Saturday, July 30, 2022

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Research your Family Tree

All photos courtesy of Unsplash


In recent years there has been a major increase in people’s interest in researching their family trees. As the interest in celebrities rises, so does the fascination with programs that explore their backgrounds and ancestors.


The BBC genealogy documentary series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ regularly attracts an audience of more than 6 million viewers. It is now in its 17th series. ITV is running DNA Journey (2019 (1) and 2021 Series (3)), and so the list goes on.


While we dig into famous celebrities' ancestry, there is a lot of controversy about the origin of the most famous person in history – Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is God’s Son. In the New Testament, Jesus frequently referred to God as his “Father” (see John 5:17). In the next verse, we read that the Jews sought to kill him because they understood that he was claiming to be “equal with God”. In John 10:30, Jesus describes himself and his Father as being one in essence, that is, divine, and as a result, we read in verse 33 that the Jews once again try to stone him. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Singing is good for you!

All pictures are courtesy of Unsplash

The summer has gone, we were just getting out and about and then things changed again. One of the COVID-19 rules is the recommendation not to sing in public gatherings. Singing is good for the soul. It lifts your spirits and creates a sense of community and kinship. I, for one, have missed community singing. Music and songs create passion in our hearts and evoke vivid memories. 

A very effective method of learning is linked to the rhythm of repeating words that somehow glue the words or the facts to our minds. Most of us didn’t necessarily enjoy it but we often learned facts or figures by musical rhythm. If you went to Sunday School you may remember learning Bible verses by rote, for example, ‘For God so loved the world …’ or ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ …’ or maybe ‘Honour your Father and your Mother’. All of this was to get some important facts from the Bible into your young mind for the purpose of living life and one-day meeting God.   

If I was asked to quote from some piece of great literature, I might struggle but if you whistled a tune of a popular song, I might amaze myself by my ability to recall the words. Maybe you can do this as well. Music has a powerful effect on our memories!  

Try stopping someone in the street and ask what song from church they remember. It could be ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ or ‘The old rugged cross’.  Others might say Psalm 23 as this is one hymn that is repeatedly sung at weddings and funerals. You might be thinking ‘I’ve never heard of it’. That’s a shame as it has very inspiring words. 

Verse four of the psalm says, 'though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me'. It reminds me that we will all face the 'valley of the shadow of death' one day. Our path through life is tough at times and it is certain that we will all face death at the end of life. The reason we all die is explained in the Bible by the statement 'the wages of sin is death'. The Bible makes it clear that death is the means of moving from this life to the next. 

At the end of the psalm the writer states 'I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever'. The writer is sure that there is life after death. Other writers in the Bible make it clear that God has revealed that there are two destinations in the afterlife. One called Heaven and the other called Hell. You may wonder why the writer of Psalm 23 is so sure that he will be in heaven. I think the answer lies in the fact that he can say 'the Lord is my shepherd'.

The Bible records that the Lord Jesus Christ 'came into the world to save sinners'. He said one day 'I am the good shepherd the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep'. The Bible describes human beings as wandering sheep when it states that 'all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way'. But it also explains that 'the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’. This means that Jesus took the punishment for our guilt so that we can be forgiven. He rose from the dead on the third day and returned to heaven forty days later; where he is now.

If you don’t know the words of Psalm 23, get someone who does to hum the tune to you. Maybe it will come back to you. If you can't find a willing soul to sing for you grab a Bible, look in the index for the Psalms and read it for yourself. You could be amazed to discover how the words come alive as they describe the safety of being loved and cared for by the Shepherd. Maybe you would like to know how this could become real for you. If so, get in touch with me I would love to help you.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Lost and found in the forest


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

In September 2021, a man in Turkey was drinking with friends, left them, and walked off into a nearby forest, where he spent the night. The next morning, he noticed a group of people, who told him that they were looking for a missing person. Desiring to be helpful, he joined the search. After some time, a member of the search party called out his name, and he responded, “I am here”. Only then did the truth become apparent to all: his family had reported him missing when he failed to return home, volunteers had set out to look for him, and, by joining one of the groups, he was, without knowing it, trying to find himself!

There were two reasons why it took so long for the man to be found: firstly, he did not know that he was lost, and, secondly, the search party did not know the one for whom they were looking, except for his name. The story is amusing, but for me the smile did not last long, for it soon came to my mind that this man is like many in the world today, whom the Bible describes as “lost”. In fact, that is the natural state of all mankind. Like the man in the story, we have wandered away, not from our friends, but from God. Isaiah 53.6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way”. In Luke chapter 15, to illustrate our lost condition, and our need to be found, the Lord Jesus also compares us to a lost sheep, as well as to a lost coin and a lost son.


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Take your pick!


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Typically we associate the words ‘Take your pick’ with shopping: we might see it written on a confectionery counter, or hear it spoken by a shopkeeper as he or she encourages us to select items from a pile of fresh fruit. This short three-word statement reminds us that we are continually making choices: in the supermarket, in the clothes shop, deciding which holiday destination to go to, which make and model of car to purchase. On many levels, we make selections throughout our lives. Sometimes we make the wrong decision or are advised incorrectly to take a certain course of action but often we can change our mind and in many cases, the consequences are not serious anyway. There are, however, occasions when the wrong choice can be fatal or at least life-changing and irreversible and so great caution is essential and detailed knowledge of what is at stake.


Saturday, July 09, 2022

A diamond rush


Photos courtesy of Unsplash

South Africa is famous for its diamonds. Not many ‘world records’ stand for more than a century, but a diamond discovered in that country in 1905 remains the largest ever found. So when, a few months ago, a cattle herder unearthed a promising-looking stone near a village in the east of the country, he hoped that it was that precious mineral. Word spread, and by mid-June this year many people had arrived, from different parts, to dig in the earth. Most were poor and longed to discover gems that would lift them out of poverty.

The Bible describes poverty that is not material, but spiritual, and affects not just a high proportion of the population, but all of it: the condition of sin, which afflicts all of mankind. The wealthiest are not exempt: the Lord Jesus spoke of “a certain rich man” who was “not rich toward God” Luke 12.21. In Scriptures such as Luke 7.40-50, sin is likened to a huge debt, which we cannot pay. Hence, if left to ourselves, we would remain unforgiven, to suffer the consequences, in the Lake of Fire: a state of unending spiritual poverty, with no hope of escape.


Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Don't be late - be on time!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

I don’t know about you but I hate being late for anything. I’m one of those people who is always 30 mins early for appointments and events.

As someone who works for the health service, I found it interesting to read that according to the NHS ( 2/1/19) 15.4 million people were late or missed an appointment with the GP service. This equated to almost 5% of all appointments costing the NHS £216 billion.

There’s a story in the Bible regarding a man called Noah and how God told him to build an ark for refuge and safety. God had revealed to Noah that He was going to judge the world for their wicked behaviour. So Noah listened to God and built an ark (a humongous boat). For over 100 years Noah pleaded with people to come into the ark to be safe from the coming judgement. 

At the appointed time God shut the door and His judgment fell on the world.  Apart from Noah, and seven members of his family, the whole population of the world was wiped out in a worldwide flood.

Are there lessons that can be learnt from this story?

Firstly the Bible warns that God is angry with human wickedness and cannot ignore it. He must judge wrongdoing because He is just and righteous. The New Testament Bible says that it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment,' Hebrews 9:27

When we die, as we all must, God will judge us for our sins because there are moral consequences to our behaviour. Sad consequences but fair and just. As the Bible says 'the wages of sins is death,' Rom. 6. 23.  But don’t stop reading now; there is hope and an offer of guaranteed forgiveness and salvation, the rest of the verse says ‘but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’.

Just as in the days of Noah so God, today,  has provided an alternative to judgment. Between BC 06 and 04, God sent His son into the world. He was not born to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved, John 3. 17.

When Jesus Christ came into this world He lived a pure and spotless life and then died on a cross for our sins;  not for any sin of His won for the Bible makes it clear that He could not sin, Heb 4. 15. Prior to dying on the Cross He was extremely badly treated. He was whipped and spat upon. Nails were hammered into His hands and feet and then He was crucified. There were then three hours of darkness when God ‘laid on him the iniquity of us all,’ Isa 53. 6.  Jesus experienced the judgment we deserved for sin. But how do we know that it was enough? On the 3rd day, Jesus rose from the grave demonstrating that God was satisfied that death was conquered and salvation was now available to all.

How do we get saved?

So how do we get saved from the judgment of God – By believing in His Son. By believing that on the cross He bore our sins. He took the punishment so that we could ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and . . . be saved,’ Acts 16. 31. We need to confess our sins to God in repentance and follow Him ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved,’ Rom 10. 9.

Saved from what? 

From the judgment of God for our sins. Without salvation, we will go to the place we deserve which is Hell, but if we are saved we will go to be with Him in heaven. It was Jesus’ desire that ‘Where I am you may be also,’ John 14. 3.

When do I need to be saved?

The Bible says ‘Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation,’ 2 Cor 6. 2. Once we die there is no further opportunity to get saved. You would be lost for all eternity. We don’t know when we are going to die which is why this is such an urgent matter. The Bible says ‘For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away,’ James 4. 14.

Don’t be late or miss the opportunity 

One hymn says:


Time is gliding swiftly by,

Death and judgment draweth nigh,

To the arms of Jesus fly,

Be in time.

Oh, I pray you count the cost,

Ere the fatal line be crossed,

And your soul in hell be lost,

Be in time.

Sinner, heed the warning voice,

Make the Lord your final choice,

Then all Heaven will rejoice,

Be in time.

Come from darkness into light, 

Come, let Jesus make you right,

Come, and start for Heav’n tonight,

Be in time.


Be in time, be in time,

While the voice of Jesus calls you, be in time.

If in sin you longer wait,

You may find no open gate,

And your cry be just too late, 

be in time.

Co-authored by Kerry Robinson


Saturday, July 02, 2022

Does the weather affect your mood?

What was the first thing you noticed this morning when you got up? Maybe I should reword that. I am not thinking about your beautiful spouse or children. My question really is – did you notice if it was sunny or rainy? Did the weather annoy you or concern you?

Some summers are really a bit of a non-event. I’ll not go into the precise statistics, but it seems that often summers come and go with little evidence that we actually had one.
Life is like that for a lot of us. Some people feel that it has passed them by. The dreams of yesterday never quite became the reality of today. The wish list remained just that – a wish list. If only.  Life need not be like that. I believe that God’s desire for humanity is to lift our gaze from the mundane things of life and to give us hope, but more of that in a moment.
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