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?  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Learning lessons from History


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I was thinking about what to write, and as part of selecting a topic, I was browsing the Liverpool Echo website online. Not only was I shocked by the variety of news items, but I was amazed that the ‘Echo’ has been doing its job of communicating news for so long - it was first published in 1879. 


That got me thinking. How long have the local newspapers on the Wirral been publishing, and how many have ‘gone the way of all the earth’? The oldest one I came across was the ‘Birkenhead and Cheshire Advertiser’, printed from 1863 to 1946. No doubt someone will know of an older paper. If you do, get in touch and pass the information on. Newspapers began appearing across Europe and the UK as early as the 1600s.



Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Have you ever thought?


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Imagine the unsettling sight of uncollected bins and rubbish strewn across the streets. This was the reality not long ago in Warrington, a place close to my home. The refuse workers and street cleaners were on strike, likely for valid reasons. However, this situation exposed many people to potential health hazards, underscoring the gravity of the issue. 

A few years back, I was headed to Ballymena in Northern Ireland for a week. My travel route was set to pass through Liverpool John Lennon Airport. A few days before my departure, I learned from the web that some baggage handlers were on strike. Upon reaching the airport, I was relieved to find that my flight was unaffected. However, the strike did cause significant inconvenience to many and incurred additional costs for the travelling public, as employees had to be brought in from Dublin and other places to fill in for the strikers. 

Apart from the recent action by junior doctors, I have not been affected by people striking for quite a long time. However, I remember well the miner's strikes, the fuel protests, and many other types of strikes in my sixty-two years. Strikes are a very effective, if not annoying and sometimes illegal, way of making a point. In the long run, someone suffers, and it costs money.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Have you ever thought about how the natural cycles and processes of the natural world are managed and maintained? I am thinking about things like the water cycle, wind and tides, the process of producing solar energy, etc. We try to harness these things, and human activity and behaviour can affect them. Still, we don't ultimately manage or control them. Have you ever stopped to think how our world is so well designed and has such efficient systems for life to exist on this planet? It's all by chance, you say; I'm not convinced!

Stop for a moment and imagine if the world stopped spinning on its axis! The consequences would be explosive. You may disagree with this view, but I believe it's not because of 'mother nature' but because of 'Father God'. The Bible teaches in Hebrews chapter 1, verse 3 that God, through the Lord Jesus, upholds all things by His spoken and powerful word. 

If, as the old song says, God holds the 'whole world in His hands', it would be worth considering letting Him keep you safe as far as your eternal destiny is concerned. To those who trust Him, He says, 'I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,' The Bible - John 10:28. 

Consider the safety and protection offered by God. He has a proven track record of safe handling, saving, and protecting those who trust Him. The truth is God cares for all and has created a world that is good for all when it is not mismanaged or damaged by human behaviour. Trusting in God is the safest option.

Many years ago, in the ancient city of Athens, a Christian preacher was invited to address a meeting of Greek Philosophers. His speech is recorded in the Bible. I have added a quote from the text of his presentation as it expresses timeless truth that is still valid for a 21st-century audience. 

Acts 17:22-31 Paul Addresses the Areopagus (ESV Bible)

'What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for "In him we live and move and have our being"; as even some of your own poets have said, "For we are indeed his offspring.". . . the times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.'



Monday, May 13, 2024

The Houses of Parliament

Pictures all courtesy of Unsplash

It is interesting to learn that the British House of Parliament, known as the Palace of Westminster, is in a dire state of repair. The mother of parliaments is in desperate need of renovation and restoration. The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, has been restored at great cost, and the possibility of doing the same with the rest is a necessity but would require a great deal of time and expense. 

The building obviously has historic and global importance and is vast as it covers an area of eight acres. It also has elaborate carvings, stained glass windows, and important decorations. It apparently costs in the region of 3 million pounds a week to maintain it, and yet it is a hazardous place with the possibility of a severe fire starting someday. There have been 25 fires in the building since 2016, all, admittedly, minor. The vaults below the main floors are full of wires and pipes, with puddles, tape, foil, warning signs and old tins to catch the drips. There is also asbestos in the building to which 117 people were accidentally exposed and who will require regular health checks for the next 40 years. 

The building was burnt to the ground in 1834 and was rebuilt in a Gothic/Elizabethan style. It took until 1876 for all the work to be completed. Prior to completion, the Lords were able to move into their chamber in 1847, and the MPs moved into the Commons in 1852. The Commons chamber has never been big enough to accommodate all MPs, and after being bombed in the Second World War, it was decided to keep it as it was before. Its smallness creates an intimacy but is not really suitable for genuine work to be accomplished; such work is done in the many rooms in the Palace.

Friday, May 10, 2024


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Books have been published and produced for hundreds of years. Some people predicted their demise with the advent of modern technology, such as Kindles and other electronic devices for reading. 

However, as a visit to a bookshop makes clear, books are still being produced in large quantities in hard copy, both hardback and paperback. There are still vast numbers of people who love to hold a book and turn the pages, and many also find looking at a screen a numbing and difficult experience.  

Reading is vital for education and the gaining of information. The Apostle Paul, right up to the end of his life, maintained his reading regime as he asked, in the last letter he wrote addressed to Timothy, that books be forwarded to him and also the parchments (2 Timothy 4.13). The Apostle John, in a statement of hyperbole or exaggeration to make a point, said, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21.25). He indicates that we only have a sample in the Gospel accounts of the wonders and miracles performed by Jesus.  
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