Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Look at the Bible for yourself.

My advice - take a look at the Bible for yourself.

Don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself if it makes sense. I believe that the Bible changes lives through faith in the author (God). My view reflects what the Bible claims - for instance in 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 15 it states 'from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus'. Another passage says 'faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God,' Romans 10. 17.  The fact is that many people are afraid to read the Bible because they don’t know what it is about and they either don't care or are frightened that it might get to them.

Let me ask you some questions. 

What if everything you need for living, this life and the next, is in the Bible? 

What if God is the creator and you are answerable to Him? 

What if we are all sinners and need redemption, forgiveness and a new beginning?

What if we can't make sense of this life without God, and He really is the missing piece that we need?

We were created to know Him and to worship Him. I have gone off my 'what if's' because I believe what I am saying is true and you need God in your life. At the end of the day the only reason you will miss out is because you never got around to reading the Bible. You never evaluated whether Jesus is who he claimed to be. You didn't take the time to look into who Jesus was, why he died, why people died for the belief that He rose from the dead and why He is still being talked about 2020 years later.


Monday, August 28, 2023

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.


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Do we value the Bible - A reflection

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

I was reading a few weeks ago about a missionary in Afghanistan who was being taken to pockets of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ by a Christian Afghani guide. The missionary sat down at the side of the dusty road, took off his khaki rucksack removed his Bible and put it on the rough ground while he took a much-needed drink. As he enjoyed the thirst quenching, cool, refreshing water, he was very aware of his guide running towards him crying, ‘Please no!’ 

The guide was upset that the Bible had been placed on the floor, in the dust. The guide picked up the Bible and handed it back to the missionary, he explained just how much he valued God’s word. He had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ through someone telling him the good news of Jesus Christ but had no Bible. He eventually was given a few pages of the Bible; these were so precious to him, and he treasured them and the care that he had ensured that they did not become creased or damaged.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Thank you for the music


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Music and songs create passion in our hearts and evoke vivid memories. Some of these memories are good; some are sad! 

Songs are very emotive and help us store memories. A very effective learning method is linked to the rhythm in 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 (times tables, for example) by musical rhythm. If you were dragged off to Sunday School (maybe you loved going), you might remember learning bible verses, for example, “For God so loved the world that..” or “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ..”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 some great piece of literature, I would struggle, but if you whistled a tune of some popular song, I often amaze myself with my ability to recall the words. Maybe you do this as well. Music has a powerful effect on our memories in this respect.  


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Looking beneath the surface!


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Our Creator can see things in us that other people cannot see. Sometimes people will try to push us down or make us feel insignificant. Sometimes our own thoughts will try to convince us that we do not measure up, but God looks beyond the surface, beyond the mistakes we have made, beyond what somebody said about us and sees our incredible value. 

We may think that we have really messed up, that we have blown it, that we have failed, that we are all washed up.  No, God still sees more in us; God does not just see what we are; He sees what we can become. We may have made mistakes, but God still sees victory on the inside of us. People may have tried to push us down, but God sees us rising higher.

Now, we have got to do our part and get rid of those condemning thoughts. Get rid of what somebody has spoken over us and start renewing our minds. Down deep, we need to start believing that In God's eyes, we can be redeemed, restored, talented and valuable. Even if we have made mistakes believe that there is more in store. God is not finished with us; we are a work in progress.  He looks beyond the surface and sees our potential. If we stay in step with Him, we can watch His plan for our lives unfold.

Within all of us, there exists a strong desire to be known and to know others. More importantly, all people desire to know their Creator, even if they are not professed believers in God. Today we are bombarded with advertising that promises many ways to satisfy our cravings to know more, have more, be more. However, the empty promises that come from the world will never satisfy in the way that knowing God will satisfy. Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent"

So, "what is the key to truly knowing God?" 

First of all, it is a must to understand that man, on his own, is incapable of truly knowing God because of his own sinfulness. The Scriptures reveal that we are all sinful and that we fall well short of the standard of holiness required to commune with God. 

We are also told that the consequence of our sin is death and that we will perish eternally without God unless we accept and receive the promise of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. So, to truly know God, we must first receive Him into our lives. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name".  

Nothing is of greater importance than understanding this truth when it comes to knowing God. Jesus makes it clear that He alone is the way to heaven and to a personal knowledge of God: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through  Me"

More about Jesus would I know,

More of His grace to others show;

More of His saving fulness see,

More of His love who died for me.

More about Jesus let me learn,

More of His holy will discern;

Spirit of God my teacher be,

Showing the things of Christ to me.

More about Jesus; in His Word,

Holding communion with my Lord;

Hearing His voice in every line,

Making each faithful saying mine.

Messages with Meaning (04/03/21), written by Peter Francis for Your542Day 


Monday, August 21, 2023

Experiencing life as it was meant to be!

Photos courtesy of Unsplash 

We do not have to wait until we get to heaven to experience God’s banqueting house. His overflowing grace is something we can experience in this life. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Now that is a cup running over with God’s grace. He does not just give us the gift of eternal life when we believe, but He keeps on giving eternal life. The life He is willing to give us means, “to have a surplus,” “superabundance,” “till it overflows.” 

Jesus gives us Himself. He is this abundant life. It is God’s kind of life. When we read “my cup overflows,” that means it is not just full; it is “running over,’ filled to the brim and overflowing. God’s saving and sustaining grace is always like that. His grace is always in fullness, abundance and all-sufficiency. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

The most glorious word in the English language - Forgiveness

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In the New Testament Jesus spoke to a man in need with these important and life-changing words, “Your sins are forgiven you” (Luke 5.20) and they brought wonderful comfort to the man who heard them. We also read in the New Testament these words, “And Jesus said unto her, Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7.48). and the woman who heard Jesus speak was greatly blessed.

These are the only two examples in the New Testament of Jesus telling people directly that their sins were forgiven, with one being male and the other female. This simply reminds us that God’s forgiveness is available to anyone whether man or woman, because we are all in the same spiritual condition of having sinned by breaking God’s commandments and therefore needing His forgiveness.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

The experience of real freedom - Albania

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

When the countries of Eastern Europe emerged from the tyranny of communist oppression the euphoria of freedom was countered by the serious lack of welfare and social facilities which are taken for granted in the West. The countries emerged with infrastructure in shatters, poorly constructed housing and industry which could not compete with the efficient, computer driven factories enjoyed in capitalist countries. 

One of the hardest hit countries was Albania which had been sealed off from the Western world by a notorious dictator known as Enver Hoxha. He had ruled the nation from virtually the Second World War until he died in 1985. He jammed outside broadcasts, refused all outside publications and insisted that the nation was in danger of invasion. This led to the construction of a million and maybe more bunkers all over the country. Some of them were huge going into mountainsides and every community had a bunker. The concrete used was immense and there were regular practices for families to flee to bunker whenever the siren went off. There was no choice and severe punishment was imposed if people failed to go to their bunker.

What's in a name?

First of all let look at the name of Caesar Augustus

The Roman Emperor who was in power when Jesus was born had many titles some of which have a strange similarity to those given to Jesus. 

The Roman Caesars made claims to deity that the Bible teaches only God can make. 

For instance, Caesar Augustus was  known as:

The Blessed One, 
The Anointed One (the Messiah), 
The Pax Romana - The one who brings peace, 
The Pontifex (i.e. the Priest). 

He was regarded as a god and claimed that at the age of 17 he could bring men to God. He was also called the Divine Son of God in 42 BC at the age of 21. 

History shows that his claims to be divine were not supported by lifestyle, behaviour or power.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Are your children happy?

Children should be happy. One of the Bible predictions about the future is that, when Jesus reigns, “the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zech 8.5). 

One test of a nation’s moral character is its treatment of the innocent, the weak, and the vulnerable. If such members of society live in fear of abuse, mistreatment, or death, it seems obvious to all right-thinking people that there is a moral deficiency in the nation. 

Children should live free from such fears. They will one day. They certainly do not now. 

Children are not safe in the streets. They are not safe in the schools. They are not safe (often) in their own homes. Sadly they are not even safe in the womb of their mother. How cold, callous, and celebrative of wickedness must a nation be to rejoice in the slaughter of infants? Is this how society improves? Should we slaughter the innocent for the sins of the guilty? 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Why must we die?

The Bible states that 'it is appointed unto men once to die'. This most obvious of facts is among the most distressing things that we human beings face. I have a friend who committed suicide just before Christmas about eleven years ago. Why - I can speculate but I do not really know. One my friends in Liverpool then found that her partner's nephew has been found dead in his flat. Death comes to us all but why?

Monday, August 14, 2023

Cover - UP (Truth Suppressed)


This is a term, used increasingly, to describe a situation where the truth has been suppressed, the facts have been misreported and people misled by a string of lies and a web of deceit. This is done deliberately to obscure the truth and to allow the guilty to appear innocent.
The recent Leveson inquiry attempted to discover the truth behind phone-hacking scandals and shockingly intrusive journalism that had been tolerated for years without people being fully aware of the full extent of such deplorable malpractice. The inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster, when many football fans were trampled to death, was carried out to reveal what really happened on that tragic day of the 15th. April 1989. A concerted effort had been made by the police to shift the blame onto the fans and only now are we discovering who really was to blame and what actually happened. Again and again, demands are made for public inquiries to try to ascertain the facts and disclose the truth. After years of silence and deception, many are finally being brought to justice for crimes they had covered up for decades.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

How will you turn out in the tough times?

All photos used by permission of Unsplash

In the world of nature, we only really find out whether a tree is evergreen when the season turns to winter.  Throughout all the other seasons, to the untrained eye, it can be hard to tell the difference between those trees that will eventually shed their leaves and those that will keep them. Yet once the sun fails to climb quite as high in the sky and the temperature drops, the truth begins to emerge. When winter sets in, it soon becomes clear which trees have kept hold of their leaves and which have not.

And so it is, too, with us. Perhaps we do not really know what we are made of until we encounter a little winter in our lives. When things are at their toughest, when life feels at its most frail, that is when we really find out what kind of people we are. Can we remain evergreen and still able to keep singing in the deep dark of winter? 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

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

Friday, August 11, 2023

Why do we refuse to listen?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Some people love talking, sometimes they have something that they are desperate to tell you and actually it is not very interesting at all!

However, some news is really worth telling and can be exciting or even life-changing to hear.

The Lord Jesus told His disciples to go from town to town preaching the Gospel, the Good News, of the Kingdom of God. He told them not to worry about what they would need, or what they should take but that He would provide for them. The disciples went through the towns and cities preaching the message that they had been given and displaying the power of God.


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Advice on growing old


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Some years ago, as my uncle got slowly and painfully out of the car, he advised me with the words, “Don’t grow old.”  It was not really advice, simply a reminder that old age, with its growing weakness, infirmities, aches and pains, is not for the faint-hearted, and we have no choice about growing old if we live long enough!  

For many younger people, the old seem passed it and are unfit to contribute positively to society.  They are retired and have nothing to offer except memories that all too often seem outdated and lack a contemporary feel.  They may not have kept up with technology and constantly talk about the good old days. Yet writer Len Deighton wrote, “The first 80 years are tough. Life gets better after that!”

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