Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Marriage Dance

Our wedding day 1964
The beauty of marriage is under a concerted ‘acid attack’ designed to deface it by degrading its image and meaning. The Christian view of the mystery and majesty underlining this union of a man and woman has suffered under a barrage of Humanistic attacks. Such a philosophy of life has no room for the spiritual dimension nor for defending what is termed sacred and moral boundaries. Applied to marriage this allows such people to consider same sex relationships, multiple partners and polygamy as valid marriages.

 The only place, and I‘ll write it again, the only place to gain an understanding of marriage is in the Judeo–Christian Bible. Only there will you find its institution with the wonder of its meaning, majesty and mystery. For such a relation didn’t evolve but was God given to men and women through Adam and Eve. Read Genesis chapter 2 for the beginning, Ephesians 5:21-33 for its mystery.

When a man and a woman enter into a marital union they more often than not are ignorant of what underlies such a unique and beautiful oneness. This is a shame if it is never discovered. However in the beginning of becoming husband and wife the intent is to enjoy the rhythm of the wedding dance. This dance of a loving relationship has many steps, different music moods and takes place on various ‘dance-floors’. It takes time and effort, grace and forgiveness, perseverance and laughter.

 I remember as a teenager plucking up the courage to go and learn ballroom dancing. At first it felt awkward. I was nervous, reticent and clumsy. My teacher endured many a sore toe and scrapped shin before I became reasonably proficient in a variety of dances. When I married I began an unending dance. My wife and I were beginners. We did have some good teachers on the ‘sidelines’ encouraging us but it was up to us to learn the steps and sense the rhythm of the dance being ‘played’ at that time. Sore toes or should I say hurt egos that caused concerns. These came about due to each wanting to swing and sway to his or her own tune. This made us want to do our own ‘steps’ resulting in a wrestling match instead of a loving tango. However, we knew ours was an unending dance. Therefore we set our hearts to practice. Perhaps one of the hardest things was to hear the same melody and sway to the same beat. It’s easy to embrace in the dance. It’s another things to maintain the embrace in the movement of life.

 Factors that kept us dancing, even when we had our egos stepped upon or something interrupted the music was the grace of mercy and forgiveness. There was also the healing qualities of communicating, even is hesitantly of what was causing us to be ‘tripped.’ Such sharing requires trust and tenderness and at the same time a willingness to learn from it. Other features in the dance routine of life include the serious and intense as well as the fun provoking jigs mixed with the passion of the waltz and tango. Many of the modern dances portray individuals shaking and shimmering, but not reaching out to the other and learning to co-ordinate their movements. Seems like a modern day metaphor for how people view marriage.

 God intended marriage to be on the ‘dance floor’ of everyday living. Husbands and wives were to feel the rhythm of God’s music in the midst of earth’s cacophony. They were meant to know that the skill in marriage comes though faithfulness and persistence in understanding and appreciating each other. The more time you dance together, the closer you grow together. The closer you are the sweeter the dance. The sweeter the dance the more varied the steps. The more varied the steps the more exhilarating the embrace. The more exhilarating the embrace the more wonderful the music that plays for you to dance.

 For that to be true, God must be the Dance master as well as the Orchestra leader. I have to admit, I like to dance with my wife to the music of the Eternal God on the dance floor of the everyday life. We have been in the dance for fifty years now. While the vigour of the early days may be pleasant memories the vitality of our senior years in the marriage dance is stronger and more meaningful. This is because we discovered the mystery, the meaning and the majesty of marriage. It has kept us dancing together across life’s varied ‘dance floors’.

© Ray Hawkins

For an insight into the three ‘M’s of marriage you could read my 31 day devotional book ‘From Eden with Love.’ Published by Even Before Publishing’ and available in Christian bookshops and Amazon. It is also an Ebook.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Devil is a Pervert

 When we look at creation we are faced with a dilemma. It is beautiful, awesome and amazing. Then we see cruelty in the animal kingdom, disease and decay. Somehow something has perverted it. We look at Humankind and see brilliant minds, creative geniuses, adventurers and people with talents to heal, teach and care. But at the same time there are terrorists, predators, criminals and so much suffering. How has this perversion happened?

The World Book dictionary describes the word ‘pervert’ as ‘to lead or turn away from the right way or from the truth.’ It also adds ‘to change from what is natural or normal’ especially in regard to sexual behaviour.

Philosophy and religion seek to explain it and present innumerable explanations. The best insight, however, is found within the pages of the Judeo-Christian Bible. People may reject its account in Genesis or explain it away as poetical or mythological but they have no better explanation. Sure some parts raise questions which are not answered in this blog. Still what is stated in plain language makes sense.

Genesis chapters one and two tell us the World was created good. Chapter three introduces the Perverter! He is termed the ‘Serpent.’ Most people imagine this person as a snake. The term comes from the word ‘shining ’ and describes  Seraphims in Isaiah 6:2.(the perverter is able to appear as an angel of light – 2 Corinthians 11:14 – and could well have impersonated a serpent to achieve his perversion of Humanity. The curse on the snake reveals complicity and a warning. Study the Scriptures and see this ‘shining one’ to be an angelic being who rebelled against God and turned away (perverted himself) from God’s truth and holiness. Revelation 12:9 gives the final unmasking of this creature. He is defined as ‘the great dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.’ As you read the Bible you become aware of his insidious perverting of God’s word, creation and worship.

Genesis unfolds the Devil’s approach. He deceived Eve through making her doubt the honour of God. He did this by casting doubt upon God’s word. She in turn beguiled Adam into breaking the explicit prohibition he had received from Yahweh about eating of the fruit. This act of neglectful disobedience, urged on undoubtedly by the Perverter, turned both Adam and Eve away from God. Something took over their soul and their mind. It is called falling short of what the Lord had created them to be. It is a walking in the darkness of self-interest rather than the Light of God. They had been perverted!

The Devil is also the perverter of Godly worship. As the deceiver, the Devil has offered people myriads of ways to worship. They range from Idolatry to Atheism. Failing that he infiltrates and corrupts Communion, songs/psalms/hymns and makes the pulpit an ego centric opportunity to distract from the Gospel. The sad story of five of the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three makes the reader aware of that. In Australia Christians are shuddering at the unfolding stories of perverts in clerical uniform who have abused young and old. Such behaviour is the imprimatur of Satan’s perversion in the heart towards the sanctity of another, of marriage and the principle of chastity before marriage.

Another aspect of the Devil’s perverted nature infecting the human soul is seen in people’s attitude to creation. While the Psalmist looked at the earth and the heaven’s and saw God’s handiwork (Ps 8) people choose to see ‘chance.’ Evolution is the mantra of science. The dictionary says mantra comes from Hinduism meaning ‘instrument of thought.’ That in turn comes from the root ‘man think.’  Strange how people can see the wonder of creation in the micro or the macro dimensions and give credit to ‘nothing’ for all creation’s complexity. Then there are those who worship creation (Pantheists) and at the same time sever it from the Creator. Some environmentalists are prone to a similar folly.

The Bible gives understanding on Creation, Morality, the human soul and Spiritual matters (and much, much more) and how they have been perverted. Can you understand why the Devil, the perverter doesn’t want people to read it or believe it. It unmasks him. It reveals his purposes. More to the point it declares his ultimate judgement. (Revelation 20.) He has the World under his pernicious and perverted spell and wants to keep it that way. However, God will not be defied. He set about overthrowing the perversion and the damnation inherent in what the deceiver has done. This is the message of Christmas and of the Passover (Easter). It also underpins His command to repent (turn back to God) and obey the Truth (His word).

© Ray Hawkins


(A fuller explanation of God’s reclaiming from the Pervert’s grip creation and humankind can be found in my short devotional books ‘Bethlehem’s Warrior Baby’ and Captured by Calvary.’ These are available in Christian bookshops or Amazon in paper back or Ebooks)

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Secrecy is vital in warfare. Enemies endeavour to discover the opposing forces plans by whatever means possible. Reading true or fictional accounts of previous conflicts is fascinating to see the bravery and stupidity of the various combatants.

In the moral and spiritual warfare between the Kingdom of Light and that of the Darkness there is a strange anomaly. From the beginning of the contest the Ruler of the Light outlined His plans to reclaim what had been usurped and enslaved. This was intentional. It was to inform those enslaved by the Dark Lord of the air that redemption was coming. Although some generations would not see it literally, they still could participate in the victory. How was this possible? By trusting in the revealed plan of the Lord of the Kingdom of Light and Life. Faith would secure them inclusion in the promised future Kingdom.

Where is this redemptive plan written? In the Judeo-Christian Bible.  From Genesis through to Revelation various facets are spelt out. These may be in promise, symbol, story, parable and in plain words. On their own they may not reveal much (as any investigator appreciates) but put them together in a proper frame and they speak volumes.  Why does the Lord do this? “I declared them (His plans) to you from long ago, before they came to pass I announced them to you, so that you would not say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my cast image commanded them’.” (Isaiah 48:5) God wants you to know His heart so that you can respond.

The Devil, the prince of Darkness, doesn’t want you to hear, understand or to respond to the Grace and plans of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Because the Devil can read he sets in motion a counter strategy. This is basically to counterfeit, confuse or crush either God’s Word or God’s people. Let us briefly consider the Devil’s attempts to counterfeit some of God’s promises.

In Genesis chapter three is the account of Humankind’s enslavement by the ruler of the Darkness. When the Lord imposed a judicial judgement on Adam and Eve, He also outlined a future deliverance involving a woman and a baby. This of course is the Virgin Birth and the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  The Devil countered this through the occult powers of the Babylonians. Jeremiah quotes with sadness the tendency of the people of Judah to worship ‘the queen of heaven.’ (Jeremiah 44:17-25) She also is pictured with a baby. This counterfeit is still operating today. Its force is to distract from the wonder of the event called Christmas. The Roman festival called Saturnalia on December 25th also seeks to lessen the reality of the literal historical event recorded in the Gospels of the birth of Jesus. Think also about how the idea of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb has been distorted. The term Easter comes from a pagan term for the goddess of spring, that is, life renewed from winter’s grave. The bunny and his basket of eggs symbolise new life and fertility.

Because God raised up men to be His penman and record His words, the Devil has done the same. His counterfeit, so called holy books have appeared over time. Each offers their own versions of god, morality and salvation. They do lack historical credibility and fail the test of investigative research. The Bible has been put under the severest and wide ranging investigations but stood up to their tests. Such books as the Koran, the book of Mormon or other religious writings cannot face such detailed examinations. Perhaps this is one reason why those who question especially the Koran are in fear of their lives.

False prophets are the Devil’s infiltrators and saboteurs. Such men and women are nice, presentable well–spoken and plausible. Their intention is to counterfeit the Gospel message and undermine the person and work of Jesus Christ. They will deny Him as the Son of God, the promised Messiah, crucified as our substitute for our judgement, our sin and to secure our forgiveness and salvation. They will scorn the idea of His resurrection and Second Coming, and ridicule the idea of judgement and eternal condemnation. This fits well with men and women who either love their pagan ways or seek to earn God’s favour through self–effort. These false prophets may do wonderful things and impressive works but Jesus calls them agents of evil. (Matthew 7:21-23)

How then can we discern the true from the false? How are we able to unmask the counterfeit and walk in the light of God’s grace? Through holding up teachers and teachings, religion and rituals to the light of God’s Word. Check out what He has promised and see how it has been fulfilled. Then rest comfortably in knowing that that which is still a future event will just as surely be fulfilled. This is the promise recorded in Isaiah 55:10-11: ‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.’

© Ray Hawkins



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Islam's Greatest Fear

Islam in its many shades of black dominates World headlines today. In lands they control they impose a ruthless regime. In countries where they are not yet in large numbers they wear the demeanour of being victims. From whatever perspective and in whatever country their intent is the same. Islam must rule.

What can stand in its way for it seems unstoppable. Those who oppose it can expect the ISIS treatment (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – the terrorist group) of subjugation or beheading. Strange as it may seem ISIS, and Islam in general, have a fear which they suppress through violence upon ‘infidels.’ Such a fear isn’t about conflict or death, it is about engaging in a confrontation with Truth.

This is readily seen by its treatment of those from its ranks who commit their lives to the Truth which out-shines anything Islam has to offer. Consider honour killings inflicted upon individuals who leave Islam for the Truth. Without realising it, this action is in fact a tacit statement of its fear. If this wasn’t the case then Islam would have no cause to murder anyone with a different faith, ideology or lifestyle. Fear is irrational in its frenzy to silence that which it cannot answer or control. We have witnessed it in the murder of women and girls who seek an education. We read about it in mobs who kill, without any shred of evidence, those accused of violating the Koran.

Sharia law has no capability to handle Democracy, the Christian view of Human dignity, female equality or the foundation for marriage. There is an implacable hatred to Israel and the Christian Faith which no appeasement will subdue. Islam denies Israel its history for historical Truth undermines and reduces Islam’s claim to the land. The followers of the Koran pervert the Christian Scriptures concerning the person of Christ Jesus and His death on the cross. No death means the Scriptures lie. No crucifixion means no fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. No entombment means no resurrection and therefore no forgiveness by faith. It also denies the statements of Jesus and His apostles concerning His return to rule. You must understand also the Koran was compiled 500 years after Jesus walked upon this earth. It isn’t eye–witness accounts as we have in the Judeo–Christian scriptures.

When Muslims chant “There is no god but Allah” it is more a confrontation to the Bible’s affirmation “Jesus is Lord!” They are adamant that God has no Son. This is a direct challenge to the Gospels and the celebration of the virgin birth held at Christmas. Rather than accepting the right of someone to believe what they understand as Truth, Islam cannot abide such mental and spiritual liberty. So when ISIS paints the Arabic letter ‘N’ on a house it signifies a believer in the Nazarene, Jesus. That letter becomes a death notice. Why? Because of the fear the Truth about Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God arouses within their darkened minds.

Why would anyone or any ideology fight against the concept of God being Love is hard to
explain. They might not agree with it but that is different to wanting to obliterate those who believe it. The same goes for the wonderful privilege Christians have in calling God “Our Father!” Our relationship with the Triune God isn’t due to our ability to perform things pleasing to Him. Rather it flows from our conviction about the Truth. What is this Truth? To sum it up means we believe Jesus is ‘The Way, The Truth and The Life. It means no one comes to the Father except through a relationship of a living faith in Jesus. Such Truth is what Islam fears. If it didn’t its leaders would allow those within their community the privilege to choose what they understand as Truth. At the moment to believe is to face death for apostasy. Yet around the world many, many people are taking that risk and making Jesus their own personal Lord and Saviour. That’s what Islam fears!

 © Ray Hawkins

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why Persecution?

Sunday November 2nd 2014 was Solidarity with the Suffering Church day. In Australia nearly 700 churches participated in this event. Many Christians wore T-shirts with the Arabic letter for ‘N’ emblazoned on is front. This came about from the Islamic Caliphate terrorist group painting that letter on Christian homes. It stood for ‘Nazarene’ that is Jesus of Nazareth, and it marked out those who were His followers. In many instances these disciples were martyred.

Persecution isn’t an experience confined to Christians. It is a worldwide, cross cultural and religious barriers phenomenon. Persecution stems from the heart of people twisted by strange, evil, undefined or antagonistic motives. Such emotions seeks to crush those with differing views or who unsettle personal prejudices and convictions. Unfortunately the Christian Faith endures what appears to be attacks from many quarters simply on the basis of commitment to Christ and the testimony of the cross.

The English word ‘Persecution’ comes from the Latin ‘prosequi’ meaning to prosecute and the Anglo/French word ‘pursuer’ to pursue. The intent is to treat badly and to harm.

Why do non-Christians want to eradicate the disciples of the Gospel which invites people to know what the heart longs for? What can that be?  God’s love and forgiveness, to have hope in life and beyond, to enjoy inner peace and joy regardless of whether rich or poor, healthy or unwell! The Bible tells us opposition is for two reasons (at least). One is the World doesn’t want to acknowledge that Jesus is the prophesied One of the Old Testament. That person is revealed as both Son of Man and Son of God. The second reason is due to the Cross of Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:18-24) It is the cross which says no one can earn their way into Heaven and God’s favour. It is a declaration that God’s grace is to be accepted by faith and commitment to Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

This message is resisted, not because it is untrue or unverifiable. It is fought against not because it demeans or degrades. It is opposed because Christ Jesus not only has dealt with sin and offences against His Heavenly Father, but because He calls for a transformed life. People want to know forgiveness and experience love, joy and peace yet cling to their ungodly lifestyle. It amazes me how you can join any religious group by saying ‘yes’ to a number of untested statements but not have a change of heart. All that is required is saying some memorised prayers and perform some religiously ordained rituals. You can still lust, hate, steal, abuse others, lie, even murder and be ungodly in mind and behaviour and be considered a ‘good member of that religion. Jesus Christ will have none of that.

When a person accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour it begins a creative act by Him. Christ Jesus changes the person’s destiny from Hell to Heaven, raises the believer from spiritual death to a new life with eternity in it. In effect the person has a new heart, one that longs to know God’s will in preference to one’s selfish desires. (read 2 Corinthians 5) What the Lord Jesus does is give a new lifestyle to go with His high calling. It is a call to holy living above and beyond outward observances.

When this begins to take place a strange reaction sets in from former friends, even family, who are unsettled by the new you. Attempts are made to get you to recant your new found faith or to trip you up through temptation to your former life. Should this fail harsher methods are introduced such as ostracism from their presence to so called, ‘honour killings.’ The motive behind all these attacks is simple. They see what the Gospel can do to a person but they personally don’t want to surrender their pride, passions or prejudices to Truth. So there is only one thing to do, destroy the object which disturbs. So begins persecution of either an individual or a group.

Jesus warned His disciples that to follow Him was a dangerous, even life threatening choice. It stems from the fact that Jesus was not and is not part of this world’s system. They sought to destroy Him, but couldn’t, so the next thing is to destroy His people. Little do such persecutors realise that Christians are kept by the power of the risen Lord. Even if martyred or enslaved they have a place reserved for them in the presence of the Eternal Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (John 14-16. 1 Peter 1.)

In the face of all the opposition and persecution men and women of all ages still choose Christ Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Why? Because He is all that and more!