Saturday, July 13, 2024

Lady Powerscourt of Dublin







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As the 19th century dawned there was a girl born in Co Wicklow to the south of Dublin in Ireland. Her name was Theodosia Anne Howard and she was of an old aristocratic family. Through the Rector of Powerscourt, a clergyman named Robert Daly, she came to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour in 1819. From then on she led a life of devotion and service for her Saviour.

She married Richard Wingfield in 1822, who had also trusted Christ as his Saviour about 1820. Richard had become the fifth Earl Viscount Powerscourt in 1809 and subsequently the owner of Powerscourt House. Their marriage was short and marred by tragedy. Their only child, a daughter, died in infancy and Viscount Powerscourt passed away in 1823. Yet despite the tragic circumstances of her life she through her experiences was able to comfort others as she had herself been comforted of God.  
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Friday, July 12, 2024

Live forever - are we just biological computers?










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We know that life is constantly changing and that nothing lasts forever. In many ways, this is a harsh and sad reality. Most of us find it hard to accept that we will grow old, that loved ones will pass on, and that children will grow up and leave home. You know the types of things that I am talking about. Sad but true!


Please read on, as I have good news for you. The Bible teaches that God made us with an eternal soul. The soul is the real person, the real you. Although the body stops living upon our physical death, the soul lives on. Many people don't believe this anymore. The late Stephen Hawking, a British Physicist and author, dismissed the notion of an afterlife. He once said 'I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark'. 


This argument sounds very feasible, especially when proposed by such an intelligent man. However, it ignores that we are not just biological computers. It ignores man's consciousness, which the best of brains have grappled with but have to admit is beyond their explanation. Consciousness cannot be defined in purely physiological terms. Add to this the evidence for the supernatural and the spiritual, and you have many questions that we will struggle to answer unaided.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Don’t step on a bee day!






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Every month of the year there are special days to commemorate different events. In this month of July we have National Bikini Day, National Kathryn Day, Bastille Day, St Swithins Day, Nelson Mandala International Day amongst others, but the one that stands out for me is “Don't Step on a Bee Day”.

"Don't Step on a Bee Day" raises awareness about the importance of bees and their significant role in the environment. As pollinators, bees play a crucial part in the growth of plants and the production of food, contributing to worldwide biodiversity. They encourage us to take action in protecting bees and promoting their well-being, such as planting bee-friendly flowers, providing homes for bees, and supporting local beekeepers.
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Sunday, July 07, 2024

The lessons from a humble egg










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When travelling through the countryside in the past, I often saw notices outside farms, houses and cottages, announcing ‘New Laid Eggs for Sale’. Today, there seem less notices offering eggs in this way. The whole business of delivering the humble egg to the home or food factory has developed into a major industry. Most people don’t realise what is involved in the journey of the egg from the chicken to the dining table.

Nowadays most eggs are purchased from supermarkets or shops or delivered in bulk to food producers; they are not bought on a country road. To supply millions of eggs constantly, there is a whole industry working day and night to meet the demand.  

In 1951 in Lincolnshire, a man started his egg business with one hundred and fifty chickens and eight acres of land. In those early years eggs would be taken round to people on a pushbike or sold on a stall in local markets. Over a period of seventy years his family have grown the business until it has become one of Britain’s largest suppliers and packers of eggs. They now have two million free range and organic birds producing millions of eggs each week. In fact, each week around six million eggs are supplied to one of the biggest supermarket stores in Britain. All of this is supported by 40 rearing farms and the business’s dedication to both the quality and welfare of the birds. A nutritionist helps with the provision of an enriched feed diet. This includes paprika and marigold that gives the yolks a deep, rich orange colour.
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Saturday, July 06, 2024

Shocked & Sad








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Some time ago I happened to watch part of the television programme, “Who Do You Think You Are?”.  It is a programme that looks into a person’s family history and often there are surprises concerning an ancestor.  Sometimes there are smiles of delight and at other times tears of sadness of what an ancestor may have experienced.  On this particular programme the actor Ralf Little, who has appeared on television programmes such as ‘Death in Paradise’, was finding out about his forefathers.

He had grown up with a rumour that a part-time footballer on his mother’s side had been an international player.  He was delighted to find out that his mother’s grandfather, Albert Lockley, had played for Wales. It was a match against Ireland in 1898.  Ralf was really pleased to find out that the rumour or family legend was actually true.  He went to the club where his great grandfather had played and sat in the stand as he spoke with a local historian. Then he heard some new information about the footballer that seemed to devastate him.  He made it clear how shocked and sad he was to hear that information. 
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Tuesday, July 02, 2024

North Korea







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We know little of the real truth about the country of North Korea so to begin to understand this very independent country one needs to go back over a century. Following the Donghak Peasant Revolution the Great Korean Empire came into being in 1897, but Korea was strategically very important to Japan, who annexed the country and for years enforced its occupation in a ruthless way. 

Protest demonstrations took place but the military and police fired into groups of Korean Christians singing hymns. Christian leaders were nailed to wooden crosses to die. Police beheaded small children, besides burning down churches. It may surprise some that Korea was once considered a christian country and up to the Second World War was an active mission field. The Japanese did seek to counteract the growth of christianity by its pagan Shinto religion. The north actually had more christians than the south of the country but later the division of the nation saw many christians flee to the south.

The Japanese rule over Korea ended at the close of the Second World War. Korea then became governed as two countries according to a plan put in place by the U.S.A. The border being drawn across the 38th parallel on a map. thus dividing the nation into north and south. This was considered to be a temporary arrangement, the people having a desire for the country to be unified again. This sadly was not the case and tension between both sides led finally to the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 involving not only Koreans but the U.S.A. Britain, France, China and the then Soviet Union. The war was one of the most devastating in history and finally ended in an armistice in what is known as the Demilitarised Zone, that still divides the two countries today. North Korea continues to claim that they are the victors and annual celebrations coupled with a wealth of constant propaganda continue to declare this.
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Sunday, June 30, 2024

England v Slovakia - saved by the Bellingham!







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Winning a match at the last minute can be viewed in two ways. You could say what a pathetic team; they only won by the 'skin of their teeth' and were just lucky. Or, you might say - 'they kept pushing', 'they got there in the end', 'they shone when they needed it most' - 'they showed their colours' when they needed to or 'when push came to shove' they won! 'Saved by the Bellingham' is the latest idiom used to describe the last-minute success of the England Football team based on the well-known phrase - 'saved by the bell'.  


The phrase 'saved by the bell' is used when someone has been saved by the timely intervention of something or someone or when one has been rescued from difficulty at the last second (source - www.gingersoftware.com). 




All photos courtesy of Unsplash


So, where did the phrase come from?


The widely accepted belief is that 'saved by the bell' originated as an expression about people being buried alive. The concept was that if someone was unconscious and mistakenly pronounced dead and buried, they could, if they were later revived, ring a bell attached to the coffin and be saved. This theory, while plausible, is not without its uncertainties. There's no concrete evidence that anyone was ever saved by these coffins or that they were ever used, and there's a similar lack of evidence that the phrase 'saved by the bell' was ever used in that sense before it had been used in other contexts.


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Friday, June 21, 2024

Reflections on Elections






         

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Election Choices

 

Are you excited about the election? Many people are, it seems. Politicians and their followers vigorously promise and pledge while criticising the opposition, the media endlessly comment and analyse, and leaflets and flyers are dropped through our letterboxes. It’s all very intense just now!

 

When polling day comes, each person has to make up their own mind, choosing who or what they think is best for them and for the country by putting a cross in the appropriate space. But afterwards, when people find out that they did not get the choice they made, they are disappointed or even become angry. Their chosen candidate is not elected because another one got more votes.

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Monday, June 17, 2024

Football






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It seems that sport and in particular football, namely soccer, has taken on the form of religion.  Someone once remarked that his local football club was his church and the manager was his god.  It is remarkable that chasing a ball around a pitch should bring about such great excitement but when all sport is analysed in its basic form it all seems absurd.  Years ago things were not taken quite so seriously and sometimes whole teams were reluctant to even turn up to play. 

In 1891 Blackburn Rovers were due to play Burnley but the pitch was covered with snow as it had snowed heavily for three hours before kick off.  Very few spectators had turned up and the Blackburn Rovers’ team did not really want to continue with the match.  In the first half they did not put in much effort and by half-time were down three nil.  The interval seemed to go on for much longer than usual but eventually the Blackburn Rovers’ team turned out but as they straggled onto the pitch there were only seven of them.  The others had decided not to bother.  Ten minutes later the Rovers’ captain created a violent incident and was sent off.  This led to the other Rovers’ players deciding to do the same and walked off the pitch. This just left their goalkeeper someone by the name of Mr Arthur who rather heroically stayed at his post.


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

The referee who was named Mr Clegg waited to see if any Rovers’ players might return but after some minutes there was no sign of them and so play resumed.  The Burnley team bore down on the Rovers’ goal and it would come as no surprise that in no time at all the ball was in the back of the net.  The goalkeeper insisted that they were off side and that the goal should not have counted.  This seemed to be accepted by the referee but then he decided to abandon the game. The match that had started with selfish reluctance had ended in chaotic shambles.  

We might think this is an isolated example and restricted to the sports arena, but so often in life similar things occur.  We can too easily act selfishly wanting the best for ourselves and an easier life and using any method to obtain it.  We too often think of ourselves first, then we may have concern for our family or friends but more than that very few would bother and as for God so often He does not feature in our thoughts at all nor influence our behaviour.  Selfish reluctance to do anything that does not profit us can lead to a life which is unfulfilled and declines into oblivion.  


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

This is so different from the attitude of the Scottish athlete, Eric Liddell, a great sportsman who played rugby for Scotland and ran in the 1924 Olympic Games.  He was willing to sacrifice the opportunity to have a gold medal because principle was more important than status.  He wanted to honour God by obeying His commandments and so refused to run on a Sunday.  This caused consternation amongst the British team and organisers but he was insistent.  He would not compromise his Christian principles by running on a Sunday in his usual race.  Eventually a place was found for him to run in the 400 yards, which was run on a different day, and so he won his gold medal.  It was remarkable.  Later he went to China as a missionary and was interred by the Japanese where he died of a brain tumour in one of their camps.  The end was not sadness but glory.  He believed and every Christian also believes that in Christ death is not the end but the gateway to Heaven.  It is to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.  Liddell’s refusal to compromise principle revealed his true Christian faith.  He has been rewarded in the presence of God. May that be our blessing.


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 



DAILY MESSAGES WITH MEANING (17/06/24)
Written by PAUL YOUNG 
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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father’s Day







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Father's Day is a relatively modern celebration compared with Mother's Day. It originated in the US by a woman called Sonora Louise Smart in Washington. After her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child, her dad brought up the family.

In 1909, Sonora heard a speech in church about Mother's Day and thought dads should also be celebrated. Several local clergymen accepted the idea and it is believed that 19 June 1910 was the first unofficial Father's Day.

In 1966, US President Lyndon B. Johnson decided the third Sunday in June should be Father's Day but it did not became official in the UK until 1972.

I especially want to acknowledge fathers today, or those who are like fathers to us - we hope that today is a very special day for you and for those who love you.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Helping others!







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Everyone needs an uplift especially when things in life seem to be going wrong.  During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln the President had many decisions to make and a lot of issues to deal with. There came a time when things were not going well for the Northern cause and many people were turning up at the White House with complaints or to give the leader every sort of advice on how he should act.  The pressure and stress upon the President was enormous.

One day a friend came to the White House named Billy Brown. He had grown up with Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.  He approached  the entrance and was stopped by an aide who enquired whether he had an appointment to see the President.  In those more informal days Billy said that he had no appointment and that he didn’t actually need one as the President would be happy to see him without a previous arrangement.  The aide looked somewhat dubious but went in to the President and said that a Billy Brown was outside.  In about two minutes the aide returned and immediately behind him was President Abraham Lincoln.  He was so pleased to see his old friend and clasped his hand. Billy was then invited to stay for evening meal with the President and his wife Mary.
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Thursday, June 06, 2024

Welcome to our liberators!









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"Welcome to our liberators!” The signs with that message were everywhere on that day in 1994 as my wife, my daughter, my father-in-law and I drove into Arramanche in France’s beautiful Normandy region on the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasions by the Allies against the Nazis. 

Today is the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the plan for the Allied invasion of France to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe, going into action and there are many good lessons to learn from it. Operation Overlord required the tremendous effort of 14 Allied nations of such ingenuity and surprise that the German forces were caught napping and outwitted. It was the largest amphibious force ever mustered in world history, which launched the greatest airborne assault across the English Channel followed by an amphibious landing on five beaches in Normandy, France. The ingenuity, boldness and daring of such a plan is acknowledged the more one studies and learns about it.

We, 80 years on are today facing as great a spiritual foe as the Allies faced in WWII. It needs nothing less than a co-ordinated effort using the masterplan of our Over-Lord to resist its advance. 
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Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Kicking the can down the road





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There are a few expressions, such as ‘putting it on the long finger’, ‘kicking it into the long grass’ and ‘putting it on the back burner’, which indicate actions and attitudes leading to the delay or postponement of matters which need to be addressed soon or immediately and which require urgent attention. These expressions reflect a careless, lackadaisical attitude which is prepared to put something important off to a later date. The word ‘procrastination’ really means leaving something until tomorrow (the Latin word cras means ‘tomorrow’). In effect, the person is saying, “I know I ought to address this matter urgently, but someday I’ll get round to thinking about it.”

One man characterised by such an attitude is Felix, who, after hearing Paul's preaching, trembled and showed obvious concern, but then he said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24.25).

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Saturday, June 01, 2024

Helen Cadbury




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Many associate the name Cadbury with chocolate confectionery, but one of the family members was Helen Cadbury, who founded a business far different from the business of making chocolate confectionery.

At the age of twelve, she came to know the joy of having the Lord Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. Having repented of her sin and put her faith in Christ, she wanted to tell her school friends that they, too, could have Him as their Lord and Saviour. She did this by placing a Bible on her school desk. A Christian group grew from this, but they found that heavy Bibles were difficult to cope with in the playground. So the girls had pockets sewn into their dresses so that they could carry a small New Testament. Within a few years, the group had sixty members under the name of the Pocket Testament League. Members promised to read part of their New Testaments each day and tell others how to be saved by repentance and faith in Christ.
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Friday, May 31, 2024

Napoleon, Socrates or Jesus? Who would you vote for?









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Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “If Socrates would enter the room, we should rise and do him honour, but if Jesus Christ came into the room, we should fall down on our knees and worship Him.”  Dr Luke, the writer of the third gospel account in the New Testament, would have agreed wholeheartedly with the French General.  

If ever a man wrote a book filled with good news for everybody, Dr Luke is that man. His key message is, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save those who are lost".  He presents Jesus Christ as the compassionate Son of Man, who came to live among sinners, love them, help them, and die for them.  In Luke’s Gospel, we meet individuals as well as crowds, women and children as well as men, poor people as well as rich people, and sinners along with saints. It is a book with a message for everybody?  
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