Thursday, May 25, 2023

Do you take you ability to read for granted?


All photos courtesy of Storyblocks

In Western culture, we almost take the ability to read for granted! Reading is such a basic requirement for life. 
The fact you understand what I am talking about in this article means that you can read! Essentially, it means that you can translate the squiggles and strokes on the page. If I am incapable of writing well or of expressing my ideas, then you may read the words but have no idea what I'm trying to say. Therefore, reading with understanding is vital. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Conspiracy Theories or the Truth?


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

The rise in new cases of coronavirus in several parts of the country, and more abroad, is a real concern. It makes you wonder if some people don’t really believe that the virus is so infectious, or they don’t really believe the authorities' advice and instructions or do they just neglect to put it into practice so that many others are infected?

We have been told how infectious the virus is and how simple things like hand washing, keeping a distance from others, and wearing a face mask can reduce the spread. We have faith in the experts. We trust their advice. Most people rely on it and practise it, but a few don’t!

Most of the time in everyday life, we believe what people tell us. We trust people when they do things for us, such as preparing our food or supplying our water. We have faith in them. If it’s to go somewhere, say on a bus or a plane (but maybe not just now!), our faith progresses like this.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Why worry?

The problem with worry is it's often all in the mind - a message for Christians

I am told that 85% of what we worry about never happens. 

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul writes a series of exhortations to the Christians in Philippi in his closing comments of the letter addressed to that Church. In chapter four verse four he has encouraged them to ‘rejoice in the Lord alway’. This is something we all need to be reminded about from time to time. When things get on top of us we often forget to see the blessings that we have and to rejoice in what God has done. I am sure we all know people who can see the goodness of God in everything. We should all cultivate this way of thinking.


Friday, May 19, 2023

How to fix it when you make mistakes!

Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Most of us mess up 'big style' from time to time, in my case regularly if I am being totally honest. When you make a mistake the best thing to do is to apologise. Some people seem to find it easier to say sorry than others. There are those for whom saying sorry is an automatic response mechanism which doesn't mean a lot. Others dig their heels in so saying sorry is a long way down the line even though in their heart they may feel that they are wrong and regret doing or saying what they did.

The other day, I was talking to some people about the Lord's prayer - you know - 'Our Father which art in heaven' and so on. If you remember saying this in school or church, you will probably remember that among many things it mentions forgiveness. Towards the end of the prayer it states - 'and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors[1]'. 

The interesting thing is that the Lord Jesus equates wrongdoing doing with debt. I think the idea is that when we do wrong (the Bible calls it sin) we owe God something. For instance, a lie robs God of the truth, greed robs God of something that should be for someone else. Failing to love and obey God robs Him of the worship and praise that He is due. Wrongdoing and sin also deprive us of many things amongst which are peace, joy, contentment and purpose.

We may not think that we have sinned or robbed God of anything but the Lord Jesus patently thought we had and so He built into His prayer a point at which we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.

I wonder when was the last time that you acknowledged that you were wrong. It would be a good thing to do to repair and maintain your relationships. It is also vital to repair your relationship with God. God is not so concerned about all the little things we do wrong (they are all evidence that we are sinners and we are still responsible for them) but He is very concerned that our sinful nature and behaviour will bar us from heaven. Heaven is a perfect environment and nothing that is sinful can exist there[2]. We cannot go to heaven as we are, but we can be forgiven and cleaned from our sin because Jesus 'Christ died for our sins . . . he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures’[3]

So, may I be direct with you when was the last time you said sorry? May I also ask if you have ever confessed your sin to God and asked for His forgiveness. The Bible promises that, 'if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (i.e. wrong)'[4]. This verse from the Bible is simply saying that God can be trusted (He is faithful) and He is fair (He is just) and that those who believe in Him can know and enjoy the forgiveness of sins.

Have a good day.

[1] The Bible – Matthew 6. 12

[2] The Bible – Revelation 21. 27

[3] The Bible – 1 Corinthians 15. 3,4

[4] The Bible – 1 John 1. 9


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Did Jesus claim to be the Son of God?

Did Jesus actually claim to be the Son of God?

What are the claims of Jesus Christ? Did he really claim deity and pre-existence? 

This article will focus on the fact that Jesus did indeed claim to be the Son of God. I know there are many people who say that isn’t a claim that Jesus made, I find that quite astounding actually. 

I have read through the Gospel records many times and it’s very clear to see that all the Gospel writers record that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. 

In Matthew chapter 26 v 63, the High priest speaks to Jesus and says “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said” then Matthew records that the High Priest rent his clothes saying that Jesus had spoken blasphemy. What else does the High Priest mean by blasphemy but that Jesus had claimed to be God.

Mark records in chapter five that even the demons cried out to him, ”What have we to do with Thee Jesus Son of God Most High?” Even the demons admitted Jesus was the Son of God. Their description is just ‘Son of God’ but ‘Son of the most High God’. 

Luke records the same incident as Matthew does (Luke 22). He states that they asked Jesus if He was the Christ, the Messiah? The One sent from God? Again, they ask in verse 17, “Art Thou the Son of God?” He says to  them “You say that I AM” which was the Jewish way of confirming the fact. The Jewish leaders knew what He was saying. Scripture goes on to record their words -  “What need have we of further witness? For we ourselves have heard it from His own mouth.” Luke accepts the claim that Jesus is the Son of God. 

The final and most significant witness to the deity of Jesus Christ, the fact that He is God become man, is in John’s Gospel. John was the disciple who was very close to the Lord Jesus and he records intimate details about Jesus’ life. 
The incident is found in John chapter 9. The Lord Jesus met a man who had  been blind since birth and gave him his sight back. The religious hierarchy were very angry that Jesus has done this and tried to make out that Jesus is a sinner. This was because they could not accept that He could do this miraculous act on their religious day, the Sabbath. The healed man is hauled up before them and questioned. His parents are eventually interrogated but they try and get around the issue by saying that the man is old enough to answer for himself. The zealots turn to him and say “give God the praise because we know this man is a sinner. The blind man says whether he be a sinner or not I know not, but one thing I do know is that I was blind, now I see.” 

Now with all the arguments that I or anyone could put to you about God, Jesus and salvation there is one thing that can never be denied - people have had their lives changed through the power of the gospel. Individuals have experienced forgiveness, their sins have been removed and the power of God in their life was able to change and break habits. This is the practical effect of the forgiveness of sins working in their lives. 

You cannot change, you cannot take away from somebody what they have experienced through faith in God and His great salvation. 

The man who received his sight back was eventually thrown out of the religious establishment by the leaders. Jesus came, found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” His answer was, “Who is He Lord that I might believe in Him?” What follows are the words of the Lord Jesus that will shock anyone who still claims that Jesus did not say that he was the Son of God. “Who is He Lord?” says the Man, “Who is the Son of God?” Jesus said, “Thou hast both seen Him and it is He that talketh with thee.” 

The man’s response was to worship Him. Worship belongs to God alone but this man realizes that the one who had the power to give him his sight was the Son of God, 

I would like you to consider the questions:

Who was Jesus? 
Why did He die? 
Did He bear the judgement of God upon the cross? 
Did He rise from the dead on the third day? 

He was declared to be the Son of God with power, He died, “that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.  

Here are some personal questions to ponder:

Would you get saved? 
Would you trust Him and know your sins forgiven? 

God wants to forgive us, God wants us to have faith in Him but the choice lies with you. 

Over to you!


Monday, May 15, 2023

Claims for the Crown Jewels

Photos courtesy of Unsplash 

When King Charles was crowned, there was outcry from around the world as it gave many an opportunity to claim that some of the crown Jewels belonged to them. There were claims from India, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, among others, that some of the precious stones belonged to them. A number of these precious stones have passed through several hands, been the spoils of battle, gifts to monarchs and some point to the indiscretions of many whilst they make their claims. 

Of course, none of these faults lie with King Charles, however some claimed the crown to be the stolen crown. Where the rights and wrongs are it is very hard to tell and if it could ever be rectified is doubtful. 


Saturday, May 13, 2023

New York Times Opinionator column

The New York Times Opinionator column for a period carried a five-part essay by Errol Morris entitled ‘The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is’. He leads with a story of a bank robber named McArthur Wheeler in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was told that if he rubbed lemon juice on his face, he need not use a mask to avoid detection, because his face would be invisible to the cameras. He bought a Polaroid camera and a couple of lemons, squeezed them and applied the juice to his face. 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.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

What is our most valued possession?

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.

Is Your Most Valuable Possession a Bucket List?

So be honest with me – if you were facing the dying moments of your life on Earth what would your checklist look like? I often hear people talk about a bucket list of things they would like to do before they die. It might be to climb this mountain, fly to this destination or enjoy this particular experience. Please don’t get me wrong, I understand that you would be creating memories for those who will be left behind. I appreciate that you may be seeking to ensure that the final moments of life are full of genuine rich and familial experience.

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Are we ever happy?

When it is cold - we complain that the weather is terrible and wonder why we do not live in a hotter climate.

When it is hot - we wonder why we ever moaned and often find that the heat is more than we can cope with.

Are we ever happy we all ask each other!

The problem is one of contentment. It is great when you meet someone who is truly content and happy. Funnily enough contented people are often the ones who do not have a lot of this world's goods. They have found peace in spite of what they have, not because of what they have.

How about you and me; are we content? When the Lord Jesus Christ was on this planet he was content. He knew that he was facing certain death (in fact, he knew before he left heaven for earth, that he would be crucified) but he talked about his 'joy' being in his disciples (John 15:11) and his wish was for his disciples 'joy' to be full.

The Lord Jesus came into the world 'that we might have life' and the Bible expressly states that Jesus did not come to 'condemn the world' but 'that the world through him might be saved'.

Can I ask you a question? Do you know this type of contentment and joy? If not; you can do. For the Bible states that 'whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved'.

Why not bow your head and speak to God about it now!

Friday, May 05, 2023

Didn't you love learning Latin!

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

Learning Latin might have felt tough going in school. Still, it is actually handy to know some Latin as a lot of Latin motto's are 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.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

I’ve only just a minute!

Photograph - Jon Tyson - Unsplash 

Photograph - Malvestida Magazine - Unsplash

Photograph - Maks Styazhkin - Unsplash 

A lot can change in a minute. We all know the cliches about a week being a long time (in politics) and a lot can happen in a day but the truth is that life can change completely in less than a minute. 

For instance if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time something could happen that you never envisaged and it changes everything. I’ll never forget when eleven year old Rhys Jones from Liverpool was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He lived in a respectable home in a decent area of the city. His mum worked in our local Tesco Store and he was just an ordinary boy enjoying life, loving his football and playing out, as boys do. But on that sad day he died in the crossfire between two rival gangs. But on the 22nd of August 2007 everything changed in a moment. His life was ended, his parents and family were devastated and his blood was on the hands of the young man who pulled the trigger and those who were involved in providing the weapon. 

Monday, May 01, 2023

William Wilberforce - Purpose in life

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

It is important that we find a purpose in life, an overarching aim that supersedes everything else. In the eighteenth century, at the age of twenty-five, a young man came to faith in Christ and knew that his life’s work was to serve God. He was a politician and served in the Houses of Parliament as an M.P..  His initial thought was to give up politics and become a church minister but was persuaded that God could find work for him to do in the political arena.

That man, hardly known today, became instrumental in helping to transform British society and relieve the misery of many millions of people. He continually faced opposition for his efforts and was constantly vilified by enemies with vested interests in what he was determined to abolish. Twice he was waylaid and physically assaulted, his injuries did not lead to death, but many of his friends and supporters wondered whether he would one day be assassinated. It seems that God protected him and made sure he lived until his life’s work was completed and the aim fulfilled.
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