Saturday, October 29, 2022

Important Meetings

Without fear of contradiction, it could be said that a substantial part of life is taken up with meetings. In the last while, meetings have morphed into 'virtual meetings' via Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and Zoom. GoToMeeting and the like.

These may be unimportant, or they could be life-changing. We hear folks say, “We’ll meet to discuss it over a cup of coffee.” I heard one mother say to another, “It’s our son’s birthday on Saturday week, and we’ll need to meet to arrange the catering.”

Friday, October 28, 2022

Government - that's quite a story!

There are three principle elements of government, Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. The Legislators make the laws, the Executive enforce the law, and the Judiciary interprets and applies the law.  

There are over 200 different forms of State Government - Republicans, Monarchies, Autocracies and, is some cases, Theocracies. Sadly none as yet own God's rule exclusively.  

The world in its present state is groaning under the burden of sin and is crying out for righteous government; this will be here sooner than many people expect. Demonstrations in many countries are all too familiar, with people objecting to the legislation, the executive and the judiciary in their various countries. Calls for change of government are becoming commonplace, caused by the discontent of the people with their governors.


Thursday, October 27, 2022

The innocency of childhood

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

If you observe the behaviour of young children, it is often fascinating. They are more honest than adults, they let you know when they are happy, and when they are upset, as adults we often hide our emotions behind such phrases as, ‘I’m fine’ or I’ll be Okay!’ When often we are not, and we definitely will not be Okay!

Young children do not have to be taught to do wrong, that seems to come naturally. However, our God-given conscience tells us when we have done wrong. Young children often hide from their parents when they have disobeyed and often this is the first time their parents know of the minor misdemeanour.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Helping someone when they get down

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

How do you help someone when everything gets on top of them, and they feel that it is not worth living?

I am interested to see how Bible characters handled these episodes in their lives. It is easy to dismiss them and say that they didn’t experience pressure like we do, but I think some of them had a really tough time.

Take, for example, Elijah. He was a real character. I think most of us would have thought he was quite a resilient and strong person. That in itself is a warning.

Elijah was a spokesman for God. These men were commonly known as Prophets. God communicated with them, and they were expected to pass on His message ‘word for word’. No changes or adjustments, their terms of engagement were - just tell them what I told you - ‘thus says the LORD’. As a result of this, Elijah had met Kings, military leaders and other influential people. All in all, he was an impressive man. You couldn’t imagine him being brow beaten by anyone or getting depressed by his circumstances - but he did.

We discover this in 1 Kings chapter 19. If you are interested, read 1 Kings chapter 18 (it’s a captivating read) to get the background. Elijah has just been involved in a major event where God used Him to prove that He (God) is a living and powerful God and that the so-called God, called Baal, was nothing but a sham, a figment of the imagination and powerless. After this, Elijah should have been ‘on a high,’ but he wasn’t.


An offer you can't afford to ignore!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

I am writing this column as I prepare to leave for a trip to Israel. It has been a lifelong dream to visit the land of the Bible, and my wife has arranged this 'once in a lifetime' experience for which I am very grateful.


The phrase - 'once in a lifetime' still has some significance. It evokes thoughts of exciting things that we would love to do. But, unfortunately, the chances of them happening are so unlikely that you will probably only ever get one chance to do it.


There are two significant 'once in a lifetime' events that we all experience. These are also the two bookends of human life, i.e., birth and death. You have no control over the former, and the latter is usually also out of your control. So, are these just random events, or is there a higher power in control? 


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Your once in a lifetime opportunity!

I live in Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and I see a lot of slogans as I walk around the City Centre - From 'Merseyside to Manhattan', for one. It points people back to the days when great liners regularly left Liverpool heading for the New World. In May 2015, three great ocean-going liners visited the city of Liverpool. If you went to the right spot (The Waterfront, Everton Brow, New Brighton, to name a few locations), you got a great view of 'The Three Queens' as they visited our city to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Cunard shipping line.

At that time, I was preparing to travel to Canada for a couple of weeks and had been contemplating the long journey, which was relatively short compared to the long days at sea when my grandad was a sailor. I left Liverpool at 0800 and reached Toronto at 1930 GMT (1430 local time) the same day. Travel by jet has vastly reduced travelling time and seduced us into thinking that we are just popping across the road when we are travelling across a vast ocean to another continent. I'm not complaining; I love the fact that travel has become so easy. When I was a boy, only a few people travelled these distances and often only 'once in a lifetime'

There are some experiences that are still only 'once in a lifetime' - birth, death - I know some people say they have clinically died and come back to life, but that's the exception, not the rule - and well, marriage should also be on the list unless you sadly lose a loved one and decide to remarry. I know that many will not agree with this principle, but from a Christian perspective, it is God's intention that marriage is a lifelong commitment. 

But back to our phrase - 'once in a lifetime'. The term still has some significance. It generally evokes thoughts of exciting things that we would love to do. We think that the chances of them happening are so unlikely that if they did, you would most likely only ever get a one-off chance to do it. We are all different, so for you going to a Garden Party to meet the King at Buckingham Palace might be on the list, or winning the lottery. There is no point in me drawing up a list - my bucket list would probably be vastly different to yours. 

The two main 'once in a lifetime' experiences I mentioned earlier are the two common book stops of human existence i.e. birth and death.  You have no control over the former, and the latter is out of your control unless you choose to forcefully end your life. We all know that this happens from time to time when life becomes unbearable for some individuals, but it's not normal. We need to consider whether our deaths are random events or if there is a higher power in control? 

This topic could get out of control if we explored whether we are just randomly responding to our circumstances, whether we have no real choice but act as our genetic makeup determines or whether there is a balance between our ability to reason, act and choose and God determining events at the same time and somehow allowing us the responsibility of making choices and decisions. I believe the latter is what the Bible teaches. If anyone is interested, I can show them the evidence from the bible.

So, your birthday was set by God, and your mum and dad had a part to play in bringing you into the world. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 1 and 2 states, 'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die'. In Genesis chapter 17, verse 21, God tells Abraham the exact time his son will be born - you might argue that God, knowing everything, was just informing Abraham that his son would be born, not that he was involved in ensuring that it would happen. However, in Genesis chapter 21, verses 1 and 2, it is recorded that the Lord visited Sarah and did for Sarah 'as he had promised,' NASB. She gave birth to a boy. In other words, God played a key role in ensuring that conception took place. In this story, we can see that God didn't just know the future but orchestrated the child's birth. Of course, Abraham had to play his part, but God is the author of life. Every child born into this world results from God giving life. There are other references that clearly indicate that God is in control of the birth of every living being if you care to look at them. 

When we consider our mortality, it is amazing that we exist at all. In all of its disciplines, science has concluded that human existence is incredible. The conditions for our survival on this planet are so finely tuned that it is mind-blowing that everything is just right for life to exist. Our physical anatomy is also a demonstration of excellent design and precision, and we all know that we are so fragile that life can be extinguished in an instant. Who of us has not marvelled that our life has been preserved in circumstances well outside of our control! Whether it be an illness, an accident or unexpected events, we would have to admit there is a hand controlling at times when we cannot. The Bible puts it like this: 'but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways,' Daniel 6. 23. God is in control, but we usually ignore him. Job, one of the oldest writers in the Bible, states, 'In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind,' Job 12. 10. When it comes to the end of life; your death will not just be a random event. Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 makes it clear 'it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment'. That appointment has been set by God; by the way, it's not the end. It is just the transfer from this life to the next, for the verse states that each of us has an 'after this'. 

There is life after death!
You will stand before God on the day of judgment!
What you do and believe in this life will affect where you are and what your situation is in the next!

So God gave you life, and he has chosen to allow you to live up until now. 

He allows you to choose but has His plans for your life. 

What are you going to do with this information?

As described by the Lord Jesus, one man in the bible continued to make his plans, run his business and amass his wealth with total disregard for God. The Lord Jesus, being the Son of God, gives us an insight into what God was thinking about this man while he was carrying on with his life and ignoring God. God is recorded as saying, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'  Luke 12. 20. 

A 'once in a lifetime' opportunity faces you now. You can ignore this message, carry on as you are and miss this great offer of salvation. OR 

You could get serious about your life and your future, sort out your priorities and come humbly to God. God loves you. He sent His Son, Jesus, to this world 2022 years ago to die for your sins. If you repent (change your thinking about God and stop disobeying Him) and come humbly to God confessing your sin, He (God) will forgive you, cleanse you and save you. 

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" - Acts 16:31

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Life Is Unpredictable, But God Is In Control!

Contact us now if you have questions about salvation.

We Cannot Control Our Circumstances

God Is In ControlLife is so unpredictable. At times this can be very exciting but sometimes it can be very frightening.
That flood in the house, the illness that took us by surprise! How were we to know? It’s 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 cannot be avoided at times and most circumstances are outwith our control. The ultimate uncontrollable event is death. We may be able to take our life, by force – it is very sad when someone gets to that level of despair, but we cannot and do not live for ever and we have no power over the day of our death.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

What is your most valuable posession?

What is your most valuable possession?

It’s a good question; I wonder how you would answer it? If we are being honest, our answer will depend, to some extent, on our circumstances. For instance, if I was terminally ill what I thought was important would be completely different to my choice in sunnier days. Car, homes, holidays and technology might be important to me now, but they have little value if life is slipping from my grasp. I hope that family, relationships and my spiritual condition will be my focus if I get time to contemplate my departure from this life to the next.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Death - Can you really face it with hope?

Death seems hopeless but let me remind you that even in a hopeless situation there is hope to be found in Jesus.

Facing Death

From time to time I visit people who are sick. Sometimes I call at their homes, but often I pop into the hospital to see them. Hospitals can be very sad places. The circumstances and struggles of life and the prospect of facing death are often confronted head-on in a hospital.
Nurses, Doctors, Porters and Cleaners are often amazing people. Their skills and abilities far exceed the basic requirement to clean, transport and provide medical care. Usually, it is these unrecognized people who have a kind word to say and the ability to encourage, amuse and lift a person’s spirit. They are quite an amazing group of people.

Thursday, October 20, 2022


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Do you enjoy the warm feeling of being in your home? That assumes, of course, that you have a home, you enjoy being at home, or your home is in a fit state to live in. However, home life can be a nightmare for many people. It is often a place of confrontation, where you are on edge as you are not sure what will happen next. For others, home just doesn’t exist. It’s a dream, something that, so far, just hasn’t happened for them – couch surfing, shared accommodation or, at worst, they have ended up living on the street. 


I’ve been privileged to travel extensively in the last 10 to 15 years. When I visited North America, there seemed to be an abundance of wealth. Uganda is a beautiful country, but there is significant poverty. Yet, at the same time, the people are really happy. For the average person in Pakistan, life is just so hard, and it’s incredible to see where some people call home - tents etc. But on the other hand, those of us who live in comfortable, safe, dry homes should be extremely grateful and appreciative.


Overall, it is amazing to see people’s resilience, love of life, appreciation of kindness, and strong sense of family and belonging. What have they got to live for? I suggest that for many, they have their sight set on another world. 


The Bible says that no matter what type of home life we have in this world, there is the prospect of a better home in the next. In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded as telling His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them. In that conversation, He indicated that He was going back to heaven, His Father’s house and that he would look forward to welcoming them to live there with him. I have a feeling that the preparation He was talking about did not involve ‘bricks and mortar’ but that by His death, burial, and resurrection, He was making life in heaven available to all. He was going to die for sin and suffer, the just for the unjust (us) to bring us to God. 


Many of my readers will not be convinced that the Bible is relevant to them. But, as a Christian, I am convinced that the Bible is more than just an interesting book or a book of ancient or historical value. Instead, I believe that the Bible is a unique book vital for every human being to understand why they are in the world and why they need a relationship with God.


As I finish, let me take you back to the words of the Lord Jesus.


As well as promising that He was going back to heaven (the inference being that He had come from heaven to this planet in the first place), He was making it clear that He is the only way for every human being to get to know God (His Father) and to be in a fit condition to occupy heaven on the other side of death. So, Jesus said – ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.  


For anyone who wants to read what Jesus said for themselves, read the Gospel of John, chapter 14.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

'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, October 18, 2022

Self deception - this is an unbelievable story!

Have you heard the story of the bank robber named McArthur Wheeler in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who was told that if he rubbed lemon juice on his face, he wouldn’t need to use a mask to avoid detection, because his face would be invisible to the cameras? This is not a joke it’s true! He bought a Polaroid camera and a couple of lemons, squeezed them and applied the juice to his face. He then pointed the camera at his face and clicked, rotated the camera and clicked. What he finished up with was a photo of the ceiling but no image of his face and fully believed that the lemon juice did the trick.

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

Friday, October 07, 2022

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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