“To an unknown God…”

Read this today. It helped me to see where my best thoughts are birthed for myself, thoughts for others, for life, for a sermon, for poems (seldom to be shared).

Where is the simplest place you know? For me it is in being called, “Beloved.” In that place, Life calls from eternity into time, and from within time cries out towards eternity. It is the place where reality is faced with the faith to mourn and hope.

Personally, and I mean that, I rarely find truth in typical Christian books that is not obvious, though I am grateful for them and need them, especially when truth is expressed in new ways or illustrated from honest personal experience. I find poets speak true truth of a more primal level, even when they are not Christian believers. Paul saw that and did not share present day evangelical or charismatic uneasy qualms about that fact. Nor should he share our qualms. The fact it is so, is part of the truth that Christ lightens every person born into the world. We should always be thankful for that true light wherever we see its glimmer.

By the way, poets also often show “lostness” with clarity as well. I read a couple of poems today by Norman MacCaig. He is one of my two favourite poets but was defiantly, proudly, sardonically and angrily godless as far as I can read him from his work. I have never read a poet that can speak more beautifully about facing the sorrow of bereavement, but at the same time the bleak beauty shows a man who has no answer or hope to share. Tangent ended! Here are the lines that touched me today:

“May things stay the way they are
in the simplest place you know….
….
May nothing be disturbed
in the simplest place you know
for it is here in the foetal hush
that blueprints dissolve
and poems begin,
and faith spreads like the hum of crickets,
faith in a time
when maps shall fade,
nostalgia cease
and the vigil end.”

(Arundathi Subramaniam “Prayer.”)

God bless

Kenny

Just in case you get the wrong impression of me…

It is the danger of a being a blogger who means to be encouraging that the impression is given of being a “know it all.” Actually, I have always felt I am but a child in the things of God, but a child who wants to learn. Most of my sermons come fresh off the page that I am learning myself.

Just in case you think I never have any battles … here is a poem I wrote once. It may help you now or in a future moment. We all have battles. They may differ for each one of us, or may differ within  us at various times, but the answer is the same; the Love of God: the God who is with us, for us, who takes delight in us, and who does not turn against us when we struggle, even when we have brought our struggles upon ourselves through deliberate wilfulness or unintended carelessness.

Why to night?

Tonight, I sweat in your presence,
Overdosed on worry
Injected with anxiety
Seeing weird and distorted portends,
Confusion my only clarity
Non-happening, most obvious reality…

Tonight, regimes changed so quickly,
A day of restfulness
Marinading in joyfulness
A soundtrack of songs of simplicity,
But dark now the score
Threatening, the waterfall’s roar…

“What happened?” asks Light,
“What turned today to night?”

Tonight, arrows pierced my helmet,
My unguarded eyes
Struck, by imagination’s lies!
A voice spoke with sharpened torment
“Failure” …“Useless”…
Words  from an out of date Thesaurus.

Tonight, in my presence, my  Father sweated,
… to hold my infant hands,
… to wrap me in Love’s swaddling bands.
… He spoke gently as though I was  to Him His only Beloved
… dear as  an infant Christ,
… His utmost delight.

Kenny Borthwick.

 

Know the Victor and know the enemy….

Another dream last night which showed me this:

The devil meticulously plans his tactics, while modern Christians can often be careless and casual with spiritual things, presuming that to be roughly in the ballpark, without too much regard for the application of the clear teaching and details of God’s word on all matters, is good enough for living and moving in the blessing of God.

The dream was in the context of the present plans of the Church of Scotland for renewal of its structures and organisation, but I thought it worthwhile sharing its truth as it has wider application.

For example, one aspect of the dream was about a casual approach to filthy language, which in many sectors of the Christian world is now seen as acceptable.

Never think you will know the power of Christ’s victory over the devil, if you are not prepared to let Him help you live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord and echo those words with your lips and within your heart.

I will leave it up to you and the Holy Spirit to search together for where there may be details needing attended to that you may have dismissed as not mattering too much.

God bless

Kenny

 

Is there a hole in your pocket?

The angel said to Peter, “Quick!”  (Take time to read Acts 12 if you are not sure what this refers to!)

God’s sovereignty and my responsibility are often wrapped together as two sides of the one coin. I may not fully understand the process of how such a coin could ever be minted and long ago accepted that my willingness not to understand or adequately explain the mix may be sneered at and mocked as an intellectual cop-out. No matter: “The LORD protects those of childlike faith…” (Psalm 116). After 47 years of being a Christian and thinking like a Christian,  I am not sure that I have  gained much wisdom to shed more light on the subject or  to make myself sound more mature.

Whatever, I have found this coin to be good currency for purchasing spiritual health and victory in territories that seem like home to my soul, and in strange lands of unusual glories or daunting terrain reached by uncharted seas.

Treasure this coin. Guard it well. Has it slipped through a hole in your pocket? Think at what point you lost it, search for it and rejoice when you find it again.

God bless

Kenny

Is this warning for you?

Had a dream last night in which there was a battle against a spirit of mockery. Watch out today you do not mock Holy things, or scoff at what is beyond your spiritual understanding or experience as yet…there may be life waiting for you in the very place, ministry or truth you have so quickly and confidently dismissed.

God bless.

Kenny

A couple of thoughts…about our surprising and annoying God…

Two thoughts, similar, but from a different starting point, that I shred on “Facebook” today: shared here, for those who for many good reasons I  can think of would not touch “Facebook” with a barge pole!

Thought 1

In unexpected moments the Holy Spirit starts to dance with joy within us hand in hand with our spirit. It can happen in the midst of trial or ease, amidst a crowd or in aloneness, in our waking hours or when we are asleep. We hear the distant but distinct strains of a celebration and realise that part of our being has slipped out trough the window, escaping the brooding captivity of all that saps life away: it has already taken to the floor and its joyful whirling sends forth an invitation that the rest of our being may follow.

Thought 2

It is intensely annoying when the Holy Spirit in your your spirit is rejoicing in something  that your mind , armed with good solid biblical reasoning, is furious at. Been there so many times and have got the T-shirts in every colour under the sun…but would rather face that annoyance and its good fruit than be what I would be without it: a wee gnarled up angry Scottish Presbyterian Charismatic Pentecostal semi-retired older brother.

May my thoughts awaken and bless your own thinking.

Kenny

 

Child and Conqueror!

It is always dangerous to separate what God puts together in His written Word and in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.  It is especially dangerous for those of us called to preach and teach to make that mistake as servants of God in the spoken Word.

In recent years there has thankfully been an emphasis in Renewal circles on the Father heart of God. This was much needed in countries like my own, Scotland, where people have often been brought up in the remnants of a spiritual culture that seemed to major on God as judge, and a harsh judge at that; a God who wears a frown rather than a smile of welcome and mercy.

However though we can never overstate the love of God in its scope or depth,  we can misrepresent its implications. In the bible, in the life of Jesus, the declaration of the Father’s love was followed by choices made for the Father’s will in the wilderness.

When we truly receive the love of God, a desire to do His will is birthed within us along with the power so to choose. In the presentation of the gospel, the Good News that in Jesus we not only find the delight of God resting upon us  but are  also given a new nature that delights in doing God’s will,  is sometimes obscured:  one reality is presented at the expense of the other. So for example,  the hyper-grace movement leaves out the requirement and joy of repentance and obedience, while Holiness movements and churches  have often resulted in a legalism that like all Pharisaism hides the smile of God’s saving love and kind mercy behind a disapproving, judging frown of unapproachability.

The joy of Christ’s Baptism and His obedience in the wilderness go together. This is the true grace of God that comes to us through relationship with Him, through  abiding in Him. It is also the way to true joy. Nothing can interrupt the joy of those who know they are loved  by the Father and who live to do the Father’s will. This was the delight of Christ and He invites us into Him: “Come to me.” In Him we find a love that cannot be interrupted and a joy that nothing can keep from us. What is to stop any of us this day, whoever and whatever is part of our situation, from obeying the Father’s will, and finding therein our delight? Only our choice.

I have been thinking back today over those moments when I have met people who have moved me to tears with the sight of the beauty of Christ in their lives. One such person was the missionary, Dr. Helen Roseveare. I heard her speak at Kilcreggan House when I was 15 or 16. I cannot really remember what she said, but it was the beauty of the Lord Jesus shining from her face, that made me want to find a private spot in the grounds, simply to weep. Truest beauty has that effect. It was overwhelming to me. The way to that beauty somehow became crystal clear without anyone telling me; saying “Yes” to the Father’s will, whatever that meant. It was something to do with not negotiating a contract with Christ under out own terms, but surrendering everything to the will of God without a terms and conditions clause. I have never forgotten that moment.

I hope whoever you are, you are living  in the full joy of Christ.  Perhaps to do so you might need to restore a balance to what it means to be in Christ. You may need to stand with Him under the joyful proclamation at His baptism and hear these words being spoken over you: “You are my Son, my Daughter whom I love. You bring me great delight!” Alternatively, you may need to stand with Him in the lonely  and costly choices of obedience in the desert, allowing Him to help you say His “Yes” to the Father’s will.

I believe this post is offering you the pathway to joy and freedom. For some it will be the joy of standing on the mountain top of spiritual experience  lifting your eyes to the Father in clear uninterrupted skies. For others, it will be the joy of standing in the valley in the midst or in the aftermath of great battle, with your weapons held aloft, bruised and bloodied but with a warrior cry of “Freedom” emerging from the unassailable depths of your being.

May the unfettered joy of Christ, the Son and the Victor be yours this day and always.

God bless you, Child of God and More than a Conqueror

Kenny