Thursday, April 22, 2021

'Right is Right even if nobody does it' - True or False?

"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. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What would you give for a Sports Car?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible?" He then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible on his father’s desk.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but realizing his father was very old, he thought perhaps he should go to see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make the arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he was reading, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words... "PAID IN FULL".

Sometimes the packaging can be deceptive. Every year in December we commemorate the birth of a child who came in humility – born into a working class family and laid in a manger.

To the religious and influential of His day, this child was unacceptable because, in their eyes, He came packaged wrongly.  In their judgement He was from the wrong place, brought up in the wrong family, and taught things that clashed with their traditions. They wanted a king born in a palace to become their Messiah and they could not accept a humble servant as their king.

Sadly even today people find the servant heart of the Lord Jesus Christ unacceptable. He just does not fit in with their expectations. 

On the other hand, the ones who discover His true worth discover the reality of the words, “To those who received Him, to them gave He the authority to become the children of God.”

Written by Stephen Treseder For Messages with Meaning (18/04/21) and Your542Day


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Prince Philip 1921 - 2021

The first photo is courtesy of Unsplash, the rest by permission of Kirkcaldy Gospel Hall

“Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day?” (2 Samuel 3:38).

“They buried him ... among the kings, because he had done good ... , both toward God, and toward his house” (2 Chronicles 24:16).

Towards the end of Prince Philip’s funeral service, the Garter Principal King of Arms proclaimed the Styles and Titles of His Royal Highness:

Friday, April 16, 2021

Would you rather fly Economy Class or Business Class?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Some years ago I was speaking at a conference in Delhi, India and thankfully there were other speakers who were utterly riveting to listen to and absorb what they were saying. One such was a Canadian and he related a time when he was going to travel by plane when the check-in staff wondered whether he wanted to be upgraded. One of his joys in travelling is speaking with fellow passengers and he wondered whether that would be possible if he were upgraded. However, he was persuaded and duly went into Business Class rather than Economy Class and so could look forward to a much more comfortable journey.

As he went to sit down in the plane he introduced himself to a business women nearby with the words,  “I have been upgraded and it is only for one reason.” She politely enquired what that reason was and he said, “To talk to you about the Lord.”  I am sure she had never encountered such a direct approach before and it made her somewhat irritable and even angry. Her anger was directed firstly at the fact that he had been upgraded whereas she had paid the full amount for the privilege of travelling Business Class and secondly that he now wanted to engage her in a conversation about the Lord!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What is greatest invention known to man?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

What do we all want to achieve in our lives?

That is a pretty searching question, but, if we are honest, we would all like to think that we have made some significant contribution to the world in the time we have spent here.

Even so, in actual fact, few of us make any real impact on society during our lives.  On the other hand, as we look at history there are some names that stand out in their contribution to the world. 

My education was in the sciences and names like Newton, Kelvin and Faraday were legendary in my experience, but so many of them brought contributions to science which, although they developed the working of science, were mostly theoretical. I am thinking of the Kelvin absolute temperature scale, Newton’s laws of motion and Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetic induction.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The ‘If’ question is really ours to answer

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

When someone questions our ability to do something, it can provoke a sense of pride that wants to prove them otherwise. Some have stretched themselves to perform reckless acts with varying degrees of success. The Bible says: ‘pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall’. God is never guilty of pride, which is in a list of things that the Lord hates.

People have been heard to say: ‘If God would do this or that… I would believe.’ But God does not try to ‘prove himself’ on our terms. Faith in God is not about what we want Him to be or do, but accepting who He is and what He has done.

One day, the devil came to Jesus saying, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ Jesus was in the desert and had been without food for some time. The suggestion was that He satisfy His own hunger and thereby prove His power. But the Lord Jesus had not come to perform miracles to gratify His own desires, nor to showcase His power for popularity. His works were always for the glory of God. On another occasion, Jesus said ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.’ The work of God, His Father was more important to Him than physical food. Pleasing God was food for His soul.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

What are the 3 most commonly told stories in the world?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

It is hard to believe that only the other day we were celebrating Christmas and now even Easter seems to be slipping away from us. More than ten years ago, millions of filmgoers watched in awe as “Titanic” disappeared beneath the waves. The film had a huge global audience; many people attended six or seven times, according to newspaper reports. A cartoon strip had a mom saying to her family: “I am going, uh, shopping. I will be back in about four hours, maybe.” The family exchanges knowing glances: “Titanic—again.”

Historians and statisticians report that the three most commonly told stories in the world are:- 
1. The life and death of Jesus Christ 
2. The American Civil War and 
3. The sinking of the Titanic. 

Especially with the first and third stories, one element has captured the world: the possibility that a person who goes down with the ship into the icy Atlantic and drowns—can someday live again. People wanted to believe that the ill-fated lovers, Jack and Rose, could actually be united again on the grand staircase of Titanic. That heroic dads who put their wives and children into lifeboats and then perished might someday experience the Bible’s promise of a Resurrection Morning.

Is what the Bible says about resurrection true? Did a dead person named Jesus come out of the tomb on that first Easter ‪Sunday morning‬? Or did His disciples steal the body, hide it, dry their tears, and then concoct this tall tale to beat all tall tales?  It is not just the fate of “Jack and Rose” which rests on Bible truth. All of us are intimately affected by what we read in the Bible of the possibility of us ever living again, it rests entirely and completely on the doctrine of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.‬

The Bible tells us that:- “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised and if Christ has not been raised, your preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . . For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for THIS LIFE we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

If we reject the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection or begin to doubt that He really did come out of that tomb, then we immediately have to also embrace—or at least wince and acknowledge—the reality that when we sink into our own "Atlantic Ocean" and close our eyes in death, that it is all over for us  . . . forever!

Do we want chocolate eggs and bunnies or the plain Word of God? Do we want Jesus the wandering poet or Christ the Risen Lord? Do we want our end to be when a ship goes down or the lights go out . . . or do we look forward to a wonderful and everlasting life in God’s eternal kingdom made possible by Jesus Christ breaking through the walls of that garden tomb?

"I AM the Resurrection and the Life", Jesus promises. Do we believe Him today? "He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die."

There in the ground, his body lay
Light of the world, by darkness, slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave, he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Written by Peter Francis for Messages with Meaning (‪06/04/21‬)‬/Your542Day

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Getting what you don’t deserve!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Over Easter time you may have considered Jesus Christ and why He went to die on a cross for us. You may have stopped to think how much He must have loved us to suffer so much. You might even have contemplated why a God who is so affronted by sin would send His perfect, sinless Son to die for ungodly sinners like us.   

These questions are in one sense unanswerable! We cannot fathom the depths of God’s love and we certainly cannot understand His thoughts. The prophet Isaiah stated, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

Yet it is a stated fact that God’s word the Bible attests to, ‘That the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world!’ The Good News of Jesus Christ is that He loved you and died for you and if you believe on Him you will be saved.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

6 plus reasons to trust the Bible!

 All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I write to help people look beyond their present circumstances and think about the big questions about human existence. My advice and thoughts are all from the Bible. You may think that this is narrow-minded and restrictive, but I have discovered that God’s word, the Bible, ‘is truth’, and in reality, it has opened my mind more than it has ever closed it.

But please, don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself whether it makes sense. I believe that the Bible is not a book of theory but that it changes lives through faith in the author, God. The sacred writings, the Bible, state that they 'are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,’ 2 Tim. 3. 15Sadly, many people are afraid to read it because they don’t know what it is about or are anxious about the demands it might make on their lifestyle.


Sunday, April 04, 2021

Google it - where do you find the truth in 2021?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

I have learned a lot from my grandchildren.  At the moment they are thirteen and fifteen and I have enjoyed watching them grow from tiny babies into active and curious teenagers.  One of the things I have particularly loved about them was their curiosity.  They have always been full of questions such as “Why does the sun go in and out?” and “Why does the moon change shape?”  At the moment they think that grandpa knows everything.  Well, almost everything.

Jacob, the younger of the two, did catch me out some years back when he was nine.  We were travelling along the Mumbles Road at the time of a high tide when he came out with the question, “Grandpa, how much water is in the sea?”

I paused before answering. “A lot!” I replied.
He was not going to let me get away with that.
“I know, but how many litres is that?”
I shook my head.  “Sorry, I don’t know.”
He was quiet for a couple of minutes, then came out with the answer.
“We could Google it!”  Google!  The source of all information.  

Perhaps you remember the days before we had online information.  Then, to many, the definitive source of information was the Encyclopaedia Britannica with its multiplicity of volumes. I only ever saw a complete set of the Encyclopaedia when I was in school and wondered at the time how long it would take to read them all, but now we have Google and therein lies a problem, for not all the information online is correct.

A few years ago when Mary Berry was stepping down as judge on the Great British Bake Off, I was searching for something online, when, quite by accident I stumbled across a hyperlink which said, “New judge appointed for the Great British Bake Off.”

I was intrigued, and so I clicked on it to see who was going to replace the legendary Mary Berry.  The page I came on to had a large colourful picture of Mr Tumble complete with yellow bowler, red nose and spotted bow tie. For those of you unfamiliar with children’s TV, Mr Tumble is a modern version of Coco the Clown, and, yes, the page was a spoof.

Having said that, it was cleverly written and very convincing. It raises the question, how can we know what is right? Surrounded by conflicting opinions on the media and bombarded by everything on the internet, where can we find the truth.

The Bible tells us that truth is not found in a thing but in a person – The Lord Jesus Christ.  In fact, He was not just the source of truth but could make a remarkable statement.  In John 14 v 6 we read these words. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way the truth and the life.”  It was not that Jesus spoke the truth or represented the truth. He claimed that He WAS the truth. 

In this world of fake news when we are surrounded by some who would seek to deceive us, it is good to know the One who was and is totally trustworthy. No wonder, then, that millions down through the ages have trusted Him with their lives and committed their lives to Him.

Messages with Meaning (30/03/21) Written by Stephen Treseder for Your542Day

Friday, April 02, 2021

Punished for something you did not do!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

I can remember once in my school days being punished by having to stand on tiptoes with my nose above a strategically placed line of chalk on the board. I hated it for several reasons. Firstly, my legs ached after a while, secondly the chalk made me sneeze and thirdly and more importantly I did not do what I was accused of. This made me indignant!

Imagine being punished for something you did not do! I can remember a story that my father told me around about that time. It was of when he was about the same age back in the 1950s. School looked vastly different, no iPads, no computers, and no interactive whiteboards, in fact the boards were black, and chalk was used constantly. The cane was prevalent, and discipline was strict.

A young boy was brought up by his grandmother, he had lost his parents and although his grandmother tried her best, she struggled. He was small, grubby and his uniform had seen far better days. His teacher was kind and often quietly provided some food for him as she was sure that he often went hungry.

One day the teacher returned to the classroom to find her handbag open and so was her purse and money was missing. The teacher was obviously angry and extremely disappointed. She stated that if the money was  returned then nothing else would be said. The money was not returned, and no one owed up. She was left no other choice but to call the headteacher. He stormed into the classroom with his gown flowing and the cane in his hand. He swung the cane over the tops of the children’s heads and the ‘swoosh’ sound made each one of them fear greatly. After his fearsome routine yielded no result, the headteacher demanded that the whole school assembled in the hall. Here he repeated his antics and declared that because of what had taken place someone would receive six of the headmaster’s best!

A deathly hush fell over the hall, no one spoke, nobody dared! After what seemed like an eternity, sobbing could be heard from the corner of the hall. It was the young poor boy, who everyone felt sorry for, but not apparently the headteacher, who took this as an admission of guilt and hauled him up onto the stage. He demanded that he turn out his pockets to no avail. Then roll down his socks, as he rolled down his left sock, out fell the money. With no further ado, the headteacher raised his cane high above his head to strike the child. The pupils winced waiting for the impact, even some of the teachers turned away.

Suddenly, a cry of ‘Stop!’ was heard from the back of the hall, everyone turned to look. Who dared to shout at the headteacher?

Walking slowly to the front was an eleven-year-old boy, the biggest boy in the school, the captain of the rugby team, but nevertheless, just an eleven-year-old boy. The headteacher glared at him. Slowly, with a trembling voice the boy spoke, ‘Sir, you said that someone had to receive six lashes with the cane because of what was done.’

The headteacher nodded!

‘Sir’ the boy continued, ‘let it be me not him.’

The older boy held out his hand and turned away so that no one could see his tears and the headteacher caned him instead.

The little boy would never have forgotten that, and neither did all the staff and children in the school that day. My father was sat in that hall and he certainly remembers how that heroic boy took the punishment for another.

The Lord Jesus took our punishment in His own body on the cross, He was perfect and deserved no punishment whatsoever. We on the other hand deserve the wages of our sin. What is our reaction as He took our place and received our punishment? Do we repent and turn from our sin? Do we trust in Him and what He has done for us? Do we worship Him for His demonstration of love to us?

Messages with Meaning (31/03/21) Written by Stuart Scammell for Your542Day
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