Wednesday, June 18, 2008



It’s a bit of an issue of mine but I’m forever trying to understand what it means to KNOW God rather then KNOW ABOUT God. What is the difference? I know I come to know the Father by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, his Son. But what is it that enables me to ‘know him’, relate to him personally, as distinct from accumulating more and more factual knowledge about him?

Thus when I was perusing the bookshelves the other day I was drawn to 2 books. One, but Selwyn Hughes, is entitled “How to know God”. The other by Joyce Meyer goes with the title, “Knowing God intimately”. Promptly proceeded to read both.

While reading Joyce Meyer’s book I was really hooked by one phrase, in two parts.


I just love that sentence!

Jesus goes to prepare a place for us – we recognise that that preparation involves the Cross. That’s what we see physically in the world. From the perspective of the Spirit he goes into the Most Holy Place and into the Holy of Holies – bearing his own blood of sacrifice. That blood, coupled with an utterly pure life (The first since before Adam sinned) is enough to rip open the curtain and ensure the gift of holiness to humans, and access into the presence.

His “going” means the Spirits “coming” – whose task it is, in part, to work with us and in us, to give expression to that very holiness we already have created in us by the Holy Spirit. This is none other than the Holiness of Jesus himself.

The Spirit does his job by leading us - nudging us - to truth. He counsels, guides, leads, causes remembering of Jesus’ words – but especially points us to Jesus as the Word who in word and action embodies truth!

The Spirit immerses us in truth – and as he does he brings to light that in us which is false, which is lie, which is sinful, polluted and defiled. Like bitterness! Like active and passive hate, and jealousy, like laziness and pride and lust and whatever.

The Spirit prepares us by running the plumb-line of truth over us. And as he does, the scripture is being revealed as true internally and externally.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
“2 Corinthians 3:17-18.”

Read it again.

And welcome the Spirit’s artistry.

Love you


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Soaring like an Eagle - CROSS PURPOSES 122

Just got home and read my favourite daily devotional, The Word for Today.

In yesterday’s segment Bob & Debbie Gass tell a little story about a man, who, as a boy, was given the reins to drive his dad’s team of horses, while his dad sat alongside him. Anyway, the young lad got bored with the team just plodding down the road so he clucked the reins and they began to trot. The horses took it upon themselves to start galloping to the point where the boy, sensing danger, tried to rein in the runaway team. All the while his dad, sitting beside him, seemed oblivious to what was happening. Finally, when panic set in, the boy turned to his dad in desperation and said, “Here, take the reins, I don’t want to drive any more.”

Bob and Debbie add, ‘Regardless of how old we get or how capable we think we are, there’s always that moment when the only way out is to turn to our Heavenly Father and say, “Here, take the reins, I don’t want to drive any more.” And He will, but you’ve got to give them to Him!’

It’s true what they write, but when I read that yesterday morning, I had this sinking feeling and heard myself call out aloud, “But how do I do that, Lord? How do I give You the reins?” “I’m holding the reins on things I no longer want to, but try as I may, I can’t let go. How do I give You the reins? How?”

There was no answer – until this morning, that is.

In this morning’s devotion Bob and Debbie give us some absolute pearlers. They refer us to Acts 26:20 – “Repent, turn to God, and do the works befitting repentance.” They start the devotion by saying that ‘when God tells us to repent, He gives us the time and grace to do it.’ Then they add, ‘Scripture is an arrow to the heart of that stubborn sin you want to keep holding on to. Sin is always a choice. As long as you prefer the rewards your sin brings, you won’t seek deliverance from it.’

They cite a Christian who writes: ‘I kept trying not to commit a particular sin, praying about it over and over, only to do it again. Finally, I got mad at God and cried out, “Why don’t You help me with this?” He answered, “Because you aren’t disgusted with it yet. You’re still enjoying it.” I protested, “I do not. I hate it.” God replied, “If you hated it enough, you’d quit it.” In that moment, I realised that I enjoyed the rewards of my sin more than the rewards of obedience. I also discovered something else; I couldn’t hate sin enough by the power of my own fleshly will to come to repentance. I stood helpless in corruption. Repentance is a gift of love which comes from God. And until that love is allowed to work in us touching and exposing those carefully guarded areas, we cannot change.’

I’ve never looked at repentance that way before. Repentance, has always been something I thought I had to do. That’s why I could never do it properly, because on my own I’m simply not equipped to do it. Repentance is a GIFT of LOVE which comes from GOD!!! Repentance is a GIFT! Wow, Fred! You’ve got no idea what impact this has had on me this morning. I’m floating – soaring like an eagle.

Bob & Debbie conclude with the exhortation, “So today, ask God for the gift of repentance.”

I tell you my friend, I’ve asking for it by the truck load! Jesus is Lord! And I’ll tell you something else, just between you and me and the Lord. The tears are flowing right now. I haven’t felt this good and so uplifted since that day… when I danced around the billiard table after sealing the letter that set off the chain of events that led to…

God bless you, brother.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I can’t remember if I’ve told this story before – if I have, forgive me. If I haven’t, enjoy!

My first parish was by ‘assignment’ rather than will. It was in South Oz. one day a member bailed me up for a conversation and it was obvious he was distressed. The son of one of his relatives had been denied confirmation by his Pastor.

“How come?” I asked. It turned out that the boy was disabled slightly and was what we would have called a slow learner. He faithfully attended lessons for the full 18 months but he simply could not pass the ‘test’ set by the Pastor. So he was refused the opportunity to ‘confirm his faith’ and his parents were told he’d have to repeat lessons with the next class.

It took me all of 2 seconds to process that information and then I winced. The boy, (and his family, and his congregation) were being given a lesson the Pastor probably never intended. And what was it? Worthiness to come forward, kneel at the edge of the holy sanctuary, and receive Holy Communion, was determined by whether or not you were clever enough, or together enough, to pass an academic exam! Worthiness was about IQ and not faith given by Christ’s Spirit! The lad didn’t fail confirmation. The pastor failed his Lord, his people, and his call!

Churches and Christians and their representatives are more than capable of sending false messages like that. “Worthiness” is on the basis of achievement or behaviour? False! False! False! Worthiness is given by God himself when he causes us to love and trust Jesus Christ in all things and above all things. Jesus’ resumé (cv) becomes ours. Faith receives HIS worthiness.

Somewhere or other there’s a quote from Old Martin that goes something like this.
“I don’t go to the sacrament because I am worthy; rather I go to the sacrament to be made worthy.”

Let’s resolve to send ‘Jesus Christ’ messages in all we say and do.

Love you


Wednesday, June 04, 2008



Back in ’77 (so last century!) I was a vicar – sort of like a one-year internship for pastors. My ‘vicar-Father’ was an Englishman called John Sims who was a superb story teller. Like most story tellers he had an ear for a good story with good application. Here’s one of them.

“A church full of sober Christians in Scotland, on re-examining their Reformation roots, realised that they had lost something over the years – their FREEDOM as Christians. To demonstrate that they were reclaiming their ‘evangical freedom in regard to the Sabbath’ they made a radical decision. They gave themselves permission to play hopscotch after worship each Sunday!

So each Sunday the whole church, the young, the old, the married and the single would draw that familiar shape with its squares in the dirt and they would proceed to have their fun and merriment. And a good time was had by all.

Now there’s nothing like spontaneous joy to draw people to your church and many new folk did come, all of them commenting on this marvellous Christian liberty.

One of their new members, a convert named James, then created a problem for them. HE REFUSED TO JOIN IN THE HOPSCOTCH AFTER WORSHIP. There was much tut tutting, and ‘shame, shame’, and ‘how could he?’ His refusal caused quite a stir, if not turmoil. He was ‘called (hauled) before the elders’ and asked to explain himself. He didn’t like hopscotch he said. And therefore wouldn’t participate. The elders pleaded with him to reverse his decision. He refused. SO THEY EXCOMMUNICATED HIM!

FRED’S COMMENT: I’ve always said to myself, “There’s a sermon in there somewhere.” I’ve not preached it yet. Maybe it will still come. But so easily, so quickly, so devastatingly, can Christian institutions turn Christian freedom into Christian legalism.

Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

Be Blessed