say thank you? God has all sorts of lovely surprises. If you were ever blessed, perhaps as a child, to have a relative who you would go visit to say thank you for a gift and at that meeting they would then give you something more, then you have already experienced what paying a grateful visit to your creator can be like.
There is a clue to the gift you will receive. Matthew does not say you what you knock on. People think usually in terms of a door, but Matthew only a little further on is letting you in on some further information you need on your quest – yes it IS like an questing adventure game – you do have to strive to achieve the ultimate prize in the race of life (Psalm 19:5, Ecclesiastes 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 12:1).
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Matthew 7:14 (KJV)
It is not a door you are knocking on – well think about it – where in a naïf sense would you find God living? – Heaven. Never heard of Heaven’s gate? Think of the walled cities – gates. Jesus being a “good shepherd” and sheep pens with gates to keep them safe. Anyway Matthew has made it easy, he’s told you its a gate, that is narrow (strait) found on a narrow way, he has said where it leads (life – hint: God is the source of all life) and (big hint) that this is something for the seeker (few there be that find it). So its a GATE you need to KNOCK on. THEN it gets OPENED and you get your big surprise extra reward, that you did not expect. And even though you read all this stuff about God, and you read in the bible what heaven is like – you see through a glass darkly, you CANNOT imagine the things God has ready to give you in the eternal life to come. Not things you ask for, you are not capable of asking for what you cannot imagine, so God does not expect you to ask for what happens once the gate has been opened. God operates through a relationship of grace. Go get to know Him, for sure ask for your simple needs but when you are seeking, remember Matthew already gave you the information about WHAT you should REALLY BE SEEKING before you got to the bit about seek and ye shall find:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 7:14 (KJV)
In summary, life is a race, but the swiftest runners are not doing it in their own strength – they get help from God. In Isaiah we have a whole section about gates in the description of the temple, but since Jesus made the new covenant we know the temple is now in us and the gate is the narrow one that Matthew describes, but the bible gives us clues on our quest, which is why we don’t just abandon the teachings God gave us before Jesus came and redeemed us with the new covenant. Close by Isaiah’s information about gates you will find:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
You wanna run the race? Go seek God, see what He wants you to do, do it, and you’ll find Him directing your steps along that race, the shortest most direct route. The real universe is not just the three or four dimensions you can experience easily – there are many more (Paul talks about this and I have blogged about it extensively). We all know the quicker route is the straight one, this road is straight but it goes to other dimensions – heaven. You are SEEKING that ROAD because you are seeking the WAY to Kingdom of Heaven. It is not in a direction YOU can even see, let alone run along, in your own strength. You need to find the WAY. You have been told where to find the way. You need to go meet the WAY and when you do He will show you and help you to run it. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake… Psalm 23 – the clues are everywhere once you start reading the bible. Go knock on His gate – its right there, inside you, in your heart. Your heart beats knock knock knock – a clue. It has a double beat, boom-boom, a clue to the original two tablets of the law, which is now graven on your heart – your conscience. In Psalm 19:8 you can see these words set out literally written there for you right next to each other: “…the heart: the commandment…” just another clue for you there. And you need a strong heart to run a race… not in your earthly strength, but in that God-logic opposite sense – weak made strong in the Saviour’s Love as the hymn goes.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 (KJV)
Remember Psalm 19:5 – a race for a strong man is a joy? Read the rest of that Psalm and you will see the prophecy of the marriage – THE marriage of the Church and Christ. There is a prize worth running for!
Who’s in the pews?
We have a new section called “Who’s in the Pews.” This is where a list of connections to people who have popped into this church that have something interesting to say that others here might like to read will be found. Click the pic below to go straight there or select from our normal menu.
“Skulduggery” these days means underhand behaviour and deception. The word originates probably from a Scottish word for adultery. Adultery as well as being sexual sin, also implies adulteration, the adding of an impurity to something wholesome for bad reasons. The word also offers a handy pun for this blog article…
Is it me?
No it isn’t. The world really is peppered with satanic symbols and it really is trying to push, ease, cajole and groom you stealthily through nasty little gateways into bad stuff.
So here’s what I found on just one popular culture website on one day – Cool Hunting website today – without even really trying hard.
WORLD-TURTLE image; outline of FEMALE TORSO FLOWERS image (suggests deflowering or dismemberment of the female – if you think I am unique in seeing that, then see what Klee thought!); Invite to “BE GREEDY” again.
An up-beat non-critical article about transgender options in virtual reality SIMS game, a similarly toned article about recreational Cannabis use (yes I do characterise this example as recreational not medical), and an article about getting orgasms from your music.
So, do we think this is a bunch of wholesome and healthy stuff that a Christian would feel happy to push out onto the world’s lifestyles?
Fortunately we know that the saved reborn are given eyes to see what the unsaved, sadly even when it is pointed out to them, cannot see. If you want to see what is really afoot in this world, you need to light of the world to see by, Jesus.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
I’ve had a rough few weeks. I am not writing this to pour out my woes to my small, somewhat unknown to me audience who doubtless don’t read my blog to be made miserable. This is leading somewhere nice so stick with it!
In the last few weeks I have been involved in far more that I would like of very stressful relationships and interactions with people that frankly and plainly are neither easy to get along with, change, or avoid. It has been badly affecting my work life, my church life, my self-esteem, mental health and morale, making me thoroughly miserable, and this has been spilling over into the most important part of my life, which aside from actually knowing the creator of this universe, is my marriage.
The short version of the story of my marriage is that the first girl I met and kissed when I was 17 lasted just one day back then. That one day left me broken-hearted for 38 years wishing I had done differently and married her. I kept the birthday card she gave me when I was 17, I’m in my mid 50’s now. For decades I could not forget her. I went off into a life of several sins that I am not describing today. 38 years on from that a Jesus I didn’t yet know crept up on me unbidden and changed my life. He then arranged to put me on that girl’s doorstep knocking on her door and asking to take her out to a tango dance. All I could do was hope and put my whole life in the hands of the Lord who had saved me and changed me. I did not fall, Jesus did not have to catch me. One thing led to another and I went on to marry the girl I had loved and missed all my life.
Last week I received a completely unexpected payment of some money from somewhere I could not have had imagined I would. It was utterly unpredictable. It was not one of those compensation things that here in the UK everyone knows about. There is no way I could ever have imagined I would be sent this money.
Having the money will quickly solve problem that has been a longstanding annoyance to all concerned and will cause a pleasant surprise for someone when they see money in their bank that they had not expected. It will also help to resolve in some measure one of the issues that have indirectly been part of the unpleasant mess of the last few weeks. There is also some left for my wife and me once that other matter has been dealt with.
Then later last week I received an email saying that a certain very expensive item of furniture that we need for our house and I have been saving hard for was on offer at a very large discount.
Wow, great! But… I’m asking myself… what’s going on? Life was being horrible and all of a sudden there is unexpected money that is solving problems and then the thing I’m saving for is suddenly within reach. Then I was watching Joyce Meyer and somehow something she said popped the first part of the answer to my “What’s going on?’ question into my head. Grace. Joyce wasn’t talking about Grace, but somehow her words about something else just triggered the answer in my head.
The thing is, and I think I may speak for a lot of people here, one doesn’t think of Grace as being why something nice happened. When the Lord saved and changed me I had no understanding at first that there was a real living Jesus that had come along for no reason I knew of and changed my life in a way (without me having asked Him to) that most people believe is not a possible thing. It took me a long while to figure it out. It was Grace. Now Jesus has come along with some money and a discount on some furniture and I was asking why. Turns out is was Grace.
I, and I suspect most you you dear readers, don’t immediately think of Grace as the explanation when wondering why good things happen, it seems to me because we are not accustomed to being Grace-full people. We do not do many acts of kindness, especially we don’t do many random ones. Jesus however does them again and again all over the planet millions of times to the most unlikely and undeserving people. Because we don’t think and act like Him we don’t ascribe such a motive as to us it is a rarely exercised motive.
God of course solves problems like a Rubik Cube. With one twist several things are answered and pieces you didn’t imagine would be affected or line up suddenly are resolved into good order. He is clever that way. INFINITELY clever. He WILL surprise you. He WILL delight and astound you. He also is generous giving you not only more that you could or would expect, He gives you things you did not imagine or know you wanted until you get them and realise it is the completely perfect gift that was beyond your capacity to dream up. Like when He gave me my wife, the girl I would not have consciously dared dream ever actually could be.
But (He keeps on giving) there’s more. Today is exactly the third anniversary of the day I re-met my wife and asked her to the dance. Today I will be taking my wife to the bank to cause the pleasant surprise for someone else, and then to the furniture shop to buy the item that she has been looking at and hoping to eventually have for several months. This is possible because of the Grace of Jesus. However. like a Rubik Cube He has also arranged it as a gift for us on this important anniversary. The relationship with Jesus is full of Grace which we so easily forget because we simply don’t (sadly) think like Him and be nice to others for no specific reason other than that we should, nearly as much as we should. The relationship is however also personal. Jesus isn’t just a beneficent glow in the sky. He is not a belly buddha you rub for money. Jesus knows you, He knows your life, He knows those you love and He loves them too. He knows how you feel, He knows your secret deepest most hidden hopes and fears. He will help, sometimes with help you need but didn’t ask for, and sometimes He will also give you a personal PERFECT present for an anniversary or special occasion, like the perfect Brother He is, who knows how to make you smile big time.
Thank you Jesus for the perfect anniversary present for my wife and me. Thank you also for what it teaches.
There is another teaching that Jesus wants me to pass on. Just as when good things happen we forget Grace as an explanation, when bad things go on we forget the devil as an explanation. Just as Jesus is personal and real and is behind things that happen, so is the bad guy. When bad things happen, STOP and think about who might be motivating things in others and in yourself, REBUKE Satan, TRUST and ASK Jesus to get you through it, not in the way you think Jesus should, but in the altogether better solving a Rubik’s Cube way that He has planned (which may seem impossible, be hard on you for a long while, and require lots of fortitude and faith).
I waited 38 years to stand terrified of rejection on the doorstep of the girl who became my wife. Jesus did it that way for reasons I am still learning. Today He has arranged the furniture we want as a present and He has sprinkled some goodness for others as wrapping for the present.
Take hope, remember Grace, practice Grace, remember and rebuke Satan when things go wrong. Trust in the Lord who is also your loving brother, build your relationship with the real living Jesus. He is the loveliest person you can have in your life and He is there for you even when you don’t know Him at all, because that is His Grace.
Here is the birthday card my wife gave me when I was 17 years old almost 40 years ago. She still likes being with me, and we like being with Jesus. And here is a picture of the furniture we are buying. Jesus does humour – he just said a dreadful pun – Sofa so good. Nice one J!
Click the sofa pic to go to the Futon Company furniture shop that make them if you’d like to see more – this blog also deserves filing under the design label as they are really really nice sofas.
By the way, as I stood on that doorstep 3 years ago I said to Jesus “Catch me if I fall.” What do you see in the picture on that card eh? It’s all about trust and faith isn’t it.
I went looking for a nice Rubik Cube vid to illustrate my blog. I found a perfect one, but what’s that I see on her tee shirt – “I am”? Ha Ha Jesus I think that has your name all over it. Yeah I get how clever it was of you to arrange that – like solving a Rubik Cube. What a beautiful guy you are Jesus. Click the vid below to watch, it is lovely. God is great!
Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
Faith is that exercise of the same power Christ has to collapse the probability wave to make manifest the desired outcome. Faith can move mountains. Faith is necessary because unless you are exercising the power to collapse the probability wave, then you are merely being washed along by it. God always leaves room for faith. He does not jam the reality of His truth into your face with crude “proof.” To do so is logically impossible anyway, because you would have to believe your senses to believe the “proof,” and to do so is an act of faith – viz Descartes’ “Cogito Ergo Sum” (I think therefore I am) leading to the notion that nothing other than that can be trusted as true (notwithstanding Kant, a discussion for another day perhaps). Existence without faith is existence without free will. That is an absurdity which we instinctively know not to be the case for every being that has a soul, saved or not.
Works: The outward sign of the spirit of Christ dwelling within.
Works can sometimes benefit the worker as much as the receiver of the work.
Example – I was fretting about tomorrow – money, job, health – all the usual frets.
Our church has been helping a little old widowed lady of diminished means move house. My wife’s cousin and my wife have been among the people helping the lady.
Yesterday my wife needed to go to help the lady in the evening time so I offered to drive her rather than she walk. I then, being there, had an opportunity to help the little old lady myself. So I did a small practical task while my wife did the other things that needed doing. Be sure I am not writing this to boast of this great work – tying one knot to fix a clothes line onto a pole.
So the little old lady was helped, but how did this benefit me? We cannot say it helped my salvation, as we are not saved by works (although there are arguments on the spectrum about midway between Catholic and Evangelical that would say they are a necessary manifestation of having been saved – read lots of St.Paul and form your own conclusions).
The thing is, I had been fretting. All the usual job, money, health frets that could apply to most people most of the time.
But Christ had arranged that I got to see how this helpless elderly lady of diminished means has:
- been provided with a home
- had many pounds (UK money) of debt forgiven
- been helped to move
- been provided with brand new carpets
- been provided with telephones
- been provided with arrangements to fix for her television aerial and allowed to spread the cost
- found her lost keys
- found her lost kitchen utensils
- found her lost hearing aids and the batteries for them
- had someone come and offer to walk her dog
- been provided with a food parcel
- been made happy warm and safe in her new home and is looking forward to being able to go to her church again back in the town she loves
All this was made possible by brothers and sisters doing the will of God, and by the will of God being made manifest in the hearts of strangers, and by the intervention of Christ answering the prayers of people that love the little old lady as a Christian sister.
Bottom line, my tiny little “work” put me exactly where I could see how Christ looks after those He loves. He showed me that however daunting, complicated, and hopeless the situation, and however helpless the person seems, Jesus is ruler of everything and He owns every atom in whole universe and He is your brother and He will look after you. He showed me there is no need to fret because when you think here is no way, He makes a way. All you need to do is have a bit of faith in your loving brother, Christ. Considering that He has already died for us, I think it’s fair to say we can trust Him! He doesn’t “need” our “help” to help people, but He would really love it if we can, and He will make working alongside him a joyful thing, not as any “reward” but simply because it is a joy to spend time working with out perfectly lovely brother.
I did a tiny tiny thing for Christ. A small tiny thing. In return He gave me something much bigger. He gave me reassurance and reminded me not to fret because there is no need to. He always gives you more than you could possibly imagine, and it’s always wonderfully and exactly what you needed even if you didn’t know you needed it.
Works strengthens faith. Faith is necessary for salvation. On the way, works can also make the lives of others and your own life a whole lot better, which is a nice thing for all. We are in the world, not of the world, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be useful while we are here – we are put here for a purpose.
When you have the reassurance that God will look after you because you are His family (be sure that if He cares about sparrows falling how much more then He cares for you…) then your mind can be at rest. Thus Jesus helped my mind be at rest by providing me with a little work.
I may well be “teaching grannie to suck eggs” by writing this, many of you I am sure know this already, but when Jesus does something as elegantly as He did yesterday, I feel it’s nice to share.
I suggest to accompany this post:
James 2:14-26King James Version (KJV)
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.