Friday, January 28, 2022

A refugee's gratitude

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Eric Schwam died in December 2020, at 90 years of age. His entire estate, the total was thought to be around Euro 2 million (£1.7 million), was bequeathed to a village, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, in south-east France. Why would anyone be so generous? Eric, an Austrian Jew, arrived there with his parents and grandmother in 1943, fleeing from the Nazis. We do not know how the refugee family got there. They had previously been held at Rivesaltes camp, a military facility in southern France used to intern civilians, before its closure in 1942.

The village people hid them in the local school, where they remained, undiscovered, until the end of the Second World War. Mr. Schwam intimated that the legacy was ‘in gratitude for the welcome he received 78 years ago’. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon had a reputation for protecting thousands of Jews, shielding people from persecution, and being a place of refuge dating back to the French Protestant Huguenots. The village, which currently has about 2,500 people, undoubtedly never expected such a generous payback decades later. 


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Caught by his own camera

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

In recent years, many car drivers have installed dashboard cameras, so that, if they are involved in an accident, the footage can be used to help establish liability. The trend has also been taken up by some cyclists, who have cameras fitted, not only for use in case of accidents, but also for recording careless driving by motorists. The photographic evidence is then forwarded to the authorities, and those who pose a danger to cyclists can be prosecuted, even if no collision has occurred. A couple of years ago, a cyclist in Ireland successfully implicated two drivers by this method. However, to his dismay, the investigators, on examining his video, found that he too had been guilty of breaking the law during his journey, and he was prosecuted, along with the drivers he had filmed.

In the early chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, Paul shows how people are guilty of having broken, not the laws of the road, but the Law of God: the holy, righteous standard that He demands of all mankind. In Romans 2.1-3, Paul addresses someone who criticises others for their misdeeds, but who, in doing this, is condemning himself, for he does "the same things". He states that God will judge everyone according to righteous principles, and that no-one should think that he will "escape the judgment of God". Like the cyclist, we may try to pronounce others guilty, but in so doing we are declaring our own guilt, for "there is none righteous, no, not one" Romans 3.10. "What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3.19,22,23. We are all "without excuse" Romans 1.20, and deserve "wrath, tribulation and anguish" Romans 2.9.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Start the year well

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

A New Year brings fresh challenges and opportunities, but life is unpredictable! At times, the variety life brings can be very exciting, but sometimes it’s a bit frightening. Problems at home, business pressures, ongoing Covid related issues, and uncertainty! The speed of change and our helplessness to manage events can be disconcerting! Yet, as mere mortals, we cannot control our circumstances and must try to cope with what seems inevitable as well as we possibly can.

There are many situations like this in life. Sometimes illness cannot be avoided, we are affected by what other people do, and often things are out of our control. We are quite skilful at coping most of the time, but sometimes we just have to ‘go with the flow’. I am not a laid-back type of person, so I often wonder what it must be like to be relaxed and unaffected by changeable circumstances.

The ultimate uncontrollable event is death. It creeps up on every one of us. We may prolong life and improve the quality of our twilight years, but we cannot evade death in the long term! But I believe, and the Bible teaches, there is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Sunday, January 09, 2022

A belated Happy New Year to you

A belated Happy New Year to you. The Christmas and New Year period is such a strange time of the year – on the one hand it is relaxing and yet on the other hand it is incredibly busy. The mix of organising, decorating homes (I think ‘dressing the house’ is posh way of saying it), re-organising rooms, planning, buying and cooking not say anything of buying and wrapping the odd present or two makes for a hectic couple of weeks. It’s no wonder we all want to sit down on Christmas day and doze. Although, I guess for many of you that didn’t materialise for a variety of reasons – washing up, clearing up, attending to children or elderly relatives. Having said all that – it is a fun and happy season for many and despite the busyness we end up quite relaxed. The old saying is quite true – ‘a change is as good as a rest’.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

A New Year - A New Challenge



A New Year brings fresh challenges and opportunities but life is so unpredictable! At times, the variety life brings can be very exciting but sometimes it’s a bit frightening. That flood in the house, the illness that took us by surprise! The speed of change and our helplessness can be disconcerting! As mere mortals, we cannot control our circumstances and have to try to cope with what is inevitable as well as we possibly can.


There are many situations like this in life. Illness often cannot be avoided, we are affected by what other people do, and often circumstances are out of our control. Most of the time we are quite skilful at coping but sometimes we just have to go with the flow. I am not a laid back type of person so I often wonder what it must be like to be relaxed and unaffected by changeable circumstances.

new yearDEATH

The ultimate uncontrollable event is death. It creeps up on every one of us. We may prolong life and improve the quality of our twilight years but we cannot evade death in the long term! I believe, and the Bible teaches, that there is hope in Jesus.


He is the only man who ever had control over his own death. It is recorded that Jesus brought at least three people back to life – see the accounts in the Bible in John 11, Luke 7:11-17 and Luke 8:40-56. When it came to His own death, Jesus voluntarily sacrificed His life. By this, I don’t mean only that He went the place of His execution willingly but that at His crucifixion His life did not ebb away, as it would with us. He consciously laid down His life so that we might have eternal life. Read it for yourself in the Bible, Luke 23.46. The Bible states it explicitly when it says ‘Christ died for our sins’.


The profound message of Christianity is this! My sinful behaviour has moral consequences. God is loving but He is also holy. His distaste of sin is such that it would be an insult to His character to allow people into His presence who have been marked by it. The dilemma is that God wants to share eternal life with His creatures but we, historically, have distanced ourselves from Him.


What is the solution according to the Bible? The Son of God became a man through a miraculous conception but a normal birth. In His life of thirty-three years, He demonstrated that He was God by His miracles and His knowledge. He proved that He was holy and flawless in character by how he lived – even his enemies stated that there were no flaws in Him. All men die because of sin but Jesus could not die as He was without sin, fault, wrong or error. His death was a voluntary payment for guilty humanity. As a result, God offers us pardon and forgiveness.


So how do you get this forgiveness? God treats His creatures as thinking individuals. He has given them the capacity to choose. The offer is still on the table. Consider, grieve about and admit your sin to God, not a religious person or organisation. Believe and depend on what the Lord Jesus has done and accept Him as your Saviour.


I cannot describe the change that you will find when you come. It cannot be defined in words. It does not guarantee a problem-free existence. It will bring about changes in your lifestyle, not enforced change as a result of rules but changes in interests and desires for better things. It will mean your guilty status before God has been resolved. You will be saved forever.
Read the Bible and seek the Lord while He may be found.
Images Courtesy of:
2019   – Covi
Cafe – Pexels
Cemetery – TazzAnderson
Woman and clock  –EnginAkyurt


Friday, January 07, 2022

As you start the New Year consider this!

All photographs courtesy of Unsplash

In the Bible the Psalmist reminds us that we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made" so here are some amazing facts about some of our body organs.

The skin is the largest organ of the body, covering it from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. In a full grown adult, it weighs about 11lb. Its thickest point is on the soles, at up to 5mm thick (0.2in). Its thinnest point is on the eyelid at only ½ mm. 1 square inch of skin may hold 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels and more than 1,000 nerve endings.

The heart will beat 2.5 billion times in an average life of 72 years. It beats at around 60 times a minute with each beat pushing blood around the body 1,440 times every day.  It can increase to 200 beats a minute when running.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Who can you trust?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

When I was a young lad financial institutions were so secure that we thought that it was impossible for one to "go bust". That is probably why I joined one at the age of 20, but here we are in the 21st century and we cannot even trust a financial institution. What is left that is dependable? What worries me is that we are told one day that everything is fine by the very people, who then have to admit that everything has gone wrong so soon afterwards.

Truth seems to disappear, all for the sake of public confidence in something that is already destined to fail. Well those of you who have been reading these messages for any length of time, will know that I believe that God can be trusted. The Bible affirms that 'God cannot lie' and that the things that He says are 'true and faithful' i.e. they are to be trusted.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Your health and welfare

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Sometimes when I sit down to write this column, I find that 101 things fill my mind, and I can’t quite focus on writing. Life is busy, and we often lose our focus because we have so many things bouncing about in our heads. 

There is a little statement in the book of Psalms, and it says this ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ Psalm 46:10. Stillness is something that many of us crave and that most of us find very difficult to achieve. It is possible to be so preoccupied with living that we forget what life is really about.


The Lord Jesus Christ was very aware of this, and so he would on occasion call his disciples to take a break from the busyness of life and come aside and rest for a while. So, therefore, I want to invite you as you read this article to put aside anything that will distract you and come apart from the busyness of your life and reflect, rest, and consider this most important matter of your personal welfare. 

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