Sunday, February 28, 2021

Faith, Hope and Love


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In the Bible, we read a lot about faith, hope and love. In fact, at the end of a well-known chapter about love (1 Corinthians 13), we read, “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”Perhaps these three have helped us to keep going all these difficult months, or maybe we feel we need them more.


Just now, for the move out of lockdown and the control of the pandemic, our faith is in the widespread vaccination programme's success. So far, it seems to be working well. The amazing work which has led to the design and availability of these vaccines has to be admired. It was all very costly, but to us, it’s free - to all who are willing to come and get their “jab” – just like how we can receive God’s gift of salvation!


And this gives us hope! As we used to know it, many aspects of life have been missing for such a long time. We have missed the simple pleasures of meeting friends and families, going where we wanted, of social gatherings, church meetings, holiday trips etc. We have been concerned about our young people with their education interrupted, and our business colleagues with their livelihoods threatened. All complicated – but we have reason to hope that it’s not for much longer.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Phrases we have used in Lockdown

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Have you ever heard someone speaking and not understood them? Perhaps you said “Uh?” or “what?”. Was the person using jargon or an acronym, maybe? Now I have probably got you saying “Uh?” 

We often use abbreviations when communicating with others. Please do not think of this as a test, but do you recognize these? PC? Police Constable or Politically Correct. PTO? Please Turn Over. ASAP? As Soon As Possible. DIY? Do It Yourself, of course.  And a final one, ATM? Automated Teller Machine better known as the hole in the wall of our banks, of course! 

2020 will be remembered for certain words and phrases like Unprecedented, Pandemic, Lockdown, Social Distancing and Stay Alert amongst others. 

I would like to put a Biblical spin on these proving that they are not really new phrases or descriptions. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Accepting the inevitable!

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Sometimes in life, we have to accept the inevitable! There is a quote by Francis of Assisi where he says, “Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Let me remind you of something we can change. 


We can change what we value and where our priorities lie! Maybe life is tough for you! Illness has been stalking you! You have fears about the future! Life has been very uncertain! Often when we cannot change our circumstances, we can control how we respond to them. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

You WILL live for ever!

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We all have come to understand that life is constantly changing and that nothing lasts forever. In many ways, this is a tough and sad reality. Most of us find it hard to accept that we will grow old, that loved ones will pass on, that children grow up and leave home. You know the types of things that I am talking about. Sad realities!

I have good news for you. The Bible teaches that God made us with an eternal soul, that's the real you, and though the body ends in physical death, the soul lives on. Many people don't believe this any more. 


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Latin phrases

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Latin was obligatory when I was at school. It was one of the standard subjects on the curriculum. I actually quite enjoyed Latin despite the old adage we used to repeat under our breath:

Latins a dead language

As dead as dead can be 

First, it killed the Romans

And now, it’s killing me

It might have felt tough going at school, but it is actually beneficial to know some Latin as a lot of Latin motto’s can be found over the entrance of many listed buildings. For instance, the motto of the University of Oxford is ‘Dominus illuminatio mea’. These are the opening words of Psalm 27 (the Bible) meaning The Lord is my Light. One of the long-established independent schools on the Wirral has the motto ‘Beati Mundo Corde’. This means Blessed are the Pure in Heart, again a quotation taken out of the Bible (the Beatitudes). It is quite significant that public institutions saw the value of quoting the Bible. This book was once the backbone of our nation’s progress and development.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Where did it all Begin? How will it all end?

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Even after all these months, there is no clear information about exactly where Coronavirus came from and how it spread so fast. Did it spread from some animal to man, and what might that animal have been in this case? The World Health Organisation has recently been to Wuhan in China to find some answers, while China does not want them to find answers that would embarrass them!


But how does such a virus originate in the first place? It is a microscopic parasite which can only live and multiply by invading the cells of another organism. There it produces copies of itself which then spread rapidly, usually damaging the organism.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Captain Tom & Philanthropy

The Queen has led tributes to Capt. Sir Tom Moore, the second world war veteran who raised almost £39m for NHS charities during the first coronavirus lockdown in spring 2020, who has died aged 100 after testing positive for coronavirus. It has been well said “Captain Tom Moore put others first at a time of national crisis and was a beacon of hope for millions. Britain has lost a hero.’’ He certainly was one of life’s great philanthropist, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.  

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote to a co-worker by the name of Titus who was doing a work for God on the Island of Crete in the Mediterranean. In the letter, Paul used the word ‘philanthropy’ in connection with God. Titus worked with people whose lives were wrecked by sin in probably more ways than we would care to imagine. Paul says: “Just a second Titus! We need to remind ourselves of something – our own hearts are no better than the Cretans.” For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lust.


Friday, February 12, 2021

Chocolate Spread

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My inspiration for today’s message comes from our two sons who are rather partial to some chocolate spread on toast. We go through a few jars of chocolate spread in a year. Needless to say that they do not spread sparingly. Oh no, they lavishly spread the chocolate over the toast. I sometimes think that they have chocolate spread with a bit of toast. 

The word lavish is a lovely word and is not used a lot these days. As an adjective, the dictionary defines it as ‘sumptuously rich, elaborate or luxurious’.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Do you really love people?

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There was a married couple who were disappointed not to have children of their own but they, and the husband, in particular, always claimed that they loved children.  They enjoyed having their nephews and nieces around their home and always thought they were good with children. 

They kept their garden very nicely, and it bordered on to a golf course along which they sometimes took walks.  One summer’s day, the husband was laying a concrete path to a gate that led onto the course.  He had dug out the footings and laid the boards along each side and had hired one of those machines that squirt the concrete into the right place and then spent a long time smoothing it out until it shone like glass. It was a wonderful job, well done, and he was so pleased with his accomplishment. 

Monday, February 08, 2021

How strong are you?

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At some point, all of us will have experienced weakness in some shape or form. Often, those that are younger, fit and healthy feel like they can take on the world, but something as simple as a stomach bug or a touch of flu can be enough to sap the strength altogether. Some who have passed through many struggles speak of an inner strength that has helped them through.

There is, however, a matter in which no amount of physical strength or willpower is of any help. The Bible says, ‘When we were yet without strength (that is, having none at all), in due time (just at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly’.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Do you think you are good enough for God?

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When we talk to others, there are always things that we do not mind them hearing and other things that we would be so ashamed of if they became public knowledge.

Some people will often tell you how they helped others, did a good deed or gave money to a charity. These things are good, of course, and we should do more things like this. However, it is possible to become proud or boastful about them.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Take care and heed the warnings!

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The new year did not bring us the relief from this awful pandemic that we hoped for – it has rather got worse. These new and more threatening strains of Coronavirus mean that uncertainty and risk are still with us. More lockdown is disappointing but necessary, and yet the rollout of vaccines is encouraging.


Governments continue to struggle with the decisions they have to make, and they need our prayers. People are struggling in many different ways, and they too need our prayers and what support we can offer. Our hearts go out to the many who are disadvantaged, lonely, and more depressed after all these months.


I think we are also alarmed at those who ignore the many clear warnings given about the risks posed by this virus. At least some of the present high numbers of infections and consequent deaths are due to carelessness, selfishness and neglect of the sound advice given regularly. 


Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Dearly Loved - Forever Loved


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I wish there was some better news to share about Coronavirus. But instead, stark landmark numbers this past week have brought home to us how bad it is. In the UK, over 100,000 people have now died due to this horrible disease, and this number continues to rise. Worldwide, the total number of infections has passed 100 million, with over 2 million deaths, increasing.


Huge Numbers


These huge numbers are being used to chart the pandemic, but we can’t just regard them as cold statistics. Contained within them are real people who were dearly loved and are now sadly missed. We stop a minute to sympathise. That’s very meaningful and poignant personally for those of us who have experienced the loss ourselves.


Better News

There is some better news about vaccinations – around 8 million in the UK within just a few weeks. We were among these to get our first “jab” a few days ago - painless and free of complications afterwards!


Light at the End

We often hear that the vaccines are giving “light at the end of the tunnel”, which is most welcome. But the tunnel is particularly dark for many who are still suffering. It is a constant struggle against exhaustion for many health professionals s they give their utmost to alleviate distress and save lives, while others are working hard to minimise the damage to people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.


Good News?

Is there any other good news to share? There is always some good news for someone somewhere! But you know the Gospel brings good news for everyone everywhere! It is beautifully summarised in the Bible in John 3.16. Have you noticed how G–O–S–P–E–L is spelt out in the verse?


For God so loved the world

that He Gave his Only begotten Son

that whoever believes in Him

should not Perish but have Everlasting Life.


Amazing Love

Isn’t it amazing that God loves us, and a more amazing still that He showed His love by giving His Son to die for us? We surely ought to love God because of all that He has done, but 1 John 4.10 reminds us “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”.


One day the Lord Jesus told a lawyer that the greatest of all Old Testament commandments is that “we should love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind” (Matthew 22.35-38). But love is not really the result of an order or a command – it is a spontaneous response of the heart. That’s how God loves each one of us – completely, unconditionally, eternally.

Loved with an everlasting love
By Him who left His home above,
To bring us life and light, and love,

Because He loved.

Loved, when our sky is clouded o'er,
And days of sorrow press us sore;
Still, will we trust Him evermore,

For we are loved.

Loved in the past of yesterday,
And all along our future way,
And in the present of today –

Forever loved.

Loved when we sing the glad new song
To Christ, for whom we've waited long,
With all the happy, ransomed throng –

Forever loved.


If you wish to check it out, and maybe find the tune on YouTube, 

you’ll find these words in a hymn by Grace Pennell which begins -

Loved! - then the way will not be drear ...

Used by kind permission of Bert Cargill, Scotland


Monday, February 01, 2021

Why do I always make the same mistakes?

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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 or becomes a Christian, they are a new creation, 2 Cor. 5. 17. They will still feel the struggle which is caused by temptation, but they now have new life and the Spirit of God to strengthen them and keep them from falling.

Scripture Reading

Let no one say when he is tempted,

‘I am tempted by God’;

for God cannot be tempted by evil,

nor does He Himself tempt anyone

James 1:13

Today’s verse is saying that God does not have a problem with evil. He is not attracted to it. This is best illustrated in the life of the Lord Jesus. When the Devil came to tempt Him, it is stated that there was nothing in Him that responded to his advances, John 14. 30. So simply put God does not struggle with evil not did the Lord Jesus. If only we could say that; but things are so different for us.

We all have a daily battle, see Romans 7, with right and wrong. Some days are worse than others and some things are more of a temptation than others. Resisting thinking wrong things is a problem but once a person is saved it can get more intense as their conscience is keener than before. Thankfully, they have the Holy Spirit to appeal to for help. 

In closing do not lose sight of this. God never tempts us to do evil. He may test us at times, but it is never His purpose for us to sin. In fact, he wants us to learn to resist temptation and to be aware of our weaknesses. Submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you, James writes in chapter 4 verse 7.   

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