The strange shapes of seeds of faith…

“No sin can be faced without some knowledge of grace. No loss can be mourned without some intuition of new life.” (Henri Nouwen, “With Burning Hearts,” page 39.)

Facing our sin by confessing it, and mourning our losses fully, are a sign of faith; a sign we believe such endeavours are not futile; an affirmation that there can be fulfillment after loss; that mistakes and sin need not control the direction of the journey or stop the outworking of a destiny.

Mourning and confession show the seed of true God honouring faith is present. They are the evidence I am believing that another more hopeful story is still being written from eternal merciful love and wisdom into the time and space in which I live out my days on earth.

Even when my life is like a tree felled in the splendour of its prime, repentance and mourning happen because there is somewhere deep within a hearing of the heavenly message spoken over Nebuchadnezzar in the depth of his humbling and devastating losses: “Leave the stump in the ground.” When we hear that, we can face our most shameful moments and our most life altering causes of grief with hope.

Tears are a sign of faith. No earthly tears are a sign of unbelief and loss of hope or even loss of God; a sign I have lost sight, hopefully temporarily, of the God whose love is mightier than the most shame producing failure and the deepest, and most painful losses in human experience.

Have you seen in the News on T.V at some time over the years, these devastating pictures of children who are discovered in a forgotten orphanage somewhere, who are completely silent? They cried out in the past for sure, but they stopped crying out when they came to believe no one was hearing or listening.

Your crying as a believer is a sign that faith still has a beating heart and a voice, a sign of your assurance that a day of no tears is somewhere ahead and coming towards you. May the God who hears, answer you speedily, even if as you read this, you have been mourning through a long night. May the dawn of a new day of joy come for you.

God bless

Kenny

Barbed wire…?

Asked the Lord about something that rears its head from time to time over the years and causes me real distress. Asked Him a simple “Why?” Immediately into my mind came an image of barbed wire and the sense that to pry into the matter would be to enter forbidden territory: to know the answer would harm me, take me into a battlefield which He was saving me from, a battlefield where something would end up being destroyed

It reminded me of these words from Deuteronomy 29.29:

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

In the many spiritual environments that have emerged in the last 20 years or so, that confuse being secure in the love of God with irreverent and godless “chuminess” it is a good verse, holding a good principle within it, to remember.

Today, or any day for that matter, don’t persist in trying to clamber over barbed wire which has been placed there by the Father who loves you. You may rip more than your clothes, even more than your flesh…

You discover if you have the heart of a son or a daughter when Father says “no” and, despite any passing disappointment or deep struggle, you love him freely and gladly, even if you don’t fully understand. In fact how we react when Father says “no” to us is perhaps the clearest test of whether we truly know God as Father at all, whether we are truly in Christ. He, The Son, The Son made flesh, is still The Son. He has never said anything but “Yes” to the Father’s will, either from eternity past, or when walking on the earth, and will say the same for eternity to come. If we are in Him, He helps us to do the same.

For your health’s sake get into The Son today….

God bless

Kenny

Passing on a question…

Today at first light, in the presence of God, a question I was asked by an Occupational Health doctor a few years ago now, came back to me. He was listening to my being grateful for the measure of health I still had, grateful for all the church locally and centrally were doing to help me, but he burst into my litany of thankfulness with exasperation to almost shout a question at me: “But have you mourned the loss of your health?” I hadn’t, nor did I intend to. I pushed the question away as the devil’s temptation, and could immediately think of selected verses of Scripture to justify my reaction.

Today, a few years on, with more health issues to contend with than ever, mostly as a consequence of my original lung condition or its treatment, Jesus my friend seemed to ask me the same question, and in the asking infer I had not heard his tone, heart or care behind that doctor’s exasperated question.

So, I pass the question on to some of you at least, to those of you who are in a fight with illness, who have faced it with the weapons of counting your blessings and trusting God. Jesus would commend that I am sure. However, would he ask you in a tone of caring exasperation a question to which he already knows your answer but needs you to hear it too, “Yes, but have you ever mourned your loss of health?” It seems from my sense of his presence drawing near as a friend today, that is not only allowable, but necessary in order to enter into his comfort more truly. Perhaps with me you need his help to mourn?

Actually, this is not just for those of you who have health issues now I come to think of it. Loss comes in all shapes and forms, right through a spectrum of every day losses which everyone who lives goes through, to the deepest darkest most horrendous losses way beyond the norm that many will never experience, but you may be facing right now. I am even thinking of friends, as I write this closing sentence or two, who at this very moment are living through one of those darker losses, one of the very sorest trials into which human beings can be plunged.

Perhaps you are finding a way through your loss by thankfulness and trust, but perhaps for you too what I am saying here is relevant. Have you allowed yourself to mourn? The thought of allowing yourself to do that might terrify you. If it does, read Luke 24 sometime soon. When Jesus draws near into expressed mourning and the grief of loss, and listens and talks as He walks with us, a miracle happens in the mourning: our hearts begin to burn within us.

God bless

Kenny

All sums have the same answer…

The simple, true-in-every-circumstance calculation of faith: “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” In Christ it is always true. Get hold of that and you can stop all nervous working out the answer to a testing sum, throw away the Abacus on which you are trying to find the solution to relational, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual difficulties, anxiety about finding a way through. Calm your fidgeting fingers and wait, looking for the path of grace to unfold . The above quote from Scripture has held me in great peace over the years, not least in this last week….Oh and remember when you can only see option A or B as an answer to the sum you are trying to work out, God has options A to Z and back again and more….so…rest.

I am reminded of the most relaxed farmer I have ever known, Raymond, who lives on Stronsay. He was church beadle when I was minister there from 1984 – 1989. I once asked, in days that were particularly diffiuclt for farmers if he was worried and losing sleep. He gave a shy smile, and said in his familiar lovely quiet voice, “No, I never worry. I just add up what is walking about in the field and compare it with what I owe the bank and so long as it is a bit more, I am happy.” Finding a simple calculation when everyone else is getting lost in complexity, is a great blessing.

God Bless

Kenny

We all have one…

I have never worked out the answer to a wondering: Why angels? I suppose though you could ask the same question of any or all created things. I guess like all things, angels were created for God’s pleasure and for His glory.

Part of their God glorifying purpose is to minister to you and to me. I have one who looks after me and looks upon my Father’s face with me in mind, and so do you. I have met my Guardian angel, to use the common phrase. “He” never said a word. We simply exchanged glances. He did the miraculous deed and left the scene. To speak to one another would have been to steal the glory of God and take some to ourselves.

You have probably seen yours too and never realised it. No matter really. Oh, I know we are not to go into great detail or get puffed up by such things, but that does not mean we fall into the error of discounting them or despise any talk about the angelic at all. That would be ungrateful and unthankful for the faithfully completed assignments of these ministering spirits of fiery swift obedience. Maybe one day in eternity as I heard a preacher say not long ago, we will sit and talk with our Guardian angel, look back over the replay of our lives as he/she (?) says time after time, “See that? I did that. Your Father sent me do that for you. I was watching His face below the veil of my wings, and then I saw the gesture of His hand, heard His command, ‘Go! Go now! Go swiftly! Fly faster than the wind, burn with zeal to do my bidding! Go!’ “…and together we will praise the One who lives forever, give Him all the glory. He may cover his face with his wings. I will fall down.

God bless

Kenny

To all knife throwers….

Have just deleted a sarcastic/humorous post about Christian T.V. channel “what I wrote,” to quote Ernie Wise, after watching it in the wee small hours due to sleeplessness. The thoughts in the now defunct and discarded post may have been true enough, but it was not kind. Remembering that we are judged in the same measure we judge and that if we judge not we shall not be judged should lead to the sound of knives dropping to the ground more often than that sound is actually heard… If you want to make any comments about the difference between judging and being judgemental, please don’t. You are missing the point.

I should say that a non-shouting, Jesus-in-her-face-and-voice woman who just came on screen ten minutes ago, was the instrument God used to make me think again….

So, I have set in place again my normal rules/ self imposed guidelines which I usually try and follow. Along with questioning, “Is the thing I am about to say true?” there are another couple of questions that are worth asking. “Is is kind?” and, “Will it help anyone in any way?” By the way, that does not mean I am giving up my Glaswegian humour! That is a gift of God to the world at large and to a far too often far too serious Christian Church. If you want to write a comment about that, please don’t do that either. Just laugh your annoyance off. You will feel better if you do.

There is all the difference in the world and in the eyes of God for that matter between “cleverness” and “wisdom.” Cleverness seems to like to vaunt itself with many words. The bible is not a very big book. The words of eternal life are few in number…

As Sunday approaches, try dropping the knives, rather than carrying them to the pulpit or the pew.

God bless

Kenny

Invoice….

In John Chapter 16, Jesus tells us to use His Name when we come to the Father in prayer. He does not tell us to misuse His Name. If you want an example of what it means to misuse a name, look at 2 Kings 5. After Naaman is healed of leprosy through obedience to the word of the Man of God Elisha, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant thinks he will benefit from the miracle. He runs after Naaman asking for money in the name of the Elisha, money which Elisha had been offered but had turned down. With a made up story to which he attaches Elisha’s name he asks for money. He gets it. He also gets leprosy…

It is a serious thing to misuse a person’s name. How much more serious to misuse the Name of Jesus by attaching it carelessly to our own utterances, or desires or requests without any consideration of the will of Christ. The bible tells us the Lord will not hold guiltless those who misuse His Name. I wonder if this is not one of the besetting sins of the Charismatic Church of which I am a part: attaching the Name of the Lord to our will, our utterances, our declarations when they are simply our own rather than His?

One of the most fearful verses in Scripture is this: “The Lord gave them what they asked for but also sent leanness to their soul.”

Careless asking is not wise, nor is careless promising or vow making. Ask Jephthah…

Perhaps the saddest thing of the story of Gehazi is that Naaman went bak to Syria with the edge shaved off of how different the God of Israel was from all other gods, and his prophet from all other prophets.  He continued on his journey homewards  thinking that Elisha had indeed requested money. That mistaken understanding was never undone.  The effect on Naaman’s theology? Yes, the God of Israel could do miraculous things, but for payment, and for the return of a favour. “Grace” became hidden. He sends out bills for his miracles.

God bless

Kenny

Statement from Kenny, April 11th. 2018. Please read….Thank you.

Early retirement for me was not the result of an attack by Satan upon my health designed to stop my ministry. It was a step of obedience to my Heavenly Father, a learning to walk a new path with Him that I had never walked before. There have been difficulties on that new path for sure, but nothing compared with the blessing of fellowship with Him. it has been a path showered with the presence of His kindness and compassion, a path which has been marked by experienced generosity, often coming through the care of other individual people (some of whom know me and some of whom scarcely know me or Morag at all, who have listened to God on our behalf and responded), but also through my own denomination and the state and even the tax man!

The other night I had a dream in which my name was not Kenneth ( Gaelic meaning: Handsome!!!) but Dorothy, Ha ha, ( God’s Gift )! That is the Prophetic title I have chosen to write over this phase, this new path. I refuse to give Satan glory. It is a path called “Gift of God.” In the dream there were doctors of the laws of illness and healing pouring over their books, which looked very thin and insubstantial, furious at the phase of life illness has released into being called “Dorothy, Gift of God,” furious with me for accepting such a name to describe my life at the present. Fortunately I had discharged myself from their “care”, their fundamentalism and legalism, their diagnosis and judgements, their insubstantial books and learning, and chosen the path of freedom and belovedness, obedience and trust.

Who knows what other steps of abounding and being abased in all sorts of ways may yet be on this path? At times, I may be brought so low in one way or another that no one would understand how I could call this path, “Gift of God.” At other times I might so overwhelmingly abound that you may be tempted to jealousy at how much God chooses to bless me spiritually, materially, physically, and in any other sort of way you can name. The raising of “ jealousy” levels seems to be an acceptable biblical method of evangelism, by the way, and who knows might even at times work for God’s own people to bring them deeper into Christ. Paul was happy to endorse it’s potential good fruit. In it all, I pray that I will hold on to the secret of being content however discontent the story may make others feel.

God bless

Kenny, pilgrim on the Dorothea road…..

GOAL!

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1: 8-9.

This is too small a goal for many church leaders, to the extent that sometimes such a goal is never allowed to be celebrated in the terraces. Sundays have become too routinely a place for envisioning, pumping up the church for its tasks and mission and not much more in some cases. The effect is the opposite of what is intended. People limp home from the match under the burden of feeling they have failed, with thoughts of an exhausting punishing training calendar still filling their ears.

Hoping today that in the churches of Scotland, God’s born again people will be allowed to simply rejoice in the One whom having not seen we adore, the one in whom we have believed, the One who has saved our souls, is saving them, and will save them. GOAL! Perhaps if we were allowed to simply celebrate more the story of our salvation, the roar of the joyful celebration would be lingering about our faces, our words, our actions wherever we go in the days of this new week, invading the pitch of the world where the goal was scored and the victory was won.

Frankly, along with many of my fellow Scottish believers, I am too aware at times of my failings, unhealthily and unhelpfully so, and I don’t need to be told “Come on Church…” and lectured about my demerits. Nor do most beleivers who are doing their best to live for Jesus faithfully through the week. I do need to sing songs of celebration and rejoice in the one who drank from the Cup and still holds it above his head in triumph, causing a spontaneous roar from all who follow Him. I need space alone and with others to think about His glorious victory again and again, His never ending glory days.

God bless

Kenny

Asking and Sparkling…..

I have just been reading John 16 this morning. What struck me among many other things was the theme of “asking.” The disciples are in spiritual confusion because of what Jesus has been telling them, but for whatever reason, they seem reluctant to voice that. I guess it is hard to admit our ignorance, especially if we are meant to be spiritual leaders in the work of God!  From that point on in the chapter,  Jesus seems to be encouraging them to make asking from a place of confusion very much a permanent  part of their spiritual walk. He is going to the Father, with all that means for opening up the way to His Father as their Father. They can come to the Father for anything at any time but especially to bring Him their questions  in times of confusion and tribulation and stress, and ask for all they need to see a path through these times. That primarily seems to be the type of asking which Jesus is encouraging in this particular chapter.

I have grown to love the New living Translation of the bible.  No doubt there will be those reading this blog who will point to its deficiencies, but I have found it often helps me to see and visualise truth with a new simplicity. In verse 23 we read these words on the lips of Jesus: “…ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.”  Here is what is ignited in my imagination by these words:

I stand at the door marked “Father’s House”  and knock. I hear a voice from within the house: “Yes?”

“Jesus sent me. He told me I could come here and say he sent me. He told me I could come to you and ask you for anything. He told me….”

… my  introduction of myself is cut short! The door flings swiftly, even wildly open, as tbough it could not be opened fast enough, as though it would burst its own hinges!  The smiling, excited and astonished Father says to me with eyes and voice sparkling with something impossible to express in words,  “Jesus sent you, you say? My Son told you to come here, to come to me? Come in friend, come right in! Whoever he sends my way, never gets turned away from my door, or goes away empty handed! Any friend of Jesus, my Son, is my friend too. Come in, come on in! You are more than welcome!  Sit down.  Let’s sup together first of all….Now, what is it you are wanting to ask? Tell me about it.”

“Well, Father, I am confused. These are troubling times. I need wisdom, I need understanding, I need faith, well, I don’t know all that I need, but I need you to help me overcome, Father, to help me to be like the one we both love, Jesus, who overcame the world.”

…and the conversation, the speaking/listening, the round of questioning/answering begins…. and I find something of that indescribeable sparkle I noticed  begins to sparkle deep within me. Deep calls to deep. I begin to believe that I, even I, can be more than a conqueror through Him who has loved me, and always will.

May you see the door to the Father’s house being flung wildly open to welcome you this day and every day. Begin to ask and sparkle!

God bless

Kenny

Guilt about blessing…..?

One of the reasons false written gospels were dismissed as such, was that they contained stories where Jesus used miraculous powers to gain advantage over others, even in His childhood! That was a good call. However, there is one story in the authentic gospels which has always left me a bit uneasy. I was reminded of it a few days ago, in my daily reading in “Sanctuary” by David Strutt (a book I highly recommend if you are looking for a new daily devotional book). It is in Matthew 17, where Jesus sends Simon Peter fishing. He tells him that in the mouth of the first fish he catches there will be a coin sufficient in worth to pay for the temple tax for Peter and for himself.

Can you allow yourself to beleive that God favours His children and the working of that favour is just that, favour?  Don’t push away blessings that come from God exercising His choice to benefit you today. There is blessing that comes to those who make God their God, in sincerity and truth. Malachi says that at times God chooses to make that obvious. He distinguishes between those who seek him and those who do not. Oh yes, immediately something in me feels like dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to say that of course sometimes that favour can come in the form of the call and privilege of extraordinary suffering, however sometimes we can dot the i’s and cross the t’s with such definite black heavy ink that we almost blot out the structure of the letters themselves.

So, resisting the temptation to add qualifying clauses: are you willing this day to receive benefit from God, by which He favours you, even giving you advantage that would not come your way save by His choice to positively discriminate in favour of His children? It may be financial, work related, benefit. It may be benefit coming the way of those you love and pray for. It might be a gift of some sort beyond your wildest dreams, or it may be within the realm of your faith dreams. Whatever, maybe along with me, you need to make it a point to work on: to gladly, without apology or the need to explain, allow God to love you and do all that His overflowing and generous love wants to do.

So…get ready to receive advantage, favour, benefit! Don’t push it away when it comes. When God works a miracle to your benefit it may make you feel guilty. Peter on another occasion when a miracle benefited him, felt that. Fortunately, Christ let the miracle stand. His grace is greater than our resistance to receiving it. I am so glad about that.

God Bless

Kenny

In praise of messy eating habits…

Sundays, I get up earlier than other days of the week,  to take a medicine that I only take once a week. It has to be taken an hour after I have been up and I cannot eat anything or take other medication until another hour has passed. As every Sunday, so this Easter Sunday, however, what is a bit of a chore was a joy today. Thought these thoughts in the still brighntess of Easter Morning and share them with you here:

Has a smile dawned on your face yet, this Easter Morning? May joy and laughter bubble up from your resurrected spirit, the place where the truth of the empty tomb is most deeply known and never doubted, and may your body, mind and emotions be refreshed in that overflow!

Especially if you are troubled in mind or emotions or your body seems anything like a blessing, take time to listen to the gurgling stream permanently rising in your spirit: “Lives again our glorious King! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Once He died, our souls to save, where thy victory O grave?”

Despite the coldness of the weather, what an added blessing as I look out the window…the sun is bright, the primroses are blooming, there is colour and life! Everything in God’s temple of creation shouts, “Glory!” Join in with the primroses! Who knows what lingering night darkness in your soul may be frightened away by your shout of praise?

One thing distracted me from praise: a messy eater! Annoyed big time at a tiny wee bird, at the feeder. For every seed he/she eats he/she is scattering a hundred more to a 2 metre radius. Could he or she  not reat my generosity with more respect?  All that seed being flung about carelessly will attract rats, vermin…..The Holy Spirit laughs within and says, “God loves a messy eater!” I look again. 20 birds or more are happily hopping about the ground, feeding on the overspill of this bird who unknown to himself/herself was causing me such anguish of mind!. So the Holy Spirit seems to want to say this: “Stuff yourself full of Christ this Easter, but be a messy eater!”  Even if others think you are a bit ill mannered, eat enthusiastically and leave a mess of seed wherever you go.

Because of the ministry of messy eaters known by name or unkonwn,   there can be  baptismal services such as the one  I hope to get out to tonight. It will be packed out not only with beleivers but with non beleivers, there in curiostiy and love to support a family member in what they are doing. I will need to be there early to have any hope of finding a seat. What better way to celebrate the aliveness of Jesus than to rejoice in the ongoing story of lives saved and changed through the seed of Christ and His Kingdom being shared and spread abroad?

God Bless

Kenny

“Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven! Who, like me, His praise should sing?”

Remembering when I fist read the words quoted below in 1st. Peter as a 13 year old, in the RSV bible I had bought after my conversion at SU camp. They left me speechless. On this Good Friday, they still have that impact upon me: this is why I live; this is what I live for; this is what I have sought to minister; this is why I know I am going to heaven when I die; this is the reason I will live forever; the sting of death is the law and Christ  has drawn that sting by paying  HImself  for the broken laws that Father, Son and Holy Spirit made. This too is what I was blissfully ignorant of; this is what I was completely unconcerned about until grace opened my eyes. Sadly, this is also the gospel that is being increasingly despised by those who claim to be part of the “church.” I saw that happening when I was converted, I see it still. However, I am a debtor to the grace of God which chose me and loved me in eternity and loved me in time, before I ever loved Him. What He has done for me when I was ignorant, He can do for others. Salvation is of The Lord. He can convert someone who has no intention of being converted and can save someone whose will is set against being saved. Wherever did we get the idea that God is a gentleman? He tramples human will and decision underfoot without so much as a by or leave when He so chooses. That is why there is hope for any person. Not because they can change but because God can intervene and change hearts totally against our own will! He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy and, fearful thought,  will harden hearts too as He chooses.


Here are the words. There are a huge variety of people who read these blogs in surprising places. I know some of you are ministers of a more liberal perusasion than I am. Will you read these verses and think of the lamb slain since the foundation of the world? Maybe this Good Friday as you preach to others from a place of knowing Christ only distantly,  you will be converted and become a born again Christian (there is no other sort of Christian than one who has been converted and born again)  and  like John Newton start preaching from this Good Friday the gospel you  have long laboured to destroy.


“You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”

God Bless

Kenny

Fragrance…

Six days before the Passover, the Passover lambs were thoroughly checked for imperfections. If none were found, their feet were anointed with oil. Two days before Passover, they were checked again, and if it was confirmed they were without defect, they were anointed upon their heads.

According to John 12, Jesus’ feet were anointed by Mary six days before the Passover. According to Mark 14, a woman, whose name we don’t know anointed Jesus head two days before Passover. “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” “My Jesus, God’s precious sacrifice!” By the way, these two women were more in tune with Jesus and his approaching sacrifice than any men! Jesus deeply appreciated the insightfulness of their love. It must have been like a beautiful refreshing stream, from which He drank with gratefulness, as the cross drew ever nearer…

Moving on to Good Friday: around Christ’s head and feet as He hung on the cross, the perfume of insightful, appreciative love infiltrates the darkness, the first fruits of a harvest still being reaped…fruit from His travail…

May Christ, seated at the right hand of His Father and our Father, be surrounded by the fragrance of our appreciative love this Holy Week.

God bless

Kenny

The more sombre tones of grace…

What do grace and truth sound like when blended together in perfection? Well, there can be various tones, some of them exquisitely beautiful and tender beyond description. Here is another tone, however, and a more sombre tone it is,  from the One who is the Light of the World. It is only one thread in the overall perfect tapestry  of the true grace of God which has appeared for our salvation, but it is there. All these words are words of Jesus, in Matthew 10:

“When you enter a home give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing.”

“Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

“…everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

“I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”

“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.”

I also thought of these words from Matthew 7 as I was reading in Matthew 10:

“… I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “

All of this is part of the true grace of God, from the lips of the one who “has the words of eternal life.”

God Bless us all as we live in and declare to one another and to a lost world His amazing grace in all its confrontational and consoling glory.

God Bless

Kenny

Wait…

 

“9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,e were killed just as they had been._ (Revelation 6)

“On earth as it is in heaven.” Heaven and earth share in the experience of the already established but not yet fully here Kingdom of God. Heaven, right now, is a place of incomplete justice and incomplete healing. It is a place where weight is given to the word “wait.”

Remember that when you find yourself in sincere Christian circles where “On earth as in heaven” has become a mantra defined by human dream and imagination rather than informed by the witness of Scripture, as to what that actually means. It is a prayer both for miracle and for strength to receive the word “wait” in the face of non healing and injustice, should that be the will of God for us at this moment. Patience and faith are required in heaven itself right now. Saints on earth and saints in heaven are a waiting people still….

Part of “ on earth as in heaven” is carrying a “How long O Lord?” in our hearts. Bearing the marks of Satan’s hatred of Christ in the form of attacks upon our body and our souls, we live out day by day, “Wait a little longer.” Knowing Christ, knowing the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering is the way it is. There is sweet rest and consolation to be found there, as many of you could testify to with integrity.

I have had prophecies spoken over me that have been fulfilled and prayers prayed over me that have been asnwered, in ways that have astounded me. The ones that have more often than not, not  been fulfilled, are the  prophecies and prayers that have majored on the word “complete,”  and/or the phrase “right now.” “We declare complete… we ask for complete….  righ now!”  Sometimes there is indeed a  “right now” taste of the day of completion of all things, that is certain, but such moments are tasters, not the day itself. For that day, which we taste in many beautiful and wonderful ways, we still wait…

God bless

Kenny

The key to superb leadership…

Jesus’ way is the descending way of love to borrow another of H. Nouwen’s memorable phrases. If you want to know what leadership means, look at Him. It means stooping to wash feet, to humiliation, to hiddenness and being treated as something to be gotten rid of, passed over and jeered at.

It is in the descending way into apparent irrelevance that we become truly the light of the world, awakening seeds of longing for another way. So many have become bewitched by the false cult of relevance and influence.

Here is how we know if we are a leader in Christ’s eyes. Have we washed anyone’s feet recently, stooped lower into the mire than anyone else seems prepared to go? Or have we got our ideas of what leadership looks like from a source other than Christ?

God bless

Kenny

“Your grief will turn to joy.”

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.”

Of course these words of Jesus in John 16 refer to the specific sadness and its overturn that the first disciples were about to experience as Jesus went to the cross. However, at the same time, there is a principle of spiritual life here if we can receive it. The principle is this: sorrows become birth pangs of future life and even joy.

I often quote Henri Nouwen. He says what I want to say, but more beautifully and memorably. I am thinking of how he expresses this truth: “…what seems a hindrance becomes a way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door; what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone.”

When Jesus is allowed to be Lord in our sorrows, as we wait in patience and expectation that trust in the goodness of His Father and ours awakens, it can become a preparation time for Kingdom of God joy to be birthed once more.

What a promise and declaration! “Your weeping will be turned to joy!” Don’t push that word away in frustration. May God give you this day even a passing moment of quietness from the clamouring that so often fills our souls, to be able to say, “Yes, Lord,” to His word.

God bless

Kenny

Energy saving tips…

My energy levels are not what they were. It is good when you are given wise advice, practical advice, in the form of energy saving tips!

Grateful for 2 such tips from Henri Nouwen. Thought I would share them.

1: Making judgements about other people wastes a lot of energy. “We hear a lot, see a lot and know a lot. The feeling we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgements about it can be quite oppressive.” ( Bread for the Journey)

2: The need to decide what to focus energy upon. “What is my main task during ‘my little while’? I want to point to the signs of the Kingdom to come, to speak about the first rays of the day of God, to witness to the many manifestations of the Holy Spirit among us. I do not want to complain about this passing world but to focus on the eternal that lights up in the midst of the temporal. I yearn to create space where it can be seen and celebrated.” (Sabbatical Journey)

May these tips bless you too!

Kenny

Anything to add to the list?

Just a very short blog mirroring something I posted on Facebook. If we were to make a list of verses out the bible that Christians do not really beleive, what verses would you suggest should go on that list?

R.T. Kendall says that the most disbelieved verse in the bible is Luke 6 verse 37:

“Judge not, and you will not be judged:”

His reason for saying that: “We do it all the time.”

Ouch! I mean OUCH!

Well, that has sent me off to sleep, knowing I need a Saviour, grateful that I have one and His life is in me. There is hope.

God bless

Kenny

 

 

Were you allowed to enjoy childhood?

The bible seems to speak of stages of growth in Christ. For example in 1st. John we read of Children, Young adults and Parents in the faith (to bring up to date “children, young men and fathers”).

I have found over the years that many Christians have been denied a spiritual childhood. Just as in the natural when people have been denied childhood simplicity and carefreeness from responsibility, all sort of problems can follow, well, it is the same when people have been denied the simple security and enjoyment of a spiritual childhood. They have been rushed on to be involved in service, or force grown in the Word, before they have even known the Father and reached a security in His love. Minds and service expand fast, but hearts are stunted.

…and so it can happen, that people are involved deeply in the Lord’s work but forever insecure in the Lord’s love. I think it would surprise many a leader how deeply insecure many people in the pews are in the Father’s delight in them, many who are indeed deeply involved in the church and have been for years. They are serving beyond their hearts. When grace breaks through a new longing is birthed. Even those regarded as Fathers and Mothers in the faith find a new song rising in their hearts:

“I want to be a child again
I want to see the world through five year old eyes
To walk with my God wherever He may lead
to put my trust in Him.”

God bless

Kenny

Time to get rid of your Voodoo stuff…

Well, I guess you are used to me posting some off the wall stuff. I am a Charismatic, by biblical conviction and by personal experience. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit in 1st. Corinthians 12 as well as the gifts mentioned in other lists in the New Testament, none of which are exhaustive in outlining  the ways in which the Holy Spirit may make His presence and activity manifest. From time to time, through some of these spiritual gifts available to all God’s people, God has helped me “see” something for people which carries His power to free them from destructive influences when it is shared in love and faith and received by faith.
 
OK, this is one of the most off the wall “words” yet, but I have learned at cost, in fact at the cost of somebody’s life on one occasion, never to ignore the nudging and hunches the Holy Spirit gives. You get these nudges and hunches too, don’t you? Of course you do, and just need the courage to step out and do something with them. Do it! Do it humbly. Folk may mock you at times, but that gets easier to ignore the more it happens over the years.
 
Anyway… to the point:
 
There is someone reading this, whose life and ministry has come under the destructive influence of Voodoo. I get the impression that involvement was in a form that would have been easy to dismiss as “nothing harmful”: a piece of jewellery, a charm type thing, watching a T.V. programme or documentary, or even “just” a liking for music that springs from Voodoo. By something that you felt was harmless, a foothold, a landing pad was created, silently guarded over all the many years since. That opened gateway has been watched over and used by destructive spirits with designs upon your life, your relationships, your ministry, your finances and your physical and mental wellbeing. They have not acted in an obviously evil way, but bit by bit, a measure here a measure there, they have seen to it that you have gradually sunk beneath the waves.
 
The Christ who awoke on the sea of Galilee has just opened your eyes recently to wonder if there is something demonic going on in the waters around your life. There is, but there is no need to panic in the water, that will only make things worse. Have the humility simply to renounce the thing you have always – at times quite angrily – defended as harmless. You dismissed it as harmless because you maintained that obviously, as a born again Christian, you did not actually believe the spiritual content behind it for one moment!
 
Wrong! Sins of ignorance, of which there is a measure in this matter in regard to yourself and Voodoo, are still sins we are accountable for in the bible. Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law of God. But praise God, Jesus has borne the penalty of the law of God, death, for our sins of ignorance as much as sins we are consciously aware we are guilty of. Jesus prayed and prays still for forgiveness for those who know not what they do. This is important. In prayer ask that God will sprinkle you with the blood of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Satan is a legalist. He knows he has no claim upon you with regard to any sin placed beneath the blood of Christ . He will pretend he still has, roar like a wounded lion, but don’t be afraid. “Be alert” but “be not afraid.” God disarmed him at the cross.
 
So then, confess your sin, put it beneath the blood of Jesus. Renounce the involvement and get rid of any object connected with the evil spirits behind Voodoo. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit to strengthen you to obey your Heavenly Father in all things whether you see the point in what he asks of you or not. That is called humble obedience, a key weapon God wants to help you use more and more in your living “the Jesus life.”
 
“Drowning” is the best word to sum up how you have been experiencing your life. I actually think that from some sort of event in your past you are familiar with almost drowning in the physical sense. As I say, God has opened your eyes to wonder if there is a demonic attack involved in all of this. There is. If anything this “word” is perhaps just to confirm that recent insight before you dismiss it as rubbish, just your own imagination.
 
So then, shelter in Jesus, confess and renounce your sin, rejoice in the blood of the cross. Jesus is Lord!
 
God bless
 
Kenny

Worth watching…

Snowed in this morning. Just got word that the church we often try and go to in the evening is cancelled too,  for the first time ever! So was looking on line for a Word and Spirit church service…. here are my thoughts as I do that….

Difficult to find an online charismatic service today where:

a – there is not someone yelling at me through a microphone.
b – there is not some ridiculously long mini sermon going on before the offering. If it needs that then surely what comes in, money wise, is not really worth anything in the Kingdom of God sense of worth.
c – there is a congregation entering into whatever it is  the  worship team are apparently enjoying among themselves.
d – the congregation looks at all attentive to the preaching of the Word of God.

Wait a minute. All is not lost. Found Dr. R.T. Kendall about to preach. You can find him on kt.org right now, if you happen to be snowed in. If you miss it it will appear on their site in a few days.

Edited this to add a few comments just to say it was a brilliant sermon on the Sovereignty of God : God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy: He did not heal one single leper among his covenant people in Naaman’s day even though He is the Lord our healer, but He did heal one man from Syria: Jesus reminded people of that and it is the first recorded instance where people wanted to kill Him…. well, let’s put that in our charismatic theories pipe and smoke it… will be difficult for some of us, I think…..

If only some international preachers who commend R.T.’s  books would imbibe such teaching and share it in the platforms God has given them to reach vast numbers of people in many nations, so many people in the charismatic world would be saved from the disillusionment current popular preachers can at times bring upon the waiting and the weary and instead be helped to  live in true faith believing for real signs of the Kingdom.

God bless

Kenny

The Ancient battle…

In one conversation the battle of the ages is set:

“Has God said you shall not eat….” An attack on the truth of the goodness of God. It works: Eve extends the prohibition spoken by God to include not even being allowed to touch the tree. Job done. God’s loving goodness cast in doubt: He is harsh and kill-joy and will spoil our freedom to fully enjoy life, so cast His chains aside.

“You shall not die…” An attack on the truth that God actively judges sin, that its wages are death, spiritual and physical. Job done. God’s wrath against sin cast in doubt.

Today millions of people will gather together, in fellowships small and large, who have been set free from Satan’s lies by Jesus Christ to honour who God is, who He unchangingly was, is and always will be. They will rejoice together that Jesus has opened their blind eyes to the loving goodness of our Heavenly Father and borne and taken the judgement, the death that was ours on the cross. May millions more yet sing the Song of the Lamb slain since the foundation of the world, the Lord Himself, pierced not for his transgressions but for ours.

God bless

Kenny

Near…but not in yet…..

Dear friends

I am aware that my blog is read by people that I would never have thought would read such a blog. Today, I am thinking of those of you, perhaps from the UK, perhaps from another land, who have lived near the borders of becoming a Christian, but perhaps are unsure how to move from being near Christ’s family to being in that family for all eternity.

Today  was the funeral of a world famous evangelist, called Billy Graham. You may not have heard of him and you may not know what an evangelist is. Bascially an evangelist is someone who has been specially gifted by God’s Holy Spirit  to share the good news of Jesus with those who do not yet know him. God uses them to  help people  believe and become followers of Jesus Christ. Having watched the funeral on television, I wrote something on Facebook that I want to post here as this goes to many more countries than my Facebook posts. I hope it may help some of you to move from being near Christ’s Kingdom to living within it now and for eternity,  by the grace of God.

“Just watched Billy Graham’s funeral. So thankful for the gloriously simple and true gospel he preached and his son preached today. It is still the power of God to save all who believe, still the rescue from eternal perishing. It may just be there are some people who come across this post who are wanting to become Christians, looking for an answer to the guilt you know is truly yours because of sin. Here are 4 simple steps.

A – something to ADMIT. Along with everyone bar Jesus Christ alone, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are cut off from the heavenly home he wants to share with us, cut off from living in close fellowship with him in this life and in the life to come.

B – there is something to BELIEVE. Any good deeds or religious service or works cannot save me from my sins. You may have discovered that by personal experience: trying to be good, to do good things, to do the things religious people do, but the awareness of a real gap is still there. Only Jesus can bring you into fellowship with Your Heavenly Father who is reaching out to you in love right now. God the Father so loved us and wanted us to be saved and have eternal life rather than perish eternally because of our sins. He gave His Son to bear our sins on the cross that sin’s just punishment should be borne by Jesus for us. Jesus willingly came to the earth in the love of his Father for us to do just that. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The bible teaches us this: the punishment that Jesus bore brings the offer of peace to you and to me.

C – There is something to CONSDER. The cost of asking Jesus into your life and becoming his follower. Are you willing to make Him your Lord in all things? Are you willing to let him help you turn from all that is not the will of God for your living and embrace His will for you in all things for the rest of your days on earth? You will not manage perfect obedience all in one go, but Jesus will live in you day by day to help you in this life of being continually changed.

D – There is something to DO. Ask Jesus to come into your life by the Holy Spirit. If you mean it, He will, no shadow of doubt about it. At that moment you will be freed from the consequences of your sin and become a child of God loved with a love that will remain with you through all things and from which not even death will be able to separate you. Find a church that will honour the step you have taken, where this gospel is believed and preached and share fellowship with Christ’s people. Keep looking until you find yourself in a church that feels like the right one to encourage you, where you feel at peace within. The people there will help you in your early steps in your new life, your new life as a born again Christian.”

God bless you,

Kenny

Observation…

To use a biblical phrase; “These things also I have observed….”

Those Christians I have met or known in any depth at all,  who struggle with mental illness have been the quickest to respond to the coming down of the Holy Spirit, more so  than any other people I know in the Charismatic world.

In two or three different settings I have found myself ministering in they have almost been like some sort of spiritual lightning detectors. When they raise thier hands, laugh or cry, I tune in more carefully and find they are right…God is there, He has come with a strong presence. Their hearts of worship, their delight in praising their Father in heaven has always challenged me. I pray for their blessing and healing, but I hope if healing comes they do not lose the treasure they carry.

Let’s not dumb down the God content in our ministry to those challenged intellectually or by mental illness. That is to show an ignorance of the difference between spirit and mind. We have much to learn from these precious people about meeting and knowing God and encountering Him in power.

God bless

Kenny

Perfect Day!

As believers we live in the mystery of the “already here, still coming, but not yet Kingdom of God.” The only choice we have is to live in that mystery well or badly! We taste the first fruits of that coming day of no more suffering, no more pain, no more death, no more tears, we are longing for. When Kingdom signs present themselves to our experience, they point onwards, away from themselves to a place and a time still to be arrived at. These signs and wonders moments, remind us we are on the right road and that our hope is not in vain.

That is all fairly basic Christian teaching. I like the way Henri Nouwen expresses something of the way we carry the mystery of that in our own being, in our own experience of day to day living. I thought I would just share his words with you:

“We all have dreams about the perfect life: a life without pain, sadness, conflict or war.The spiritual challenge is to experience glimpses of this perfect life right in the middle of our many struggles. By embracing the reality of our mortal life we can get in touch with the eternal life that has been sown there.”

I liked that when I read it today. I want to be intentionally aware of eternal life here and now, aware of how and when the future is invading the now, looking intentionally for these glimpses of the perfect day whose dawn and ever rising sun we live in right here and now, in this very moment. Strikes me that to actively live like that more deeply still, would be a blessing worth finding.

Hope this blesses you as it blessed me

Kenny

You never thought of that, did you?

The book I am using for my personal devotions at the moment is called, “Sanctuary, Moments in His Preaence” by David Strutt. I have been so blessed through reading and re-reading the story of the 4 lepers in 2 Kings 7, which David’s book has focussed on for the last few days as part of a mini series on Elisha. If you are in the habit of reading my blog thoughts, well, you will probably be the sort of person who knows that story without having to look it up. If you don’t know it, then read it before you read any more of my words….

The lepers only saw limited options as they looked at the situation facing them. They stumbled into a glorious answer to their predicament that was not on their radar at all – not that they would have understood that metaphor!

I am writing this on a Sunday. It is unlikely I will be in church this morning  as I had a glorious day preaching yesterday in Dunfermline. That means I am tired today, but happily so. However, I am thinking of those who will be gathering today in congregations of all types, sizes etc. As I do, I am wondering if there will be people who have come to worship carrying an options list about situations that vex them? Well, I am not really wondering if that may be the case. It will be so.

I love the story of every believer in Christ in Ephesians 2. Paul paints a pretty black picture of what we are before the grace of God is activated in our experience, so black that you would think the only otpion facing us was eternal exclusion from the presence of the Lord. Then we read a thought that could be summed up in two words: BUT GOD! All of a sudden, a reality which the flow of Paul’s argument would never have predicted, erupts on to the scene! Because of the rich mercy and love of God in Christ, all of a sudden those who were described as children of wrath, are pictured as sitting in fellowship with the Son of God in the love of the Father.

“But God!” I am praying that may happen as the Church gathers across the land this day. Of course I hope it most in terms of its orginal setting: Oh that people would be saved this day in Scotland and beyond our borders! However, I am also hoping, believing,  for the principle of “But God” to break through in other ways too for those who are carrying their list of limited options regarding  situations they or their loved ones are facing.

It may be that you, yourself, are one of these people I am thinking of and  praying for as I write. Before this day ends may you find yourself confining the limited options list to the bin. Oh yes, throw it our along with the calculator and the Abacus ( that is a message for someone I beleive). God has ways of working out figures that defy the laws of Arithmetic. Rest from your continual calculations that are wearing you out, day and night.

God Bless

Kenny

 

 

Rekindling the fire..

Remembering as a teenager, not long converted, finding myself in a church singing the words below. I had never heard them before, but they honoured the Christ I had met, who had saved me and brought eternal life, the life of God, to birth within me. The words also reaffirmed the call of God to preach the gospel, which had come to me on the day of my conversion.

The controversy around Billy Graham and “his” gospel have reminded me “tis all my business here below…to preach in life and cry in death, “Behold the Lamb.” Does a fire need stirred up, rekindled in you?

A minister wrote to me thanking me that something I said drew them back to their roots and reawakened their evangelical faith. They had become merely a community figure, which of course has its merits, but they had forgotten to be a preacher of the gospel of the cross. Thankful they wrote to share that with me.

“And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me.
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

God bless His fire within you.

Kenny

The most penetrating question I have ever been asked….

The most powerful question the Father ever asked me:

“Kenny will you be content with a secret vindication?”

If God ever asks you that same question, He will be asking it not a minute too early. It is preparation before a storm. Say “Yes” and never take back your “Yes.” Make a decision to seek the honour that comes from God in priority over the favourable glances of other people. Of course there were spells in Jesus own life where He found favour and honour from God and man coming in His direction at one and the same moment, but ever the honour and favour that comes from God has to be what we treasure most. You may have to live with injustice never put right, your name never cleared. Those are the times when we can not only rejoice but learn to leap for joy with help from heaven.

God bless you with leaping when you need to leap,

Kenny