A timely warning?

If you ever think you have got the way God works all boxed and taped, read what I have been reading this morning: 2 Chronicles 18. At a time when sycophantic prophets were prophesying success and victory for King Ahab in battle, one prophet dared to speak truth and ended up being locked up for doing so. His name was Micaiah. By God’s Spirit he saw what would happen if Ahab went into battle: all Israel would be scattered like sheep without a shepherd.
We are given insight into what was going on in the heavenliness in verses 18-22:
“And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of these your prophets. The LORD has declared disaster concerning you.”
These are not easy verses to read… in your understanding or mine, is there room for the Lord sending a lying spirit into the hearts of those with prophetic gifting when their hearts are set on earthly things rather than on things above? I believe in prophetic gifting and calling because I believe the bible, but in this area as in everything else the fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.
If we want to prophesy truly, in the light of this story we need to check our hearts to see that we are not operating with a spirit of favouritism which seeks to curry favour with anyone rather than being a channel to present the unchanging ways of a God who shows no favouritism or partiality but sees all and judges justly. James warns us of a harsh reality anyway: those to whom we show favouritism, can end up doing us harm.
God bless

Jesus knows each sheep AND each church in His Church…

If you have a prophetic bent, remember to ask God the scope of any word He gives you. There is a lot of prophecy these days to the “Church” as though one word fits all. When Jesus spoke to seven churches which existed at the same moment in time in the last book of the bible, there were common elements in His words into each situation for sure, but there were also unique elements.
I was listening to God today for a couple of congregations that have asked me to preach in the near future and have asked me to share any “Word” I feel the Lord may give me. I found the same thing happening. There were common elements in what I believe the Lord gave to me, but there were unique elements for each congregation and situation too.
In my younger days in Charismatic religion, so many “prophets” came along telling us all that “The Church” was like the church in Sardis or the church in Laodicea. There was never any suggestion that the church could possible be regarded as being like the church in Philadelphia or the church in Smyrna! Nothing so positive. That general word struck me as false at worst, or very partial and incomplete at best. Usually it was given by people who seemed to be saying the whole “church” was in error except that part which they themselves represented. They along were the true thing, everyone else was lukewarm or dead, not sufficiently in relationship with the Lord, but just religious. They seemed to be able to judge the level of the whole church’s repentance and worship. There were many churches I knew of who were walking humbly before God, listening to His Word and doing His works. Jesus knows each church and their works.
If you are a leader, I do hope that you might listen and be able to hear what the Lord, who knows each church and its works, might be saying to your particular church.
God bless

I know I have told you this before…

I know I have told you this sort of thing before, but it seems appropriate to say it again as we head towards the beginning of another New Year:
I have been a Christian for 50 years and was called to be a minister in the Church of Scotland the very day I was converted: though the story of all of that began in eternity when God chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world. There are some things I miss of “the old days” of my spiritual walk from back then, some aspects of church as it was in the days I was newly converted, and some seasons of God moving gloriously by His Spirit in the years since then that I yearn might be repeated, but I don’t want to be lost in a sort of spiritual pining for what God has done in my past experience. Though there are things I miss from the past and even prefer to the way it is now in church life, I want to hear His voice for this day and be shaped with new longings for Him to lead m into His present and future purposes for me on the earth. I want to help others into their future in Christ too: that is a the job of a Shepherd, a Pastor, to be future looking and take the flock into fresh pastures. You can’t be a Pastor without being future orientated and speaking prophetically of the onward call of the Lord. “Lord, help me to be a prophet of the Lord my God, not a king of Nostalgia.”
“Give me dreams that shape tomorrow
Give me vision for today
‘Cause I’m tired of duplicating
All my old familiar ways
I’m not a captive of my past
But I believe I have a future
Make me a prophet of the Lord my God
Not a king of nostalgia…” (Dave Bilbrough)
God Bless,

The path outside that door…

Random fact of experience: I found it easier to hear God when I was on a high dose of steroids when my lung condition was eventually diagnosed! It’s not to be recommended though: I struggle just as much from the distressing side effects upon my body of long term steroid use. So, despite a fellow believer saying in response to one of my posts yesterday that I should keep taking the pills, I am glad the dose of the steroids is much lower now and additional medication does what they were doing.

The fuller truth is I learned even more about God through the illness than through steroids. As Henri Nouwen says, “What seems a hindrance becomes a way, what seems an obstacle becomes a door, what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone.” What an amazing insight and way with words to express these insights he was gifted with! Sometimes it is good to quote people who say what you want to say better than you could ever say it. Don’t quote too much though. There is life when any of us speak of our experience of God, even when we do so in the most stumbling and halting way.

Sooner or later I pray obstacles you may be facing will become a door God opens to the sight of a fresh path to walk on.

God bless


A Royal Tour

Had a dream last night that my car could be controlled remotely from home. In the dream I found It seemed to have a life of its own and was going where it wanted and was no longer being controlled by me! I laughed and laughed. This was not an “oh no!” moment, but a full of joy moment.

“Cars” in my language mean ministry. I think the interpretation is obvious and hardly needs a dream to teach it, but a dream was given nonetheless and I thank the Holy Spirit for it. The meaning is that ventures online for the sake of Christ whether by me or by you reach more lives and places than we would predict and have the potential to expand the truth and love of Christ into lives of people in this land and beyond with whom otherwise we would have no contact. It is certainly not a replacement to local gatherings meeting together, but it is powerful nonetheless.

In the dream I also shut an old bible in the back seat of the car. Through online ventures the truth and reign of the King can tour the land. All that is required is people willing to be a chauffeur. When you know you are a chauffeur to Majesty, well you treasure that in your heart, but no one really notices you when you open the door and the King steps out. All eyes are on him. When you have been humbled by the honour of being called and chosen as a servant to Majesty, that direction of attention away from you is your deepest satisfaction. It is why you accepted the job offer at the start. It is what you live and work to see happen.

“The Word of God is not chained.”

“Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end.”

“I will build MY church.”

God bless



There is no heavenly reason why the opportunities open to be church and the resources to enable us to take hold of these opportunities to further the presence of God’s Kingdom should contract rather than expand during current necessary restrictions. The problem is the church can be too earthly minded at times to be any heavenly use.

Being too heavenly minded to be any earthly use is a delusion. It is a mantra of the spirit of antichrist which in direct opposition to the bible’s teaching wants the mind of the church to be set on earthly things rather than on the things which are above, where Christ is seated, praying and reigning at the right hand of God. Set our minds on heavenly realities and the One whom John describes in his first letter as “The Eternal Life” flows to and through the church. The current times are no obstacle at all, but times to experience fresh life and growth.

God bless


Who is sufficient for these things?

Reading Habakkuk this morning, as others who follow the same Bible reading scheme may have done.
The light that sometimes breaks upon me from the Bible, the God breathed Word, as I read it both as a man and as one called by God to preach and to lead God’s people (in some capacity or another), is so bright as to be utterly unbearable were it not for the blood of Christ. Even then, washed and cleansed, I am left with a taste of that day when all will be laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, the God of the Bible, the God revealed in Jesus, who knows what is in every human being without needing anyone to tell Him. I will not be eternally condemned but I will be searched, as will every individual from every nation, and every work of man, even (especially?) the works done in the name of Jesus Christ. Uncreated light tearing through every hidden place, exposing every heart and the heart of everything. What a thought. Best let God’s Word search and judge us now and draw us to an even firmer faith and hope in God our Saviour.
I am remembering with joy and hope words from a hymn of a type we scarcely seem to hear sung any more in the sectors of the church I am most familiar with: it used to make me cry with thankfulness as a young, newly converted teenager:
“Oh how can I whose native sphere is dark
whose light is dim,
before the ineffable appear,
and on my naked spirit bear
the uncreated beam?
There is a way for man to rise
to that sublime abode,
an offering and a sacrifice,
a Holy Spirit’s energies,
an Advocate with God.”
God bless