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.




Thursday, 17 April 2014

It wos a cat wot did it!

It hit us as soon as we got into the car!  A fragrance; an aroma; actually a vile smell. We immediately knew what it was - feline urine (that's cat's pee to the less sophisticated/more vulgar!!!).  A few days earlier, my wife had transported some 'broken-down' cardboard boxes to the local Recycling Centre.  I remembered that one of them had been standing up against the bin.  It would appear that one of the local cats had taken a liking to it.

We sprayed the inside of the car with air freshener; we left the windows open; the smell lingered on.  I vacuumed the back,where the boxes had been transported; the smell lingered on.  I even shampooed the back of the car; the smell lingered on. Eventually, my wife suggested that the source of the offending pong might not have been a box in the back, but something that one of us had transported on a shoe.  We checked the front carpets.  The one that sits at my dear wife's feet was quickly identified as the culprit!  The front of the car was now subjected to a full valet service - with that particular piece of carpet receiving special attention!  What a difference - and just in time for the long journey to the static, in the Gironde area of France.

As I reviewed the situation, I realised that the whole episode was something of an analogy of life! So often, we are accosted by situations, and circumstances, that we find to be, at the very least,unpleasant.  We turn over a new leaf here; we make a New Year resolution there; we promise ourselves that we will do better. It's all to no avail!  The new leaf is no better than the old; the resolution rarely sees the end of January; we discover that we cannot even keep a promise to ourselves!

What we need to do, of course, is get to the root of the matter; the source of the problem.  We find it identified in the written Word of God - the Bible.  Writing to the believers in Rome, Paul makes the statement that "... all have sinned, and fallen short of the standard that God has set." (3:23).   Sin is the problem - and it effects every single one of us - no exception!

So what can be done?  Well, when my wife and I discovered the source of our little problem, we dealt with it by washing the carpet.  Sin is dealt with in a similar way - but the 'washing' is not with carpet shampoo.  In Acts 22, we have one of the records of the personal testimony of Paul.  In the 16th verse, he shares some words of the Lord to Him: "Have your sins washed away by calling on the Name of the Lord."; while John writes that it is "... the blood of Jesus, His Son, [that] cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7).

As we approach Good Friday, and a time when we especially remember the sacrifice made, for us, at Calvary, may we come to Him, Who alone can deal with our sin and shame - because He has already borne both - and seek His cleansing power. It is only as we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, that we will enjoy His resurrection life - both now, and in eternity!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

You are special.

Whilst browsing through a laptop hard drive, I came across the following - which I appear to have stored without any indication as to its source!  I have made a few amendments, but apologise for any unintended breach of copyright.  If you are feeling low, and nursing a low self-image, these words may help!

In all the world there is nobody like you. Since the beginning of time there has never been another person exactly like you. Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair. Nobody owns your handwriting, your voice. 

You're special.

Nobody can paint your brush strokes. Nobody has precisely your taste for food or music or dance or art. Nobody in the universe sees things in exactly the same way as you do.

You're special.

In all time there has never been anyone who laughs in exactly your way.  You're different from any other person who has ever lived in the history of the universe.  You are the only one in the whole of creation who has your particular set of abilities.  Nobody in the universe can reach the quality of the combination of your talents, your feelings.  Until the end of time, no one will ever walk, talk, think or do exactly like you. 

You're special. 

You're rare and in all rarity there is enormous value and because of your great value the need for you to imitate anyone else is absolutely wrong. You're special, and it is no accident that you are. Please realise that God made you for a special purpose. He has a job for you to do that nobody else can do as well as you can. Out of the billions of applicants, only one qualified. Only one has the unique and right combination of what it takes and that one is you.


You're special.

Indeed, you are so special that, if you were the only human being ever to have sinned; and you had committed, in your whole life, only one sin, Jesus - God the Son - would still have gone to a cross, and died, just for you!  Now that makes you really special!

It was Humpty Dumpty!

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." (Through the Looking Glass; ch.6)

We seem to be living in an increasingly Humpty Dumpty world.  As a "child who was born on the Sabbath Day" (well, it was actually a Sunday - but in the little rhyme, the two terms are synonymous!), I was always happy to claim to living up to what I was supposed to be: "bonnie, and blithe, and good, and gay".  However, I am less likely, today, to refer to myself by that last adjective.

Likewise, politicians in a number of parts of the world have, recently, redefined the word 'marriage'.  All that it now means is that two (for the moment!) people declare love for one another.  There is no need for even the possibility of procreation; and there are still questions as to what would constitute grounds for divorce!

Even as long-standing a word as 'evolution' seems to be able to change (or ought I to say, evolve?!) its meaning.  I have been reading up on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) with regard to getting more 'traffic' to this blog.  In one article, I read: "Thus, through evolution, smart engineers at the engines devised better ways to find valuable results that searchers would appreciate and enjoy."

Two things jumped out at me.  First of all, there was the interesting juxtaposition of 'evolution' and 'devised'.  Surely, I asked myself, the whole point of evolution is that it is the result of random choices made over a very long period of time?!  If something is 'devised', that clearly implies that there has been forethought, planning, design.  It certainly doesn't sit well with a notion of random choice.

Nor should it.  The second thing that I saw was the reference to "smart engineers".  That suggests a certain level of intelligence - certainly not a mindless, chaotic, series of accidentally fortuitous circumstances!

Of course, this is the point made by the proponents of ID (Intelligent Design) - that there is abundant evidence in the known universe for us to be able to postulate a creative, intelligent, mind behind all that is. As the old advertisement, for something or other, had it: "You know it makes sense!" 

Speaking, by telephone, with a very dear friend in the south of England, earlier this evening (or last evening, if one wishes to be pedantically accurate - it is now past midnight!) we discussed, among other things, this very point.  Charles Darwin confessed that his theory with regard to the origin of species was flawed by the failure to discover fossil evidence of any of the necessary 'intermediate' creatures.  However, more than 200 years after his birth, and more than 150 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, such evidence is still notable by its absence.

Another problem, recognised by Darwin, concerns the eye.  He wrote: “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”  Indeed, the thousands of elements in the single-lens eye must all be in position, and working correctly, for that eye to have any vision.  Take away any of the elements, and the eye simply doesn't function!

Evolution is, in fact, a pseudo-science that provides a philosophical framework for those who refuse to admit the existence of a Creator to Whom we are all, ultimately, accountable.  It is the refuge of those who are like the Biblical 'fool' who says in his heart, "There is no God"! (Ps.14:1).  By the way, the Hebrew word used (nabal) refers to someone who is 'empty-headed' in a morally deficient sense, not to someone who is intellectually wanting.

Praise God, He has not left Himself without witness, and the day is coming - perhaps sooner than many think - when at the Name of Jesus (Who, of course, is God the Son) every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (see Phil.2:10-11).

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Hidden creatures - revealed!

Well done to those who managed to find all twelve creatures! :-)

Here is the solution:

1. The Bowling Club at the Green will do very well.                                (owl; bat; dove).

2. If Roger will go at once, it might do good.                                            (frog; goat; dog).

3. Are you as sure as I am that he noticed the sign at the entrance?      (ass; hen; gnat).

4. She came late, but I want you to be early.                                           (camel; ant; bee).

Keep checking the blog.  There isn't a puzzle every week, but there may well be something to encourage you to think of what, to some, is the greatest puzzle - life itself!

Friday, 11 April 2014

From the mouths of babes!

Okay!  The young girl in this video is, in fact, 12 years old.  But she is not an adult.  Yet she speaks on an emotive subject with passion, with articulation, and with evidence of having done more research than many who write comments on online newspaper fora.

It's a five-minute clip - but it's well worth watching, right to the end.