Category Archives: Daily-ish Thoughts

Meditations on a verse or some verses from the Bible that jump out at me during my daily reading.

Well Done, Good And Faithful Slave!

It is kinda nice to receive something like this in the mail. I started working for ANL in 2001, and spent almost nine years sitting in a room surrounded by rows of computers. I even occasionally pushed a button or walked round a bit and looked at a few things. I haven’t actually gone to work for well over a year now, as my heart can no longer stand the excitement of sitting around doing nothing for 8-12 hours a day. So this certificate should say “In Recognition for your 9 Years of Dedicated Service and 1 Year of Freeloading on our Insurance Plan”, but I guess I’ll accept it the way it is.

One day soon I’m going to be raptured with the rest of the sinners saved by grace. I may die before this happens, but that’s no big deal. And that’s when the best bit of all eternity happens. I am going to see Jesus face to face, I am going to know as I am known, and I am going to be like Him. For 7 or so years we’re going to celebrate in Heaven while those left behind on Earth face God’s righteous wrath against unrepentant sinners, and then we’re going to accompany the King as He returns in power and glory to reign over Earth perfectly for 1,000 years. And then the whole thing gets rolled up like a scroll and there will be a new Heaven and Earth for eternity. Kinda like a divine Ctl/Alt/Delete, I suppose.

All of these truths are clearly presented in the Bible (yes, even the pre-tribulation rapture). They may be difficult to understand or hard to believe, but hey – God is God, and we are not. God’s Word has a 100% track record of absolute accuracy, and that record is going to continue.

So for ~1007 years and then in to eternity I am going to be perfectly serving my perfect King. I will have a specific role to fulfill in His Kingdom, and there will be official duties and tasks to perform. Based on my faithfulness to Christ and His Word (during my worst life now), my reward and position (in my best life then) will be uniquely suited for me.

I get to serve in Christ’s Kingdom for ever, and I won’t receive a paycheck every month. I guess there’ll be plenty of time to hang out by the water fountain and swap stories, but there will be lots of important business to take care of. And when the 10th… 50th… 100,000,000,000th anniversary of my promotion rolls around, I won’t be watching the mailbox outside my mansion for a piece of paper (or a wind up flashlight, which was the gift I chose to go with the piece of paper).

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’
[Matthew 25:23]

Share your master’s joy…

If you’re reading this, and you are a Christian, then those four words should right here and right now be enough to see you through the rest of this life and then through an eternity of the next.

Sometimes (OK, often) it’s hard for us to understand how we are going to ‘feel’ in Heaven. How we are going to keep from being ‘bored’ for all eternity. Perhaps we’re hoping that Jesus will pop by every day and pat us on the back – some sort of continuous recognition for being on His team. Or it could be like an eternal Caribbean cruise, where every once in a while our turn to sit at the Captain’s table for dinner comes around.

Nah.

Here’s the only piece of paper I need on my wall:

But as it is written:
What no eye has seen and no ear has heard,
and what has never come into a man’s heart,
is what God has prepared for those who love Him.

[1 Corinthians 2:9]

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I am subject…

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

[ 1 Peter 5:5, ESV ]

Before I continue this blog, or more specifically before I use it to present things that may be offensive, controversial or even divisive, I need to briefly underline the fact that I do not, and will never, see myself as being some sort of lone voice in the wilderness. I do not for a moment think that I am the only one who has an insight into what is going on in the church and in the world, and I am certainly not wanting to give the impression that I am out to bring anything or anyone ‘down’. As has been lovingly pointed out to me by various people already, Christians are all charged with the task of helping to edify the Body of Christ. We are to be loving, generous, supportive and constructive.

It is easy to look at what I have been saying recently and come to the conclusion that I am anything but focused on those things.

Ultimately, I believe that I have been called to bring some issues to the attention of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and to the attention of anyone else who is interested. The very nature of these issues means that a lot of my time is going to be spent talking about error, false teaching, and yes – false teachers. But I have to do that in a way that always gives the ultimate attention to the wonderful truth that I believe.

That truth is Jesus Christ. It is who He is. It is what He has done. It is what he is going to do in the future….

And it is what He is doing now.

Jesus Christ is the head of the Christian church. He is the only Pastor that His church needs. The Biblical description of the church actually tells us that the church is His body. The church is His bride. These may be strange concepts to even some Christians, but I believe that these concepts are Biblical. I also believe in the Biblical form of church leadership that places the responsibility for the health and direction of a local assembly of Christians under a group of elders. And, I believe that I am directly subject to these elders, who in turn are responsible before Christ for the way in which they lead the local Christians.

Therefore I want to make it clear that if anything I write on this blog is determined to be in error, or to be in any way undesirable, by the elders I am subject to –  I will stop or change or otherwise modify what I am doing at their request.

Here is a link to more information about this topic:

Biblical Eldership

It is true that this blog, and my Facebook page for that matter, are not church related ministries as such. But because of the subject matter and possible audience for what I am going to be writing, I willingly place myself and this blog under the authority of my local elders. Those who know me ‘in real life’ will know who to contact if they are in any way concerned about my writing or the tone of what I say. My desire of course is to be directly submissive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but part of that is being subject to the local church leadership.

As a Christian, I am called to lose my life and abide in Christ as the ‘Vine’ from which all real life flows. I am a branch on that vine, and have no life of my own if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

I pray that I have no life of my own, and that I am genuinely doing what I am doing for the glory of God and the precious name of Jesus.

He is all that matters.

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My New Job

The Lord told me,
“Shout out loud. Do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Tell my people that they have refused to obey me.
Tell the family of Jacob how much they have sinned…

[ Isaiah 58:1, NIRV ]

March 4, 2011 was many things to many people. To Libyans, it was another day of fear and turmoil. To the residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, it was another day of coming to terms with the destructive power of the earth. For hundreds and thousands of men, women and children around parts of this world, it was just another day rummaging through the vast garbage dumps they call home – trying to find some trash to turn into money for food. Sometimes, they even eat the rotting food they find as they search for salable plastic bottles, or the holy grail of dump diggers – copper wire.

So why, then – amid all the ongoing suffering, death and horror of this world – did I think March 4, 2011 was an appropriate day to use my Facebook page to call one church leader a ‘wolf’, and suggest that another church leader is possibly on the slippery slope towards wolf-hood? And why, on March 5, 2011, do I still think it was appropriate – and am still planning to continue ‘showcasing’ such things?

I was literally horrified by some of the responses to this thread on my Facebook Wall. Horrified. And I am sure that in turn, there are going to be people who are horrified that I am continuing this discussion in this manner on my blog. Why do I think that this is so important that I am willing to risk offending, upsetting and perhaps even alienating people I love and care for very much? I am so arrogant that I think my thoughts and insights (such as they may be) are worth jumping up and down about – loudly, and in public?

Firstly – why am I horrified? Among other reasons, people I still look up to and respect verbally jumped all over me in public. I am horrified that what I said (and will continue to say) offended and upset them so much that they felt it was appropriate to respond in the way that they did. I am horrified at what their response means. It means that they do not understand how desperately serious and deeply rooted the deception in the contemporary ‘Christian church’ is. I am horrified that they don’t realize what Rick Warren is, and what John Piper may be becoming by associating with Rick Warren.

Secondly, what happened after I stopped commenting on the Facebook thread yesterday afternoon? I went to pick up my wife from work, told her what had been going on, asked her to read everything (including private communication in our email accounts), and told her I valued and cherished her opinion and was not going to continue the discussion until she had an opportunity to challenge me if she felt I was in error. So we arrived home, and I went for a ‘lie down’ (my head was a bit sore by this time!) and opened my Bible for my daily reading. I freely admit that I am by no means fully consistent in the daily plan I am currently following, but I always realize that I am making a mistake when I miss a day or three along the way. Daily immersion in God’s Word is unfathomably important for all Christians! Before I opened my Bible, I asked the Lord to show me something… anything… that I needed to see in connection with the ongoing Facebook saga. And then I opened the Word to the start of my day’s section…. The verse I quote above was the opening verse.

Now, is that the end of the story? Absolutely not. I am incredibly wary of this method of receiving direct instruction from God. I am both absolutely convinced that it can and does happen, AND that it is endlessly abused by those seeking some sort of justification for their actions. What was I to do? As I lay there, the events of the day (and the possible consequences of them) ran through my head. I am utterly committed to following God’s will in my Christian walk, but of course I know there are plenty of times when I don’t. I miss things, misunderstand things… but I am confident that God is forgiving. We confess our errors, receive forgiveness, and move on.

With all this churning in my head, I returned to the computer to find a private message from a dear friend. Without going into details, I responded, he replied, and I had before me a wonderful example of how God spoke to this individual in the same way. Direct message, perfectly relevant to a pressing situation, given via a daily reading from the Bible.

So I discussed everything with my precious wife, who I know God brought into my life to be a helper, comforter and encourager… who I know from many experiences will tell me exactly what she thinks…. who I know prizes her relationship with her Lord and Savior more highly than she prizes her relationship with me….

I am confident that I have received a new job from the Lord. Maybe not new as such, but a new confirmation that I am being asked to publicly, loudly and directly highlight areas where God’s people are being deceived into rebellion against God and His word.

Wow. Me? I am a baby Christian. Although I have been a sinner saved by grace for many years, I have stubbornly and repeatedly laid around in the weeds of laziness, ignorance and comfortable living. For most of my teenage and twenty-something life, I hardly exercised my spiritual muscles at all. I was content to be all snuggled up, warm and cozy, inside a cocoon of easy faith. God had done everything for me – I knew that. I knew there was nothing I could or can do to add to the salvation I had accepted. So why bother? Why challenge the world? I wasn’t of it, so why get out and about in it? If I did, I knew I would meet things that would force me to take a stand. And who wants the stress or embarrassment or cross-bearing that comes with that?

Not me. I still don’t.

But I slowly came to the understanding that if I didn’t grow in my faith… in my knowledge of God – who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do… if I didn’t above all grow in my personal relationship with the One who gave His life to save my soul, then I may as well jump under a bus for all the use my life would be. God wants His people to pick up their cross and follow Christ. He wants His people to know, grow and show. We have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in us!

I don’t think the Holy Spirit enjoys lying around in the weeds of my laziness, ignorance and comfortable living.

So if I believe that God is telling me to do something, I need to do it. Not because it in any way adds to my ‘goodness’ or makes me a ‘better person’. Never. I need to do it because I love God, and when you love someone – ya do your best to please them without expecting anything in return. I believe God is asking me to shout out loud and don’t hold back. I’m to use my life as a trumpet, screaming in the ears of people I love, respect and admire. People I have perhaps placed on pedestals. People who disagree with some of my theological musings as I grapple with understanding this incredible gift of salvation that we have. People who are older, stronger, and far more productive in their walk than I have ever been.

OK God. I will do the shouting, but please – PLEASE – give me the words to use. This is not about me. This is not about my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is not about Rick Warren, John Piper, Tony Blair or Oprah Winfrey. This is not about anything other than Your will, Your glory, and the precious name of Jesus. Use me, break me, mold me and make me into a channel through which your truth can flow. I believe I am going to be talking about many things that are facts wrapped up in lies. Things that if mentioned in many Christian circles would get a blank stare at best, and a swift dismissal and rebuke more often than that. But there are facts that need to be found and presented so that Your people discern the signs, so that Your people are not destroyed through lack of knowledge, so that Your people can be like the Issachar family – men and women who understand the times and know what to do.

This job has been given to me, but I can’t do it. You have to do it through me. Your wisdom, not mine. Your thoughts, not mine. And above all, Your love, not mine.

I am in Your hands.

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Freedom Isn’t Free

The blood of Christ set you free from an empty way of life. That way of life was handed down to you by your own people long ago. You know that you were not bought with things that can pass away, like silver or gold. Instead, you were bought by the priceless blood of Christ. He is a perfect lamb. He doesn’t have any flaws at all. He was chosen before God created the world. But he came into the world in these last days for you. Because of what Christ has done, you believe in God. It was God who raised him from the dead. And it was God who gave him glory. So your faith and hope are in God. You have made yourselves pure by obeying the truth. So you have an honest and true love for your brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply, from the heart.

(1 Peter 1:18-22, NIRV)

Gruesome, isn’t it? “The blood of Christ…” How could anyone really believe that God Himself became like His creation and willingly sacrificed His life in order to set us free? Barbaric.

We do it all the time. I’ve never given blood (I can’t, here in America at least) but 3% of Americans do so on a regular basis, and I’m pretty sure that a far higher percentage than that doesn’t have any problem with this process at all. And thousands of times each day (nearly 5 million people per year) donated blood is used to save lives via blood transfusions. Of course, people who donate blood aren’t asked to give it all, because if they did – they’d die.

Blood is life.

There are many complications when it comes to donating and receiving blood. Many people have health or other concerns that preclude them from being a blood donor. I, for example, cannot donate because I lived much of my life in England, and the American authorities believe that I may have been exposed to Mad Cow Disease. Kind of a moo-t point, I suppose. And then it has to be said that immoral, promiscuous and otherwise dangerous lifestyles have resulted in an alarming percentage of the population whose blood is basically toxic. Mother to baby – the tainted blood flows. Children pay the price for the sins of their parents.

The way we live – the choices we make – impact us even to the level of tainting our very blood, and the blood of our children.

We all need a life-saving blood transfusion.

Just as I am,–without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come…

So why is this concept so horrific to many people? All this talk by Christians of blood, sacrifice, death and lambs…

Wait a minute? Lambs?

Time for a brief overview of Old Testament animal-hating, throat-slitting, blood-letting gore.

The first misconception to clear up is that the Bible (and therefore God) teaches us to use and abuse animals however we want. It doesn’t. Instead, our ancestors were instructed to rule over the Earth and all the non-human life on it. And remember who is telling us this: God, who is a perfect, just and righteous King and wanted humans to follow His lead!

We didn’t, and everything got (very) quickly (very) screwed up.

Enter death.

The first death mentioned in the Bible is Adam and Eve’s spiritual death. The instant they disobeyed God, their spirits were ‘disconnected’ from the source of spiritual life. This was very quickly followed by the first physical death – and I don’t mean Abel…

The Lord God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife to wear.

(Genesis 3:21, NIRV)

The fact that we are all born spiritually dead means that have to wear clothes in public. One of the endless consequences of spiritual death is lust. One of the most sickening signs of how desperately sick this sick world has become is that families are now getting into serious trouble for sending photos of their naked babies or young children to the developers. We are so overwhelmed with pornography that it hardly makes sense anymore to thing that such photos could be completely innocent. Of course, who uses film anymore? We now have the instant gratification of digital cameras and cell phones…

We are sick, sick, sick. And God knew exactly what was going to happen, so He took the freshly created life of an animal and killed it to make clothing with its skin.  And WE are to blame. Not God.

God knows what we need to give us even a slender chance of remaining physically faithful. But of course all we did was take this gift of modesty, and turn it into a) legalism, or b) a striptease opportunity.

So the animals died by the millions throughout the Old Testament. Sacrificed because of OUR sinfulness, not theirs. Animals don’t have spirits – they cannot sin. Animals do have souls, and there will be animals in heaven, but that’s a blog post for another day!

But these animal sacrifices were never going to get to the root of the human problem. They couldn’t. In order to pay the price for humanity’s spiritual disobedience, a human sacrifice would be needed. A perfect human sacrifice.

Before anyone gets all weirded out again by this, don’t forget that humans make the ultimate sacrifice all the time. Fathers giving their lives trying to save their drowning children… Police Officers taking bullets intended for someone else…. Unborn babies giving their lives for the ‘rights’ of their mothers….

So, after our incredibly patient Creator gave His creation generation after generation to prove that it could never become perfect under its own steam, He sent His Son to be perfect on our behalf.

One of the many names the Bible gives us for God’s Son is ‘The Lamb’. The imagery is simple. Innocent, pure, and born to die.

And He died. Willingly. In your place. His perfect life’s perfect blood all given so that you can receive the life-saving spiritual ‘blood transfusion’ that you need.

It was, is and always will be the only Way to regain the Life that God wants us all to have.

So – you’ve now read the truth. What are you going to do about it?

And if you’ve already accepted the Truth and obeyed it (two different things, perhaps?…) – what are you going to do next?

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The Poor Have Hope

“As for me, I would seek God,
and to God would I commit my cause,
who does great things and unsearchable,
marvelous things without number:
he gives rain on the earth
and sends waters on the fields;
he sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
He catches the wise in their own craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

They meet with darkness in the daytime
and grope at noonday as in the night.
But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth
and from the hand of the mighty.
So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts her mouth.
“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he binds up;
he shatters, but his hands heal.”

(Job 5:8-18)

The fools become wise….
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men.
(1 Cor 3:18-21)

So what, then, should I boast in? And where does this hope come from?

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God,
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down,
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The story of Christ, the self-proclaimed God-man, bleeding and dying on a wooden cross in order to become the Saviour of the world is indeed a foolish one. It defies human logic, and if it’s going to be accepted as Truth, it has to be done so using faith rather than by analyzing the facts using human wisdom.

Human wisdom, however, is what has lead this world to it’s current horrifying predicament. Human wisdom suggests that it’s all about the “survival of the fittest”, and that anything goes in order to “get ahead”. As we sit back and watch the financial, moral and physical collapse that is taking place on a global scale, isn’t it now time to take the closest look yet at the claims of the Bible?

We are TOLD that the world is going to spiral into chaos.
We are TOLD that the wisdom of the world leads to death and destruction.
We are TOLD that the nation of Israel is going to become the focal point of the “last days”.
We are TOLD that people who continue to claim that Jesus Christ is the only Way, Truth and Life are going to become more and more marginalized – and ultimately persecuted.

Why, then, do we still think that it’s foolish to trust what the bible tells us about the ultimate plan that God has to deal with the cause of the failure of the human race? Why do people still insist that they can find their own way, and “do” enough to become “acceptable”? Isn’t there enough evidence that this is impossible?

God is reaching out to the entire world today. He is NOT willing that anyone should despair, die and have no hope. As someone who is already a Christian, I absolutely believe it is time for me personally to reassess and recommit EVERYTHING I own, think, do, say and dream to God so that I can be a blessing to other people.

Everything I am is His.
He gives me the air I breathe.
He may indeed break or even shatter me – but that is only so that He can rebuild me into something useful. And although being broken hurts – being healed more than makes up for the experience!

The only way into this personal relationship with Almighty God is to accept that we CANNOT reach Him by ourselves. The imperfect cannot make itself perfect – and perfection is indeed God’s only standard.

That is why God Himself had to come and do what we can never do – build a bridge between fallen, failing humanity and our Creator.

Foolish – yes! It could be said that God’s perfect love made a perfect fool out of Him. But of course, that perfect foolishness becomes perfect wisdom when we accept it and begin to see things with God’s understanding.

Only then does talk of

crosses, blood, sacrifice…

…love, hope and joy in this present dark world

make sense.

So it’s time to stop boasting in men, and to start (either afresh, or for the first time) boasting in the One who gave everything so that we may experience peace now – and forever.

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