It takes no faith for me to testify to this…I have seen it..blessed are you if you have not seen it yet, but dare to believe…

Let’s”s go after the “impossible without God”, not the fanciful…

For some that may be aiming for raising the dead. For others it may mean aiming  to get out of bed tomorrow morning…

For you it may be believing you can be happy again after loss…

For some it may be believing for huge financial blessing on a humanly impossible to undertake Kingdom venture. For others it may mean tithing the little you have believing God will fulfill His promises of provision, or believing there will be food on the table come Monday morning and throughout the school holidays.

Who is to say what great faith looks like? We are all at different places and have had different starting points…

But, go after something that you know you can’t do without God. That was where I  ministered, pastored, spoke at retreats for ministers and leaders from; it is where I faced opposition from, spoke at conferences small and gigantic in many places in the world from, faced financial difficulty and family distresses from; preached week by week to precious congregations from and led from for decades….none of it came naturally to me by temperament, personality or gifting. God is faithful. 

That is my joyful, amazement filled testimony to you tonight!  Go for it!

God bless

Kenny

Some detective work…

Was reading the story of Elijah today. He had a zeal for the honour of the Lord God. He knew the power of the Spirit giving him great courage to go where many would have feared to tread.  He knew what it was to be given amazing physical strength. Yet there was something that proved to be a burden heavier than contest with the occult and more exhausting than running a marathon. It was a weight that afflicts many servants of God and may be afflicting you right now. 

I will leave you to work out what it was and why it happened. I feel a blog or two coming on but it’s usually best to do our own thinking and discovery. Find the story and read it in 1st Kings if you care to. See if you notice what I am referring to…

Of course, right now it is Friday night. Perhaps you just need to rest and have something nice to eat and a good sleep. Even Elijah, the most austere and fiery of prophets needed to do that. But the need for food and rest is not the answer to the riddle, though the thoughts that crushed Elijah may have flown into his head on the wings of such very ordinary things as exhaustion and hunger. As Hugh Black used to say, “Mark well, the devil often comes in on the wing of the ordinary,”  the very unspectacular, the non supernatural and the apparently non sinister.

God bless

Kenny

P.S. Sorry for the odd changes in font size. That is a mysyery I have not managed to solve!

“Would that all God’s people were prophets!”

So said Moses.

The relationship netween prophets and society  in general and national leadership in particular was often very tense in the Old Testament. It often still is…

The pre-election scrambling, here in the U.K. to say something positive about Jesus/Christianity by leading political figures from every political hue is shown by the demand/concession re abortion in the last few days to have been a sham.

I hope as believers we will always be prepared to say the party we support or voted for have got it wrong. Sometimes it seems from Facebook that some Christians can see no wrong in the party they or their family have historically voted for and at the same time never concede when another party is speaking at least a bit more in line with Kingdom of God values espoused by Jesus, about any given issue.

Power or Jesus is a choice all of us will probably have to make at various decision points in our life story. Perhaps for you or for myself  that choice may present itself today. Let’s pray for one another the strength to make the right choice. The lure of power and influence even within church circles is strongly attractive….


…as is the lure of money/funding. I felt a nudge to go off at a slight tangent before ending this blog. Compromising a God given vision for the sake of financial support from a body or an individual is something some of you reading this are facing right now. Don’t yield. It will cost your vision and your soul too much. Watch the offer disappearing down the tube as it were. Rejoice and trust the God you are seeking to honour.

God bless

Kenny

Sad day….

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak…” (Psalm 41.1)

This is part of the same passage I quoted yesterday, only this time, I am using the N.I.V.

If you want to know where a society really stands morally and spiritually look at the way the weakest, those who have no voice, or whose voice is strangled before it can be heard, are treated.

The price of getting the Queen’s Speech through is that the way is to be opened for more unborn babies to be killed.

How sad this must make the God who sees their unformed substance, who watches over them as they are being knit together in the womb, sculpted from nothing into something, to borrow some words from the Message translation of Psalm 139.

Well, I believe that such tiny voices, have given utterance. On the basis of some principles in Psalm 8, I believe they chant the glory of God. It is part justice for now that their choir gets a specific mention in Scripture as being God ordained and appointed. There are so many of these tiny voices, a choir that is being added to daily. It must be a deafening sound of praise. Indeed it is louder than all the atheist babble of all the centuries past, present and to come. Even just one such voice is heard clearly by their Heavenly Father, and will not be disregarded by their Father, come that day.

Click here and take a look at this  and wonder….and pray….

God bless

Kenny

 

The Lord Our Nurse

I personally have known instant healing on one or two occasions in the course of my life. Other members of my family have known the same. Perhaps you or someone you know can bear witness to the same thing.

However have we realised that nursing the sick and watching over a gradual restoration is just as much an act of God as an instant healing? I am not sure I have ever read Psalm 41 in the New Living Translation before, but part of that Psalm was one of  today’s readings  in the devotional plan I use: Let me quote the first 3 verses:

“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble.
The LORD protects them
and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
and rescues them from their enemies.
The LORD nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.”

It was particularly the last two lines quoted above that struck me. It is a shame when we think instant or miraculous healing is more of a witness to God than caring nursing that aids a  gradual restoration of health. Both are of the Lord, both are His action  and bear witness to Him in equal measure. The Lord who heals us and the Lord who nurses the sick back to health: the same Almighty God,  “WHAM BAM!” is not the only way God brings glory to His name and reveal who He is.

In my time of illness, I have known moments of such tender presence at the times when I have felt myself at points of greatest weakness. Such moments have happened often and in diverse places: the G.P’s waiting room, my car, the bath, on a bus, in the garden, in the cinema, in Dobbies!  I was saying to a friend the other day that if God could touch me at those moments in a tangible way,  then He could have healed me. Perhaps today was an answer to an unspoken question in that conversation with my friend or a reframing of what I experienced at such moments of weakness of body, mind and emotions. God, Father, Son and Spirit was there like a gentle nurse watching over my restoration, being true to His Word in Psalm 41 verse 3.

Those worst moments came and went, thanks to God my nurse and those His nursing and restoring power and care worked through. The display of a charismatic gift of healing, is not “more” of God than the countless people I have known over many years who have lovingly nursed others in their time of need.

Just thinking of a trip to the dentist yesterday. A few years back miraculously given gold fillings were being claimed in some circles. Mine have a gold sheen in some lighting conditions. I think that is just due to them being incredibly old and coffee stained!  Personally, I have no problem believing at least some of the claims to miraculously given fillings to be true – well not quite no problem: the gold sheen on my amalgams takes the edge off my whole hearted belief . However the dentist, the drill, the making of the next appointment is God too! By the way, I think God wants to tell someone today that picking up the phone and making an appointment with your dentist is the way His healing power will meet you in response to those prayers about toothache. Don’t delay and prolong your suffering.  He wants to heal you of pain that way and in the process give you victory over that cold sweat fear. Two healings instead of just the one await you in the dentist’s chair

God Bless

Kenny

Who is calling the tune?

“Right now!” seems to be a common phrase in prayer ministry settings: an insistence that something should happen right at that very moment of prayer, ministry etc. I think we need to be careful with that sort of insistence as though “right now” is the only God action that is acceptable. It could rob people of a very precious experience and blessing, namely the wonder that comes from waiting in faith and patient trust long after the “right now” folk have moved on in the ministry line to say “right now” over someone else who will be more cooperative and obliging!  It is a wonderful thing to be able to say, “This is our God . We have waited for Him.”

“Joy!” seems to be another catchword ministry phrase. Over insistence on immediate joy can rob folk of what they really need: the comfort that is promised by Jesus to those who mourn.

I think I am becoming more and more Pentecostal than Charismatic; believing more and more in the action of God rather whether “right now’ or after a wait of indeterminate length,  than following any method that is supposed to produce there and then results and seems not interested in leaving God any options or freedom  as to the manner of His working. 

Of course God regards faith  and the action that comes from genuine faith with favour; that is clear from the ministry of Jesus. However God is God. He does not have to dance to  the time beat of our tune much as we would like Him to. He is quite happy to be the out of sync dancer in the “Dashing White Sergeant”  or “Strip the Willow” and to joyfully throw everything and everyone else out of sync, turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the frustration and annoyance of those who know how to perform the dance perfectly as they have many times before.

God Bless

Kenny

If you believe in the bible you will not ignore God speaking to you by dream. Most often we associate dreaming with times when we are asleep but actually we can have dreams when we are awake as well! That is not odd. It is not new age, or occult, though there are new age and occult versions of the same thing. Sometimes we forget that and dismiss what is of the Spirit as being the work of the devil.

Believing that the God of the Old and New Testaments speaks to people through dreams, visions etc., is not even particularly charismatic. It is biblical and is actually very much part of Highland and Islands Scottish Christianity – as is prophecy. It is in our spiritual DNA. One of my greatest encouragers in this type of thing was a Free Presbyterian Minister who gave me books to read showing this was an intrinsic part of Scottish Spirituality in the past. He had no problem when I shared some of my experiences with him which surprised me as I had made wrong assumptions about him. I really don’t agree with the insistence that God will not do the same thing twice or just because He has done something before He will not do it again. On the contrary water tends to flow where it has flowed before, although of course it can appear in completely unexpected places – springs and pools in the desert!

The thing is, God has already been speaking to you in your dreams whether you believe it or not. Fortunately He is able to do above what we ask or think possible. He is even able to do things we do not agree with! When God walked on the earth in Christ, He consistently did what many thought was wrong and never asked permission so to do! God is God and gloriously Himself! There is help out there to learn what God means you to learn from your dreams, which, by the way, is often very different from lessons a non Christian interpretation would give to the same dream.

For me it is not a major thing I rely on but I don’t ignore it either. For example years ago I dreamed I was attending a church where there were trees planted outside. I went to the church in real life and there were no trees. However in the course of the meeting the city council came and planted trees on both sides of the road leading to the church. What was that about? it was to alert me to realise something else much more important I had seen in the same dream time should not be ignored and should be acted upon and prayed about. I saw a lady arriving at our manse door in great distress. I was away from home at the time, indeed I was in another country, but it was so vivid I phoned home and asked Morag if this particular lady was OK. Ten minutes later Morag phoned to say the lady I had seen in my dream half way across the world had just arrived at the manse door in great distress as she had just received very bad news about her Father.

I had a dream last night  in which the subject of my nitrogen levels had been very vivid. I asked on Facebook if some medics could help me make sense of that also describing my lung condition and my medication. I got back some very helpful leads that I will pursue with my GP and consultant basically to check whether something is being monitored and whether something else should be checked out. I took that dream seriously because in the same dream, I saw landscapers coming to a spot near our house that had never been attended to before. There was no word of it being attended to either! However, guess what? Landscapers did arrive and put the bit of ground right.

It is so kind of God to give these sorts of confirmations to help us know the more important things that we have seen in a vision or a dream are not nonsense and are not to be ignored.

Now, let me stress that there is about twnety years in-between these two types of dreams with their own confirmation as it were. As far as I recall it has never happened like that apart from these two occasions. For me, they fall into the category of almost being a sign or a wonder. For me they are not usual or normal occurrences. They are signs pointing away from themselves to our Mighty God, our caring Father, His Son our Shepherd, who by the Holy Spirit still declares and demonstrates the presence of the already here but still to come Kingdom of Heaven. These things for me are signs that tell me the day we hope for of no sickness, no more death, no more pain, no more tears is really coming. It is not a vain hope. The confirming signs that give the flavour of the full day that is to come are a great comfort. Necessary? I guess not. Comforting? Yes.

Facebook is about the only way open to me now to speak or teach regularly about the things of the Spirit. I guess I am saying simply, don’t ignore your dreams. Learn to learn when they are from God and some pointers in seeing what God wants you to see.

If you want to honour the bible, honour the God who speaks in your dreams. He does so to honour His own word and to honour the Name of His Son, and because of HIs own kind affection for His people, the people He wants to lead, to guide, to encourage, to warn.

God Bless

Kenny

Wonderful Counsellor

I find that for me the best type of Counsellor is one in whose quiet presence I am invited to do my own thinking. The right question at the right moment can help. It can feel like a helpful hand on the rudder when thoughts are perhaps all at sea.

Why not sit down with Jesus today as He asks you to talk through and think through the question Elijah was asked: “What are you doing here?” God knows the answer to that question already. He asks it so that we can come easily or with a struggle  into true understanding of reality. That’s where we meet the real God.

God bless 

Kenny

Lift your nose….

Not breaking my promise of refraining from manic posts, but feel the urgency of a prophetic word so have to go with it. Someone needs to hear this from God. How will you know it is for you? Well, even though it seems general, though indeed many may benefit from this word to a certain degree,  there will be something in it that will seem so specific to you that you will know. So:

“You worry the Lord is no longer with you as there seems to be less power, less anointing when you do what you did before. Am I like Samson? Has something been torn from me like Saul in judgement because of that sin I fell into again this last week more than once?  Am I “Yesterday’s person”? The Lord says, ‘No. I am inviting you into courageously walking a path you have not walked before. Did you not sense my presence resting on you yesterday and wonder what it all meant? It meant, “This is the road, the new path. Walk here.'”

I hope this may help you walk into ths Lord’s Day in joy and peace, released from worry and shame. You have often known the strength of the Holy Spirit behind you like a helping hand. This is a season for walking into a breeze that is coming towards you, the breeze of the ever coming Kingdom and your Father’s approaching will. Don’t look back in concern about something that no longer seems to happen. Lift your head, lift your nose  to the wind that blows towards you and catch the scent of the God who invites you into your unfolding,  ever moving forward destiny. You may well find the next stage of God’s purpose for you fits the truest redeemed “you” more than any road you have faithfully walked thus far. Joy is in the air! Sniff and see! Sniff and believe! Sniff and follow, seek and find!

God bless

Kenny

Preaching this weekend?

Remembering being taught in Practical Theology never to get the sermon and then search for a text to fit it. Well, I guess there is safety in that, but as a pastor I sometimes felt led to speak quite deliberately to needs and situations  I saw and sensed within the life of the congregation and then thought what Scripture might best be applied to that purpose. Seems to me some of the new Testament writers were quite pragmatic and pastoral in their use of Scripture and not as purist as the advice given in P.T.. They sometimes chose the Greek over the Hebrew Version of the “Old Testament” and sometimes the Hebrew over the Greek, whichever suited best to get their teaching/pastoral point over most clearly. Even Jesus did that (no, I am not telling you where, search it out for yourself, it will do you good) ….just saying….

 

Who makes up these rules anyway? Useful guidelines perhaps, but not if they become so rigid they prevent a minister from speaking The Word of the Lord effectively to their flock. Occasionally some people would ask me after preaching, “Were you speaking about us this morning.” I would usually reply, “Of course I was, who else would I be speaking to other than those of you who were here? It’s my job.”

God bless

Kenny

As Summer Conference Season draws near…

A quick heart felt open letter to Conference Speakers:

Well, not such good health has saved me from something I hated having to do: provide biographical information for Conference brochures! Note to those who are part of that scene: please stop writing about how much you enjoy fine food and wine; that is a form of gluttony and an insult to the poor who are happy on the days when they have any food. It can be an insult to your fellow ministers. At a conference where all my food and drink were being provided as well as my accommodation, I met a fellow minister who has humbly and quietly and effectively served the Lord for decades: he was longing for Friday, salary/stipend day, to come as until then he and his wife would be continuing to eat tea biscuits. He was hoping Friday would not be too late to contribute to the Conference thanksgiving offering…

…and another thing…

… perhaps be careful about advertising your cool and expensive likes and hobbies too, unattainable to most…. people don’t really need to know how trendy and exciting you are… if you need them to know that, then perhaps step down from the conference “stage” until you get things sorted out….

May you be a blessing to God’s people this summer and bring God glory,

Kenny

 

THAT WORD….I CAN’T GET IT OUT OF MY MIND!

I may have told you about one of the most powerful illustrations I have ever seen being used in a talk. I was in Glasgow in a meeting where several people were sharing their stories of the reality of poverty. One young man talked about how he had missed an appointment in connection with a benefit claim. As a result he was invited for another meeting and told that he was being “sanctioned.” Effectively this mean no money for several weeks. As he recounted the story, the young man picked up a snow globe and shook it so that the “snow” was whirling around wildly and haphazardly. “See, when that word “sanctioned” was spoken, this is what happened to my mind.”  He went on to describe a near breakdown, because of that word and the fears it released. As the “snow” settled, he shared with us that  his mind was more settled now, but then he shook the glob again ever so gently, to illustrate that chaos and panic were easily revived by the slightest nudge.

Why have I told, or perhaps retold that story today? Well, I felt there was a blog I was to write today, but to be honest it has been a day of low energy and meandering thoughts and I have struggled to write it. I have not managed to pray today without instantly falling asleep. I have no idea what I read in the bible this morning. Indeed I had no idea ten minutes after I read it, so I cannot share something of the Word that has struck me. Yet, the pressure was there, in a good sense, that there was something to be said. I was left with no other resort than to simply ask the Lord what I was to write.

When I asked that question, it came to mind almost instantly that the Lord wants to speak to some of us whose lives are being held captive to a word, literally a word spoken over us by someone. It may be a word that they spoke  about us, about our circumstances, about our looks, our personality, the effect we have on other people, our ministry, our health, our background, our future; on and on the list could go.

Draw that word out of your thoughts and take a look at it and ask some questions:

Why does that word still affect me so powerfully in a negative way?

What did the person who said it represent to me? Why did it wound me much more that it was said by them than it would have done if someone else had said the same word to me?

What part of your growth as a person and as a child of God has been stunted by that word? Where did it rob you of a right sense of confidence

I feel I want to leave it there, rather than pass too quickly on to talk about the way to victory over this. Sometimes we step in too quickly to comfort, instead of allowing the distress to crystallise past an emotional release to the place of insight.  We offer consolation instead of allowing someone who is hurting to do some valuable thinking for themselves and coming to a place of better understanding about what is really going on within them. Anytime I have talked over anything that is distressing me with another person, which I confess I am very slow at doing, I find that the people who help me the most are the ones who say the least and just allow me to do my own speaking and thinking things through.

So have a think about that word that is still like a barb in your mind and heart, that seems to be so susceptible to being painfully tugged at intentionally or unintentionally by others or life experience.

One word of advice: best not to think too long or you will manufacture a problem that you don’t have! If that “word” does not come to mind almost instantaneously, then this blog today is not for you in a particular way. Be very glad about that and pray for those for whom this might be, at least in part, a  life giving word from Jesus.

God Bless

Kenny

 

In an age of “redefining,” allow Jesus to define words… He is “Teacher.”

Jesus defines what a word means. Want to know what it means to call God Abba? Look at His baptism and Gethsemane… Abba has been hijacked by sentimental violin music, 20 th and 21st century psychotherapy and soft lighting and teaching that fits that tear jerking atmosphere…  The healing aspect of the word seems to have all but drowned out the reverential honouring of God as Abba by meekly embracing His will as our delight. 

The centre of the Abba experience for Jesus was both delighting in being delighted in and delighting to do Abba’s will above any reluctance. It is about trusting Abba’s love and the goodness of His will. It is about a 30 plus year old  man setting anything he might have thought of pursuing and saying “Amen” to the Father he loved and who loved him. “Abba” = true intimacy and reverential obedience.

I am no one’s judge, fortunately! If someone thinks Papa or Daddy or whatever are words that captures both security and a chosen decision to embrace the Father’s will though it may involve suffering rather than pleasure, then fine. It is a matter of simple fact that there  was no other word available to Jesus to describe His relationship to Abba than Abba. No alternative word actually existed.  If He was speaking in today’ s diverse cultures where there are alternative words such as Daddy, Papa and Father I wonder what word He would pick to describe secure joy filled intimacy and making costly blood sweating submission my chosen delight above all things? 

“Abba” for Jesus was not simply a “me-feeling-secure-and whole” word but a “me-submitted-with-ease-or-struggle” word. It was as much a word to be accompanied by a trumpet call to battle and a fully grown and equipped warrior’s enemy-terrifying cry of victory as a time to “just be still and receive.”

..oh yes…in the bounds of these parameters place a daily trust that Abba knows, is constantly with His child, and provides practical provision and every needed grace and more.

God bless

Kenny

Notes for disciples…

In the gospels, “Discipleship” is much more than a development of personal piety and sanctification, though of course it includes these fundamental building blocks. It is about being apprentices to Jesus in the spreading Kingdom of God. “What work of Jesus does He want to show to me and help me to learn to do this day?” is a good question to ask on a regular basis.  As we ask that in simple faith, in some sense may we hear His “come-and-see” invitation and be willing to be “stay-and-watch-and-learn-to-do” Kingdom of God apprentices this day. However, remember this too: in a world of endless Kingdom of God opportunities, the Master cares for the wellbeing of His apprentices. The psalms tell us that God delights in the welfare  of His servants. In the gospels on one occasion,  Jesus  took the Apprentices  out the country for a rest and a retreat!

We know that there is so much appalling need on the earth, calling us to works of compassion. Jesus knew that with greater clarity than anyone and yet we see clearly in His teaching that it is not wrong to look at the birds of the air or consider the beauty of the flowers of the field. It is not escapism to deliberately rest, or to focus on lovely things. In fact we are told to do so, not only by Jesus, but by the Apostle Paul as well, who certainly lived in the reality of a world where dreadful and unjust things happen and indeed had happened to him himself:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4 verses 8 and 9)

Perhaps the Father’s will for you this day is to consider the lilies. Perhaps His Work  through you this day could be to be His apprentice to feed the birds, so they might continue to be His tiny messengers and sing their witness to an anxious and fearful heart somewhere near you, in your street or neighbourhood.

God Bless

Kenny

I have blown it, big time….

Feel you have been careless with an entrustment from God? “Before long, Samson’s hair began to grow again.”

Think you have no future because of your own folly? Remember heaven’s severe mercy to Nebuchadnezzar:  “Cut down the tree. Lop off its branches…but leave the stump and the roots in the ground.”

If you are listening to a voice that offers no hope, STOP IT!

God bless

Kenny

To all Sunday “Givers.”

Woke up thinking of all who will “give” so much to others this Lord’s Day. Well, actually, this thought has been there on and off for a few days and I think it is from the Lord for you: “Learn to receive. Don’t push the goodness of the Lord away.”

Over the years many people have “given” to me in so many diverse ways with almost  incredible sacrificial love and immaculate timing.  Although it may be more blessed to give than receive, receiving from others is not wrong. Jesus was the supreme giver, but he appreciated moments of receiving and did not push them away with awkward embarrassment. He received the generous  tokens of Mary’s love as she anointed him  and dismissed with anger  the idea there were others more needful of such generous expression of insightful love and affection and  help than himself. He did not send away angels who came to minister to him, or say to them, “Help someone else. I can cope thank you.”

Don’t push away the goodness of God in whatever form that goodness is offered to you today. It is not Christlike to always give and never receive.

God bless

Kenny

Further to my previous blog….

A companion piece to the theme of my last blog for those of you not on Facebook to peruse….

“So, acceptable one world religion is staking its claim with increasing alacrity in the UK: get rid of the vertical and keep it all horizontal. This is the form of religion that is most compatible with political life in its high profile manifestations and seen as the only way ahead for a broken world powerless before so many destructive forces.  No one is going to disagree we should care for one another, so let’s just leave aside the God who speaks, commands, calls to repentance and offers eternal life in no other name than Jesus. 

History teaches that even amongst Church leadership there are always those prepared to raise their hands and say “Heil” to new dictators who promise good visions at least in part, but soon show what energises them. 

Fortunately history and the present day remind us that there  have always been others who lift their hands to God and say ‘Jesus is everything to me.'”

Anyway, this horizontal without the vertical emphasis is often not as strongly principled as it seems to claim for itself: have just been called an “idiot” and “an ar _ e of great degree on Facebook by someone who said to me that God wanted us to love each other! I have been called worse….

God bless

Kenny

Strong language here, but please read…

For those of you who don’t use Facebook, here is something I posted there…

Sometimes Christians are too nice to say it like it is, and others say it for us in a way we never should or could. Read a quote from Russel Brand somewhere in a thread in a friend’s post that is quite insightful  in its crude offensive way  about what lies behind  attacks on Christian belief : “I don’t see atheists queuing up to call the Dalai Lama a dickhead.” 
I know even my friends might feel unable to give a “like” to this post…but I hope you get the point: the growing liberal establishment assault in Great Britain upon religious belief is not as general or as intellectually honest as it would  claim: it is selective, cowardly and inconsistent within its own self. It is anti Christ. Of course it shows its face in church guise as well…. the writings and thoughts or demands of other faiths or from the secular world given more honour than the teaching of the bible and the revelation and incarnation of God in Christ.. Indeed, the bible is set aside in many church discussions.
 The murder of biblical faith, the strangling of historic Christian belief when it happens in church circles is of course done slowly with self congratulatory politeness, a calm manner and a smiling face  in a way that models to the world how to debate… it is in reality worryingly psychopathic.
Kenny

OK, this is self-indulgent nostalgic ruminating, but I offer it with thankfulness….

My friend Rich Johnston asked me on Facebook the following question:

“What would you say is some of the most powerful and memorable preaching/teaching you have heard over the years and why?”

Well, it was an opportunity to be indulgent, nostalgic and speak off the cuff without much thought! What minister who loves to talk could resist replying?  This is my list thus far that I gave over 2 replies to Rich with one or two updates:

“Jack Deere when he spoke at CLAN Gathering. Unlike many visiting speakers he had taken time to find out what God had done in Scotland to help us thing about our heritage. So many visiting speakers fail to take this simple God and people honouring approach, but impose a culture which is foreign to us and also mock what is true to us. The present dishonouring in the conference scene seems to often be we must all look, sound and minister like Americans! Why? I AM A SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN. I DON’T FEEL ANY NEED TO CALL GOD “Poppa” nor even Pappa for that matter. I can manage “Father, Abba Father.”

Jim Graham. He showed what it was to honour Word and Spirit. The reason? He carried an experience of both due to the events and the processes of God’s working in his life and a desire that God would be glorified by a Word and Spirit honouring Church. Some people rely on a one time event of empowering, some emphasize the sort of “keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit” truth. Biblically, it is not an either or but both and…. sadly we often seem happy to listen to preaching that shows academic or entertainment skills with no evidence of either/or or both/and in terms of the filling of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom He brings from above.
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Dr. R.T. Kendall for the authority he shows in challenging the evangelical and charismatic church. I deeply admire his ability to admit he was wrong about some things and his committment to work out in what direction the Sovereign Spirit of God is moving. I guess why that is why God opens fresh doors for him even at the age he is at!

John Arnott for his faithful presenting and giving away the Father’s love so freely to so many in so many places for so long.

Jackie Pullinger for being willing to make us feel uncomfortable.

But, on the whole, pastors who feed their flocks good food year by year are my heroes and heroines. As someone who has spoken in conferences for 15 to 20 years all over the place, I can say that speaking at a conference is a breeze compared with Sunday by Sunday preaching except for the time I spoke with an interpreter somewhere who did not like what I was saying and made listening torturous for all. However, the gathering and the leadership realised he was being a naughty boy. He was replaced and God blessed and honoured His Word. But this conference malarky is ultimately less powerful than local church ministry, though in the heat of the moment it can have a greater Wow factor or emotional impact and have a greater entertainment factor too. Nothing wrong with a rip roaring, refreshing conference – I was involved in the leadership of one for years that drew together thousands of people in Scotland with participants from 500 churches and with 250 – 300 senior leaders attending! Nothing, however, is as needful as Word and Spirit in pulpits in local gatherings of believers week by week.

Also:

Hugh Black, co founder of the Struthers group of churches for reasons many and precious. Also his daughter Mary. Could write for paragraphs…

Paul Cain for nuggets of pure gold amidst some of the most confused and badly structured preaching I have heard!  God have mercy on his child, Paul. The church to a large extent large having taken from his ministry, probably won’t… we are not good at restoration.  It goes without saying that sometimes those who fall do not want restoration in any true sense of that word. Not all do.  Pride is a terrible thing as is the deceitfulness of the human heart. God knows our hearts. The Church at large seems  to offer either nothing in terms of restoration and hope, or a quick return to ministry on the basis of publicly agreed and announced excuses, rather than time and space for true repentance: e.g., a speaker who admits adultery is applauded after a confession, but  continues with their ministry and cements their adultery rather than turning away from it and back to the Lord. Satellite TV and an appetite for showy ministry, that seems to think the more bizarre a ministry is the more it is of God,  encourages both the falls and meaningless restorations.

Rob Parsons. Single best talk I have ever heard anywhere. It was on the subject of prodigals.

Bishop T.D. Jakes for being his unique redeemed self in his communication style. Pray to be the same in terms of that glorious Creator honouring freedom, not to copy his style. If I, as a 5’4″ white Scot, were to copy a large black American preacher, strutting, shouting, glaring and dancing, that would be sort of stupid. By the way I shouldn’t even copy another Scot, though of course influences rub off on one another.

Joyce Meyer for helping me to understand what lt means from the bible and in day to day living to die to self in Christ. Think what you want…Rich asked me for my list. I don’t think he asked you for yours, though he might do that yet! She’s God’s “Wee Joyce.” Some of you will feel furious about that, you will feel more furious when I tell you God told me that is who she is to him. How do I know he said that? Well if you can’t hear what God is saying and recognise it and distinguish His voice from your own thoughts, well, that is for another blog. You can learn. Below the international ministry, behind everything that people criticise, she is “Wee Joyce” to God,  protected and to be protected in prayer.

Diana Rutherford, Struthers Cumbernauld, for reminding me in my weakened state, of Jesus and the Life of God within me. Every sermon I hear is like  life-giving manna to my soul right now! Indeed at times, it is heavenly manna bringing refreshing to my body as well as my soul in this time of felt daily weakness. Gutted when I cannot get there.

Martyn Lloyd Jones for two reasons well expressed by others; firstly, he showed logic on fire with The Truth and The Spirit: secondly, I heard what anointing is like on preaching; sometimes you have to go round the runway a few times, then all of a sudden, lift off; to change the metaphor, the catching and riding of the wave begins! Lift off doesn’t happen every time even in the ministries of those who experience lift off a lot, even almost always. When it doesn’t happen it can be like watching paint drying, or waiting for a kettle to boil, but it never seems to get there. Amazingly God can use the “watching paint drying” sermons to save and bless some at least. There’s always another day…. public humbling is no bad thing, in fact it is helpful and even perhaps at times needful. It is a nicer  experience to humble ourselves privately, that goes without saying,  but if we want the anointing at whatever cost, there are plenty stories of individuals God has used to teach us that sometimes the cost of that greater anointing has been a certain degree of public humbling and even public or church rejection. It helps others to take us  preachers down off of any pedestal  we have been willingly or unwillingly placed upon and  reminds ourselves and others of what we are like if God does not show up in grace and power.

John Paul Jackson for demonstrating that God is doing what He has always done and is who He has always been. He served Scotland in CLAN Gathering and Streams Ministries so so humbly, demanding nothing, offering everything.

Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier for reminding me of the priorities of Christ.

Bishop Zac from Uganda when he asked us all at New Wine, Shepton Mallet, “When are you Christians in the UK going to give up the idol of safety!” Wow! Shaft of lightning type moment….led to new things….which illness cut short.

Rev. John Murdo Smith from the Hebrides for filling whatever gathering he is in with the impact of the personality of Christ, even though he spoke in Gaelic the once or twice I heard him preach and  I did not understand a word with my mind. If only I could be like that….not like him for we are different people….but like him in terms of carrying Christ in an unselfconscious fullness, spreading Christ’s fragrance in a beautiful way among the people of God and wider afield. A child of revival and it shows.

I could add many more. This is what came to mind without much thinking, though sharing some of my thinking behind it all ….

God Bless

Kenny

Please pray this…..

Less steroids, so less posts. However, woke with what is said of Christ in Isaiah 53.10 running through my mind: “…. and the will of God will prosper in his hand.” Why not turn this into a prayer for yourself today? “Father whatever I go through this day may your will prosper in my hands.” Turn it into a silent prayer for others you meet today. Should the prospering of the will of God in us not be the deepest longing and the truest prosperity  we seek? “Father, may your will prosper in us, through us, despite us!”

God bless,

Kenny

Praying and being prayed for and honesty and humility and… well, the outpouring of my heart.

Ever prayed for someone, for something to happen “right now” in the Name of Jesus and it did not happen? How did you feel? How do you think the person you were praying for felt? Do you know what they were thinking about God, about themselves, about you?

How did you feel and what did you think when you prayed with more passion and the thing still did not happen? How do you think the person you were praying for felt then? Do you know what they thought second or third or tenth declaration round, or the fifth time they were pulled to their feet from a wheel chair, commanded to walk and fell towards the floor in weakness unhealed  in front of everyone? What did you think about God or about yourself or your prayer or ministry style or about the Word you believed you had stepped out and acted upon, the instructions from a teaching conference you had followed and were obediently trying to put into practice?

Ever been prayed for by someone who prayed loudly and authoritatively, perhaps within the hearing of others, that something would happen to you “right now” in the Name of Jesus and it didn’t? How did you feel? What did you think about God, about yourself, or about the person praying for you? Do you think the person praying for you knew what you felt or thought? How did the experience affect your confidence and faith to ask for prayer again? Is it still affecting you?

Faith does not ignore fact and should not resent or avoid follow up enquiry and investigation. It certainly should never ignore the vulnerability of people. It does not pretend a satisfactory outcome or blessing has happened if it has not. When we ask our heavenly Father for a fish not only does He not give us a scorpion but He does not say, “Here, take bread instead of the fish you asked for.” He may of course say, “Here’s the bread my child, and let me give you some fish as well!”  Yet that is the sort of bartering God that is often presented rather than a trustworthy Father who gives what His children have asked for: “Don’t worry, If you are not healed, you will surely be blessed in some way” is the announcement from the front backed up by predictable applause and cries of “Amen!”  It has become a mantra in charismatic circles, but it is not good enough or responsible enough or humble or honest enough, commonly said though it may be.

There is a lot of humble learning and loving  to do concerning the giving and receiving of prayer. Please know that I am charismatic/Pentecostal to the hilt as I ask you to think through these things. I have known personally healings, prophetic anointing and calling, Word of knowledge, Discernment of spirits, deliverance, tongues, miraculous appearance of money and oil and gold dust from nowhere, miraculous transportation from one place to another on more than one occasion. I have been slain in the Spirit many times, overwhelmed with the immediate presence of God so powerfully, I knew if I was to live in the eternity of God’s presence I would have to be changed to bear it! Flesh and blood could not enter such an inheritance without perishing. I much prefer to talk about my weaknesses mind you, for these are the places where my encounters with God have been the most treasured. However, sometimes Paul set out his credentials, so there is biblical precedent for my foolishness, though I am not comparing myself with Paul, just sharing in his folly! I share in his other “folly” as well: the preaching of Christ crucified and now gloriously alive and the Coming King.

You see as an insider as it were, as a  Charismatic/Pentecostal Presbyterian, it grieves me that the Charismatic movement which once in earlier decades trusted in the unpredictable but trustworthy action of God is now awash with theories and programmes to get the works of God done which seem to produce blessing and great disappointment side by side.

Time to get on our knees, repent of all lack of integrity and lovelessness toward people in their vulnerability. Time to stop pretending things have happened when they have not, or greatly exaggerating true happenings. Time to stop putting so much hope in the books, the conferences, the speakers, the training in everything under the sun and seek afresh the Sovereign life and activity of the mighty God who is fearful in praises and does wonders. So often, things that begin in the Spirit are kept going in the flesh, and by then sadly, there is such deep involvement, commitment of reputations and places and names and resources and finances and such full diaries for years to come, that it is difficult to admit that we are like Samson; we think we can do as we did before but the Spirit of God has left us and we knew it not? Or maybe we did know…..but feared the cost of coming clean and admitting it.

Away with the franchised God of programmes and techniques. Without the event of the Coming of God Himself to be God in the midst, they are powerless, though they are not without value and may make us feel good that we have done something rather than nothing. At least our willingness to learn, even  to pay for learning, to commit to whatever programme shows something in us is seeking. My feeling is that seeking is often genuinely provided for, but it can be subject to being fleeced as well. Let’s seek the Father who gives His children good gifts and does not barter until we accept something else we were not looking for. Let’s seek the Son, to come into a fresh revelation of what it means to be “In Christ,” and let’s seek the Holy Spirit until wind and fire uncontrollable, unpredictable, unfranchiseable is let loose in such power that saint and sinner will fall to the ground like dead men and women; until buildings will shake; until communities and continents even to distant islands will be impacted by the going forth of God that no one can trace to a programme, a person, a movement. May God come and blast a hole in all our well worked out theories, if He should so choose; may He use us and our gifting or ministry or set us aside, regard or disregard our work for Him; may He tell us we were right or wrong in all our doings and sincere works and passionate pronouncements and pursuits; may the fire of His holy Presence and the sharp two-edged sword from His mouth pronounce the verdict gold, silver and precious stones, or wood hay and stubble for all to hear if He sees fit; may the One whose coming no man can endure rend the heavens and come down and behave in a completely ungentlemanly way, doing what He wills without meekly fitting in to current cutting edge theological thinking or  the sincerest ponderings or planning or experiment, without seeking permission and without the slightest word of apology.

Health or its lack means I no longer have the platform, as it were, to say such things. I hope some may read and run. Oh if even just a few would do that….

God bless

Kenny

Occult use of the Name of Jesus in the church

In the story of Jacob wrestling with God we see the belief in Word magic in play. Jacob wants to discover and then use the name of his assailant as there was a belief that uttering a name could enforce a deity to do your will. He had already stepped into occult practice before this incident. Actually he had also already prevailed with the God of all compassion before asking Him to reveal His Name, simply  by being a weak, sinful, unable-to-change-himself human being, like you and me. Our weakness attracts divine compassion much more than our strengths.

In the bible what Jacob sought to do  is part of misusing the Name of the Lord and breaking the 3rd commandment;  attaching His name to an utterance or action that is our own. This indeed is one of the ways the Lord’s Name is used in Satanism.

Can’t help but think I have often encountered this occult misuse of the Name of Jesus in the Church. “In Jesus Name” is not a formula to force Jesus to do what we want. I guess that is why often He does not honour proclamations, “name it and claim it” type approach. Many things have been declared over me that were supposed to happen “right now in the Name of Jesus” that never did happen. I admire the good intention of those doing the proclaiming. They wanted to help me, but Jesus is not subject to Word Magic on the lips of believers which mistakenly thinks of itself as  as faith and  authority. He does not have to fulfil a faulty proclamation of what He will do, He does not have to step in and save someone who is ministering from embarrassment and make them look good,  no matter the good intention behind their proclamation and declaration.

Are you praying occult prayers or making occult proclamations in the Name of  Jesus? Are you suffering through manipulative prophecy or prayer from others, perhaps now, perhaps from sometime in  the past? I have known times when I have had to ask God to set me free from the oppressive effect of the manipulative prayers of sincere believers who are praying somewhere or other for me “in the Name of Jesus.” Right now I am experiencing in my health the effects of those praying the will of Jesus for me  “in the Name of  Jesus.” It is so powerful! That phrase is not a magic formula to get our own way in our own lives or in the life of another person, or in the life of the church or congregation I may be part of.

Inadvertently (I hope), someone who prayed over you or prophesied over you using the name of Jesus at the end of their own best intentions or will for you might well have strayed into darker realms than they realise. Oh they probably didn’t mean to. Don’t make a fuss over it. Just forgive them. You don’t even need to tell them their error unless God allows you to do so in love so they can hopefully learn in humility.  They can probably see already their proclamation over you was not backed up by the Holy Spirit and know that everybody else saw that too and may hopefully be learning why that was the case and rethinking their way to a better, less fanciful understanding of God’s Word. Pray to be covered by the blood, the Name and the Spirit of Jesus and ask  that  only His  will and  His Word will release power into your life.

God Bless

Kenny

The emerging test of right or wrong that is as old as sin….

One of the scariest truths I know is that God lets us have what we choose. Seems to me we are choosing the way of getting rid of inconvenience. It is obvious in technological advance. However, there is a head of steam behind bringing life and everything in it under that test. The inconvenient almost​ born, get rid of them. The inconvenient dying, get rid of them. Inconvenient fact, deny its right to have a voice. The day may come when you or I are considered inconvenient….

Oh, it’s not rocket science. The essence of our sinfulness is “self” so at some point in time, convenience or inconvenience with regard to happiness  takes a higher place in decision making than right or wrong, indeed in many ways it becomes the self appointed arbiter of right and wrong. 

The problem is, it is not a principle by which right or wrong can be judged which in itself is inconvenient rationality and logic. Utilitarianism is a philosophy masquerading as a morality. It disturbed me greatly when I studied it decades ago at university,  but its roots are as old as sin itself. See Romans 1… “since they did not think it useful to retain…etc.”

Of course we have seen over the centuries and more rampantly in recent years now some parts of  the “Church” determined to choose this philosophy. Inconvenient teaching, get rid of it. Inconvenient commandments, get rid of them. Mission becomes,  “What message and endeavours would be useful to make a greater number of people in the world feel a greater happiness toward Christianity and the church and pronounce the verdict,  ‘Useful’?” “What is no longer useful about the Christian message that we should try not to mention?”
 
The inconvenient Christ. Inconvenient to the world, inconvenient to thoughts of church and mission. Let’s face it: He can be inconvenient to any of His followers…. He may be waiting to meet you and I  in inconvenient people, inconvenient circumstances or inconvenient Scripture.

God bless

Kenny

Even more thoughts on “Is your strength harming you or others? “

Reading the New Testament it seems that at least some Christians felt Paul was an embarrassment to the message of the Lordship of Christ, what with his experiences of all types of weakness, his imprisonment, his thorn in the flesh, his times of near starvation etc. He didn’t always look victorious enough to satisfy some people. Paul didn’t agree and neither do I, nor should you be sucked into that way of thinking. It can easily happen. You can even get to the stage of saying with one Prosperity teacher, “Now if Paul had my faith, he wouldn’t have had….”

Don’t pretend to be stronger than you are for the sake of the approval of others. You should never try and make room for wrong theology just to make someone feel better! As you live your life for Jesus, don’t be controlled by their faulty faith (which they will probably think is strong faith), their misunderstanding of God’s Word (which they are convinced is true) and their wrong image of what the victory of Christ in you should look like today (it should look like what it looks like in me). Be set free from the bondage of others’ opinion, approval or expectation. Discover what victory looks like in your unique life-story today as I continue to discover what it means in mine.

God Bless

Kenny

More thoughts on “Is your strength harming you or others ?”

Further to my last blog…..

The unguarded strength of being able to keep going put me within a hair’s breadth of hospital….time for some renewed thinking.

I have not experienced healing of pneumonia  along the various lines of charismatic theory about such things. I have been aware of daily improvement which I believe will continue thanks to the prayers of many and the goodness and wisdom of God.

I can see why it has happened this way. Instant healing without renewed thinking about resilience would have put me within a hair’s breadth of hospital again sooner or later.

Conclusion: May I heal in the manner and at the rate that makes for wholeness rather than recovery so quick as to strengthen recklessness.

Any renewal of your mind needed today?

God bless

Kenny

Is your strength harming you or others?

Looks like I was walking around (albeit slowly and extra-breathlessly and in a state of exhaustion) for quite some time with Pneumonia on top of the other things wrong with my  my lungs and the difficult side effects of medication.

I have always had an ability to “keep going.”  The “in” word for this would be “resilience” I guess. This last few weeks has reminded me that even good traits and abilities and gifts from God need the yoke or the  bridle of the Father’s will to keep going in a good rather than wonky direction which would be  in effect disobedience to the will of the Father who loves us and wants to love others through us! A God given gift used at the wrong time, used irresponsibly, can be harmful to ourselves and others.

Is there any unbridled gift, ability, good character or personality trait in you? You surely know what I mean. Have you never been wounded by a true prophet or a sound preacher or abused in some way by someone with a ministry in healing or by a truly gifted pastor? Gifts and strengths even when they come from God do not absolve us from behaving responsibly towards our own selves and others. Well then, have you made sure your strengths are meekly bridled to the will of the Father?

Mind you, it’s a daily fight this “meekness,” this “bringing strength under control” sort of thing. Today, because I felt better than yesterday,  I wanted to get out there and cut the grass…..Yup, out of control strengths or gifting can harm us and cause upset to those around us. Indeed our strengths of character or ministry can leave a trail of destruction behind us which often we do not see as we forge on to other things. The good thing is I realised it today.

The grass can wait. I have benefited from more rest and tonight feel yet a bit more on the mend. Resilience does not et easily wear the yoke which sets it free to be a blessing. It shares that fact with every other strength. Meekness blesses the land before us and behind us as we continue to sow and plant and reap deeper and wider into our inheritance.

God Bless

Kenny

Is your God monotone?

Rested the whole day. As I did so, I realised how much that was needed, there is no alternative for me as of now. I have also become aware of the God who speaks in many tones, all consistent with one another, but very varied.

Over the years I have been set free from listening to tones and voices not from Him. I guess that distinguishing of truth and lie is one that the Holy Spirit needs to help us with right from the start, even before we have had much chance to learn much of the Word of God. It is divine help we need even after we know something of the Word, as the devil uses the truth of Scripture as the basis of his lies. Most of his lies ride into the lives and thinking of believers on the back of God’s Word. That thought has scriptural backing; you can think it through for yourself and find the Scriptures that make it obvious.

However, distinguishing the tone in which God is speaking to us in at any given moment, i.e the right truth He wants us to hear right now, is sometimes more difficult. Why? Well if we are familiar to listening for one tone it can be difficult to hear other tones.

Let me give you a personal example. I guess that for me and for many more often what we notice is a sort of military tone. That is there in Scripture and we need to listen to it. It is a tone which I can hear regularly for reasons that I won’t go into for now. However it is not the only tone. If I allow God only a monotone voice then I miss the full teaching of Scripture, am not faithful to the writings and ministry of the Apostles,  will not discern the immediate voice of the Spirit and will damage myself in spirit, soul and body.

Today God has been speaking to me in a very specific tone which is not one that I always hear easily. I feel no need to hide the way in which the voice came to me. It came in the form of various pictures of rest. The effect of each of them was very physical. I felt myself under the blanket of the kind and compassionate hand of God, and heard one word, “Rest.” For me resting is the weapon that is effective as at this moment! I have failed to use it at many moments over the years. Today, I was hearing the tone of a nurse and a mother which the Apostles spoke in at times. The paradox is they were not always in militaristic tone as they spoke of ways that lead to victory!

WHAT TONE OF VOICE DO YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO RECEIVE? Take a look at your relationships with other people for clues: which tones are difficult for you there; Compassion, thanksgiving, correction, gentleness, compliment, warning, affection, approval etc., etc..

All of us can hear God. Jesus promises that. If we have trained our ears or had our ears trained by other influences  to listen for a scriptural but monotone voice, we need help to hear a wider range. Maybe you need to ask for that help today. It will help you, most certainly and lead to better health for spirit, soul and body; If you minister in some way or another, it will help others, help to set the captives, especially those captive to their own religion,  free.

God Bless

Kenny

 

Just saying again…

In more active preaching days, I tried to listen to my own sermon as I was preaching. Looking back I am not so sure I listened to my own pastoring of others. What I mean is that I tended not to fully apply to myself the compassion and kindness of God that I was encouraging others to believe in. Why is it that we tend to be hard on ourselves? I genuinely try and obey the command to do unto others what we would have others do to us, but when it comes to receiving what I seek to offer to others in the Name of Christ, find that more difficult.

Boringly I have to say my health has not been good at all. As well as the underlying lung problems that caused me to retire early I have seemingly got pneumonia. Rest seems to be the best thing for me, and yet I find it so hard to allow myself to do that. Would I encourage others to “rest” if they were fighting the same things? Of course.

I have tried to write blogs while resting (!), but have been unable to do so. My daily dose of steroids have been multiplied by 4 along with other added medication. One of the effects of that for me is my brain gets filled with the most ludicrous quick fire thoughts and images, which in itself very tiring. It also means that I have to make sure I don’t confuse steroids for the voice of the Spirit of God. How do I do that? Well, all of a sudden in the midst of this river of thought flowing in full spate, there comes a thought which I sense has the Life and Peace of God about it. I reach out and grab hold of it and it seems to have an anchoring effect.

Why am I telling those of you who read my blogs this? Well, if I have anything worthwhile to say in the next period of time, it will be one of these anchor thoughts that I think has come from God. Any blogs for the next while are likely to be very short, just the sharing of a thought. I hope they prove an anchor to you. Some of them may seem like a word from God especially for you some days. Hold on to them, and in holding on to them may you find Christ’s strong grip of merciful, kind and compassionate love holding on to you in whatever type of river you may be  trying to swim in at this point in time in your life.

In the mean time, here is a repost, linking up to my opening thoughts. as I once tried to put my own sermons into practice I am trying now to fully receive my own blogs!

“I have met Christians over the years who seem to look at any sort of writings from the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis etc. with a great deal of suspicion. My own feeling is truth is truth. Just a couple of quotes for this blog and not much else. They have come back to my mind recently as I come to terms with certain changes in capacity. It is easy for me to fall into a wrong type of disdaining of myself.

I hope what I share here may help. I am pretty sure some of us would struggle with quite a lot of what  Carl Jung says, however I hope you can hear an echo of the compassion of Christ in these  particular words , and can think of the obvious Scriptures that are relevant without me telling you. I hope they might challenge you to love the tender  and weak places in yourself, the parts of you that may even hide from you! I hope what I quote here will help some of us become a safer place for ourselves. By the grace of God and the power of the Spirit I pray these various hopes I have will be fulfilled.

Here are the quotes:

“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.”(By the way Raca means calling ourself “fool!”)

– Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections
“You cannot apply kindness and understanding to others if you have not applied it to yourself.”
– Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 515-516

Happy thinking. Allow your self to come out of hiding and be loved by God and by you.
Kenny

In the company of Abraham and myriads more…

We are still awaiting the ultimate manifestation of the accomplished victory of Christ. 

Not having experienced all God has promised this side of eternity does not mean God’s promises or our faith has failed. It puts us in the company of all those who wait to fully experience  a city not made with hands. We who live this side of the victory of the cross, join the experience of the saints of old such as Abraham, indeed all the saints in heaven longing for the day when a final  “Now” will be uttered from the throne of God. It will shake all that can be shaken. 

Miracles as and when they happen are a sign that encourage us to know we are not waiting in vain. The day here, coming and not here yet are the content of the faith the hope that is an example of “on earth as it is in heaven.” In that land of seeing where many of our loved ones now rest without any pain of spirit or soul, there is still the need for waiting faith and waiting hope as well as love.

I have something to tell you…please don’t worry for me…

Had an interesting weekend. A new symptom appeared which was quite debilitating and uncomfortable, indeed painful. It meant not being able to go to something I felt God wanted Morag and I to be at on Saturday Morning. However on Saturday Evening I was prayed for in my absence at Struthers Church in  Glasgow, unbeknown to me. On Saturday evening the added symptom started to decrease and sometime on the Sunday it left me completely. I was able to go and fellowship with God’s people on Sunday Evening, which had looked beyond the realm of possibility in the 48 hours before. I was still battling with ill health and tiredness as indeed I am today, but made it and was glad that I did, as I heard worship and a sermon that renewed me in faith and hope. I know many of you pray and believe me when I say every prayer genuinely offered matters. From time to time there comes a prayer which tips the balance in a way it would not do if the other prayers had not been prayed.

However none of the above is what  I want you not to worry about! This is the thought that may worry you about my spiritual state. Not everything in the psalms is there because it is sound in doctrine or righteous. Everything is there because it is real. It is a book of real worship: all of me to all of God at all moments. The psalms reflect the authentic heart cries of God’s people. Sometimes the cries are godly. Other times the cries reflect attitudes and  requests and sentiments that are there in the hearts of God’s people even if they should not be. Sometimes there is a cry of unshakeable faith and assurance, sometimes a description of how that place was reached, and sometimes there are cries which seem to suggest a pilgrimage in another direction, deeper into confusion and pain.

I have a plea to make. Don’t base all your theology or belief in God on one psalm, otherwise by one track theology you will rob many people, including yourself,  of finding a voice for this moment, whatever this moment may be. Let me give you an example. To put too much stress say on “He heals me of all my diseases (Psalm 103)” is to ignore the cry of the psalmist when incredible suffering unto death is the living experience, a cry which ends with not much if anything in the way of light. By the way even the author of Psalm 103 died of something. His  spirit is with God awaiting the day of “The Kingdom come” in all its fullness along with myriads of waiting saints and watching and wondering angels, that moment when sick unto death bodies will be healed and raised incorruptible. “Oh but  Kenny, you cannot base your theology on experience, you must base it on what God’s Word says.” Exactly my point! There are so many helpful voices in the psalms  that tell me and you we are not alone, whether on the mountain top or in the valley. One track, one voice theology is by its nature exclusive and tends to invalidate both inconvenient verses and inconvenient experience and fact, and can even label a genuine strong faith in someone as wanting in some way; indeed faith can quite dismissively and disparagingly  labelled as unbelief.

I hope you may find your voice in the psalms often, and help others to find theirs.

God bless

Kenny