Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Gut Feeling

John 7:38
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

This verse, talking about the spirit, has lovely hidden depths.

When it says “from within him (or her)“, the Greek word is ‘koilia‘ which means ‘belly’ (incidentally translated correctly in the King James version).

At first look, this seems a bit odd to us in our culture as we think “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” oooh, that doesn’t sound very nice, are we vomiting living water? What is that all about?

A clue comes from the known biblical usage as noted by Strong, the belly being “the innermost part of a man, the soul, heart as the seat of thought, feeling & choice”.

Culturally, historically in the times of a lot of the bible, the belly was the seat of emotion, thought, feeling & experience.

So when we read “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”, what it is referring to is the outpouring of the spirit of God for the blessing and benefit of others.

As we drink from Jesus: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” (John 7:37) and are filled with his spirit (Romans 8:9-11); it then pours out to others from our centre of emotion, experience and feeling, for the benefit of others. We are spirit filled not to glorify us, but to glorify God, to point to Him and bring healing, restoration and redemption to all the people we encounter.

Do our lives show outwardly that this is what we are focussed on?

Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

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Let me in

Inspired by my good friend over at aoratos and listening to someone reading Revelation, a harmonisation of scripture came to my heart.

Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

This passage is often solely used to encourage people to let Christ in to their lives, let his power and love pour in so we can be enriched and then enrich others. Having no disagreement with this interpretation, I was also struck with another layer of meaning.
Have another look at the Revelation passage in tandem with this verse from Matthew 25:31-46

Matthew 25:40
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

We are encouraged to act like Christ to the people because we see the face of Christ in them – looking after people as we would unhesitatingly look after Christ himself.
So together, we can conclude that when Christ says ‘I stand at the door and knock’ he not only means he, the risen Lord himself, but also the people that we encounter day by day.
Are we prepared to take that uncomfortable step to open our doors and let in the people Christ would have reached out to, the people classed as the dregs of society? If you read the next verse in revelation, you see the promised reward for those who are prepared to let Christ in – whichever form we find him in.

Revelation 3:21
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

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John 4:35-36
Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.

Reading this passage made me think about our influence on other people.

We constantly think, probably culturally that effective or successful preaching equals one more person sitting on a seat in the church congregation we meet with on a Sunday morning.

If we don’t see a big conversion story, an extra member of the church, we assume we have failed.

I think that our assumptions are flawed, the way we are trying to measure is errant.

There are many people we rub up against daily, weekly, yearly. We have opportunity to preach by word and action and we have no idea what kind of effect we are having or have had on people that we encounter.

Who’s to say that 6 months, 1 year, 10 years, 50 years down the line, the seed we have sown by the way we treated someone or the words we said to them won’t suddenly burst into life and fruit in a Godly fashion?

We reap a harvest others have sown and we sow seed for others to reap. Others have been doing it for years before us and sometimes we see the plants that other people’s preaching has sown the seeds of.

We reap a harvest where others have sown. We sow seed for others to reap. We may never see the fruit of our work but God watches and smiles.

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

That proper time is God’s proper time and we may not ever see that time for the seed we have sown.

Don’t give up, God will work in you and through you and from you.

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How could you?

Tuesday in Manchester, it was so gorgeous driving home I thought: I should write a post on how astonishing it is that no earthquake swallowed up this city today.

Instead God sent warmth and crystal skies and cool breezes and golden leaves and speech-swallowing sunsets.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing!

We deserved the Hilton Tower to fall, and the Barton Bridge to collapse, and poisonous gas to kill thousands.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is why everyone is crying out, Where was God on Tuesday! Where were you God! How could you do this? Why did you let this happen?

Everybody is saying that, aren’t they?

No, I didn’t hear it either.

Isaiah 55:10-11
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God showers his grace and blessings on a world that in many places choses to ignore, disobey or laugh in his face, but in the end, He will make all things right. Until then, instead of the punishment we deserve, God gives us over-the-top foretastes of heaven on earth, His Kingdom here and now.

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“That’s your truth and I respect that”.
“That’s true for you but not for me.”

How many times have you heard those statements?

Unfortunately for relativists, ‘Relativism‘ falls at the first hurdle.

A relativist claims that “there are no absolute truths”, everything is relative to something else and ‘truth’ is a transient, dynamic, relative concept.

If you are claiming “there are no absolute truths”, you are effectively making a statement that you believe in one absolute truth – the absolute truth that there are no absolute truths.

With that, the relativist argument has no foundation to build upon, it has nothing with which to hold water. It argues itself out of existence before it even begins to argue.

Relativism, RIP.

In the words of Gerard Kelly [waving his bible around]:

“This is what is true, and if there is a distance between this [the bible] and me, I’m the one thats got to move!”
Its not about moving this to make it more relevant to me, its not about saying ‘oooh, God, I’m not really coping too much with your word at the moment, can you just alter it a bit so its a more palatable to me?’
Its about me saying ‘this is where the character of God is, this is where the story of God is’ and I need to say, “If I’m somewhere different, its me that needs to move.” 

Something we should listen to and take heed of.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 


See the video clip.

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Filled with the fullness of God

John 20:24-30

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

This passage is interesting if for verse 28 alone “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

It has been argued by many over years as proof of the trinity.

If you look at Thomas (& Philip’s) last conversation with Jesus, it puts the whole thing in context.

John 14:5-9
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

When Thomas sees Jesus in the house and touched him, the lights went on! Thomas saw it all, he understood, he saw God through Jesus, he saw and understood the word made flesh, he understood what John writes in verse 31: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Thomas saw how Jesus was filled with the spirit of the creator God, how he was ‘filled with God’ as it says in Colossians 1:19 – “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him”

That fullness is also available to us who believe.

Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

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Christ in me

Colossians 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The work of the Spirit of God is not always a mystery as it says in Colossians – God has chosen to make it known – i.e. not a mystery any more.

So In preparation for leading bibleclass tonight, my collection of verses on the spirit of God and Christ that dwells within believers is as follows.

The ‘Indwelling’ God

Ezekiel 36:27 (collective)
Ezekiel 37:14 (collective)
Romans 8:9
Ephesians 2:22
1 John 2:14
1 John 4:12
1 John 4:15

The ‘Indwelling’ Christ

Romans 8:9,10
2 Cor 4:11
2 Cor 13:5
Gal 1:15,16
Gal 2:20
Gal 4:19
Eph 1:22,23
Eph 3:17
Phil 3:10
Col 1:27-29
Col 2:10

Is it the same thing? Well, It seems to be the same power and Romans 8:9-11 uses the ‘spirit of Christ’ and ‘spirit of God’ interchangeably, so it would seem to be the case.

John 4:24
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Are we prepared to believe what the bible says in the bits we might be a little uncomfortable with?

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Contradiction or Continuity

There seems, on the surface to be a certain amount of tension between the verses here:

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

So lets chuck the bible out the window, it obviously has glaring continuity errors and conflicting teachings, It can’t be trusted as there are too many irreconcilable contradictions.

Lets just have another look at the passages again in context this time.

Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


Matthew 6:2-4
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Motivation is the key. Why are you doing it. It applies to everything but in this context it is talking about giving and good works. If your motivation is to give God glory, then its great if people see the things you do because then people “may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. If your motivation is wrong – for self glorification, then you need to spend some time doing the ‘good deeds’ quietly, without being seen because it shouldn’t be about us, it should be about God.

1 Peter 2:12
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

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God at work today

Chasing Camels

Mark 10:25
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

So what are you chasing?

Are you constantly trying to make more money, hit the lottery jackpot, get a bigger house, have ‘that huge windfall’? Are you motivated by money, desperate to have lots and lots of it, willing to sacrifice time, your own money even integrity to pyramid or ponzi type schemes that promise a huge payout?

Jesus says its easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for you to enter God’s kingdom if you are rich. Do you really want that to be the case and money to get in the way of your relationship with God?

It has been said that there is a gate next to the main gates in ancient cities that is kept open after night fall for people arriving late to enter by. It is supposed to be just small enough for an unladen camel to crawl through on its knees. Some have postulated that this is what Jesus is referring to when he talks about a camel going through the eye of a needle.

Whilst this may be true, it completely misses Jesus’ point.

If you are trying to fit an actual full size camel through the eye of a sewing needle, even a big one, it’s just not possible.
If you are trying to fit a fully laden camel through the small gate of an ancient city designed basically for people, its just not possible.

Jesus is saying “you cannot enter Gods kingdom with your riches”, he is also saying “if you are rich, you are likely to value money more highly, and in some circumstances more highly than God and there comes a time when you have to make a choice.”

Yes, you can unload your camel to fit it through the small gate, but that’s the point; you can’t take it through with all the baggage on it.

Mark 10:21-22
Jesus looked at [the young man] and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

This man may not have heard these words, but we can do well to heed them.

Matthew 6:19-20
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

So when Jesus makes the camel statement:

Mark 10:26-27
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

It’s impossible to take the fully laden camel through the small gate, as impossible as threading it through a real needle. Its impossible for the rich to enter God’s kingdom unless God gets involved.

So what are you chasing? Something that brings transient, fleeting immediate enjoyment or something that brings constant, everlasting peace, joy and contentment?

Luke 12:21
He lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”

“Rich toward God” means God is my riches.

What are you chasing?

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