Friday, 16 January 2015

A Word from Behind You

One who rows a boat has his back to the goal towards which he is moving. He cannot see where he is going.

With your ears you will hear a word from behind you: 
 “This is the way; stay on it, whether you go to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Hypocrisy of Keeping Christmas

For those who keep Christmas who have no true faith in Jesus, the thought of speaking about Jesus at any other time of year, apart from Easter, or at the most in church on Sunday, perhaps, is usually repugnant. It will offend them if you tell them that you don't keep Christmas, or mention Jesus in a daily context.
To them, Jesus must be kept under man’s control, like a lion at the zoo.
On certain days, when it's sunny, one may visit the zoo and have a look at the lion, confident in the knowledge that he is being kept under control by the keeper, who feeds him at the appropriate times, and otherwise provides services for both the lion and its spectators. But the spectators have no direct contact with the lion, and should he roar from time to time, the spectators are suitably impressed. Should the lion escape from the cage, or, God forbid!, someone be killed by the lion, the keeper, of course, will be blamed and one might even attempt to get rid of the lion, or the keeper, or at the very least, introduce measures to restrict the lion’s movements, increase the height of the fence around the enclosure, erect notices warning zoo visitors that the lion is a dangerous, wild animal, and should never be fed by individuals, but only by the zoo-keeper. Visitors should, at all times keep their distance, as only the zoo-keeper is trained to deal with the lion.
Intrepid individuals, however, for whom zoos present an environment in which a lion cannot be enjoyed in its authentic habitat, will take the time and travel at considerable expense to Africa and walk out into the savannah themselves where there is no keeper to constrain the lion. These people love adventure, are not afraid to take risks, and prefer observing a lion in the wild to one in a zoo. They know that if they show no fear, and take the necessary precautions, the lion will not hurt them.
The inference has already been made by C.S. Lewis that ‘Aslan is not a tame lion’. But I am digressing.
Those who DO keep Christmas, who DO have faith in Jesus, are faced with several challenges.
1.     Christmas is rooted in pagan beliefs and was officially syncretised by the Roman Catholic Church around the end of the 4th century AD, after Constantine the Great made Christianity legal, popular, and commercial. It was impossible to stamp out the worship of Apollo, Mithras and Zoroaster, so sun-god worship was simply amalgamated into official public religion, by outlawing or inhibiting adherence to Jewish tradition and worship (because of a wrong reaction to the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as their Messiah) including prohibition from following the Biblical, Hebrew calendar (so Sun-day worship instead of keeping the Sabbath, and keeping Easter instead of Passover became the norm.) The Celtic church continued to keep the Hebrew traditions of the Apostle John until Rome sent Augustine to the British Isles and the British were forced eventually to adopt Roman ways at the Synod of Whitby in AD 664.
2.       Jesus was obviously not born in December. A study of scripture makes this clear. It is probable that He was born during the Hebrew Feast of Succoth, in September or October.
3.       Simply because Christmas is a syncretisation of pagan practice with organised religion, it is a worldly, flesh-pleasing tradition with no benefit to the one seeking to put the Lord first in all things. Jesus said, ‘… the flesh counts for nothing…’ (John 6:63)
4.       Even those who claim that Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ (saying that it doesn’t matter when it is celebrated) agree that commercialism and materialism have ‘ruined the spirit of Christmas.’ They find it a challenge to combat these realities, but the fact remains that spending money on and preparing presents, food, drink and celebrations, as well as coming up to the expectations of others, makes the time coming up to Christmas a stressful experience, quite different from the hope which many have, that ‘Advent’ will be a time when one can quietly contemplate spiritual things.
5.       It is necessary to LIE to children at this time, claiming that a crimson-robed, imaginary figure called Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Nikolaus (or in Germany,  a pretty, blond, female angel called the Christkind) etc. exists, who either brings presents for those who have been good, or a rod for the backsides of those who have been bad. (This vindictive idea is about as far as you can get from the good news about the grace and forgiveness of God.)
This Being is supposed to live at the North Pole, employs hordes of present-packing elves, and flies through the sky in every time-zone at once, on a present-laden sledge pulled by reindeer, (one of which has a very red nose) to millions of houses in one night, entering by the chimney, (even if there is no chimney) and fills socks, shoes, stockings or pillow cases with said presents. People fill children’s heads with deceptive rubbish, but they have a problem with the Truth: believing in God and doing what He says.
6.       It may come as a surprise to many to know that Christmas is also observed by Satanists who conduct human sacrifices at their Black Masses. Have you ever wondered why terrible things so often happen at this time? Families experience strife, violence and misery, people feel alone and abandoned. Drunkenness, licentiousness, gluttony and other demonic excesses are rife. People attempt to fill the emptiness in their lives with things which only make them feel worse afterwards. And what OF afterwards? There is an almost inevitable, colossal anti-climax on December 26th, or 27th at the latest and people wonder where all the ‘magic’ has vanished to. May I suggest that that’s all that the hype was; magic?
7.       Lastly, scripture makes it clear that observing special religious days is a practice which only the fearful and weak in faith follow. If you have faith, then you know that Jesus isn't interested in tradition and the warning notices of dead religion; HE IS YOUR LIFE EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY.

Christmas, Easter or any other religious practice is therefore irrelevant at best and evil at worst.  If a person is dead to the world, to self and the devil, he will have nothing to do with them, not because he isn’t allowed to, but because love for His Lord has put him into a different life; a different plane of reality altogether. These things are merely symptoms of a completely false way of thinking, an adherence to idolatry; an image of the god one has made of one’s Self.
Try leaving the tradition behind, however, and you will be chased by a hoard of well-meaning, offended, sentimental people, family members, religious or otherwise, attempting to drag you back into the zoo and the fold of the fearful, to go through the motions of staring at a caged lion.
To leave empty tradition behind is one of the hardest things a person can do. But if you do, there is freedom out there in the savannah.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Being free from sin is wonderful.
Being free from Self is even more wonderful:


then you won't sin.

Result: Peace and Joy without limits.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Capturing Those Errant Thoughts

I don't suppose I'm the only one to have experienced this, but apart from one other person to whom I spoke recently, no-one else I have ever known in the last 30 years seems to have known what I was talking about.

Is it common for people who know the Lord to keep their own thoughts ... I mean their everyday, mundane, humdrum, even apparently harmless thoughts to themselves?

I wasn't always aware that I was doing this, until the Lord showed me that I wasn't sharing everything that I was, with Him.  I kept much of my thought processes, silly speculations and day dreaming to myself, unconsciously. I would go for long stretches of the day without taking my thoughts to Him. In between whiles I would talk to Him, praise Him, tell Him I loved Him and so on, but I honestly didn't bring the rubbish to Him. I think I was ashamed of much of it, or stupidly didn't think He'd be interested.

Anyway, He showed me this, reminding me gently that He loves me so much that He wants to be involved in EVERY part of my day, and since then I have been practising taking everything to Him. I have noticed that when I tell Him about areas in which I'm tempted, (for example, snacking too much in the afternoon) and talk to Him about how I'm feeling, praise Him for the feelings, and that He is stronger than those feelings, taking the thoughts consciously to Him instead of trying to ignore them and push them away, the desire I have for things which are damaging or unhelpful, just disappears. It's amazing.
How foolish I have been not to practise this all the time! I had times when I would do it, but I got distracted and then forgot. It has to become a continual habit, though. The enemy knows very well that if only he can get my mind off the Lord, he can quickly divert my attention to ANYTHING else. This ANYTHING else could be bad things, good things, interesting things, but as long as the ANYTHING else takes the first place of Jesus, then he has won.

'Hebrew 4 Christians' again:

Brother Lawrence said, “If I were a preacher, I should preach nothing else but the practice of the presence of God. There is not in the world a way of life more sweet, more delightful than continual converse with God.” Indeed, do not most of our problems come from just this – losing sight of reality, failing to open our hearts to God’s Presence? Yeshua said, “Live in me, and I will live in you” (John 15:3). We must make a sacred resolution to abide in reality, to stay united with Him. As David said: shiviti (שִׁוִּיתִי) - "I have set the LORD always before me - because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8). But how did David "set the LORD" before Him if He did not choose to open the eyes of faith to behold God's hidden Glory?

And it's so true. In this continual bringing myself before the Throne, being in His presence, taking every thought captive to His obedience in me in this way, I gradually overcome those areas which have been up until now still in bondage to giants. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Against Knowledge.

"You will not die. You will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:2)

Those words reverberate down the millennia, don't they? They lie behind every action man undertakes without God's sanction. Our naturally rebellious nature tells us to take action with or without God's approval. Without God, we feel that we need to be like God. We seek to know. To know about things, even about God, but it isn't the knowledge OF God, but only about Him. The words comfort our natural mind, which, of course, doesn't want death. We want to be like God, but we want to go about it the short-cut way. Unfortunately, the short-cut way IS the way of death.

We can know all about Him, and still be without Him.

We prefer to follow our own plans and bury that still, small voice which way, 'Be still and know that I am God.' (Psalm 46:10).
We so much want to be in control. We want to know what will happen to us, IF.....
To God, however, it seems enough if all we know is He Himself. He doesn't tell us what will happen if we obey Him. So we have to leave the outcome to Him, even if it means our death. NOT knowing, means we abandon our craving for knowledge, for control, to Him, because He wants to bring us to the point when we are content and fulfilled in knowing Him, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!

Soren Kierkegaard
Am I content to be simple, foolish even, knowing nothing but Messiah and Him crucified (ie. knowing myself identified in His death)? Am I content to lose everything I once thought worthy of praise, everything the world holds dear, everything those who love me think is good for me? Am I content to be HIS disciple, following in His footsteps, discarding every possession, the good opinion of others, every natural love, everything which ties me to this world, for love of Him alone?

'He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.' Jim Elliot.

God Will Provide

"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together" (Gen. 22:6). Isaac was about 37 years old at this time and needed to understand what was being asked of him: "And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (Gen. 22:7). This is the first word of dialog recorded over the three day journey... It is hard to imagine Isaac's pathos during this exchange. Abraham replied, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together (Gen. 22:8). Notice that the Hebrew could be read: "God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering -- my son!" (ירְאֶה־לּוֹ הַשֶּׂה לְעלָה בְּנִי) - making it plain that Isaac would be offered upon the altar. The Torah then repeats the phrase, "and they both walked on together," indicating that Isaac had accepted his sacrificial death in obedience to his father's will...

The life of faith is inherently paradoxical, as Kierkegaard noted: "Ethically speaking, what Abraham planned to do was to murder Isaac; religiously, however, he was willing to sacrifice Isaac. In this contradiction lies the very anguish that can indeed make anyone sleepless. And yet without that anguish Abraham is not the one he is. Neither would faith be what it is." Although Abraham understood that God must be obeyed, he also understood that human sacrifice was immoral, and hence his struggle represented the collision between the imperative of reason and the imperative of faith. Choosing to heed the voice of reason (i.e., the "ethical," the "universal") over the personal voice of God created a state of "fear and trembling" and a sense of being unable to communicate his passion and mission to others.

...from 'Hebrew for Christians'  FB page 

Imagine Abraham's feelings, wondering, all the way to Mt. Moriah, how he would ever explain his action to Sarah when he got home without Isaac. Imagine him knowing what God had told him to do, yet not being able to tell a soul beforehand. Imagine him wondering if he had REALLY heard God correctly. Imagine the attacks his mind must have been going through. 

Has God ever told YOU to do something which seems to go against everything everyone else, including church, has ever told you was right? Even against your understanding of the Bible? and what was the outcome?

How far has your faith REALLY been tested? Up until the point where everyone else thinks you're wrong, and you stand alone with the whole world against you, with those you love most, against you, not understanding you? Yet you grit your teeth, despising your Self for love of HIM who loves you more than Himself, for the upward call of God...

 Abraham, a man who had turned his back on child sacrifice in Babylon and had separated himself from the demonic practices of Canaanite Baal worship, was told BY GOD, to slit his own son's throat, drain him of blood and burn him in the fire of an altar as a sacrifice to God Himself.

What must he have thought about God? Who is this God, who asks such a thing of me? After He has given me laughter, after all these years, must I now relinquish the very gift of God, the Isaac, the joy He gave, and face the rest of my dotage with a heartbroken, bitter wife, alone? Yet I know His voice, and I have this peace that this is what He has commanded me.

Not for nothing is he called the father of faith. 

He trusted God so much... to the point where he reckoned, as Paul said, that God could raise the dead.

He was one in millions. There can't have been many with the faith and obedience of this calibre. These are the precious ones who shine like stars in the universe... like brilliant points of light in the general darkness. Oh Lord, give us this kind of faith...the faith that glorifies YOU!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Surfeit of words.

Much blog writing 
is all about gaining 
readers and approval 
and not about living
it out daily in trials.
It's easy to write something and
appear to be erudite but
I've seen the pride in
my own heart which hopes to be
praised and I’m
really not sure how
posts really help
(Including me)
spend more time
 reading others' surfeit of words
than we do
listening to His.