“I wish it would….”

The title of this blog was the instinctive, under my breath murmur, as I read these words in Psalm 62.4 (NLT) in my daily readings for yesterday:

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God for my hope is in him…”

Is there a door in your head (or a few doors) that keep banging, refusing to stay shut? I pray these doors might “hear the Word of the Lord.”

It may be that for some of us there is a bit of help towards this in some words from verse 8: “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” It is strange that waiting quietly and the counsel to pour out our heart both appear in the same Pslam.

Jesus teaches us that prayer is not about using many words, or vain repetition, as though an answer to our prayers were based on these things as some sort of religious or superstitious formula. However, that does not mean there is never a time to pour out our heart be it with no words, few words or many, whatever  may be needed.

I am quite a quiet chap by nature. On a couple of occasions over the years when I have been asked to pray at meetings, all of a sudden I have started to pour out my heart, sometimes with emotion and volume that is alien to my normal way of praying. On one occasion the loudness and the heartfelt emotion surprised me. The more I tried to tone it down, the louder it all became…until it was done. Someone said to me afterwards in disapproval, “There was no need for that.” Actually, there was; they were simply wrong as well as offended.

I am not talking about mere emotional release, though that can be helpful too. I am talking about coming before God and whatever it looks like letting all that I am wait quietly before the Lord. Paraodoxically, to get there, at times there needs to be a bit of pouring out of our heart, so that we can rest and wait, knowing the prayer is done.

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

It isn’t fair… just get over it!

I have been mulling over these words from Psalm 5:

“Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield.”

If we are believers in Christ, we are righteous through the blood of Christ shed for us, Hallelujah! The Holy Spirit is also working within us to make us righteous not only in status before God but in actual fact in our day to day living, more and more. How comfortable are you with the idea that God surrounds you with His favour? Perhaps you feel, “That doesn’t seem fair. It gives the people of God a benefit, an advantage.” Well, it looks sort of like it. “Favour ain’t fair” said T.D. Jakes. We will just need to get over it.

I think I often stop short in my prayers or in my expectation of God moving in my life for my good, or through my life to bless others and further His Kingdom purposes because I have not fully got hold of this idea of favour. I am feeling my way towards what it might mean if I believed in favour, truly. I am not sure I really know what it means  exactly,  but I felt I wanted to pray that those of you who read this blog will know what the favour of God is, by experience. I think I have to pray that we will experience doors opening for us that we did not push to open, while others push and these doors do not open. Others may look on and cry out in bitterness,  “favouritism.” We need to learn to call it “favour.” Remember though that Jesus was the one upon whom God’s favour rested above all. Sometimes being “favoured'” will not seem like that is what is happening at all!  Doors may open that we would not choose to  go through, save knowing it is the will of God that we do so.

God bless you with His favour,

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

 

 

There is a time for everything under the sun…a time to throttle…..

I heard a wonderful sermon today by Malcom Round at St. Mungo’s, Livingston. In the course of his talk, Malcolm referred to the following words from Mark Chapter 14:

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

I have found myself unable to get these words out of my mind. It is not that I have been thinking thoughts about these verses that I have never thought before. Rather, I have been feeling again the amazement I always feel when I come across these words. The setting for what we read here is that Jesus has been arrested; He is being tried unjustly; a few verses on, we read of people spitting upon Him, striking Him and mocking Him; He knew a friend at that very moment was in the process of denying Him; another friend had already betrayed Him;  He knew that much worse humiliation and agony were still to come. In the midst of all that seemed to mock the very idea that He could be the Son of the Living God, He asserts that He is!

Have you faced things in your past that seem to mock the idea that you are a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, a much loved son or daughter of your Heavenly Father? Perhaps even in the present you are facing some hard to bear realities that again could easily mock the idea that you are a child of God; perhaps you are about to face something that would cause others looking on to  think that a child much loved by their Heavenly Father should not have to endure such things.

My prayer is that in the face of every mocking voice or circumstance, every taunt behind which you can hear “Are you really a child of God” you will be able to say by God’s grace and strength, “Yes, actually I am.  Through the cross of Christ I am a child of God. Nothing can unmake me a child of God; nothing can take that away from me. I am greatly, faithfully, sacrificially, warmly, eternally loved.” I am so glad that we have a Saviour who is familiar with what we go through, who went there ahead of His Sheep. I am so glad that the words of Corrie Ten Boom’s sister, which she first uttered in a Concentration Camp,  are true; “There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.”

One final thought: I am writing this blog on a Sunday. It may not be your status as a child of God that has been mocked today, but your calling. Whatever you feel the call of God is upon your life, whether you be a church leader, a minister, a pastor, an evangelist, a prophet, an Apostle, a Church Planter, a Welcomer at the church door, a Teacher of the young, someone who leads worship etc. etc., it is entirely possible that this day has had sufficient in it to mock the idea of  ever thinking you were called and equipped by God to do something in His Kingdom. That can come about through lack of affirmation or response, or it can come about because of downright nastiness among the people of God. Some of God’s children can be really horrible, their tongues, eyes and cold shoulders wounding at times; sometimes deliberately so,  but more often in a thoughtlessly discouraging way.

Of course the mocking voice can come from within ourselves as well, but wherever we have heard that tone today, what and who do you think is its source? Certainly not the God who is for you, not against you! Jesus was astonishingly blunt when it came to confronting things being said that had a dark source. He did not say “Be silent please, ” in a pleading almost apologetic  way. He said, “Be throttled!” Maybe you have a bit of “throttling” in the name of Jesus to do before the day is out…by the way, remember not to throttle people but what lies behind their words! I have been throttled 3 times in my life physically… not a nice experience…

I will leave the overtly Charismatic bit aside…until now, right at the end of this blog. You may well discover this astonishing phenomena; if you throttle the source in the Name of Jesus, you may hear words sticking in the throat of a flesh and blood person, almost as though the person is choking; they will become unable to speak, to say what they were in the midst of saying. Who knows, the fear of the Lord may grip you both… not a bad result.

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

 

A fearfully true answer…

Further to my last blog (“What do we do with light?)  in whichI asked a question about why revival tarries, Ann, who was Session Clerk while I was minister of Holy Trinity, Wester Hailes, sent me a quote from a Leonard Ravenhill sermon. Its effect was like the stare of a headteacher I used to know; her look was capable of felling an elephant at a thousand paces out! Here is the quote:

“the only reason we don’t have revival is that we are willing to live without it”

I am relieved to say I have found I fear God enough to not add any comment.

God Bless

Kenny

 

What do we do with light?

There are so many good signs of the Spirit being at work in Scotland and throughout  the UK. There are many bright spots full of the vibrant life of the Spirit of God. There are those who have caught sight of a vision and have invested everything in it, perhpas having to go through the valley of the shadow of death with their vision before it rose again after the paying of a price… yet despite all thes signs of fresh life, Revival still tarries…why?

Perhaps there are many answers to that question. Of course we believe our anwer is more the real reason above all the other reasons people suggest. So, just one more question. How fully are you or I living according to the light we believe we have received on this matter or any other matter? If we believe that more prayer is needed, am I praying? If we believe new expressions of church are needed, am I actively part of that movement or just a critic of what has been, paying no cost? If we believe more love is the answer, more creative approaches to worship or witness, more true holiness, repentance etc.etc.etc…

I have been humbled over the years by meeting those who are living much more fully according to the light they have received than I do to the light I have received. I have a feeling that humbling will continue…..

God bless

Kenny

In praise of begging…

(Sorry if you have read this on Facebook, but sending it via WordPress too for those who avoid Facebook like the plague!)

Thanks for asking yet again Facebook, “Kenny, what is on your mind?” Well here is what I have been thinking: that believing that God calls and justifies a person (as the Apostle Paul clearly believed is the case from what he wrote in his letter to the Romans) does not mean that we fail to do what he said he did in his second letter to the Corinthians: to plead with men and women on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” If you are a preacher, in the Sovereignty of God’s grace this coming Sunday may well be the first, only, or last time someone in your congregation will have to hear about Jesus and to be encouraged by your Holy Spirit given pleadings to come to Him.

If Christ Himself is pictured by Paul as begging and pleading with people to be reconciled to God, is it time to throw caution and good taste to the wind and beg and plead too, whether in preaching or witnessing? When I say that, I am not talking of a dramatic display of feigned emotion, rather my mind is going back to a newspaper item I read about the Orkney Revival of the early 1860’s. The reporter spoke of seeing a little girl saying to an old spiritually distressed man, “Oh sir, won’t you come to Jesus. Can’t you see Him? Please let me help you to Jesus.” Being thought of as “cool” maybe needs to be let go of as an acceptable aim for a preacher of the gospel or a witness of Jesus Christ.  His cross is not a “cool” image. May lambs be born into the Kingdom of God throughout Scotland and beyond  by the power of God’s Word and Spirit.  May preaching, our witnessing, our pleadings be the midwife helping to bring God given life to birth.

God Bless

Kenny

If I could start again….

I may never be the pastor of a church again, but if I was, I think I would make changes to the way I used to begin Sunday Worship. Somewhere  very near the start of  service I think I would have some sort of aid to focus people on why we come together in the Name of Jesus Christ. My guided devotions include saying this declaration of faith in the morning:

“Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life
and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
King of endless glory.

I just love saying these words in the morning. Just the saying of them seems to make me aware of the presence of a stream of life and strength that is not my own: The Lord Jesus Christ crucified for me, risen and present with me and in me by the Holy Spirit. I need Him every day, but especially now that I am more aware of my weakness and fragility in many ways than I was a few short years ago. Sometimes throughout the day, I lose the awareness of the presence of Christ; I lose focus. Within some hours though I have got the focus back, for the next morning if I have a will to so do,  I can say again: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Imagine if each Sunday, preacher and people joined together saying these astonishing words above  with reverence and humility… we might be mightily blessed… we might even stumble upon what preaching and a church gathering are really for and not misuse the time, or the pulpit, or the bible , or the gathering together of God’s people for other reasons and visions, save the impartation and the receiving of the life of Christ by His Word  and Spirit and though the Sacraments and one another’s fellowship.

Very  early on in my ministry, I visited a young couple in the parish to which I had been newly inducted. After pleasantries, I was asked a question that was like an open door to me to share Jesus Christ. The lady of the couple became a Christian. Her husband threatened to kill me he was so angry! In fact come to think of it a few husbands have threatened to kill me over the years – please take that in the right way! Come to think of it a wee bit more, some people have said some things over the years that have seemed more than/less than human, including an individual phoning me up and saying, “We will drive you out of here any way we can. How many more of us have you been sent here to destroy?” Does that sound familiar from somewhere? Though the anger of the husband of the couple I mentioned above abated in time he never came to faith in Christ, or at least not during my time in that particular parish, though writing about him has made me shoot up an arrow prayer for him even in the midst of blogging.  On my last day in that parish, he came to say a personal face to face “goodbye” and it seemed warm and genuine. As I say,  that visit was one of my earliest evangelistic ventures in a pastoral setting in a new parish as a new minister, but in the course of my whole ministry over all the decades since, no one has ever said anything more wonderful than the lady of the couple when describing the aftermath of our conversation. She said, “When you left, all I could think about was Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I wanted Jesus. I needed Jesus. In fact I just walked about the house, crying out, “Jesus, Jesus Jesus!”

I am reminded of an “iron fist in a velvet glove” question that Henri Nouwen asked a friend in a letter, which I mentioned in a blog a few days ago: “Could you not be more Christ centred in your thinking?”

I am sure that what that woman expressed was not always sadly the effect of either my visiting or pastoring… I wish it had been so more often.

As well as a declaration of faith at the beginning of  “service,” may it be the prayerful aim and true longing of all those called to preach and teach that people will go away and not be able to stop thinking about Jesus. I hope that our visions for church and mission have not become so exciting and grand  and cutting edge that we have become cynical of hoping and praying that after a Sunday Service, someone may say, “I heard the voice of Jesus say, come unto me and rest…stoop down and drink and live… and I came to Jesus and I drank of that life-giving stream!  My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him… I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad. I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad! I looked to Jesus and I found in Him, my star, my sun; and in that Light of life I’ll walk, till travelling days are done!”

I shudder to think that all some people may remember from my sermons  will be a funny story I told, or something I shared about myself, or the odd outrageous sentence or two – which can come rather easily to a Charismatic Glaswegian Christian preacher! I tremble at the thought. I know it is possible. Many ministers had an influence on me for good or ill! Even from my earliest years as a Christian, then through my training and throughout all the time since, I have met many who have left me thinking about Jesus and left me longing to know Him more. From others, I can only remember skill and jokes…though of course,  humour has its place as does skill, so long as we do not rely on these things in the wrong “Christ-hiding-myself-exalting” way.

Can a joke lead to Christ? I am sure it can. Sadly often the jokes were just jokes: the idea of “coming to Jesus” seemed for some ministers to be the biggest joke around, deserving only of their witty and cynical  and scholarly mockery. I even heard the idea of coming to Jesus dismissed in condescending fashion as  the “S.U.” experience; sadly that mockery was common in some ministerial and academic gatherings in my experience, though most certainly not in all such gatherings; other ministerial gatherings were marked by heartfelt love for Christ and prayerful longing that people would come to know Jesus throughout the parishes and communities of Scotland and beyond.

It is a horrific thought: how many “ministers”  may have left their congregations to cry out one day in anguish that as a flock the Shepherd they called to “pastor their souls”  who had preached such interesting sermons and visited so faithfuly and was so well liked by all had not encouraged them towards the “S.U.” experience too: “Minister, Rev, Dr. Rev, Right Rev, Very Rev, Rev Professor, vicar, Bishop, Pastor, why did you not tell me I needed to come to Jesus?  Oh, you made me think it was all about me being a good person and I tried to be that down through the years; you made me think it was all about having wise insights into life or the way the world is.  ‘Wise? Good? Insightful?’ Minister, you blinded me with a lie that such was the company you and  I should aspire to; you even used to talk about meetings you went to with ‘the wise and the good of the land’…why did you not tell me I needed a Saviour who was wounded for my transgressions and bruised for my iniquities; that the  original Jesus, who you told us we could never really get to behind the layers of the bible narrative, was numbered among the transgressors? Why did you play theology with my eternal soul? I can hear a countless throng at a distance singing a never ending song to ‘Him who sits upon the throne and to the lamb’;  to the lamb ‘who has loved them and washed them from sin!’ They sing not just about how He created them and all things, but of how He redeemd them, ransomed them, cleaned them, of how His blood has set them free! Listen to what they are singing, minister! The things you mocked have won the day at the last! They are singing to Jesus who ‘in white robes arrayed us, kings and priests made us.’ They sound as though they could sing that song for eternity and never tire of it or lose their joy!  If only I had one more day to come to Jesus and join them; if only I could embrace what I had been taught by you, by you minister, to mock; if only I could start again….

God bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Same symptoms, different source…

I feel I want to write a bit more about discernment of spirits.

If you read my blogs regularly you will know that I started to write them because I had to retire from active parish ministry early due to ill health and felt “blogging” was a way of still ministering to God’s people in some way. My problem is my O2 levels due to something called Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. When my O2 levels fall below 89 or 88 then I can feel somewhat light headed, a biy dizzy, a bit panicky and things begin to swirl around a bit. That happens when I have done too much, stood too long or even spoken too much. It is as though I have hit a wall in terms of the amount of oxygen getting into my blood stream  to feed the various organs of my body etc. Resting, my O2 levels are reasonably OK and probably only a  few notches below what yours may be without HP. When I do push too far it seems to take a lot out of me and leave me very drained of energy. The trouble is I don’t often realise when that wall is approaching…wisdom would dictate I need to stop before that wall, but I don’t like being  being curtailed  and am competitve by nature even against my own lungs!! I should add I am not competitive in my relationship with God or in ministry but I do like pushing against my own limitations in other ways.

Here’s the thing though: when I was a child I loved getting dizzy! I loved to spin round and round and then suddenly stop whereupon everything continued to spin and I continued to stagger. That dizziness caused laughter! It was fun.

The same symptoms can have very different sources. Jesus was aware of that. Sometimes in His ministry He healed people while in other instances when a description of symptoms sounds very similar He knew the source was demonic and cast out an unclean  spirit.

It is really important to know the source of something. I recall someone that I met pastorally who  had symptoms of schizophrenia but the Lord said to me “This is demonic.” That was indeed the case and the person was set free in a lasting way that passed the test of the years. However on another occasion someone came towards me seething and cursing, ripping a bible up and saying he would bite the flesh off my bones. His hair was extremely long and his nails were like talons. Occasionally he would just growl angrily at me rather than speak.  The nurses in the ward were anxious about me speaking to him at all for fear of my safety. Well, I did speak but made sure I was at the door, with one foot in the door for an easy escape had things kicked off. The gift of discernment showed me this was mental illness even though it sounded and looked as though there might have been something demonic going on. This poor man was severely  mentally ill and needed help from people and from God to face up to that fact and to seek to move towards healing. I have no contact with him now and I am not sure whether he has ever accepted the fact that he was indeed very ill rather than demonised. In a sense it seemed to me  that person  almost  wanted me to accept he had a demon, as that would absolve him of having to face up to some very painful human realities from the past. He was annoyed in the extreme that I would not back up his own self-diagnosis. Sometimes I have not been able to help people and they have kept a distance from me , or kept away from church, nursing their anger rather than admitting their true problem. It is quite easy to make “the minister” the scapegoat, or indeed someone else that has tried to help.

This is more than a pedantic distinction. To tell someone they have a demon and minister as though they have when they haven’t may well leave a person not only unhelped but in a worse off state because now they believe they are demonised. To treat a demonised person by medical means alone again will leave that person not as free as they could be through the name of Jesus Christ and the power of His blood.

I recall  reading a story about a young girl who was apparently prophesying accurately. However a mature Christian in the gathering started to feel uneasy. At this point the young person started to look in their direction and shout out, “Rebellion, rebellion in the room.” The mature Christian kept calm and said, “This is not rebellion, I am simply asking what spirit is at work here.” Well, at that point there was demonic manifestation through the girl. Even though “facts” were being prophesied that could only have been supernatrually revealed, the source was demonic rather than the Spirit of God. This of course is what happens in spiritualist meetings through mediums. Demons know things and can quite easily reveal them giving the impression that a loved one has drawn near. It is cruel deception. It’s aim is to divert someone from coming to Christ for eternal life, which only He can give. There is no light in the valley of the shaadow of death save Jesus Christ and personal God given faith in Him. Spiritualist mediums suggest “death is nothing at all.” Christians do not beleive “death is nothing at all” poetic though that may sound. Death is a destructive enemy. It needed to be conquered by Christ.

If you  have been damaged through someone who has not discerned properly the nature of a problem you may be struggling with, I pray this blog might help you to set aside what has been wrongly done to you or said to you and find your way to peace. Don’t carry the weight of faulty mininstry or allow the memory of it to overshadow you for  one moment longer. It may be of course that despite being well intentioned you have damaged someone through ministry that was devoid of proper discernment. Let’s remember there is mercy in Christ for the damaged and the damager; but could it be you need to humble yourself and admit to someone you got it wrong when you tried to help them? Not easy, I know…

God bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

More than an echo

(Hi blog readers. Put this on Facebook, but posting it here in WordPress as I know that is how some of you get these blogs. K)

Is our faith based on our favourite speakers, authors etc or on “for the bible tells me so”? Quite often people quote me in my hearing! I apreciate the appreciation, but at times I will have preached utter nonsense, or as one of my church members in Orkney encouragingly said at the door on one occasion, “utter madness.” At times it will be untrustworthy chirping, chaff compared with the wheat of God’s written Word, though hopefully most of the time it was nourishing. I read a verse in Psalm 119 that talks about staying awake in the night to think of God’s laws (and no, I’ll not tell you the verse number; look for it yourself if you want to! The search will be profitable). Sounds good to me. As a preacher, I think I always looked for a response that was something more than an echo of my own voice. How vain that we are fascinated by the echo of our voice so much so that we can miss the sound of a mightier river or wind than any of us have encountered (a thought sparked off by one of Wordsworth’s poems that I read lying in the bath this morning).

God bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

14 or 50?

When I was well enough to be part of the Christian Conference scene, it was expected that speakers’ talks would last for a minimum of 45 or 50 minutes. When I was well enough to be a minister at Holy Trinity in Wester Hailes, a wonderfully patient congregation allowed me often to preach as long on a Sunday. I was brought up on long sermons and loved them…

….but if Jesus is our model in all things, well, it seems that often, though not always, His teaching talks were apparently quite brief. For some reason, we  almost always assume when we read of Him teaching in the bible that what we are reading must be a summary of what He actualy said at greater length. At times there are statements in the text to tell us that is indeed the case; but what if what we read is more often than not an actual report of all He said on a given  occasion from beginning to end? Well, there’s a thought that will make some of us feel incredibly annoyed and write a hymn “In praise of long sermons”…  but, it is a thought too that reminds us that Jesus understands our humanness, our human capacities, and is a wise teacher..knowing when to stop. He never seemed to need to use my habitual preaching lie: “And finally..”  This was usually followed by another one: “Finally finally…” which was followed by “Sorry, just one more thing right at the end as we close…”Of course there is biblical backing for long sermons: we are actually allowed to preach so long in a stifling room that people fall asleep and fall out a window and claim biblical backing;  admittedly it is more worrying and quite a dent to pride when people fall asleep during a 14 minute sermon.

May God help preachers this weekend…and may He help listeners too!

God bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Iron fist, velvet glove…sometimes we need that punch….

You will know by now my admiration for Henri Nouwen’s writings. Today, I read one of his letters to a friend. The friendship was obviously very real and deep, strong enough for these words to be said:

“Is it possible to be more Christ centred in your thinking?”

Talk about an iron fist in a velvet glove?!

It is good to know our own story, but not to get so articulate about that at the expense of speaking to ourselves and others of Christ. His story is what matters most. God rescue us from not facing up to things about ourselves, but God rescue us too from narcicissm and self-obsession.

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

More random than usual!

OK, a bit random: I was reading a poem today (time to do more of that these days!) which centred on the word “Otherwise.” I thought about that word for a while. Why don’t you? What are the associations that come with it; good or bad? What is the instinctive tone in which you hear that word before having time to think of it too much? Does it promote fear or trust, anxiety or thankfulness, resentment, joy or something else? It showed me quite a lot about myself, my outlook, my view of God…interesting…

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Have I just come alongside you in one of your deepest prayers?

Rejoicing in news from friends of the safe arrival of their baby. So grateful for my grown up children, especially that by God’s grace they know the Lord. I cannot think of any greater joy as a parent. How tragic to only know our loved ones for the years of time alone and not in eternity. Perhaps tonight I have prayed a payer for you that agrees with your own this night and every night: “Father may all our children be taught of the Lord.” Let’s believe for that together…

God Bless

Kenny

Pottering Peter?

I felt today this truth being impressed upon me: there are many beleivers in Christ who are living their lives by a series of distractions.

What do I mean? Well, take Peter:  fresh from his failure, his denial of Christ, after the Resurrection he announces to his fellow disciples, “I’m going fishing.” Maybe he genuinely thought he was permanently sacked from discipleship so there was no alternative but to return to his former way of living and his former liveliehood. However, I don’t think so; I think he was trying the remedy of distraction to deal with his inner fears and turmoils, shames and shadows of defeat. Frequently when I was a pastor it seemed that was the height of advice many people struggling internally were given by the world’s well-meaning wisdom and learning even in the form of Professionals from  one field or another;  go for a walk, clean a room, take up a hobby. There may be some measure of wisdom in the strategy of distraction, but to be honest to tell a person carrying deep trauma or shame to vacuum a room seems a bit like trying to bring down a giant with a pea-shooter, however well intentioned the aim and the advice.

When Jesus appeared on the shore,  Peter jumped into the sea to get to Him before the  other disciples but also to climb his way out of the sinking sand of the mocking powerlessness of his own strategy of distraction. He went to where he feared to go and yet needed to go; to Jesus. What did he find? He found what I can only describe as mercy marked by integrity and hope. Mercy is not pretending something never happened. Far from distracting Peter from what caused him inner pain, Christ in several ways resets the scene of his  failure as the backdrop for much needed mercy and the reawakening of  true hope and a restored sense of Kingdom-of-God living and purpose.

So often when we have kept a distance from the Lord, we can fear going in the one direction we need to go: straight to the Lord of integrity and hope-filled mercy. I know tonight some will read this blog who have been afraid to pick up the one book they need to pick up; the bible. Some who are reading this blog will be afraid to do what you long to do; to start praying again; you may even feel you have forgotten how to pray. May God give you the courage of Peter to pick up the bible; may He give you courage to pray as a child  speaking with their loving father, not as an adult negotiator with a hard to persuade God; may He give you faith in the hope-filled mercy of Christ. Put everything aside right now and come close to Him. Take a step towards him in some way by some gesture or act  and you will find that He was ahead of you making preparations for your arrival just as had been made for Peter that day on the beach. He knew you would be coming before you did and has prepared the meeting and talking place, the place of His extended hospitality.

What’s more, perhaps soon after you read this blog,  you will find the relief of speaking with Him about where you really are. That is where Peter got to on the beach. The English text conceals that a bit. When Jesus asked Peter if he really loved Him more than the others, as he had claimed before , Peter effectively says “Yes/No.” He could no longer keep up the pretence of having as deep a love for Jesus as he had publicly and emotionally and perhaps proudly proclaimed for all to hear; the sort of love  that would sacrifice everything, even life itself, in a completley altruistic way for the sake of the one it loves. Instead, he tells Jesus  repetitively and yet with conviction and  unwavering insistence despite being questioned repeatedly by the One who knows all things, that he can genuinely say and mean this: he wants friendship with Jesus; he knows this and boldly states it; he does not want to lose that friendship. He can no longer promise great things, great sacrifices. He has learned a distrust in himself which he needed to learn. Now he is being honest. Whatever might happen in the future, at this point, all he could say with integrity is that he wanted friendship with Jesus. The wonderful thing is, that Jesus accepted that more limited offering of love. He could build on that foundation,  for it had a ring of humble truthfulness and integrity about it:  and build, He most certainly did.

When you read the bible you see patterns in Peter that you know as the reader are going to be disastrous. However Jesus always saw not just the patterns but the potential. Remember Peter was a Christ originated nickname, a nickname one might give to a champion,  to a prize-fighter: Simon, Son of Jonas, would be Peter Son of Jonas, “Rocky Johnson.” On the beach He called him Simon Johnson again, and from that renewed place of humility and realisation of his own weakness, hand in hand with friendship with Jesus, the march towards the Peter Potential begins. The sequels to “Rocky and The Cockerel” were already planned.

Please, please, please, if you have stayed away too long, or run away too long, run towards Jesus; he will meet you with warmth, with nourishment and invite you for a mutual walk of talking and listening along the path of truthfulness and promise.

Just thought it would be worth updating this blog by adding a few lines from “Celtic Daily Prayer, Book 1, page 356 (Published by William Collins). The commentary on the bible readings for today, 8th February, includes these wonderful words: “…since there is nowhere I can flee from Thee save to Thee, Thou dost stretch out Thine arms to receive me and bend down Thy head to kiss me…” Truly beautiful thought and truth: may the words of this quotation bless you as they blessed me this morning and again this evening.

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

 

 

 

Rev…is this for you this Lord’s Day?

You wait ages for a bus and then 3 come along… well, here is blog 3 in the last 24 hours! 2 thoughts:

1: Far better to be mocked as naive and to keep the peace of God than to be admired as wise and know not that the Spirit of God has left you….

2: Remember the Spirit of God can be grieved:  pray for help to know when He is grieved in you or even by you. Pray that you will be one upon whom the Spirit of God can rest and remain. Ephesians 4 verse 30 and following are worth reading before preaching or ministering to people in some way in the Name of Christ not to condemn us but to help us be prepared. I don’t think these verses are a full list of all that can grieve the Spirit, but sometimes one senses some of what is mentioned here in pulpits:  a simmering  bitterness (unforgiveness) rage or anger for reasons every Rev. throughout the  nations could well understand; understandable perhaps, but not the best way to make a resting or remaining place for the Dove. When I was aware of such things in me in days of better health and a more active preaching ministry, I found it a powerful prayer to say simply and with straighforward honesty, “Father I confess this is wrong. That is all I can do, God help me. If anything shows I need you, it is this attitude. Without more of you,  I cannot get beyond this confession; I can agree with your Word and Spirit that this is wrong, but I cannot change this. Please help me by your Spirit. Fill me afresh or I will always be like this.

It is now 3 in the morning UK time. I am fully awake for reasons explained in another blog; didn’t get up until 3.30 yesterday afternoon! Feeling very alert, hence this third blog. Maybe if you are awake at 3 am with me, you could read Ephesians 4 from verse 30 onwards, or even borrow and use my prayer  before Sunday progresses any further if you think it would help…

…If  you are in another time zone, of course you are still allowed to do the same, just send your best ministry gift to…..lol as the cool young texting and  bible app generation say these days. Embarassed to say that it  took me several years of simmering annoyance to work out what they meant by that; and anyway,why could they not just say that; and why does everything need abbreviated… and why do they have to wear jeans ripped at the knees that seem fit only for painting or decorating in, or garden work or scraping limpets and seaweed off the hull of a boat or cleaning rusty things with metholated spirits… or let’s face it jeans that are actually fit only for the bin (of the right colour and put out on the right day of course)…and why does the angle of their hand and  each finger need to be have to be the way it seems to have to be when they raise their hands in worship, angles and shapes that I cannot match, and why do worship leaders sound as though they are in pain, and do they actually want me to make out the words they are singing; must we play  “guess the words” as well as the  “guess  the flipping tune” game that has gone on for years now (I mean, have they never listened to  85 plus year old Tony Bennet for a few lessons in pronunciation and followable rhythm that makes people smile and actually want to sing along: good enough for Lady Gaga…)  and what is wrong witht the old hymns anyway that they are all but outlawed now,  and when will we be allowed to sing an unaccompanied pslam ( don’t they know the psalms are Scottish), and  why do folk need to drink coffee during a church service, and while I am at it I wish people would stop doing that thing, you know what I mean, that thing,  that  thing that is SO annoying… ??!! Drat, wait a minute: “Father, I confess this is wrong. That is all I……………Fill me afresh or I will always be like this.” Still need that prayer; maybe I always will.

God bless you with His help and lead you into His peace. May He give you rest from you.

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

God speaks…so does the devil…so do we…

A wee bit more on a previous blog  from a while back regarding discernment of spirits:

It seems to be the case that one of the uses of that gift is knowing the source from which someone is speaking; are they saying something that comes from God, that comes from themsleves or that comes from the evil one? It is a useful gift to have in any setting, including church meetings, Kirk Session meetings etc.

Let me share an example. Last night we were at a magnificent evening in Holy Trinity Church, Wester Hailes, to mark the moving to a new “job” the Youth minister, Rev. Ollie Clegg. It was a wonderful evening. The fruit of his ministry was so rightly honoured. It will be hard to imagine Holy Trinity without Ollie, who has ministered there for 17 years; it will be equally hard to imagine H.T. without his wonderful wife Laura, who has been part of the congregation since her birth and has contributed so much to its life in many different ways.

Part of the joy of the evening for me was meeting up with the H.T. people again including former members of the ministry team. At one point I was talking to Rev. Mike Dawson the former Associate minister: a humble and true man of God. He was asking me how our house move had gone. I told him that it was really remarkable in that we had had virtually no snagging – in stark contrast to many people’s experience of moving into a new build house, including our own past expereince. Mike said quite simply “That is exactly what Penny and I were praying for.” At that point this gift of discernment of spirits kicked in. I cannot turn it on and I cannot turn it off; it just happens! What do I mean? Well there was a blaze of physically felt anointing of the Spirit of God upon me which I have recognised is God saying to me, “Listen to what you are being told right at this moment; what is being said here is from me, and I am bearing witness to it.” I shared what I had experienced with Mike. I wanted him to know that that freedom from snagging was indeed the result of God in His compassion moving Penny and Mike (and, I know, others as well) to pray for that very issue. It was not just a good and obvious human idea; it was a real God thing: they had heard from Him, obeyed, prayed and God had worked. He intended that to be our experience, espeically given the state of our health: He had given people the joy of being part of that intention through their praying. (Actually I felt the discernment of spirits again as I wrote that sentence!)

Sometimes the gift works in the same but opposite way. At times before someone speaks to me, or within the first few words, I feel the gift beginning to work. A person may be telling me something that has happened to them or something that they are thinking; as they do so the Spirit bears witness that what is being said is not just not God; neither is it just human; it is demonic in its source and is either the cause of someone’s suffering or a lie intended to bring suffering to me and/or others.

I find that most of what people say is simply from people; it is coming from the people themselves. It is the result of them using God given thought processes, reasoning, emotional intelligence, logic, awarness, intuition etc. which may indeed be being aided by the Spirit of God.  As such it is to be honoured as being human beings speaking from how God has made us. It is no to be despised or treated with disinterest or ignored. It may be all of these capacities are not what they could be, because of the fall, but their not being what they could be does not mean we don’t listen to what is the result of these God given and at times Spirit aided human processes. Most bible teaching and preaching falls into this cateogry; that is why sincere and godly people can disagree on an interpretation of a given Scripture; they are using what God has given them along with a trust in the Holy Spirit to understand and proclaim; but it is not a process in which our human falleness and limitations are inert.

In Christian books the same sort of mixture happens. I find most Christian books come in that mixed way, which is not to insult them, but to set them where they belong; only Scripture has the status of God breathed. In many, though not all books, I usually come across a line or two at most where the gift of discernment kicks in to say whether the words I am reading at that moment are “human” “from God” or even “from the evil one.” Actually I consider a book to be worth the money if there is even one such moment! Even in the longest of books , for me it is rare for there to be more than 2 or 3 such moments, though the whole book may be worthwhile. At times I have picked up books which are highly recommended as being prophetic for our day, and have to close them and set them aside because as I have read the first page, or even before I have opened the book at all, the Spirit of God has witnessed to me that this book is less than human; its central theme comes from the evil one, even if the person writing it is called Rev. or Revd. Professor… and no, I will not give you a list; do your own seeking and learning to listen, you lazy so and so!

Some books hailed as being by theologians for our time that today’s church “needs to listen to” deny the divinity of Christ or the saving efficacy of Christ’s death, or his Physical resurrection, or His coming again to judge the living and the dead, or deny the one holy, universal and Apostolic Church.  Leave such books aside; it may be a fascinating intellectual exercise to read them, but try and put that intellectual pride aside. The spirit of Anti-Christ is very real: why step deliberately into Anti-Christ territory? If you get a warning  nudge from the Holy Spirit about a book you are thinking of reading or buying, just leave it aside. In understanding the things of God and the truth of God we are to  grow into being adult men and women. In evil we are to be as tiny babies knowing little; curiosity has killed more than the cat. By the way, the same goes with T.V. programmes. If you get a nudge of warning about a programme you thought of watching, don’t watch it, even if you don’t know fully why you should not watch it and even if God never tells you; that is part of humility; be willing to be thought simplistic or naive. If being thought of as otherwise involves grieving the Spirit, it is not worth it, believe me.  Giving a reason for the hope that is in us is nothing to do with proving the reasonableness of our faith  in an intellectual way, which seems to be a bit of a rising fad at the moment; it is everything to do with bearing witness to a living Christ by word, life and indeed sign and wonder even if as at the start with the fist believers  what we are saying is ridiculed by many and we are regarded with disdain or even sneered at as the scum of the earth.

However, back on track…I pray that you will know when something being said has its source directly in the Living God ,who is the God who speaks. This is what distinguishes Him from idols; according to the Scriptures they have mouths but cannot speak. I pray too that you will begin to discern when something that is being spoken is more than human or  less than human in the other direction; the devil speaks as well; he is the father of lies: you have every right to ignore the lies of the evil one no matter who is speaking them; give what is being said on such occasions no space in your head or heart; you have every right to ignore such things completely.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to be a strange mix of divine sovereignty and earnestness of desire to seek them. If you think this would be a gift that would help you to build up your fellow believers, perhaps you are meant to seek it….earnestly….

Perhaps too, if you are a preacher or teacher, and find yourself regularly seeking to bless God’s people through such a ministry, you could do with seeking this gift. I find that as God blesses my study, my understanding, my prayers with His help to preach or write, there can be moments where I know God is saying very specifically, “This is of me.” At such moments in days when I was preaching more regularly,  I would leave a pause. I may even say something like, “I think God really wants someone to hear that very personally and specifically right now. He brought you here  today to hear that sentence.” Ian, the new senior pastor at Holy Trinity , Wester Hailes, is really good at pausing for such moments when he is preaching or praying. My much-loved former congregation is in wonderful anointed hands!

Sometimes people see speech quickening in pace and getting louder , and sweat requiring to be mopped from the brow as  a sign that something is of the Spirit. I am sure that at times that may be the case – though in Scotland and in Scottish churches, even the most anointed of preachers would at the most feel less chilled to the bone rather than overcome with perspiration unless the chuch is packed out, the pulpit is high, heat rises  and ventilation is poor! I am equally sure of this however: in myself, the witness  and the anointing of the Spirit in the form of discernment often makes me go quieter, and slow down even more so than my normally slow speaking rate: I could almost go to sleep,  (ohters may well have done!) I feel so sure and relaxed in God’s presence and help.  I would have to work up a sweat to increase my word per minute average at such moments. It would be an uphill struggle. Somehow that fits more with my nature or personality.  I know it is “imagination,” but for me rather than speeding up and getting more forceful and insistent in case folk don’t get what I am trying to say, I feel as though my spiritual pulse and heartbeat have slowed down to a very steady beat.  I am just sharing this with you in case you feel that the anointing of the Spirit must look like someone you have perhaps seen in preachers or ministries that you consider anointed and draw the conclusion that is what it is meant to look like for you; my experience is not a law for you nor is anyone’s; we are all different: as someone said to Brennan Manning, “Be yourself, because if you is who you ain’t, you ain’t who you is.”

By the way, just to be sure that you do not get the wrong end of the stick: 98% plus of what I preach or write is the Spirit helping a faulty me. Some folk want me to write a book, (alhtough come to think of it that may be a euphamism and a gentle way of saying, “Your blogs can be very long!”)  but I would have to feel easy about that statistic which I think would be fact for me should I pick up the pen one day. I night never be at ease with it. There is much God aided humanness around in Christian bookshops. Does it really need added to by me? At the moment, I am thinking “no.” Anyway, what I once thought of writing a book about would hold little interest for me now. What interests me now, might not be of interest to anyone else. Whenever you listen to one of my sermons on-line, or read these blogs, you would be wise to sift it; humbly I ask you to  make sure you try and get all the good nourishment out of that 98% that God intends you to be blessed by. There may though be a remaining 1 or 2% which requires more careful discernment as to its  immediate and prime source and therefore also more careful discernment and enquiry as to an appropriate response depending on what spirit (Spirit or spirit) you believe  God has shown you is at work.  I would give the same statistics and the same advice no matter what preacher or writer was under consideration.

As I used to say in preaching, “and finally, finally…;” sometimes the gift of discernment of spirits will operate as you yourself are thinking a thought about yourself, or even speaking a thought out loud to yourself about yourself or your situation. Today was not a good day health wise or energy wise for me. At about 12 o’clock , mid-day, I thought of getting up despite feeling extremely weak. I said to myself, “It is alright to rest.” I felt the gift of discernment operating and didn’t get up until 3.30…. I am much the better for it…. without that rest this particular blog would not have come to be.

…and, finally, finally, finally…. Discernment of spirits, (what  “spirit” is operating here, Lord? The Holy Spirit, the human spirit or an evil spirit? A mixture?) is a useful gift in Charismatic circles. I hate to sound like a “know it all” or an “expert”. I don’t regard myself as either; those who know me know that; those who don’t know me don’t know me. However I have been a believer for over 45 years and charismatic in belief and experience for most though not all of that time (though never as much as some folk think I am nor as much as I want to be).  Embarassing for a Charismatic to say so, I will say it: the statistics mentioned above seem to be about the same when it comes to “prophecy” or testimony to claimed experiences of the Spiritin Charismatic circles.The majority are well meaning, basically Spirit aided human experiences or utterances  and not without genuineness and integrity containing some truth or blessing. It often does not go far beyond that. Don’t be deceived: the more obviously a person shakes or swoons, shouts out in their own language or a language given by the Spirit, cries, wails, roars  or whatever is no indicator that the Spirit of God is more truly at work than if these things are happening in a milder fashion or not happening at all.  We need true jdgement about situations rather than going by what our eyes see or our ears hear even in the atmosphere of a Christian meeting or conference. Christ had and has this and can give the same to us by the Holy Spirit. Discernment of spirits is much needed in every Christian circle, perhpas most of all in those circles that claim to beleive that such a gift is one the Holy Spirit still gives to the church.

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

For you?

OK…very short blog.

I think the Holy Spirit is saying to some who read this blog, “I can give you the courage today to say, ‘I was wrong,’ .”

I guess I would have thought that “humility’ rather than courage is what is needed to admit we are in the wrong, but that was not what seemed to come to me today, rather there was this promise of courage. Perhaps there are some who are reading this who tremble at the idea of saying, “I was wrong.”  For one or more of a thousand possible reasons, some of them associated with deep memories and emotions, the tbought of saying  “I was wrong,” makes you feel terribly vulnerable and exposed. Well, in God, that is not only a safe place to be but a  blessed place  and a place of healing as well. If this is a word for you, I believe that God is promising fresh ripples of spreading joy to you as you take this step.

That’s  it for now…

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Thoughts on Sense and Spirit

I was reading not long ago of Thomas Merton’s thoughts as he watched an animal emerging out of hibernation. Merton thought the animal was emerging too early, that warmer weather had not truly come; indeed there was snow on the ground and snow falling. It turns out that the animal was right and Thomas Merton was wrong. Despite what Merton was truly observing, he drew a wrong conclusion about the seasons by observation alone. The animal going by something other than simple observation knew the times and the seasons.

Jesus seemed to know when spiritual seasons were changing. He looked at Jerusalem one day and realised mid-sentence a season had changed: “Would that today you knew the things that make for peace… BUT NOW, they are hid from you.”

If we are born again then we have a Kingdom of God awareness within us, for the Kingdom does not come by observation of outward natural signs, it is within. I am not sure how much teaching there is in the Christian Church to help people read Kingdom awareness within them. At times that Kingdom awareness will completely agree with what can be deduced by a non Christian trusting what their senses are observing. At times however, the witness of the Kingdom within will lead to thinking and action that differs from what a non born-again person without the Kingdom within them could know or choose to do according to their “light.” That does not mean we should despise observation and reason and logic. These are part of our God created humanness, and we should thank God for such things and make sure we are not so “spiritual” that we despise them. However at times the Kingdom within us which is not of this world will indeed tell us to do something  or give us an outlook that makes no logical sense whatsoever to someone not born of God.  Remember the cross is foolishness to the world, but to those who believe, well, we have received the revelation that it is the wisdom and the power of God. Flesh and blood did not reveal that to us. Without being born of God we cannot see the Kingdom, it is as simple as that. As God’s children, born from above of His Spirit, we should indeed “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.” We need to remember that “There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof is death.”

We need to listen for the witness of God’s peace concerning any conclusions or decisions. In saying all this, please remember that when God asks us to do something that defies common sense and we are sure He is in it, that is one thing; to take a step off a cliff when God has not commanded us to do so, is quite a different matter….I think I want to pray for all of you who read this that you will know the difference, and save yourself from the torment of confusion and the taunting of the devil or our fellow believers who say “Where is your faith?” At times Jesus can say that to us, but remember the devil effectively said the same to Jesus; “Just jump, you know it says you will be rescued from harm.” “Oh God may we know the difference between Satan’s taunts and the challenge of our Saviour.”

I hate to say it, but much of the “challenge to greater faith” exhortations in those Charismatic circles which go beyond the bible as compared to Charismatic  circles where the bible is fully and faithfully honoured in its witness to the activity of the Spirit,  are actually “jump of the cliff ” taunts of Satan. Our Heavenly Father does not make a habit of goading His children and mocking their lack of compliance. I remember the ineffectiveness and the unsettling effect  of teachers at school who seemed to depend a lot on goading, cynicism or mockery in relating to those they were seeking to teach. Don’t feel pressured to oblige any preacher or teacher, when they seem to be exhorting you to do something against the peace of God within you. Don’t feel bad when you don’t blindly follow the blind (even if well-meaning and enthusiastic sounding)  guides, as though your faith has failed and you have been a coward. It probably hasn’t and you probably are not! Rather, God has perhaps saved you from presumption and the disaster it can lead to. He wants you to be a redeemed “you” not an obliging clone of a preacher or “teacher” who is frustrated with those they are exhorting or seeking to educate. Let God help them to face their own issues; complying  meekly with their every demand may stop that preacher or teacher from facing up to where they themselves need healing or even repentance… needs some preachers eventually face up to, to the relief and blessing of their congregation….but sadly, some never do and continue to weary and to blame the flock….

… back on the main track now! To be honest I distrust both terribly sensible Christians on the one hand and on the other hand, those who seem to continually challenge common sense as though it was a bad and untrustworthy thing. It is trustworthy, though not always or finally.

I started with Thomas Merton – not the most often advised reading by evangelicals or charismatics, I know, and even to a genuine certain extent understand: I want  to end with another of his thoughts. He says somewhere or other that our mission is “to feel the Spring.” In the context of today’s blog at least, I sort of like that. The Kingdom within knows that in the overall sense, the Kingdom season has been the same since Christ cried, “Finished” and “death could not hold its prey.” On one level the Kingdom within tells us it is always deeply, eternally, unshakeably  advancing Spring which winter can never challenge again…though of course there is  day and night, sun and rain, there are bright days and dark days, warmth and colder times,  even in Spring…

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

ICHABOD!

I was so blessed the other day through talking with a man I had never met before. Somehow my attention was drawn to him as he drank his coffee. I sat near him and began speaking to him as I drank my coffee. The conversation seemed to be surprisingly easy. Within less than two minutes he shared with me that he had mental health issues. Within five minutes he shared that these issues had got much worse when his mother passed away. Within two minutes more he told me he had seen a banner outside his local church inviting him in, so he had gone in. He found Christ. I am remembering as I write some of the phrases he used: “I am a changed person…My life is completely different from what it was… I have been born again, yes, that is what happened to me. I can hold my head up high walking down the street now…”

The simplicity of it all refreshed me… a banner outside a church that spoke of a welcome… finding Christ…life changed! We seem to be living in an age when the church itself is full of self doubt about its effectiveness, an age in which there is a mantra of cynicism about traditional ways and approaches to mission which we have to repeat (often to the hurt of those who found life in the things we mock and still do). Yet here was a man who saw a banner outside his local parish church, went in and was welcomed, entered the Kingdom of God and received eternal life which has begun now in him and will never end. Furthermore life is spreading through him. His granddaughter is now really excited to come along to church with him; he tells her to remember every day that Jesus loves her; in fact I heard 11 children are now going to that same church; not so long ago there were no children attending.

His testimony and hearing about his church fellowship refreshed me. I thought I was sitting down next to him to help him in some way, but I was the one who was blessed. I thank God for humble churches up and down the land in all sorts of places who faithfully bear witness in what might be looked upon as old fashioned ways, in whose vocabulary whom the word “missional” does not appear. They might not be thought to be at the cutting edge, they may even be mocked by those of us who have tasted and swallowed the devil’s delicious morsel  that  we are the people who are at the cutting edge (whatever that means!) The demise of local churches has been predicted since I sat in a church as a child before I was converted, but they are still there, opening their doors, putting up banners that offer welcome and help, doing good and caring in simple non dramatic ways.

I remember when the Toronto Blessing broke out in our congregation, St. Peter’s and St. Andrews in Thurso. In the congregation that night was a minister who summoned me to stand before his desk in great concern the next day as though I was a naughty schoolboy being called before a headmaster! He announced to me that having been in the service last night with his wife, they had agreed together on the way home that the Holy Spirit had left St. Peter’s and St. Andrews! Well, I believe that God alone saves. In that meeting that night God saved someone. He also delivered someone and met a horrendously abused person with consoling love, and began to deliver someone from involvement in the occult who had never been in the church before.

Tonight I praise God for the churches in Scotland, whatever their shape, size, type, worship style where God is still doing what only God can do; bringing people to a place where they know they are new creations in Christ Jesus. Let’s not be so quick to announce with authority, “God has left the building…Ichabod.” (See 1 Samuel 4:21.) Remember too when wood that is dried out catches fire, it burns really well! In faith and in the fear of God who listens and notes how we speak about our brothers and sisters in Christ, instead of being frustrated by dry wood and throwing it on the junk heap as useless and unfit for purpose, is it time to pray for it; perhaps even to pray for a particular church? God is sovereign. When the fire of true revival falls it usually causes offence because it begins in a place that many Christians would pronounce dry or dead. It often begins in out of the way places that makes many people scratch their heads and ask, “Why on earth did revival begin there? If I was God, I would have poured out the Spirit on…” Is there a church near you that you have dismissed as dead?

God bless you… and your congregation….and the church down the road over which you, not God, have said, presumed or thought, “Ichabod.”

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Still a child…

I don’t fully understand the operation of the gift of “discernment of spirits.” I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit in the early 80’s which resulted in that gift being given without being asked for. It has remained ever since. One thing I know is that its operation depends on me being not childish, but child-like and willing to be taught by the Spirit. So so often, sadly, we bring what we have previously learned to bear upon a current situation and interpret what is going on according to our knowledge up until that point in time. When we do that, we are likely to draw conclusions more from what we know than from what The Spirit of God within us wants to help us see, hear, or understand in that precise moment and circumstance. Knowledge puffs up and can make me seem an expert; the love of God builds up by revealing true insight which only God can give by the immediate witness of His Spirit.

I have made the above mistake pastorally on occasion. I have brought what I know about a roughly similar situation to bear upon a fresh situation, rather than observing and listening afresh. Of course there is nothing wrong with using knowledge and what God has helped us to learn in the past, but when it stops us listening and being fully aware in the present we may miss what actually “is.” When people looked at Jesus with what they “knew” in the gospels, they missed what was actually there. The centurion did not have the Scriptural knowledge of the Jews, or the Jewish leadership, but he saw what was actually there: that this man Jesus truly was the Son of God, or as a pagan might say before knowledge is added to revelation, this man was a son of the gods.

I am honestly not sure if a gift can be imparted by a blog, nor am I fully convinced of the fact that gifts can be learned without being given by God. In fact though I believe in impartation, the proof it has happened is that it has happened, not that we have attended a conference and been told something has been imparted, despite there being no evidence of it. At times I know I have imparted this gift to others,at other times I have not, which has been an embarrassing not always private experience leading to the good fruit of humility. I have to say though, that the gift of discernment of spirits is not one I come across often in the body of Christ, and yet I am convinced it is a gift that God has poured out upon His Church. I wonder if that gift is waiting to spring into action within you? Perhaps the gift is lying there, unopened….

Here is my suggestion. Thank God for all he has taught you about spiritual life and truth as it is found in Christ. Don’t forget it. However from that basis, be prepared to meet the God who creates out of nothing. There is an emptying of our minds that is dangerous and wrong and is almost an invitation to any spirit around to flood in to the vacuum we create; this is the great danger of some forms of Eastern Mysticism. However, there is a Christian equivalent: remember the occult is a counterfeit of the true. So, pray to the Father, through the Son; tell Him you want to be taught of God; Lift the situation or circumstance you are in, or the person you are speaking with or about to speak with to Him, and offer Him your spirit, soul and body to hear, see and receive what God wants you to see, hear or know.

I guess this is Course 101 type of advice… maybe I will give you some more sometime…it may help me myself to think things through further…

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Is this a word for you…right now”

From time to time I get a sense that I have to give a prophetic word rather than a teaching word. That feeling has been hanging around me most of the day, so here goes…

I feel the Lord may want to say this to some of you who read this blog:

“Don’t rush to that person to say what is on your mind and get something off your chest. If you do, you may feel better, even happier, but receive this warning: the relationship will be destroyed and there are no guarantees it will recover. The truthfulness of what you may feel you have to say is not sufficient reason to go ahead and say it.”

If this speaks into your situation today, please heed it. The sad thing is though that I think the Lord warned me that some for whom this word may be for will feel the potential glee of going ahead and saying whatever you feel you want to say… and you will do. There are few things more certain to cause shipwreck in spiritual life than an unteachable spirit which at times rears forward like a horse longing to run, or at times is as stubborn as a mule. In further humble effort to help you hear the Word of the Lord, I would ask you to think of the words of Psalm 32:9;

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

God Bless

Kenny

Don’t bite the bait!

A friend on Facebook posted a few quotes from Winston Churchill, including this one: “You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.” Great quote! Who or what do you not need to respond to today? What anger or madness or insult or distraction coming from another person or situation should you refuse to dignify by attention or conversation? Satan may have  dangled some bait before you today or may do so soon. Don’t bite the bait! By the way if you are a leader, choose what you go to the stake over. The book of Nehemiah reminds us not to get distracted from what God is asking us to build at any given moment… don’t fight needless battles…

God bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Who is telling you to do this?

Well, we have now moved house…Morag has been through surgery….Christmas and new Year are past…and only now do I find I have the energy to get back to blogging. Things take longer and take more out of me and to get over with my breathing problems than at times I realise or make allowance for. The thing is, that is actually ok…so why  do I feel it is not? I guess the “Accuser of the brethren” and of the sisters too,  is as deadly alive and as unwell as ever.

So early on in 2017, but later than I had hoped, I want to ask you a question: What voices do you need to stop listening to, once and for all, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who died and was raised once and for all? I realise now that some of the pastoral advice I have given in the past was based on feeling well rather than upon the Wisdom and Word of God. It came from my experience of  a very happy, stable, loving and encouraging background and of good health, physically, spiritually and mentally: it did not always come from the heart or mind of God towards some person or situation, though it was well meant. For example: I have generally told people to hold their ground in situations that are spiritually discouraging. I think I picked up in the past that was the only right thing to do. It was almost an evangelical law: and you know what? Surrounded by encouragement and in possession of good health and support, it is within reach to do that. The trouble is that not everyone is blessed with such realities. Remember, in this New Year,  that Your Father in Heaven cares about you: He cares about the welfare of those who live above all things for Him and who serve Him. I am not wanting to direct you towards a change or a transition, but a “chance” encounter with someone I met yesterday makes me feel that perhaps there are a few valiant  but tired souls who need to be given permission to move….to move out of a difficult  relational, work or church situation. Not directing… but just giving you permission to rethink some religious but not necessarily biblical laws and rules about the right thing to do….

Thing is… I am sure  I was meant to learn this years ago…. perhaps if I had  I might not be in the state  I am in now and might have been more help to some people who I have not been able to help very much… ? Don’t know….Lord have mercy…. So, partly from personal experience, partly from knowing God in Christ better than I once did, please consider what I am saying to you in the love and the Name of Christ….It may preserve your life and health, your joy and wellbeing, your days on earth, your days with your loved ones and least important of all, prolong your days of active ministry….

God bless

Kenny

P.S: thanks for all Facebook Messages over the Festive Season from many who love us faithfully; please don’t take lack of response as lack of appreciation; it  is genuinely an energy issue in a way that I don’t fully understand and have still to fully accept. Some days the slightest extra thing seems beyond reach. Will get back to you a.s.a.p. which may mean a wee while yet!  Much love, dear friends. Kenny

Learning…

God’s Word is never wrong. His Spirit is never wrong. The trouble can be with our hearing, but more often than not, it is with our trusting, or our obeying. Most of us hear  God better than we think we do, but trusting what we hear, obeying it? Mmm… “Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and Obey.

Has your  trust or obedience wavered this day? My trust wavered today despite a promise from God. I don’t like that it wavered, but it did.  I don’t think it failed, but “waver?” Yes, definitely, the cap fits, so I am wearing it and trying to learn from it.  If, as is sometimes taught, we just believe that Christ laughs when we get it wrong and congratulates us for trying anyway, then not only are we ignorant of the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the way He disciples people, but we dismiss the teacher that experience can become to us in the hands of Christ. All I can say is that the good thing I needed to happen, that God promised would happen, that my trust began to waver over, well, guess what it happened, even if it was all a bit last minute-ish. He really does bless us way beyond all that we could ask or think possible. Remember that.

I am so glad the prayer is there in the bible: “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” Here is the wonderful thing… He does. Not sure that I did very well with the faith and trust thing today, but at least I know it, acknowledge it… and just as truly as I heard a word that all would be well,  I am just as clearly not hearing a word of condemnation. Rather there is a gracious presence around me, the presence of Christ. Somehow with His help I look forward to faith being steadier when it needs to be, next time round. Remember that Jesus is “Teacher”: it is a teacher’s calling to get someone from A to B; a skillful teacher puts in the necessary steps on the journey for the student or pupil and helps them learn from their mistakes. The mistake that bible teaching ministries can make, and don’t seem to learn from in time to rescue the relationship between themselves and their congregation,  is that the “Teacher” stands on the platform or in the pulpit or at the lectern calling everyone to move over to embrace whatever it is that they are teaching without putting in the stepping stones of the journey that show an understanding of humanity. That is an unwise teacher, in fact whatever that is, it is not being a teacher at all. Jesus is referred to in the bible as “Good Teacher.” I know that is probably meaning some sort of moral commendation, it may also have been said on occasions in an insincere way, but do you think Jesus has a bad teaching technique? Of course not.

Only a  foolish teacher would bypass the opportunities offered when someone gets it wrong as though mistakes did not matter and could be laughed off; that would be neither kindness, nor grace, it would just be folly. It is a misrepresentation of the Son of God; indeed it is a misrepresentation of the Father and the way He relates to His children; it is a misrepresentation of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the way He teaches God’s children. God is kind and good; He is not harsh when disciplining His children and helping us to learn, but He is not an idiot either. It is the Kingdom of God we are to live in, not Disneyland. There is Discipline and sometimes it is painful; however when God disciplines us, not harshly but at times painfully, it proves He regards us as His children, as belonging to Him. At times there are hard lessons to learn. Mistakes need not be fatal spiritually, though they can be; the idea though is that we are children who learn from our mistakes with the help of a loving and good Father and a loving and good Teacher  and indeed help others to learn from out mistakes too, so that that coming generations of Christ’s people don’t need to re-invent the wheel, as it were.

Oh yes, I should also say am so grateful for all of you who perhaps  felt led by God’s Spirit to pray for me today. Somehow I know those prayers were part of the good thing happening. It is good to be part of a body, in fact it is wonderful!

So how did I do today? Mmh, not sure. However:

1 – I come to the end of today thankful to a God of grace, having learned  once again that He really does speak to us by His Word and His Spirit and we can stake everything upon His promises to us; I find myself wanting to respond to that more fully than I did today; it would not only honour God if I did, but it would save me from needless stress;

2 – I come to the end of today, sensing anew that Jesus is the best of teachers;

3 – I also come to the end of the day thinking that one of the worst things in the realm of human experience is having no one who prays for you…

Have you learned from your “today”?

God Bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

 

Beginning to get excited…

C. G.  Jung has written many things that perhaps would not sit easily with bible believing Christians. However, I have to say that there are one or two things I have read over the years attributed to him that have brought the life and help of God to the deepest places in my humanness.

I have been sharing with you over these last few months something of the journey into the new phase of life that I now find myself in, which is becoming easier for me now to genuinely enjoy and thank God for. Ostensibly it is because of illness that this new phase has happened. However I refuse to give illness the glory. It is God in his goodness that is in charge of all my days – and your days too –  and in that I rejoice.

There have been darker moments in this story of readjustment which is now progressing well. I found a little book by Joyce Rupp very helpful. She is from the Catholic tradition. I have found that tradition very helpful in recent times. It is not they have changed my Protestant theology but sometimes Protestant theology is not so good at connecting the truth it has taught us to treasure with the experience of humanness, or at least that has been my experience. At times indeed it can be so self consciously a defender of itself that it can be a bit militant and insensitive to human need, looking at all questioning or doubting as an assault. For that reason, I have found myself seeking refuge and finding life in writers that I would previously not really have bothered looking at. Anyway, in her helpful little book, “Little Pieces of Light: Darkness and Personal growth,” Joyce Rupp quotes C. G. Jung. It is a quote that is now added to the 2 or 3 other helpful quotes from Jung that are stored in my memory from somewhere or other that have been helpful to me personally and in my pastoral ministry over the years: I quote this by kind permission of the publisher, Paulist Press:

Resurrection occurs only after the tomb encloses a resident. Psychologist C.G. Jung indicates the tomb or cave as the place where “a person goes when there is a great work to be accomplished, an effort from which one recoils.” Renewal whether of the earth or the human heart, contains its own “Holy Saturday” when the darkness smells of death and shows no evidence of movement. Yet, unseen during this period, life stirs, moves, and changes into something surprising.(Page 28).”

I found these words helpful. Our “cave” or “tomb” experiences can mean the beginning of something new, after something or even someone in our life has passed away. I suspect that we all know that, but it is the emphasis that Jung places on the cave experience, or I guess you could say the desert experience, as being where we go “when there is a great work to be done.”

Perhaps like myself, some aspects of ministry are not open to you as they once were. Can you believe that the best may be yet to be in your life?  I hope you believe that your contribution to the Kingdom of God and indeed to life in general is really vital, unique and needed. It is important to mourn to acknowledge a sense of loss when we are carrying it, but never forget that ours is a resurrection faith. When you think you will be stuck forever in mourning, remember that. Who knows what good things from a good God are still to come? I am believing that my best days are still to be. It may be a less “public” life, but that suits me fine, in fact it suits me, my inner DNA as it were, really, really well!  I think this phase of life is a gift of God’s goodness to me and indeed to Morag. God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

God bless

Kenny

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/scotland

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Think of these things…

This is a verse I mentioned only a blog or two ago, but it will not go away from the forefront of my mind. I urge you to think and meditate upon these words, and as you do may the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me…” Psalm138 verse 8

God Bless

Kenny

And Jesus said to Peter, “What is that to you?”

(Put this on Facebook earlier today but I know there are a lot of you get my blogs in other ways… so here it is!)

Had the roof down in the MX5 yesterday. I am not a poser… how else can you get 2 x 6 foot curtain poles home. Remember that when you are at church today… you may look at someone and be putting together an entirely wrong story…. As for me, well church is out for this morning at least, and looking increasingly unlikely for this evening too. Today my body is telling me what those who love me most tried to tell me in one way or another yesterday but I didn’t heed, “You did too much today.” In my dreams 2 nights ago, a voice said,”Take heed.” In my dreams in the early hours of this morning, a voice said, “Are you deaf?” If only we learned to read our own story instead of misreading others’ stories….

God Bless

Kenny

It may be the steroids but I seem to be on a bit of a roll, so here’s another blog…

Just another thought: “Creative” has become a sort of in word for Christians and Churches in the UK and probably in other Western Cultures too, who give off an air of self belief that they are going somwhere, but personally, I believe from Scripture we are overdoing the “Creative” thing a bit, not only in terms of exaggerating its potential impact, but more fundamentally in this sense: in the bible only God is said to create.

The thing is when God creates He makes things very obvious – like his power and deity; you don’t need to be arty to work it all out. When we get creative what we end up doing is as likely to veil as to reveal and make things obvious. He seems quite childlike, happy to paint stars and trees and daisies, and to paint them again and again, and never get bored. We tend to create things that need a lot of explanation: “This painting is really about the conflicts that there are in the existential experience of the eschatological tension we all carry in our own being,”  sort of thing.

God is simple. He is perfectly well and sane. God’s creativity comes from wholeness with no axe to grind or point to make. Ours often comes from brokenness and can be a mixed blessing: some poems and songs  or paintings and drama come from very dark places indeed and for all their honesty can drive the listener  or the watcher into  very disturbed and dark places too. I have met someone who was demonised through watching a creative fantasy film – by the grace of God, she was set free. I write poems from time to time… not all of them would bless others. Some I would never read out loud to anyone….not because they are untrue but just because they wouldn’t really help… that is maybe the subject for another blog: just because something is honest or true does it mean it should be said and shared? Sometimes we need to be careful about what things we make that we choose to  bring out and share… what may be healing for me might depress or confuse others. Many “creative” types have a ministry in confusion, God love them and bless them! I am very confused by about a quarter of modern worship songs, both by their grammar, and by the fact that song writers seem to believe we  all simply love words that have to do double backflips and a few sideward rolls to  fit the tune…We apparently all love to sing in another accent other than our own: “intimut” rather than “intimate” is what  even those of us north of the border in the UK seem to have  to want God to be with us for quite a few years now…and we are all “gonna” do things (which at least has the saving merit of sounding as though it is vaguely and distantly related to slang Glaswegian), instead of announcing what we are “going to” do or become for Christ and the Kingdom.. AND WHILE I AM AT IT….WHO  IN SCOTLAND WOULD EVER CALL GOD “POPPA”?  We wouldn’t even call our earthly fathers “Poppa” because it isn’t a word we use in Scotland. If we did, we would get told to put aside our fancy talk, though we would be told so to do  in a less than fancy way. I wouldn’t expect American Christians to call God “Faither!”

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “create” is reserved for God Himself, God alone. The rest of us according to the language of the bible simply make or do… we make with what He creates… humbling…. but then again we seem to be blurring the distinction between us and God in general. The popular teaching nowadays in renewal circles is that Jesus did the miracles as a man and not as God, so we can do them too… true and false at the same time. In the bible we are encouraged to do the works Christ did, but His miracles are also recorded as signs of His absolute Uniqueness as The Only begotten Son of God, a proof of his divinity….so that believing in Him, we might find life in His Name. Half-hearing is quite dangerous; you are more likely to get knocked down wherever you are trying to get to, albeit you are stepping out with good intention and nobility of motivation and purpose….

God bless you, especially all you who are the “making things” type: not as grand a word as “creative” but still pretty awesome… we need you…  we really do….

Kenny

Pushing things a bit further…?

Just to push the Charismatic boat a bit further out for you to think about. I referred in my last blog to supernatural fragrance. A good friend told me that one of the signs of epilepsy is that you can smell fragrances that are not there. Well, he was not dismissive at all of the claims I made, and has himself had many wonderful experiences of God and blesses me often with what he is learning about God in what is for him a difficult time… but maybe you are trying to find a rational explanation for what I wrote about?

All I know is that the fragrance at CLAN filled the whole building and was noticed and delighted in by thousands of people. Mass hypnosis? Well I guess some people have tried that argument with the five hundred who saw the risen Lord at the one time. What was particualrly beautiful was that some baby Christians from my own congregation, at that  time , St. Peter’s and St.Andrew’s in Thurso, ended up with their shirts drenched in fragrant oil. There was so much there was a pool on the floor around them. The lovley thing was they just presumed that this was the sort of thing that happened to you once you became a Christian. Oh for a generation of born again people who have not been told “God doesn’t do this, doesnt do that!”

FEAR OF FALSE OR COUNTERFEIT FIRE CAN MAKE US SETTLE FOR NO FIRE AT ALL.  IT CAN MAKE US SPEAK AGAINST THE REAL FIRE AND TAKE US PERILOUSLY CLOSE TO THE TERRITORY OF BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT… by the way, “Charismatics” are just as likely to tread this ground as anyone else… so much rivalry, so many movements speaking against other movements, writers speaking against other writers etc. Hope you are not frowning as you read this. Do you find it hard to believe that God can do beautiful things just because He wants to and that He can  call into being things that are not? God making copious amounts of oil seems quite biblical to me…and I don’t see why He would choose to make it to smell rancid…

Oh by the way I had a conatiner full of the oil: It is all used up now. It had no particular powers that it added to ordinary prayer; it would have been easy to assume it would have  had such powers and for superstitions to develop around it perhaps to counter the question, “What was the point of it?”   There are a lot of pointless daisies in the world.  Our God is the Lord of hosts, which basically just means “many.”  We really don’t need as many stars. We could even do with less music, colour etc. I guess God likes daisies, stars and colours a lot – he makes hosts of them.  Maybe He even likes the daisies you hate in your lawn! Why should God only make useful things? Can’t  He make something that has no other purpose but to be beautiful and make us smile?  Oil can be both useful and beautiful. In this case, it simply was beautiful…. oh yes, there was a fleck or two of gold in it as well which was quite curious…I know that one day, face to face, “We shall see the King, IN HIS BEAUTY!”

God Bless

Kenny