Thursday, November 30, 2023


'Happy Christmas' A departed friend of mine used to say, ‘Happiness depends upon happenings but joy abides!’ I hear what he was saying because there is a difference isn’t there? 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Christmas Rush

It is all biz at the moment. I am trying to get my work up to date so that I can get away for a brief break before Christmas (my wife has a special birthday this year!!). I hope to go to a Carol Concert and do some Christmas shopping and one of a hundred things that we are all expected to do at this time of the year. Why all the pressure? Why spend the money? What is this all about?

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

What are the 3 most commonly told stories in the world?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

When the film 'Titanic' was first premiered, millions of filmgoers watched in awe as “Titanic” disappeared beneath the waves. The film had a huge global audience; many people attended six or seven times, according to newspaper reports. A cartoon strip had a mom saying to her family: “I am going, uh, shopping. I will be back in about four hours, maybe.” The family exchanges knowing glances: “Titanic—again.”

Historians and statisticians report that the three most commonly told stories in the world are:- 

1. The life and death of Jesus Christ 
2. The American Civil War and 
3. The sinking of the Titanic. 

Especially with the first and third stories, one element has captured the world: the possibility that a person who goes down with the ship into the icy Atlantic and drowns—can someday live again. People wanted to believe that the ill-fated lovers, Jack and Rose, could actually be united again on the grand staircase of Titanic. That heroic dads who put their wives and children into lifeboats and then perished might someday experience the Bible’s promise of a Resurrection Morning.

Is what the Bible says about resurrection true? Did a dead person named Jesus come out of the tomb on that first Easter ‪Sunday morning‬? Or did His disciples steal the body, hide it, dry their tears, and then concoct this tall tale to beat all tall tales?  It is not just the fate of “Jack and Rose” which rests on Bible truth. All of us are intimately affected by what we read in the Bible of the possibility of us ever living again, it rests entirely and completely on the doctrine of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.‬

The Bible tells us that:- “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised and if Christ has not been raised, your preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . . For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for THIS LIFE we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

If we reject the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection or begin to doubt that He really did come out of that tomb, then we immediately have to also embrace—or at least wince and acknowledge—the reality that when we sink into our own "Atlantic Ocean" and close our eyes in death, that it is all over for us  . . . forever!

Do we want chocolate eggs and bunnies or the plain Word of God? Do we want Jesus the wandering poet or Christ the Risen Lord? Do we want our end to be when a ship goes down or the lights go out . . . or do we look forward to a wonderful and everlasting life in God’s eternal kingdom made possible by Jesus Christ breaking through the walls of that garden tomb?

"I AM the Resurrection and the Life", Jesus promises. Do we believe Him today? "He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die."

There in the ground, his body lay
Light of the world, by darkness, slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave, he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Written by Peter Francis for Messages with Meaning (‪06/04/21‬)‬/Your542Day

Friday, November 17, 2023

Are you struggling with a storm in your life?

Photo by Nathan Hurst on Unsplash

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Photo by Erik Hathaway on Unsplash

There is an old seafaring tradition that if the ship sinks the captain should go down with the ship. Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know much about sailing, but that sounds like the stupidest tradition of which  I have ever heard.  I think jumping into a life boat and living to sail another day would be much better. Many people today are in danger of going down with the ship, and have the type of attitude that says, “Since the ship is going down, I might as well go down with it.” The storm’s of discouragement, despair, and disbelief threaten to sink us, but rather than going down with the ship we must find a life boat because there is nothing noble about a senseless spiritual death. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Do you find winter miserable?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

As the temperature drops we know that winter is fast approaching and for many people it is a time to snuggle up in front of the fire and cosy up in warm jumpers. However, for the sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) winter signifies a time of misery and gloom. Apparently this form of winter depression affects an estimated half a million people every year between September and April, but more particularly during November, December and January.

Monday, November 13, 2023

‘It’s a one way ticket for me … but I’m ready.’


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

When I saw the above headline, I wondered if the words were spoken by someone who was about to die but was ready to do so, and I read further.  The article was, in fact, the touching story of a Ukrainian man who had taken the decision to get his wife and family safely out of Ukraine, then, having done so, to return to his homeland, alone, to join the national effort to defend it.  As he said, it was a 'one-way ticket’: he had assessed the situation, and made the difficult choice to travel to that place of danger, having no plans to leave again, and with the very real risk that he would lose his life.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it

Passage to read - Psalm 78:12-54

Verse 35 – ‘then they remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer’

Are you into history? Do you find it fascinating to talk to old people about their memories? I often forget that old people once were young (sounds pretty obvious) and that they faced lots of situations in life and can teach us so much. One of the problems of being energetic and busy is that you don’t take time to think and learn from others. Maybe you are like that.

Thursday, November 09, 2023

What if life could be different for you?

All photos used by courtesy of Unsplash 

One of the most famous hymns must be “Amazing Grace” written by John Newton in 1772. It has been covered by dozens of famous singers over the years and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, no doubt making many rich in the process.

Of far more value than all the riches it has made, is the richness of meaning within its words. It starts “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”

Grace is a wonderful word, it is the counter balance to mercy. Mercy is when we do not get what we deserve. Ephesians 2 states, that God is rich in mercy. God’s mercy means that we do not have to face the consequence of our sin, we can rest on God’s mercy and forgiveness. Just a few verses later we read of the exceeding riches of God’s grace.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Planning for Christmas

I think I am quite a contented person. My Christmas present list is usually non- existent and when asked I struggle to think of things I really need. Maybe this is because I am so well looked after, that I have very little need of anything.

The whole idea of being content poses questions that we would be wise to ask regularly

Am I satisfied with my life?

Is there meaning in my life that is bigger than merely maintaining my existence?

The Bible suggests that we were not placed on this planet for our own pleasure! We are actually most satisfied when living life in the way God designed. Focusing on self is not the best way although it is our natural bias. 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of the right way to live. In fact, He was the only person ever to live up to the exacting and high standards of God as defined in the Bible. In the biblical book, ‘Hebrews’ Jesus is described as 'holy... and undefiled'. BUT in addition to this He lived for the glory of his Father, read John 17:4, and for the good of the people He came into contact with, see Acts 10:38.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Everybody needs a friend


All photos courtesy of Unsplash


Maybe it is not so amazing, but usually, when everything is going well and the world is your oyster, we have plenty of friends? Many are willing to help as long as you do not need too much! Others are willing to listen if you are not too depressing but when the chips are down, often such friends are ‘posted missing’. 


Three things mark a true friend: a compassionate heart, a strong shoulder and a listening ear. Such friends are scarce, but if you have one, thank God for them, for they are like gold dust. Yet even the best of friends have their limits. They can sympathise, and they are also available, but they do have a life of their own, and sometimes they need the help that they so readily give to others. Perhaps you are thinking, 'Is there any other kind of friend?' the answer is ‘Yes’. There is one who has a heart full of compassion, and you mean so much to Him. He will never turn you away, and He never tires of listening to your cry. His shoulder is certainly strong, for He is able to carry you when you feel you cannot take another step. He can also lift you up when you have either fallen down, or others have knocked you down. Furthermore, He is able to change your circumstances or your outlook so that things do not seem as bad as they first appeared. Best of all, He will be with you whether you’re ‘on top of the world’ or you feel the ‘world is on top of you’.

Someone may say, 'Why would He be interested, for nobody cares about me?' If that is what you think, then you are wrong, for this friend cared so much that He gave His life for you, and no one loves you quite like Him. His name is Jesus, and He is God’s Son who came into this world to seek and save those who were lost and lonely.


You may ask, ‘Why did He die?’ And the answer is simple. The wrong things that we do (which to us perhaps seem insignificant, especially when you look at the awful things other people do) are a major problem to Him. All sin, small or great, offends His Father God, who has pledged that sin and sinners must and will be punished for ‘the soul that sinneth shall die’. So He (The Lord Jesus) came into the world to save sinners. He took the punishment that we deserved so that God could forgive us (and be right and fair at the same time).


You ask me, ‘How are you so sure?’ My response would be, 'He is my friend and has been for almost 50 years'. I have depended on Him in times of sadness and bereavement and loneliness and despair, and He has never let me down in all that time. 


If you admit to God that you have sinned (just where you are just now, stop and pray) and accept the sinner’s Saviour, you, too, will enjoy a friendship that will outlast time itself and remain with you throughout the great eternity.


What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear

What a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer

O what peace we often forfeit O what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Written by a dear friend of mine who is now living in Heaven - Ian Affleck


Wednesday, November 01, 2023

What do the words "Grace" & "Faith" mean?


All photos courtesy of Unsplash


'For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works so that no one can boast,' Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8-9.


Grace and faith are two fundamental things that we must grasp if we are going to be right with God.


Grace means that we have received something we don't deserve. Since God is the creator and giver of all good things, His grace is already being shown to all. The most outstanding example of His grace was sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born in Bethlehem and eventually grow up and die on the cross. Through His death, He took our penalty for sin so that we, sinful men and women, can come to God. No wonder the Bible describes God's grace as 'exceeding abundant,' 1st Timothy chapter 1 verse 14.

On what basis are we then to come to God? The answer to that is in the second part of this verse. By faith! We read about faith in another passage in the Bible: 'Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,' Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1.


Does that mean that Christian faith is blind? Certainly not! We can understand this point from an example in daily life; we have good reason to trust in a qualified lifeguard if we are in danger in water. We also have good reason to trust in God, who provided His Son for our deliverance from sin and Hell. All that is left for us to do is put our faith in Christ that He will forgive our sins and grant us eternal life in Heaven. After doing this, the Bible calls us saved.

Written by a Guest Blogger

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