Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Chester Beattie Collection






I took a trip to Dublin yesterday. It was a great day. Not just in terms of the weather but the whole day was fantastic. I left home at 0430 (groan) and headed for Manchester Airport (with some friends). Ryan Air, despite its very basic approach to budget flying, got us to Dublin on time and in one piece.

Next, into a taxi to be updated by a good Irish taxi driver who was up to date in everything from British politics, Irish news, tourist advice and the movements of the British Royal family. I do love the way taxi drivers know everything. There must a course Taxi drivers are sent on to train them how to absorb information like a sponge, process it and have an idea about most things. Fascinating. 
SHARE:

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Blair Drummond Adventure & Safari Park



A week spent with young people telling them about the gospel of Jesus Christ is wonderful experience. It is nearly a week since I left Liverpool to travel to Faskally, Pitlochry in Scotland. 

I have been coming to Faskally for many years now. It is an old country house which has been adapted for house parties, camps and youth groups to use. The facilities are excellent, the grounds are extensive and as I stand and take in the scenery I could be in the Swiss Alps, the Lake District or some equally beautiful spot. But I’m not, I’m in the Scottish Highlands which have a unique rugged beauty and splendour  all of its own. 

As a Christian I cannot help but reflect on the wonder of creation and the majesty of the creator and designer of all things, God and His Son, Jesus Christ. If you are an atheist you will disagree with me but I still cannot see the logic of spontaneous existence or unprogrammed life forms etc. 









I’ve just visited Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park with the young people I am with and I cannot help but notice the intentional design of the animal creation. Meerkats have inbuilt sunglasses, so do birds of Prey - wow. Birds of Prey, Yellow Kites, can collect, transfer from feet to mouth and digest food while still in mid-flight and that includes the males!! So male kites can multi-task which is impressive when you consider how difficult male homo-sapiens find it to multi-task. 

I don’t know what you believe but all I ask is don’t switch your logic off when you look at the created world, nature and the universe. If you’ve read my other blog posts you’ll know I believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the Christian conviction that the Bible is word of God and that Jesus was the Son of God. On top of that there is the evidence all around you of a clever, intelligent creator. 

In the beginning God...that’s how the Bible says it all started. 

The Bible also teaches that at the end of time we will all stand before God. In the Bible it says ‘I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books’, Revelation 20:12. 

My prayer is that you’ll meet God in life as Saviour rather in the next life as Judge. 

Have a good day. 

Stephen 


SHARE:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Does God set us up to do wrong and then punish us when we do?



Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I amtempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone

James 1. 13


One of the common problems we all have is our weakness to resist temptation. It is the same for every one of us. We often explain it away by saying ‘we are only human’ or ‘it’s my weakness’ or similar phrases. The simple fact is that we are flawed by nature and there are things in life that we find very hard to resist. Having said all that when a person gets saved they become a new creation, 2 Cor. 5. 17. We will still feel the struggle which is caused by temptation but we now have new life and the Spirit of God to strengthen us and keep us from falling.

SHARE:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Royal Cheshire show




As the result of a colleague's illness I was invited to help run a stall at the Royal Cheshire show today. It was a lovely day and I really enjoyed the trip down from Liverpool to Cheshire. The sun was shining and believe it or not the M6 was not a carpark. The journey was quite smooth and I arrived within 40 minutes, which is a miracle in itself.

On arriving at the Showground I parked up and made my way to the plot where the stall was located. I could hardly believe it on arriving, to discover, that we were beside an exhibition stand called 'Scare Woods'. 
SHARE:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The World Cup - Playing by the Rules




The World Cup - Playing by the Rules

I wonder how many teams will be pushing the referees and pushing against the rules in this world cup tournament in Russia. We often say that rules are made to be broken! Rules actually exist for a purpose and when we live within them it is good for everyone.


Allow me to expand on a few of the rules of soccer and make a comparison with the message of the gospel.
SHARE:

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Pro Life or Pro Death




Why do we call the debate about abortion a debate of pro-life against abortion. Why do we not just be honest and call it: 

Pro Life versus Pro Death

For that’s what it is! It is a debate about the sanctity of life. The discussion is about the right of the mother versus the right of the unborn child. Your viewpoint in the debate will hang up on your opinion as to whether an unborn child is a human being and therefore has inherent rights to life.
SHARE:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Is Jesus Israel's promised Messiah?



Is Jesus Israel's Promised Messiah?

The New Testament claims that He is? The evidence stacks up to establish that He is? I believe that He is?


Jesus fulfils all the biblical predictions from Genesis 3:15 about the seed of the woman, right up to the prediction of the place of his birth in Micah chapter five. No one else has ever made and verified the claim to be the Messiah of Israel. Many have made the claim but time has proven them to be deluded or conscious imposters. The Lord Jesus Christ confirmed by his life, behaviour, miraculous powers and fulfilment of the predictions of scripture that He is.
SHARE:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ramadan - Fast or Furious





Danish minister has sparked outrage after claiming Muslims fasting for Ramadan could pose a danger in the workplace. 
Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg, an immigration hardliner in Denmark's center-right government, questioned in a blog post published Monday how "commanding observance to a 1,400-year-old pillar of Islam" was compatible with modern labour markets. 1
Is it fair to critique Islam and its practices like this? I do not think that because someone's faith is based on tenants and beliefs that were established long ago then that automatically makes them invalid for today. Surely the reason for accepting or rejecting a set of beliefs or morals has to be the basis upon which they were founded. In other words the validity of their origin and the genuineness of the statements that are claiming to be truth. 
In this blog I'm not seeking to undermine other peoples faith but to establish the genuineness of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. I believe that the word of God, the Bible, can be verified to be a document which has been produced supernaturally. The 40 different writers were given God's word and within the pages of the Bible God has left on record evidence so that we might understand the validity and genuineness of this document. 
In summary, a book that was written over a span of 1500 years by 40 different authors who lived in different countries, in different cultures and different centuries or even millennia it's quite an outstanding feat. The majority of the writers had no contact with one another and yet they produced a document which from beginning to the end (Genesis to Revelation) has a standard of uniformity that is impossible purely by human management and organisation. 
I will leave you with a quotation from the Holy Scriptures which will demonstrate why Christians believe that salvation comes not from religious practices, or fasting, or praying and other religious rituals but by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. 
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 
The Bible - Ephesians 2:4-10







1. Evening Standard 24/5/18
SHARE:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

#LFC v Real Madrid - Champions League Final 26th May 2018








When I was a kid people used to sing a song called "Football Crazy". I cannot remember who sang it or who made it famous but the words have stuck in my mind. 

Tonight, supporters of Liverpool Football Club, who are literally football crazy, are desperate for Liverpool to win the Champions League Title. As a result of their victory in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, Liverpool won the European Champion Clubs' Cup trophy outright, and were awarded a multiple winner badge. Liverpool's total of three UEFA Cup wins has been bettered only by Sevilla, who have won the competition five times. Real Madrid also have an incredible record as have many Spanish teams.
SHARE:

The 70th Anniversary of the State of Israel

In April on the anniversary of the recommencement of the State of Israel the Jerusalem Post reported that ‘While Israeli Jews mark Independence Day with fireworks and barbecues, the flags that sprout everywhere in Jewish areas will be absent from Arab towns, and the thoughts of many there will turn to what they term the “Nakba” (catastrophe) that they associate with Israel’s birth. Part of a third of Israel’s Arab population is comprised of people (and their descendants) who became internally displaced from their villages and towns during the War of Independence.
Some Arab citizens will visit the sites of destroyed villages in the morning before joining in a symbolic “March of Return” in the afternoon. The fact that this year marks 70 years since those events makes it a particularly poignant occasion for introspection and taking stock.’


The same date and occasion produced two different reactions from two diverse groups of people. The same event affected both groups in completely different ways - gladness or grief, delight or dread, pleasure or pain.

Many events in history have produced diverse reactions, especially those that are related to events in the land of Israel. As regular readers of this blog will know one of my aims is to present to people the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, the gospel often produces the same diverse reaction as events did in Israel last week. The cross, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ while producing immense blessing for those who are prepared to repent and trust Him results in great depression and judgment for those who refuse to acknowledge what was done at Golgotha was for them.

This type of response to the gospel was expected. In 1st Corinthians chapter 1 the Apostle Paul records that 'the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness but to us which are saved it is the power of God'. The same man writing in Romans chapter 1 verse 16 states 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth'. The inference being in the latter passage that the God who has the power to save cannot do anything but condemn those who refuse to believe in Lord Jesus Christ.


The same message, which offers to all who are prepared to believe salvation, forgiveness and peace with God when a person refuses to repent results in the opposite. The message of salvation will ultimately be the evidence that God will use to condemn unbelieving individuals on the day of judgement. 

One other passage comes to mind in this respect - 2nd Corinthians chapter 2. At the end of that chapter, the writer is reflecting on the response that people have to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to those who preach the message. He says that to some people we, as God's messenger's, are a sweet savour of Christ. To some people that is the preachers are the fragrance or the smell of death (in other words the feel condemned by what they hear). To others, the fragrance is the fragrance of life, in other words, the gospel liberates them and brings them life through faith in Jesus Christ. 

I wonder which of these two responses to the gospel will be yours?

My prayer is that you might enjoy eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. But sadly the alternative could be that you face eternal judgment because you rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

The choice is yours – please choose wisely.




SHARE:

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Here today - where tomorrow?




HERE TODAY - WHERE TOMORROW?

With the speed and facility of modern travel it is possible to have breakfast in the UK and tea in the USA. In travel terms the world has shrunk and this has opened up a whole new vista on holiday destinations with many companies specialising in long haul flights to exotic and distant locations. Travellers are less restricted in their choice and even the most remote places have become accessible, so you can be here today and almost anywhere on earth tomorrow. Maybe, even now as you read this article, you have read the brochures and planned your summer holiday.
However the apostle James in his epistle warns against presuming that we can do this or that tomorrow. In Chapter 4.14,15 we read; " Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." Solomon in his wisdom, wrote in Proverbs 27.1;"Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
Life is uncertain, I can call only the present moment mine and I cannot state definitely what I shall do or where I will be tomorrow. You may expect to be in the office, or work on the farm as usual, or attend school as you have so often done but can you be sure? Perhaps life has become rather monotonous and drab and every day seems to be the same but tomorrow could be different. You may feel that you are in a secure routine and there appears to be nothing on the horizon to threaten that but things can change suddenly and unexpectedly. You may on the other hand have planned something out of the ordinary for tomorrow, but will your ambitions ever be realised?
So, where will you be tomorrow? At home, at work, in hospital, in heaven, in hell? What will you be doing tomorrow? Working, travelling, weeping, rejoicing, resting? How will you be tomorrow? Healthy, happy, excited, disappointed, tired, sick, dead? You say, "I have no idea, no one can be sure."
But there are those of us who know that if things don't work out as planned, if calamities should suddenly overtake us, if life should unexpectedly be brought to an end, that all is well for eternity.
There is not the slightest doubt in our minds because the Word of God has assured us. Note the confidence of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8.38,39; "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." John writes in his first epistle, chapter 5.13; "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." Paul's last letter was 2 Timothy and in chapter 1.12 he wrote;"...for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
Dear reader, do you have such confidence or do you have nagging doubts and apprehension regarding the future? Are you persuaded or perplexed? Before the end of today you could be able to sing, "It is well, it is well with my soul."
The facts regarding Christ's death on your behalf are absolutely beyond dispute. In 1Corinthians 15.3 we read; "...Christ died for our sins..." In 1Peter 2.24 it is stated; " Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" In Romans 5.8 we read; " Christ died for us."
All has been done that you might be in heaven - are you prepared to trust Christ and depend exclusively on Him and what He has done at Calvary to save you from hell and take you to heaven? If so, then tomorrow will hold no dread for you and peace will be yours amid all the uncertainties of life.

Used by kind permission of Assembly Testimony
SHARE:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Harry & Megan's Wedding Sermon - Preacher Michael Curry



I so enjoyed the preaching of this man today that I wanted to present it to you. It is not for me to critique his preaching but I want to highlight some of things he said that we would do well to consider.
May you come to know Christ as Lord and Saviour through the word of God. If you understand the grace of God and love of God as displayed in Christ Jesus then you need to:
Repent of your sins; and
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, Acts 16. 31
The Wedding Sermon
The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.
There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. There’s power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense, in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right. There’s something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love. Our lives are meant to be lived in that love—that’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself—the source of all of our lives.
There’s an old medieval poem that says it: “Where true love is found, God himself is there.” The New Testament says it this way: Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; and those who love are born of God and no God; those who do not love, do not know God. Why? For God is love.
There’s power in love. There is power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live. Set me as a seal on your heart, a seal on your arm. For love, it is strong as death. But love is not only about a young couple. Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we are all here. Two young people fell in love, and we all showed up. But it’s not just for and about a young couple who we rejoice with. It’s more than that.
Jesus of Nazareth, on one occasion, was asked to sum up the essence of the teachings of Moses. And he reached back to the Hebrew scriptures of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. And Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.
And then in Matthew’s version, he added, he said, on these two, love of God and love of neighbor, hang all the law, all the profit, everything that Moses wrote, everything in the holy prophets, everything in the scriptures, everything that God has been trying to tell the world. Love God. Love your neighbors. And while you’re at it, love yourself.
Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history: a movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world. A movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing, to change not only their lives, but the very life of the world itself. I am talking about some power. Real power. Power to change the world. If you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s Antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love, and why it has the power to transform. They explained it this way. They sang a spiritual, even in the midst of their captivity. It’s the one that says there is a balm in Gilead—a healing balm.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. One of the stanzas actually explains why: if you cannot preach like Peter, and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all. That’s the balm of Gilead.
This way of love, it is the way of life. They got it; he died to save us all. He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He wasn’t getting anything out of it. He sacrificed his life for the good of others, for the well-being of the world, for us. That’s what love is.
Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial and, in so doing, become redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world. If you don’t believe me, just stop, think, and imagine.
Think and imagine a world when love is the way. Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities when love is the way. Imagine governments and nations when love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired, old world when love is the way. When love is the way—unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive—then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the Earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way, there is plenty of good room for all of God’s children. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family. When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all. And we are brothers and sisters, children of God. My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new Earth, a new world, a new human family.
And let me tell you something: Solomon was right in the Old Testament. That’s fire.
With this, we’ll sit down. We gotta get y’all married.
French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century—a Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, a scientist, a scholar, a mystic. In some of his writings, he said from his scientific background as well as his theological one, that the discovery and harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history. Fire, to a great extent, made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made it possible to heat environments, and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into older climates. There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good.
Anybody get here in a car today, an automobile? Nod your heads if you did; I know there were some carriages. For those of us who came in cars, fire made that possible. I know that the Bible says—and I believe that Jesus walked on water. But I have to tell you I didn’t walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here. Controlled fire in that plane got me here. Fire makes it possible for us to text and tweet and e-mail and Instagram and Facebook, and otherwise socially be dysfunctional with each other.
Fire makes all that possible. And de Chardin said that fire was one of the greatest discoveries of all of human history. He then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it would be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.
Dr. King was right: we must discover love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.
My brother, my sister—God love you, God bless you. And may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.
Amen.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life
The Gospel of John, chapter three, verse sixteen
SHARE:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Things that people value




What is your most valuable possession?

It’s a good question; I wonder how you would answer it? If we are being honest our answer will depend, to some extent, on our circumstances. For instance, if I was terminally ill what I thought was important would be completely different to my choice in sunnier days. Car, homes, holidays and technology might be important to me now, but they have little value if life is slipping from my grasp. I hope that family, relationships and my spiritual condition will be my focus if I get time to contemplate my departure from this life to the next.
SHARE:

Monday, May 14, 2018

The problem with worry is it's often all in the mind!



The problem with worry is it's often all in the mind - a message for Christians

I am told that 85% of what we worry about never happens. 

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul writes a series of exhortations to the Christians in Philippi in his closing comments of the letter addressed to that Church. In chapter four verse four he has encouraged them to ‘rejoice in the Lord alway’. This is something we all need to be reminded about from time to time. When things get on top of us we often forget to see the blessings that we have and to rejoice in what God has done. I am sure we all know people who can see the goodness of God in everything. We should all cultivate this way of thinking.

SHARE:

Friday, May 11, 2018

Life : What's it all about? Find out next week in Northampton



Next week in Northampton there is an opportunity to stop and think about life and it's meaning.

Maybe you are disappointed about your past, bored with your present and worried about the future! Take time to consider what the timeless wisdom of the Bible teaches.

The truth is, you were created to know more than the humdrum routines of life. You have a soul and a spirit that need more than this world can offer. The only way to satisfaction and meaning is to know, Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. 
SHARE:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Peace - do you have it?




PEACE: IS IT YOURS?

IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR PEACE?

The endless wars, conflicts, and injustices we see in the world today only prove what the Bible has always declared concerning mankind: "The way of peace have they not known" Romans 3.17.
All efforts to achieve lasting peace fail miserably because the root of the problem is not dealt with. God alone has the solution to the problem of peace - not only for nations, but also for you. He has successfully dealt with the root cause of all turmoil - sin.
Now He offers sure and lasting peace for both the heart and conscience through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to the comforting words of Jesus: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" John 14.27.
SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig