Friday, October 30, 2020

Language

Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash


Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash


Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

It is estimated that there are between 5,000 and 7,000 languages throughout the world. Each language has its own alphabet, the majority of them have 26 letters in their alphabet but there are some that differ for example, Hebrew has 22, Arabic has 28, Scandinavian languages have 29, Russian has 33 and so on. As children in primary school we were taught the alphabet of our native tongue but most children have the ability to speak their native language before they go to school.

At the United Nations the representatives for each nation sit at their desks in the debating chamber.  There is a room overlooking the chamber that houses the interpreters who can translate what is being said into the language of their representative country. This reveals to us the importance of having the correct understanding of any communication being made, accuracy is of prime importance. The two main languages spoken in the United Nations building are English and French. Most notices around the building are written in these two languages.  

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Tyrannical Change





All photos courtesy of Unsplash

I love books. I always have. And over the years I have accumulated quite a collection of books. I should say I 'had' accumulated quite a collection – until our last house move. As we moved from a house with three large bedrooms and downsized to a bungalow with two small bedrooms, most of the books had to go.

It reminded me of a story of two men talking together.  One of them, who like me was an avid book enthusiast was complaining to his friend.

"My wife has been creating about my books,” he moaned.  “She says that if I buy any more books, then she’ll leave me!”

“That’s a bit tough!” said his friend sympathetically.
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Sunday, October 25, 2020

What is your fixed point in life?





All photos courtesy of Unsplash

I love books. I always have. And over the years I have accumulated quite a collection of books. I should say I 'had' accumulated quite a collection – until our last house move. As we moved from a house with three large bedrooms and downsized to a bungalow with two small bedrooms, most of the books had to go.
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Friday, October 23, 2020

How to escape life’s tangled web?



Courtesy of Alexandre Brondino (Unsplash)



Courtesy of Paola Ocaranza (Unsplash)



Courtesy of Flavio Gasperini (Unsplash)

Every year thousands of gray whales make the long journey from the coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico to the rich feeding areas in the waters around Alaska. A gray whale was making this migration when it swam into lines that were attached to crab pots and buoys which were both long and strong. The whale tried to escape the lines by rolling in the water, but its rolling only made the tangled mess of lines around its body tighter. 

The tangled lines made it impossible for the whale to find food, because when it tried to swim, it had to drag the buoys and crab pots along with it. The continual dragging of buoys and crab pots sapped the whale’s strength, and the chaffing of the lines cut deep gashes into the whale’s body. Every year some of these wonderful animals get caught in crab lines or fishermen's nets and, sadly, they usually end up dying. Would this whale be one of them?

The whale tried the only thing it knew to free itself - by rolling in the water - but that did not free it; it only made matters worse. Any one of us who tries to free ourselves from our sins are just as unsuccessful. It is impossible for us to cut away those tangles and knots of sin. No amount of obeying laws, good works or self-improvement could ever set us sinners free.  We need the freedom only the LORD JESUS can provide. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that CHRIST JESUS came into the world to save sinners” By the grace of GOD, the LORD JESUS HIMSELF offers to set us free from our sins—if we are willing.

Back to the story of the whale - a fishing boat's crew were cruising several miles off the southern coast of California when they spotted the distressed whale. As the boat moved closer, the crew could see that the magnificent creature was tangled and trapped in the lines. They felt sorry for it and decided to show kindness to the helpless creature by cutting it free. The crew lashed sharp knives onto strong bamboo poles, which they had onboard. Slowly and carefully they positioned their boat alongside the huge animal. 

The whale stopped its slow swimming and let the boat pull alongside. Even though it was an untamed creature, it seemed to sense the fishermen were trying to help it. Several of the crew leaned over the side of the boat and, very carefully, began cutting away the lines. About an hour later when the last line was cut, the now free gray whale slowly swam in a circle around the boat, as if to say, “Thank you,” before swimming out into the freedom of the ocean.

What a sense of relief this giant, intelligent animal must have felt when it was set free! Have you and I felt the great relief that comes from being set free from our sins by the LORD JESUS? The Bible offers this wonderful relief for any sinner still trapped in their sins when it says, "....if the SON makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” As sinners we need to be set free, because all of us have become entangled in the lines of our sins. There are no exceptions: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 

When we sin, it is as if a rope connected to the weights of guilt and shame gets wrapped around our hearts and acts as a drag on our lives. It blights our joys, wrecks our peace, and wounds us in the depths of our souls. And what cruel wounds those cords cause! Sin is nobody’s friend and causes shame and misery in this life, and eternal sorrow and agony in the life to come.

The LORD JESUS is able to cut away the cords of sin from the human heart, because HE went to the cross and bore the punishment for sin’s awful shame. How wonderful it was that the LORD JESUS, the very CREATOR of the universe, would come and die in the sinner’s place! On the cross, HE finished what was necessary that all who trust in HIM might be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life. That is why "HE was wounded for our transgressions, HE was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon HIM, and by HIS stripes we are healed."

The fishermen cut the gray whale free from the lines that held it and gave back its freedom of the ocean. We, too, need to be set free from the cords of our sins by the LORD JESUS CHRIST in order to be saved for a future, happy life in heaven. If we will take the LORD JESUS as your very own SAVIOUR  today, we will thank and praise HIM for the rest of our days and we will also have the promise of a home with HIM in heaven!

Written by Messages with Meaning for Your54Today
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Thursday, October 22, 2020

COVID-19 Learning to live by the rules




I have been considering the effects of COVID-19 on our society and on us as individuals. It has become the one issue that affects and influences everything else we do. Sometimes I would just like to get on with my life, but then often things are not that simple. Life is what it is, and we need to make the necessary adjustments and get on with it. All the regular warnings and directions that bombard us can desensitise us and make us feel numb. My wife continually has to remind me to keep my distance when in the shops or on the street. She is a lot more aware of the two-meter rule than I seem to be. All these reminders are a bit like the safety procedures we are given every time we board a flight. We think we could do the routine for the airline staff, but we’d probably struggle as most of us don’t listen as intently as we should. It feels like we are being told the same things repeatedly. Still, at the end of the day, we need to be consistently warned, as we can become complacent very quickly and need to know what to do in case of an emergency.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Imagine if someone knew all your thoughts?



Valantin Saljah - Unsplash 



Kevin Turcios - Unsplash 

We all have times in our lives when we feel that we are just cannot get it right. We all know the feeling of failure and not knowing quite what to do next. Maybe we even know what it is like to take the blame for something that we meant to do for good. Life is often frustrating. It is possible that we wish that people knew the truth about certain things or that they would understand the motives that we had for doing them.
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Sunday, October 18, 2020

I’ve only just a minute!


Photograph - Jon Tyson - Unsplash 

Photograph - Malvestida Magazine - Unsplash



Photograph - Maks Styazhkin - Unsplash 

A lot can change in a minute. We all know the cliches about a week being a long time (in politics) and a lot can happen in a day but the truth is that life can change completely in less than a minute. 

For instance if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time something could happen that you never envisaged and it changes everything. I’ll never forget when eleven year old Rhys Jones from Liverpool was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He lived in a respectable home in a decent area of the city. His mum worked in our local Tesco Store and he was just an ordinary boy enjoying life, loving his football and playing out, as boys do. But on that sad day he died in the crossfire between two rival gangs. But on the 22nd of August 2007 everything changed in a moment. His life was ended, his parents and family were devastated and his blood was on the hands of the young man who pulled the trigger and those who were involved in providing the weapon. 
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Friday, October 16, 2020

Here today, and gone tomorrow!


    Photo by Ethan McArthur on Unsplash


    Photo by Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash


    Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash

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, planned your summer holiday and then wondered if it would ever happen in a COVID infested world.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Lessons in managing your income!





Picture courtesy of Unsplash - Damir Spanic



Picture courtesy of Unsplash - Nathan Dumlao 



Picture courtesy of Unsplash - Aron Visuals 

Imagine that there is a bank which credits your account with £86,400 every morning, every day. It carries no credit over from day to day. At the end of the day anything you fail to use in the day is wiped out and the following day you receive another £86,400.

What would you do?

It goes without saying that you would draw out every penny and use it. Only a fool would throw away such a resource. Surprisingly, every one of us has such a bank. Its name is ‘time’.
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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Who would you like to spend a day with?



Think about the things we do everyday—go to work, spend time with our family, eat, or maybe watch TV. Whether it’s helping others or getting rest, we find value in all of these things. But do we see value in spending time with our Creator? God created us to spend time with Him. By doing so, we are honouring Him, helping others, and getting spiritual rest and peace.

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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Loneliness - a side effect of the COVID crisis




Provided courtesy of Unsplash - Keegan Houser

Provided courtesy of Unsplash - Lucrezia Carnelos 

Provided courtesy of Unsplash - Ann Humphries 


I read this comment in the ‘The Guardian’ newspaper a while ago - ‘The  dilemma, I’m 22 years old and going into my fourth year in medical school. I have been using  study to escape loneliness, insecurity and anxiety that arose from the stress of the course and my failure to establish friends’.
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Tuesday, October 06, 2020

World War 2 Artefacts







All pictures courtesy of Unsplash 

As a young boy, I was always fascinated by a few artefacts from World War II that were dotted around my grandparents’ house. These included large brass shells that had been polished and transformed into umbrella stands, some wooden boxes, an old army belt and an actual incendiary bomb that had been made safe.

I was always fascinated by history and would ask my grandfather to tell me stories from his experiences during the war. Even as a young boy I recognised that he had told me stories reluctantly and that these stories had been somewhat sanitised for my hearing.

My grandfather believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. As a Christian, at the outbreak of World War II, he didn’t want to fight and possibly be taking the lives of enemy soldiers and in effect ushering them into eternity, which they may not have been prepared for. He believed, as the Bible teaches that there are two eternal destinations, Heaven for those that accept God’s forgiveness and Hell for those who refuse the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.

To avoid being put into this position, he decided to join up early so that he would have a choice where he served. He chose to join the Medical Corp, so that he wouldn’t have to carry arms. 

One of the first jobs he was given to do was just outside Bristol on the Downs. As the bombers flew over from Germany to bomb Bristol, they would send the first wave to drop incendiary devices to light the way, pointing out the targets to the second wave of bombers. He along with a few others were asked to light fires on the Downs to deflect the bombers away from the city, thus saving lives. Obviously, he with his comrades were in great danger. They had to dive into a bunker pulling sandbags over the door while bombs dropped around them.

My grandfather served as part of the Medical Corp in many areas, such as North Africa and Italy, he received many medals for bravery. He did this not carrying guns, but stretchers, pulling many soldiers from the battlefield. His faith in Jesus Christ had taught him to show love to those who had not shown love to him. In fact, he knew that our sin had made us enemies of God. God was not our enemy, we were His!

How did God react to our hostility? Did He treat us as an enemy?  No not at all, the Bible says that while we were still sinners, doing the very thing that God hates… Christ died for us.

Another Christian relative of mine found himself guarding a German war hero, this man had been awarded an Iron Cross by his country for bravery. Some of the other guards treated him badly, but my relative showed him kindness. As a result, he reacted with gratitude and cut a part of the ribbon from his Iron Cross and gave it to him.

God’s love is immense! Jesus Christ died taking the punishment that we deserved.  He expects us to react with gratitude, trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and allowing Him to lead in our lives.

In the box among my grandfather’s medals is the piece of ribbon that was given, it obviously had great significance to those involved.

When we read the Bible and think of how much God has loved us, how do we react? Do we reject Him or do we worship Him and trust in Him for what Jesus Christ has done on the cross for us?

Messages with Meaning written by Stuart Scammell for 542day and published with permission
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Friday, October 02, 2020

Forgiveness - how far does it reach?








All photos courtesy of Unsplash

One day Jesus told a story comparing the kingdom of heaven to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants by calling in all his debts.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to Him. In those days that was a considerable chunk of money, the equivalent of about £20 million. We’re not sure exactly how he ran up this kind of debt but it’s clear that he would never be able to repay the king.  So since he couldn’t pay the debt, the king ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had, had to be sold to repay the debt.” The king knew he could never recoup all his losses - he just wanted to get back whatever he could.

At this point, the servant did what most of us would have done. He fell on his knees and said, “Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything.” Even though he could never pay it back, he is now desperate. He cannot stand the thought of his family being sold because of the debt he ran up.  The king was moved. The Bible says that he was filled with compassion. And, he does something the man does not even ask for. The king not only releases him, he also forgives the debt. This is at great personal cost to the king. By assuming the debt, he allowed it to go unpaid and thus impoverished his treasury. He wiped the slate clean, erased the books, and cancelled the debt. Now the man owed him nothing.   

This is exactly what forgiveness is all about. To forgive is to cancel the debt. When we’ve wronged someone, and they choose to forgive us, they are in essence saying, “I cancel the debt. The slate has been wiped clean. You do not owe me anything - I release you from ever having to pay me back.” Now it is quite clear that the servant did not deserve this forgiveness; it was purely an act of grace and mercy on the part of the king. 

We are a lot like the man in the story that Jesus told. We stand before a holy God with our sins piled up higher than Mount Everest.  Our sins are like a £20 million debt that we can never repay. And yet, out of compassion for our moral predicament, and motivated by His love and grace, God sent His Son Jesus to pay off our spiritual debts.

We all need Divine forgiveness today.  We need to come face to face with God, own our sin, and then asked Him for release? We need to do it, if we have not already done so - forgiveness is our deepest need and God’s highest achievement. Admitting our sins to a holy God is the way to receive His forgiveness? If we have not done so, now is the right time. The cost of our sins is more than we can pay, but the gift of our God is more than we can imagine. 

Repentance is the key to being forgiven.  In the Bible book of Proverbs we learn that “he that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whosoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy." If we can confess it, we  can be forgiven of it! It does not matter what we have done, if we turn to God and confess our sins, He will forgive us of ALL unrighteousness... that includes anything we have done, that we are willing to bring before Him! So remember today, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness."

Produced by Messages with Meaning and published by 542day - with permission
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