Important Information.

STOP PRESS: My first book (the first in a planned series!) is now available in paperback format. :-)
It is being published by AfJ Publications, Glasgow, and sells for £8.99 (for 230 pages). Initially, copies may only be ordered from me (p&p not included - but they may be collected in person!). Please contact me at
author@minister.com
The book is, of course, still available in its Kindle edition.


You'll find it at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009EG6TJW where you may read some sample chapters!

If you haven't got a Kindle (I haven't!), there is a FREE app at
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000423913

I am also considering producing an audio edition. Any feedback as to how welcome this might be would be appreciated, as it would involve a great deal of time and effort!

30% of the profits go to support the persecuted church.




Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Blessed Assurance

The hymn, written in 1873 by Fanny J. Crosby, is possibly one of the best-loved of Christian songs.  Certainly, its use at countless Billy Graham Crusades, as large choirs raised their voices under the direction of Cliff Barrows, has ensured its general popularity.  However, it is just a song!

What makes the words of that song special is their being made true in the life of an individual.  Many years ago, a young girl named Maggie worked, 'downstairs', in a large house in the city of Edinburgh.  Sadly, she contracted an incurable illness and realised that she would not have long to live.  Her employers were kind, and kept her on 'light duties', but she knew that, with her sins unforgiven (it was an age when people were aware of their sinfulness!), she was not bound for heaven.

One day, the household staff were informed that some important guests were to be addressed by a certain John Thompson - a former fisherman who now made it his business to witness to the saving power of the Lord Jesus.  Maggie was very happy to hear this news for, she reasoned, she would probably learn the way of salvation from this plain-spoken street preacher.  However, when all had arrived, the servants were dismissed, and the door was shut.

Lingering in the hallway, and allowing her colleagues to go on, Maggie returned to the door and pressed her ear against the keyhole.  The down-to-earth evangelist was sharing the Good News that sinners may, on repentance, freely receive eternal life through faith in Jesus.  The aristocratic audience, however, was little moved, and he saw no positive reaction to his message.

Some months later, John Thompson was asked to visit a young woman who was on her deathbed.  It was Maggie.  She repeated some of his own words : "If anyone puts their own name in the place of the 'whosoever' of John 3:16, they will be saved."  She continued, "The audience in that room, that day, wasn't interested, but I was. I asked the Lord to make me His child, and I felt the burden of sin roll from my heart.  Now I can die with the blessed assurance that heaven lies ahead, because God's 'whosoever' took me in.  His peace and joy now flood my soul.  I thought that you would want to know that I was saved at the keyhole!"

Do you have that same blessed assurance that was Maggie's experience - and the experience of countless millions down through the ages.  Follow her example.  Put your name into John 3:16.  It won't mean that life is suddenly rosy - ask those in the countries in which to confess the Lord Jesus as Saviour and Lord is to invite harassment, persecution, and even death.   But you may be assured of His presence with you, in every situation and circumstance - even if you "walk through the valley of death".  You can face it, as Maggie did, with peace and with joy. 

What God offers by promise, we must take by faith.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Financially embarrassed!

It's not an easy thing to admit, but I am skint!  (For those who do not know the word, it is the vernacular in certain parts of the country for being extremely short of cash!).  Here I am, in SW France, and I had to borrow some cash in order to purchase some basic groceries!

"How could this be?", I hear some ask!  Well, it's really quite simple.  On our way south, last Friday, my wife and I went to a bank to withdraw some cash from the ATM installed in the outside wall.  I inserted the Deutsche Bank card (this is the Bank in which we currently keep our Euros) and waited for the message on the screen to instruct me to enter the PIN.  I waited; and I waited.  As nothing was happening; as my wife was in the car; and as there were very few people around; I made my way to the entrance to the Bank - to discover that it was closed!  Eventually, telephone contact was made to the number that was being regularly displayed on the screen.  The Bank was closed until Tuesday so I was informed that I had two options - to return on that day (this would have involved a return journey of almost 600 miles!), or to have the card cancelled.

Next stop was McDonald's who, regardless of what they serve at the counter, do provide a free wi-fi facility.  Yes, I know that it is meant for paying customers, and we usually purchase ice-creams if we want to browse the 'net for a time, but this was an emergency.  I sent off a brief e-mail to the manager of our Deutsche Bank branch, explaining the situation, and asking him to replace the card as quickly as possible, and to send it to the camp-site.  I had hoped that he would receive the e-mail that day, but he maybe has an early closure on Fridays!   It was Monday before I received a response.  I would need to fax a signed request, as I had asked for the replacement to go to an address other than the one that is in their records!  No fax available, but I wrote out the request; had it scanned by the site owner; and e-mailed it.  The new card is now, I trust, en route - but could take up to seven days, with a further wait for the new PIN!

Thankfully, we had enough cash remaining to purchase fuel, and we had left some foodstuffs in the refrigerator and the freezer.  However, it is a less than ideal situation knowing that we have cash in the bank, but are unable to access it!

Why am I sharing this?  Simply because it is a bit of an analogy!  You see, all of us are guilty of sin.  We don't even need the Bible to tell us this (although it does - and very clearly: Rom.3:23).  We know that we don't even live up to our own standards and expectations, let alone those of Almighty God.  However, because of His love for us, He has already paid the penalty, in the Persona (not a typo!) of the Lord Jesus, for your sin, and for mine.  But there is a wee catch!  I have to accept that fact, and receive, by faith, the forgiveness that He offers.

Sadly, many simply refuse to do so.  Forgiveness, and eternal life, there for the taking - and it is rejected by so many!   I can't get at my own cash because a machine 'swallowed' a piece of plastic.  Please don't lose out on the riches that belong to those who accept the Saviour, because you are too proud to admit that you cannot save yourself (or too arrogant to admit that you need saving!).

If I can be of any assistance, at a personal level, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the page.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

WANTED - Intercessors!

A pastor, any years ago, asked a young servant-girl what she was doing for the Lord.  She explained that she had very little time off and, therefore, was unable to attend the various meetings of the fellowship.  However, she assured him that she did take the daily newspaper up to her bedroom every night.  Somewhat confused by such an answer, the pastor asked her what possible spiritual benefit could be obtained by such an action.

"Well." replied the girl, "I turn to the notices about births, marriages, and deaths.  Then I pray for each of the new babies, by name, asking the Lord that they might receive Him at an early age, and be a source of blessing to many.  Next, I check the weddings, and pray that the newly-married couples will be truly happy; build their homes on Jesus; and always remain faithful to one another.  Finally, I read the death notices, and pray for each bereaved family - asking that, in their sorrow, they might turn to the Lord Who is the only source of real comfort."

Here, surely, was one who had learned two important truths:
   1. that prayer works; and
   2. that there is great benefit in praying for one another by name.

The pastor was certainly impressed with her obvious sincerity; her unusual (if not unique!) ministry; and her faithful intercession.  Indeed, he found himself wishing that there were more like her in the congregation!

Those who claim to be disciples of Jesus are called to pray regularly and faithfully (Eph.6:18, inter al).  Let us do so - not that other people (even pastors!) might be impressed, but that the Name of Jesus might be glorified; that sinners might be brought to salvation; and that the saints of God (especially those in the 'persecuted church') might be strengthened, and blessed.

After all, if Jesus was willing to die for the world, the least that we can do is to pray for it!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

When the dust has settled.

So, the U.K. General Election of 2015 is over - perhaps!   Some will be very happy with the result; others less so.  Certainly, almost four million voters are more than a little disappointed that UKIP have only one sitting Member in the House of Commons - and even more disappointed that Mr Nigel Farage is not there!

The results have confirmed what many have suspected for a long time - that the current "First Past The Post" system of electing the UK Parliament is well past its 'sell-by' date.  It is a simple mathematical fact that, e.g., only 34,348 national votes were required to elect an MP representing the Conservative Party; while 3,881,129 UKIP votes resulted in only one MP being elected!  In any definition of 'democracy', that cannot be right!  In the wake of the election results, a number of online petitions have been organised.  One such may be found at http://action.makeseatsmatchvotes.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1754&ea.campaign.id=38262&ea.tracking.id=msmv

Of course, the conspiracy theories now abound.  Normally, I am not one to give such theories much credence, but some of what I have read on social media (sometimes more accurate and truthful than the MSM!) would indicate that there is definitely a case to be answered.   Stories abound of missing boxes; delayed counts; and names of candidates missing on ballot papers.  It may all be the result of over-active imaginations - but with so much involved, it is surely worth a formal investigation.

This will, I hope, be my final 'political' post for a wee while.  My next one is planned to be of a more moral/spiritual flavour.  If you have started to check out my blog on the basis of the past few posts, please don't abandon me!  I would like to think that you might find the other matters that I raise, and the information that I share, to be of interest.  Of course, you won't know if you don't check it out!


Monday, 4 May 2015

May 7th - Why I will be voting UKIP!

So, here we are, at the last of this brief series of pre-election posts, with the one for which you have all been waiting - the positive one!

So why am I not only supporting the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), but also suggesting that it is the Party that disciples of Jesus throughout the UK should support?  Well, I know that one ought not to judge a book by its cover.  I know that no one man (or woman) makes a political party.  However, I have to say that one reason why I am supporting UKIP is Nigel Farage!  I have, like most people, watched a great deal on the political scene over recent weeks (and before!).  I have listened to the leaders of the various political parties being interviewed by a range of political commentators.  Only one has consistently answered the questions that have been asked.  I may not have agreed fully with every answer - but I admire basic honesty, and integrity.  I also like my potential statesmen to look like statesmen - not lads off to the pub for a drink!  Interestingly, the only one who has fulfilled those basic criteria is the one who is seen, most often, in a pub - Mr Farage.  I just get a 'good feeling' about the man - and I am teetotal!

However, it is policy that is the real nub of the argument.  So what are the UKIP policies that have persuaded me to support the Party?  Well, first and foremost, UKIP was the only Party, with any worthwhile representation in British politics, to oppose the redefinition of marriage.  Indeed Mr Farage is on record as having said that "... all the while we are signed up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ... we have the risk that our established church, and possibly other faith communities could ultimately, under discrimination laws, be forced to conduct services that they find anathema.  If we get rid of the ECHR, and it doesn't have the dominant place over our society, we'll look at it [the ACT] again."

UKIP also believes that the last government has shown contempt for families in which one parent (usually the mother) stays at home to care for the children.  As a Party, it is totally supportive of stay-at-home mothers.

Staying with the family, in general, Louise Bours, UKIP's Health spokesperson, has voiced concern over girls as young as 10 years of age being given a contraceptive implant through the NHS, and the generally casual attitude towards under-age sexual activity that appears to be condoned, if not encouraged, by the traditional parties.

Of course, there are specific areas in which UKIP has been badly misrepresented by the main-stream media, and the other political parties.  Perhaps the worst of these has been on the issue of immigration.  How often am I informed that "UKIP is a racist party"?  Yet nothing could be further from the truth!   In spite of what is parroted by the opposition, UKIP is NOT "anti-immigration"!  What it does support is CONTROLLED immigration - a totally different kettle of fish.  There are seven points in the Manifesto - and I would defy any right-thinking person to produce a reasonable objection to any one of them.  (Link to Manifesto at the end of this post!).

Then there is the issue of Foreign Aid.  "UKIP want to stop helping other people", is the usual cry.  Rubbish!   What UKIP would do is to direct foreign aid - no longer sending million of pounds sterling to countries that neither need, nor want, it - e.g. India, with its own space exploration programme; or to countries in which human rights are consistently breached.  Rather, they would target such aid to specific needs, such as the current earthquake and avalanche disaster in Nepal.

Not only will the defence of the realm be a major commitment on the part of UKIP, but they will also look after military veterans in a way that the other parties do not seem to think necessary!   UKIP is, as far as I know, the only Party to have specific sections in its Manifesto regarding Small Businesses, and Animal Rights!

However, the policy for which UKIP is best known - and that on which it was founded - is the ending of the UK's membership of the European Union.  Those who are of my vintage may recall that what we entered into (although, personally, I voted against!) in 1972 was a "European Economic Community".  The Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath, stated, quite categorically, that those who feared a loss of British sovereignty were wrong.   Towards the end of his own life, he admitted that he had misled the British public, and that he had known, all along, what would happen.  The EEC was to be a trading bloc - and a UK, independent of the current EU - with its unelected Commissioners 'calling the shots' would be able to enter into such an agreement again.  However, being free of the shackles of the EU would enable us to also enter trading agreement with other countries - not least the former Commonwealth countries who have been blocked by trading tariffs since those early days of the EEC!

I could go on, but permit me to make just one further point: Nigel Farage has said that Britain is a Judaeo-Christian country, and that we need to "start standing up for our values".  Allied to that statement is the assurance that UKIP would not permit the Islamic system of Sharia (Islamic law) to operate, as it currently does, in parallel with UK law.  They would ensure that "... all communities are aware of, and adhere to, the supremacy of British law."  UKIP is also the only Party that has issued a specifically "Christian Manifesto" - Valuing Our Christian Heritage!

Although, as charitable foundations, neither Christian Concern, nor The Christian Institute, are permitted to support any specific political party, I believe that each has gone as far as is legally, and ethically, possible in encouraging disciples of Jesus to support UKIP!

So, am I supporting UKIP because it is a Christian Party?  Sadly, it is not.  There are a number of issues that I continue to have with the Party, and even its policies.  However, compared to the alternatives, it is streets ahead and, of course, if thousands of the disciples of Jesus join the Party then, just as the more UKIP MPs are elected on Thursday, the greater the influence the Party will have on the ensuing government, the greater the influence those believers will have on the Party! 

On Thursday, please use your vote.  If you have a UKIP candidate on your ballot-paper, please vote in his/her favour.  If you haven't, my only advice would be to 'spoil your vote' by writing "None of the above" at the bottom, and drawing a large X across all of the candidates' names!  Oh, and do remember to take your own, black ink, pen.  The pencils that are provided make changing a vote much too easy!

Whatever you do, take confidence in this: the Lord already knows the full result, and He is still in control!  Hallelujah!

The full Manifesto.  https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ukipdev/pages/1103/attachments/original/1429295050/UKIPManifesto2015.pdf?1429295050

Manifesto summary.  http://www.ukip.org/manifesto2015

Christain Manifesto.  http://www.election2015.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/UKIPChristian_Manifesto-1.pdf