Saturday, March 24, 2018

Britain to punish Putin’s cronies - right or wrong?

Britain to punish Putin’s cronies - Right or Wrong?

'MINISTERS are plotting new sanctions against Vladimir Putin and Kremlin-linked oligarchs after the Russian government expelled 23 British diplomats and launched an assault on its cultural ties with Britain'1

It seems ok to punish the perpetrator of a crime, i.e. if it's Putin and his regime then take action, but my question is, is it fair to punish someone else for crimes that they have not done?

As always, I am not getting into politics in this blog so this piece is not about passing judgment on Putin and Russia and their culpability or not for the recent chemical attack in Salisbury. But I am asking if, in principle, it is fair to punish one party for another’s crimes?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Access Denied - when your computer locks you out!

A friend of mine recently bought a new computer. He, like me, was not very computer literate. Having set up the various programs and their passwords he sought to type his first message. Diligently following the on-screen instructions he was asked for the password, which he carefully typed in. Disaster! A message flashed across the screen "Access Denied". He tried again with the same result. He contacted me for advice. All I could do was ask him if he was sure that he used the correct password. He was adamant that he had. He had done nothing wrong, was sure that all was correct but something was wrong.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

An Invitation to a Royal Wedding

This year, so far, I’ve been invited to three weddings. We all like to be invited to a wedding. When the invite drops on the doormat it is so exciting. A new outfit, meeting old friends, a relaxing day, sharing joy with the happy couple. One problem for the couple is - who to invite? If you have lots of friends the bigger problem is - who to leave out?

Friday, March 02, 2018

A battle for the sovereignty of the UK

Where are the Brexit negotiations heading?

As a bystander, who has a limited understanding of politics, these negotiations have gone well beyond determining the method and means by which the United Kingdom will exit Europe. It looks to me like a war. The aim of the hierarchy of the European Union is to ensure that the UK will either remain or leave in name only. The British Goverment has a clear mandate to bring the UK  out. 

What was intended to be a ‘bolt to freedom’ is fast becoming a ‘battle for the sovereignty of a nation’! The national mood was to throw off the shackles and bureaucracy of the European Union resulting in a return to self rule. 

All of this current debacle reflects the struggles of the human heart and will as described in the Bible.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Billy Graham Remembered - What will you be remembered for?

What will you be remembered for? 

When your life is over what will you be remembered for? It’s quite a sobering question.

In a previous career, I read a book called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Dr Stephen R. Covey. In his book, Dr Covey introduced a habit, called ‘the habit of Beginning with the End in Mind’. The idea was a wise one. To achieve anything, you need to know what you are aiming for. Having done that you need to work out how to get there. What are you aiming for?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Ruth Bell GRAHAM’S Prayer

Many years ago, the future wife of Billy Graham prayed this prayer. Her prayer was undoubtedly answered. 

Have you ever made a note of your prayers? It’s the only way to know if your prayers are answered. God hears and answers prayers. 

The first prayer we need to make is the prayer of repentance. Here are some verses that confirm this truth.

Before you read the verses let me explain what the word repent means. To repent means a change of place or condition, to exercise the mind, think, comprehend. It is a change of mind or to relent. 

Theologically, it involves regret or sorrow, accompanied by a true change of heart toward God. It is distinguished from mere regret - summary of definition from 
The Complete Word Study Bible. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Does a debt crisis put you in personal danger?

Is a personal debt crisis dangerous?

It has been alarming to hear not only of individuals in debt, but also news of countries teetering on the brink of bankruptcy has sent a shudder through the entire world. For too long, governments have spent foolishly and have failed to curb reckless investments by banks and financial institutions. The result, precipitated by the credit collapse of 2008, has been that massive debts have been incurred that have left even the International Monetary Fund with worrying problems on their minds and many countries feeling that the problem had reached irremediable proportions.

Austerity measures, deeply unpopular with the citizens of the countries affected, have had to be introduced before financial "bale-outs" could be sanctioned by leading economies. Public services have had to be slashed; public assets have had to be sold off and other draconian measures have been introduced to alleviate, even in a very small way, this mammoth problem. The result has been a debt crisis of unprecedented severity that has left some countries saddled with debts that could never be paid, amounting to many trillions of dollars; figures that are incomprehensible.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Quote Unquote - No 1 - G K Chesterton

"Right is Right even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong about it."
G.K. Chesterton

I like to listen to and consider what other people say and hear how they think but many people talk without thinking through the consequences of their words and ideas. For instance you will hear people say ‘it’s ok as long as it’s ok for you’. This is a ridiculous statement as it doesn't work in practice when you take into account other people's rights and personal interests. As G K Chesterton said ‘right is right’ and ‘wrong is wrong’. He was of course reflecting what the Bible teaches. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Get Fit Keep Fit

We all like to be fit and healthy but don't want the hassle that we have to go through to get there.

Health - no one wants to be ill, and we do not really want to die prematurely if we can help it! However, no one likes the check-ups and the 'don't eat this and don't eat that' regime that seems to go with good health. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rabbie Burns and 2018

Early in the eighteenth century, the Scottish poet Robert Burns adapted a poem written by ‘an old man’ and produced the well known song Auld Lang Syne which is sung throughout the world on New Years Eve when the final minutes of the old year fade out and clocks strike midnight and the New Year is welcomed in with great excitement. I am indebted to Wilkipedia for information and translation of Burn’s words into English to understand what the ballad is all about. It seems to convey reflections of courtship days laced with an abundance of supping ale. No wonder the sentiment is popular today when “Eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt 24:38) is widely practiced.

Friday, January 26, 2018

What's in a name?

First of all let look at the name of Caesar Augustus

The Roman Emperor who was in power when Jesus was born had many titles some of which have a strange similarity to those given to Jesus. 

The Roman Caesars made claims to deity that the Bible teaches only God can make. 

For instance, Caesar Augustus was  known as:

The Blessed One, 
The Anointed One (the Messiah), 
The Pax Romana - The one who brings peace, 
The Pontifex (i.e. the Priest). 

He was regarded as a god and claimed that at the age of 17 he could bring men to God. He was also called the Divine Son of God in 42 BC at the age of 21. 

History shows that his claims to be divine were not supported by lifestyle, behaviour or power.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Did Jesus claim to be the Son of God?

Did Jesus actually claim to be the Son of God?

What are the claims of Jesus Christ? Did he really claim deity and pre-existence? 

This article will focus on the fact that Jesus did indeed claim to be the Son of God. I know there are many people who say that isn’t a claim that Jesus made, I find that quite astounding actually. 

I have read through the Gospel records many times and it’s very clear to see that all the Gospel writers record that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. 

In Matthew chapter 26 v 63, the High priest speaks to Jesus and says “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said” then Matthew records that the High Priest rent his clothes saying that Jesus had spoken blasphemy. What else does the High Priest mean by blasphemy but that Jesus had claimed to be God.

Mark records in chapter five that even the demons cried out to him, ”What have we to do with Thee Jesus Son of God Most High?” Even the demons admitted Jesus was the Son of God. Their description is just ‘Son of God’ but ‘Son of the most High God’. 

Luke records the same incident as Matthew does (Luke 22). He states that they asked Jesus if He was the Christ, the Messiah? The One sent from God? Again, they ask in verse 17, “Art Thou the Son of God?” He says to  them “You say that I AM” which was the Jewish way of confirming the fact. The Jewish leaders knew what He was saying. Scripture goes on to record their words -  “What need have we of further witness? For we ourselves have heard it from His own mouth.” Luke accepts the claim that Jesus is the Son of God. 

The final and most significant witness to the deity of Jesus Christ, the fact that He is God become man, is in John’s Gospel. John was the disciple who was very close to the Lord Jesus and he records intimate details about Jesus’ life. 
The incident is found in John chapter 9. The Lord Jesus met a man who had  been blind since birth and gave him his sight back. The religious hierarchy were very angry that Jesus has done this and tried to make out that Jesus is a sinner. This was because they could not accept that He could do this miraculous act on their religious day, the Sabbath. The healed man is hauled up before them and questioned. His parents are eventually interrogated but they try and get around the issue by saying that the man is old enough to answer for himself. The zealots turn to him and say “give God the praise because we know this man is a sinner. The blind man says whether he be a sinner or not I know not, but one thing I do know is that I was blind, now I see.” 

Now with all the arguments that I or anyone could put to you about God, Jesus and salvation there is one thing that can never be denied - people have had their lives changed through the power of the gospel. Individuals have experienced forgiveness, their sins have been removed and the power of God in their life was able to change and break habits. This is the practical effect of the forgiveness of sins working in their lives. 

You cannot change, you cannot take away from somebody what they have experienced through faith in God and His great salvation. 

The man who received his sight back was eventually thrown out of the religious establishment by the leaders. Jesus came, found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” His answer was, “Who is He Lord that I might believe in Him?” What follows are the words of the Lord Jesus that will shock anyone who still claims that Jesus did not say that he was the Son of God. “Who is He Lord?” says the Man, “Who is the Son of God?” Jesus said, “Thou hast both seen Him and it is He that talketh with thee.” 

The man’s response was to worship Him. Worship belongs to God alone but this man realizes that the one who had the power to give him his sight was the Son of God, 

I would like you to consider the questions:

Who was Jesus? 
Why did He die? 
Did He bear the judgement of God upon the cross? 
Did He rise from the dead on the third day? 

He was declared to be the Son of God with power, He died, “that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.  

Here are some personal questions to ponder:

Would you get saved? 
Would you trust Him and know your sins forgiven? 

God wants to forgive us, God wants us to have faith in Him but the choice lies with you. 

Over to you!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Have you lost direction in life?


I was going to visit two Christians who were in hospital. It was a high rise building and the people I wanted to see were on different levels. I went to the area on the ground floor, from which the elevators could be accessed and was soon on my way up. After spending a little while with the first person I made my way back to the area where a number of people were waiting for an elevator. Soon it arrived and we were asked, "Are you going up?" This immediately divided the people because some said, "No we’re going down". I got in and was in the company of people, all of whom were going up; the others we left behind and they were going down.
Later, as I pondered this simple incident, I thought it was just like humanity; some are going down and some are going up! The destinations are certainly not on earth. Some people are going up to heaven, while sadly very many are going down to hell. Dear reader, which way are you going?
In Luke chapter 16, we read about two men: one was a rich man while the other was a poor man. It says concerning the rich man, who lived independently of God, that he "died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame" verses 22-24. He went ‘down’. Isaiah 14.9 states, "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming ..."
It is not a pleasant prospect to be going down. However there is a glorious possibility, open to all humanity, that we could go up, and that to heaven! Note how the Bible speaks of the location of heaven: in Romans 10.6 we read, "Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) ..." This location is seen in Luke 16.23: "And in hell he [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." Note, "he lift up his eyes". Are you going up or down?
How is it possible to know that you are going up? Did the poor man go up because he was poor and the rich man go down because he was rich? Very dogmatically, no! Peter tells us, "God is no respecter of persons" Acts 10.34. The name of the poor man was Lazarus, which means, ‘my help is of God’, indicating that he was a believer.
In the simple illustration, the direction of travel was based upon which elevator I chose, just as your eternal destiny depends on your choice or rejection of Jesus Christ. He alone can take you up! Acts 4.12 states, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." God had only one Son Who came "to seek and to save that which was lost" Luke19.10. We could not save ourselves. Religion, church attendance, good works, philosophies of men could not save us; salvation is "not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2.9. Since each person must die for his own sins, only a sinless person could die for sinners. Thus, due to His sinlessness He alone could die for us and He alone can save us. In Romans 5.6,8 we read that "Christ died for the ungodly ... Christ died for us." 1Corinthians 15.3 tells us that "Christ died for our sins". Salvation comes through "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" Acts 20.21.
So, dear reader, are you going up?

Used by kind permission of Assembly Testimony

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

How do you get to heaven?

"My father was a wise man and he always explained it like this," my friend began. I had just finished sharing the way to Heaven with him, but it was clear that the philosophies of his father were deeply embedded in his mind. Unfortunately, those thoughts were not according to Divine truth.

He went on: "My father said that going to Heaven is like going to New York: there are many ways to get there, and it doesn’t really matter which one you take. As long as you sincerely follow the way you believe, it will get you there."

"You are right," I quickly replied, "about going to New York, but you are completely wrong about going to Heaven. The only map to Heaven, the Bible, clearly presents only one way to get there. Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" John 14.6. It is not true that there are many ways and He is just one of them. Nor is it true that Jesus plus something else is the way to Heaven.

Many people have formed various opinions and suggest there are many ways to reach Heaven. However, let us not forget that Heaven is God’s home, and He is the One Who decides who may enter and who may not. The opinions, philosophies, and religious systems which people have invented are not only uselessfor reaching Heaven, they are dangerous because they are sure to end in utter failure: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" Proverbs 14.12.

Philosophy presents a form of moral respectability, but ignores God’s solemn verdict that "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3.23. Religions of human effort promise that Heaven can be attained through good works and accumulated merit, but God says otherwise: "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2.8,9.

The Word of God presents Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, as the way for ruined, helpless sinners like you and me to enter into Heaven. To cleanse us from sin, He "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" Hebrews 9.26, when He "suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" 1Peter 3.18. The pouring out of His precious blood at Calvary atoned for sin and paved the way for guilty people like you and me to draw near to God. Through Jesus Christ we can be cleansed, forgiven, and made fit for His holy presence.

This way is still open, dear reader. Jesus has already entered into the Father’s house and wants you to be with Him in that place of eternal glory. To go to Heaven, you need to do nothing more than realise your hopeless condition, repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ as the One Who died for you and rose again. This is salvation by grace through faith. This is the way to Heaven. Call upon Him today.

Following any other way, however plausible it may seem, however religious it may be, or however sincerely it is pursued, only leads away from God and is guaranteed to end in "the blackness of darkness for ever" Jude 13. Allow this article, as a signpost along the highway of life, to point you to the Lord Jesus, Who says: "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" John 6.37.

Reproduced by permission of Assembly Testimony

Thursday, January 04, 2018

One book you ought to read more than once!

Although it is impossible to get precise statistics it is clear that the Bible is the world's best-selling and most widely distributed book. A number of years ago the Bible Society did a survey and came to the conclusion that around 2.5 billion copies of the Bible were printed between 1815 and 1975. More up to date figures put the number at more than 5 billion.
The Bible has been translated into 349 languages; 2,123 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language source - the Bible Society.
Please read the following extract from the Bible. As you start a New Year listen to what God says in His timeless book. It will set you up not just for 2018 but for the rest of your life, if you believe it.
Romans 10:8-18 (The Bible - NKJV)
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
But do people who have a bible read it regularly?
Statistics show that most people professing faith in Jesus have never completely read their Bible. Many people start reading the Bible but then become overwhelmed by the number of chapters (1,189) and verses (31,102) there are. What most people don't realize is that you can read the Bible in a year by reading fewer than four chapters a day.
If you divide the Bible into 365 daily readings, your goal of reading the Bible in a year can easily be accomplished. 

Here is a conversation I heard recently:
I asked a longtime Bible Teacher how many times he’d read the Bible in its entirety from Genesis to Revelation. “Never, but I hope to someday,” he replied. I was stunned. I thought, “Then how do you know what you believe?” 
Soon after I encountered another longtime shepherd of God’s sheep. I posed the same question, but got a very different answer: “I try to read through the Bible every year. After all, I’ve given my life to teaching and preaching God’s Word, so I had better know it to the highest degree a man can know it.”
The following quotation sums it up “When all your favorite preachers are gone, and their books are forgotten, you will have your Bible. Master it.”
Reading through it annually is one means of accomplishing that end.
Here are five benefits I’ve discovered from reading through God’s Word each year.

1. You will know the main storyline of scripture. 

2. You will be better equipped to explain and teach scripture
3. You will form the wise habit of reading the Bible
4. You will make the Bible your primary reading material 
5. You will have to look at every bit of the Bible.
Where to begin!
There are numerous excellent plans available to help you read systematically through the Bible in a year. Over the years, I have used Tabletalk magazine’s annual plan, Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s classic planwhich takes the reader through the New Testament and the Psalms twice and the OT once. Don Carson’s modified version of M’Cheyne’s calendar is available at that link as well.
Another approach I have used to great benefit is the ESV Study Bible’s plan. Here is another plan that has the reader visiting a different literary genre—epistles, law, history, Psalms, poetry, prophecy, Gospels—each day of the week.  

Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the world's best-selling and most widely distributed book.

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