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, 23 July 2014

The first casualty.

"In war, truth is the first casualty", is a well-known saying - attributed to a number of people, with the earliest record apparently being from a Greek tragic dramatist named Aeschylus (525-546 BC).  However, regardless of its author, the concept described is demonstratively true!


The modern State of Israel is fighting battles on a number of fronts - not least of which is the media machine. Thankfully, there are those with eyes that are sharp enough to point out the deceit that is being practised. The picture above is just one example. The child on the left is a victim of the ongoing civil war in Syria, from two years ago. The child on the right is quite obviously - even to the untrained eye - the same little girl but, this time portrayed as a victim of Israeli 'aggression' against Palestinians.

One wonder just how long it will be until pictures of victims of the Holocaust will be portrayed as victims of Israeli rockets!

Let us remember that, even a cease-fire recently offered by Israel, was breached by the terrorist organisation, Hamas, with 47 rockets being fired, indiscriminately, at Israeli targets, within a couple of hours!

When will the media begin to understand that they are the unwitting (but gullible?!) tools of Hamas, and start reporting "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

What might have been - and what is!

This blog has been neglected for too long!  The reason is that I have been without internet access for some days.  My wife and I are making our way to Dunkerque, from our static caravan, for a few weeks in Scotland in order to be there to support our younger daughter as she commences chemo-therapy subsequent to the Lumpectomy that she underwent shortly before we left.

We are, at present, at Laulurie - definitely our favourite site in France, and probably our favourite touring site anywhere.  These first two days have been glorious - clear blue sky; temperature into the 30s; gentle breeze; and the conviviality that brings us back here, year after year.

It was as I lay at the side of the pool (on a lounger, of course!) this morning that I found myself day-dreaming.  I started to think of what might have been.  We read, in the Biblical book Genesis, that when Almighty God had finishes His work of creating the heavens and the earth (aka the universe), He looked at His work and "... saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Gen 1:31).  We go on to read of the relationship between man and his Creator, and of the disobedience of man that allowed sin to enter the world.  That sin became, as it were, part of our DNA, and we are sinful creatures from the moment of our conception. (see Ps.51:5)

But what if Adam and Eve had not disobeyed?  What if the enemy, in the guise of a serpent, had not beguiled them?  What if they had remained the perfect creatures that God had made?  All that we may do, of course, is speculate.  As I slipped into the pool for a twenty length (it's 20m long!) swim, I wondered if Adam would have discovered that he could swim in the clear, cool, water of the river that flowed out of Eden (see Gen.2:10-14).  If he could, he would have come out of the water to a much more gentle warmth that I have been doing these past couple of days. Yesterday, I held my private devotions outside - Adam was able walk in the garden with his heavenly Father, and talk with Him face-to-face!   There was no sin, no sorrow, no death.   Little wonder that we speak of it as Paradise!

However, our human ancestors did, in fact, sin, and that is the basic reason why the world in which you and I live is as it is.  That's the basic cause of all of the greed, and violence, and murder, and everything that is negative and that causes harm to any part of the creation.  What might have been was replaced with what, in fact, is!

Yet even that is not the whole story.  Listen to Paul: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Rom 8:19-23).

Out of His great love for us, Father God did not leave us in our sin.  Instead, He has provided an answer.  Adam and Eve endeavoured to cover their sin by their own works - by making aprons of leaves.   But, right at the beginning, God showed that "... without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." (Heb 9:22).  We read: "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them." (Gen 3:21) but, in order that those skin garments be made, an animal (perhaps a lamb?!) had to die.  The central message of the Gospel is that God provided a perfect sacrifice, in Himself, in the Persona of the Son.  He took your place, and mine, on the cross at Calvary.  There, He died the death that you and I deserve to die.  It is as we place our trust in Him, that we may know a new relationship with God the Father, that lasts throughout this mortal life - and into eternity itself!

Perhaps you think that you're not good enough!  Listen to the words of Jesus Himself: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me; and him who comes to Me I will not cast out." (John 6:37)

Come to Him, acknowledging your sin; accepting that you are incapable of doing anything about it; and assured that He will accept you - and make you a brand new creation, in Him. (II Co.5:11).

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me at author@minister.com


Friday, 11 July 2014

I've made up my mind - don't confuse me with the facts!

Humza Yousaf is not someone about whom I would normally post - or even want to post!  He is a List MSP (i.e. not elected by the people, but put in place by the party, in his case, the SNP).  He has a Facebook page which, when I was directed to it yesterday, allowed comments.  Today, it would appear that such a facility is no longer available!

Mr Yousaf is obviously a supporter of the so-called Palestinian people - not surprising given his own apparent ethnic background.  His Facebook page - from what I read of it - swings between informing us that the Palestinians are down-trodden refugees in their own land (okay, he doesn't use those precise words, but I write better prose than does he!), and telling us what a fine fellow he is as he junkets around at the expense of the tax-payer (well, he is a politician!).

Yesterday, I posted some comments, including two links to YouTube videos, that provided an alternative perspective of the current situation in Israel.  I also commented on a number of Mr Yousaf's earlier posts.  Today, I received notification that my comments had been removed, and it was when I checked this out (it is true!) that I discovered that I was unable to redo them.

This would suggest, to me, that Mr Yousaf is:

(a) too biased to permit another viewpoint to be aired;
(b) too cowardly to allow an alternative voice to be heard;
(c) too uneducated to provide a reasoned response;
(d) all of the above.

If Mr Youssaf is an example of the Parliamentarians in Holyrood, then a 'No' vote on September becomes an absolute necessity.  I certainly do not want biased, uneducated, cowards representing me in the Scottish Parliament! 

By the way, one of the two video clips was at:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/07/islamic-state-to-fifa-cancel-the-world-cup-or-well-bomb-it

(Apologies that the 'hot link' appears not to work - but 'copy and paste' seems to do the trick!) 

The other has been taken down by BBC World (possibly a copyright issue), but gave the lie to many of the 'reports' coming out of Gaza - with graphics that are from years ago, and some that are not even from Gaza!

If you hadn't heard it before, you heard it first here!!!!



Thursday, 10 July 2014

Following God’s Will

These past months have been anything but easy!  On more than one occasion I have found myself questioning this call to ministry in France to which my wife and I believe we have been called.  The house that I had expected to sell within weeks, if not days (this was to be the Lord's final confirmation of the call!), is still on the market months later - in spite of two price reductions.  Our car has had one problem after another - and always in France where charges are much higher than what my local mechanic charges me.  Problems with the gas supply to the static have only been finally resolved today.  To cap it all, our younger daughter (37) has just had an operation to remove a cancerous tumour from her left breast, and had just been informed that the chemo-therapy she had been informed would not be necessary, now is a definite requirement.  
 
That's why I was so encouraged by an article in Church Leaders - an 'e-zine' (online magazine) that I receive regularly.  It is by Steven Furtick to whom I happily give the credit.
 
"Being in God’s will doesn’t guarantee a tension-free job, a conflict-free marriage or a trouble-free life.
"We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large … we can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. All the people we saw there are of great size."
Numbers 13:27-28

The Israelites had finally reached the Promised Land. But it wasn’t what everybody thought it would be.  There was a reward. But there was also opposition.  There were grapes. But there were also giants.

So they came to the conclusion that this couldn’t be what God was calling them to do. This couldn’t be God’s will, because God’s will had to be easier than this.

We tend to think the same way. Many people consider opposition a sign that they must not be in the will of God.  We think the Promised Land is where the blessings are going to be. Being in God’s will is where life is supposed to be easy. Therefore, battle, opposition, struggle and enemies must be a sign that we aren’t in the right place.  But apparently a sign of God’s will is not the ease with which you obtain it. Apparently, the very sign of the Promised Land is giants.

Conflict.
Opposition.

In other words, being in God’s will doesn’t guarantee a tension-free job. Or a conflict-free marriage. Or a trouble-free life.  In fact, the very presence of tension, conflict and trouble could be a sign that you’re right where you need to be.

You might be thinking that you’re not in God’s will right now. You’re going through all this fighting, and it shouldn’t be like this. It must mean you’re in the wrong place.  Not necessarily. It might mean that you’re in exactly the right place. I doubt satan is going to put up a fight to keep you from doing what you shouldn’t be doing.

What if you changed your perspective and saw what you’re facing as a sign that you’re exactly where God wants you to be, because giants live in the Promised Land?  That doesn’t make it easy. But remember:
There was opposition for the Israelites. But there was also a reward.
There were giants. But there were also grapes.

A sign of God’s will isn’t just the opposition you’re facing. It’s also the fact that with God you can actually overcome it. And the reward that you will get for sticking it out will far outshine any opposition that you’re facing."

I trust that others will be likewise encouraged - and that we will all give the glory to our amazing God.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Murder most foul.

The callous, and agonising, murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Khdeir, has shocked many - and rightly so.  However, it is interesting and significant, that the Israeli authorities moved so quickly to investigate the murder - and have already arrested six Israeli suspects, three of whom have reportedly confessed to the heinous crime committed, it appears, for 'nationalistic' reasons.  Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has already said that Khieder’s killers would “face the full weight of the law.”

This is in stark contrast to the response of the Palestinian Authority on the abduction, and murder, of the three Jewish teenagers whose bodies were discovered a week ago.   I have not read, or heard, of any attempt by the PA to investigate those killings.  Rather, there was commendation in Palestine for whoever may have been responsible!

The other, related, news item has been the brutal attack on Tariq Abu Khieder, the American cousin of Mohammed Khdeir - allegedly by members of the Israeli Border Police.  I say 'allegedly' because although the three men involved were in police uniforms, they were also masked!   Uniforms, of course, may be easily obtained, or copied.  What I find interesting, if not suspicious, is that the boy who was attacked was the cousin of a murdered boy; that he is an American who was on holiday; and that there just happened to be two separate mobile 'phone video recordings made, from two different angles, by people who, one is led to believe, just happened to be in those locations!

What is also interesting is that the USA are reported to have put pressure on Israel concerning this shocking event.  Presumably, this is because an American is involved.  However, another American citizen, Saeed Abedini, is languishing in an Iranian jail.  He had often made trips back to his native country in order to visit his parents and extended family. Before leaving for America, he spent many years in Iran as a Christian leader and community organizer developing underground home church communities for converts.

It was in September 2012, while in his homeland to help build a secular orphanage, that he was pulled off a bus by authorities, imprisoned and sent before a judge in what supporters say was a sham trial.  The treatment to which he has since been subjected makes even that suffered by Tariq Abu Khieder (whoever is found to be responsible) mild by comparison!  One has to wonder why the USA is, and has been, so silent with regard to a Christian citizen, when it is read to move so quickly on behalf of the son of Muslim citizens!

Many of us, who love Israel, are concerned that a few Jewish extremists would murder a Palestinian child; we are concerned that it may, in fact, have been Israeli security officers who assaulted his young cousin; and we continue to prayerfully support the parents of those three murdered Israeli teenagers.  Perhaps you will join with us!