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.




Monday, 15 September 2014

Of dogs and men.

Let me make it perfectly clear - I am a dog-lover.  Let me also make it perfectly clear that I abhor the, apparently deliberate, fire that caused the deaths of so many of our canine friends in the Manchester Dogs' Home.

However (you were expecting that, weren't you?!), along with many others, I am at  a loss to understand how it is that such an event should spawn so many fund-raising ventures - from a sponsored dog walk, to simple appeals for cash - and raise more than £1million in a matter of days. That, of course, excludes the value of the tons of dog food that have been donated.

So what is the problem?  Let me mention only two, of many, causes that are not as well supported. The first concerns soldiers.  "Help for Heroes" has done a tremendous job in providing assistance for members of the military who have received serious injuries (some, extremely serious!) in the line of duty.  I am, of course, open to correction, but I don't believe that donations have ever flooded in at the sort of rate we have seen in Manchester!  The other cause I will mention is the "Pro-life" one.  If you read the series that I posted, last month, on abortion, you must surely realise that that procedure is nothing other than murder.  What has been conceived, and is growing (the ultimate sign of life!), is a human being, albeit at an early stage in its development.  The deliberate extinguishing of that life, for whatever reason, and at whatever stage, is murder - plainly and simply.

It would appear that many people consider the life of a dog to be of more importance than the life and well-being of a human being!  Yet it was only man that the Creator made in His own image.  It was only into man that He breathed His own spirit.  It was for sinful men, and women, and children, that the Lord Jesus, the second Persona (see my book: details at top) of the Godhead hung on a Roman cross, and shed His precious blood.  It is only man who is aware of sin, and to whom salvation is offered - fully, and freely.

By all means, let us care for our animal friends.  But let us also remember that, in spite of the lies spun by secular humanists, we are not animals.  We are a distinct and special creation.  Let us show even more support for human life, than we do for dogs.  "A dog is not just for Christmas", the car sticker proclaims.  Human life, we might add, is not just for time.  We have an eternity awaiting us - and only those who have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made, on their behalf, and who are trusting in Him for this life and all that it may hold, are assured that they will spend that eternal day in His presence.  Please be sure that you are among that number.

If I may be of any assistance, please use the e-mail address at the top to contact me - or go to the link "Do you need God" near to the bottom of the page.  The one above it may also be useful.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

One week today!

One week today, an unusually large number of the residents of Scotland will go to the polls to vote in what is popularly known as the "Independence" referendum but that is, in reality, the "Separation" referendum.  By Friday 19th September, the newspaper polls will all have become redundant, and irrelevant, because the people will have spoken, and their voice will have been heard!

The 'Yes' campaign have had a number of planks in their platform that have been, in my opinion, disingenuously deceptive.  Regretfully, a number of people have accepted the word of politicians (a dangerous thing to do, whichever side one supports!), and either plan to vote 'Yes', or have already done so by a postal vote.  What follows is of no interest, or value, to the latter group.  However, I trust that it will cause some of the former group to reconsider their position over the next seven days.

One of the major issues, it seems to me, has been that of the NHS.  The cry has gone up from Mr Salmond, and others, that if the result of the referendum is that we do not separate from our fellow-Britons, then the NHS in Scotland will be gradually privatised (and the 'Yes' campaign have consistently criticised what they have perceived as the 'fear' tactics of the 'No' campaign!).  The pros and cons of NHS privatisation is a totally different topic, but what surely ought to be made clear is that, under the terms of the Scotland Act (1998)  the NHS is a devolved matter.  This means that it is, and has been, the responsibility of the Scottish Executive/Government for many years.  It also means that it will continue to be so.  Sorry, Alex - that one doesn't work!

The currency that would be used in a separate Scotland has also been an issue that has dogged the 'Yes' campaign.  The current Chancellor of the Exchequer has, vehemently and consistently, ruled out any form of currency union with the remainder of the current UK.  The Shadow Chancellor has agreed wholeheartedly with that stance.  Even the wee LibDums (who are no longer the 'third major party', and who may disappear after the next UK General Election!) have said that they would not be a part of any such union.  The Governor of the Bank of England who, according to Mr Salmond, "is in charge", has clearly stated that "a currency union is incompatible with sovereignty."  This, of course, does not effect only the currency with which I pay for my messages in ASDA.  It also effects matters such as international trade; pensions (very important to some of us already, and to all of us eventually!); the banking sector.   We have already seen, on the back of a single poll that indicated that the 'Yes' campaign had overtaken their rivals, a fall in the value of sterling, and a fall in the stock market!  And that was just one poll!  The only person who regularly assures us that, when the 'Yes' vote succeeds, everyone else will fall in with his way of thinking is - Mr Salmond.  I am reminded of the old story (too old for some of my readers to have known!) that ends with the line "They're a' oot o' step, but oor Jock"!  Sorry, Alex - that one doesn't work either!

Just one other issue for now - the European Union.  The declared opinion of a number of high-ranking officials in the EU is that a separated Scotland would cease to be a part of that body, and would be required to apply for membership - a process that could take many years.  The opinion of Mr Salmond and the 'Yes' campaign is that the EU would be so desperate to have a separate Scotland as a member, that it would be little more than a 'rubber-stamping' job!  I seem to recall 'expert legal opinion' to support that notion - but opinion that remained, and remains, anonymous!  The SNP spokesman on BBC Radio 4, yesterday, claimed that no-one in Scotland was interested in leaving the EU.  I suppose that that is why we now have a Scottish MEP - from UKIP!  Of course, if the whole of the UK is allowed its referendum on membership of the EU and, as is expected, comes out of that discredited body, then there is unlikely to be an EU for a separate Scotland to join!  When one domino falls, others have a habit of following suit - and there is no shortage of countries who would gladly be the second to leave!  Is it indicative of the state of the SNP, in particular, that they would even wish - in an 'independent' Utopia - to be a continuing part of an organisation that hasn't even been able to satisfy its own auditors for many, many years?   Sorry, Alex - that's a third strike!

I don't like my posts to be overly long.  However, there is one issue that I have not heard raised at all, but that concerns me greatly.  No, it has nothing to do with the place of the Christian faith in this new. separate, Scotland - although that is something about which many are, indeed (and rightly), concerned.  This issue is much more politically practical.  As those who know me well are aware, I currently spend a lot of my time in France, and also travel, as occasion demands, to Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other countries.  With me, I always carry a number of important documents.  One of these is my (UK) passport.  Having that passport means that if, for whatever reason, I am in trouble, I have access to the British Embassy, or a local Consulate, to receive assistance.  Will those officials be willing to help a foreigner - as I would officially be if I belonged to a separated Scotland?   I suspect not!  The alternative would be to go to the Scottish Embassy/Consulate.  However, I have heard no-one mention the cost of such the large number of properties that would have to be acquired for those purposes.  Other countries may be willing to act on Scotland's behalf, but the assistance would be minimal - and there would undoubtedly be a cost involved!  The other item is a little card named the EHIC - that assures me state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free, anywhere in the EU and Switzerland.  This is all, as far as I know, because of a mutual agreement with these countries.  How long would it take a separated Scottish government to put all of that in place - especially in countries like France, Spain, and Italy where a separatist movement is a thorn in the flesh of the respective governments?  

It is my hope - yes, and my prayer - that common sense, and pragmatism, will prevail over an emotional, albeit laudable, desire to "dae oor ain thing"!   The Bible, even if not accepted by all as being of divine origin, is usually recognised as having many wise words.  I close with one reference: "... 'though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Eccl. 4:12).  Let us not break up a country that is, of course, far from perfect, but that is still looked up to by many.  Let us put our energies, not into separating, but into improving.

You know it makes sense!



Saturday, 6 September 2014

Wow!

I have never watched "American Idol", nor such shows as BGT - but if there was more of this, then I might be persuaded to change my mind. 

Backed by a full Gospel Choir, the finalists of 'American Idol' present a powerful rendering of the song "Shout to the Lord" (My Jesus, my Saviour) on national television - in front of millions!  The crowd was brought to their feet, and the Lord's Name was praised.  What a blessing it is to watch!

In the light of all of the contemporary social situation, I was particularly moved at the very end. Watch it through and see what I mean!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hypocrisy!

There is a well-known story about a man who informed a local minister of the Gospel that he didn't attend church because it was so full of hypocrites.  "Well, then," responded the clergyman, "another one won't be noticed"!

It is always wise, when pointing out the hypocrisy of others, to remember that three time as many fingers are pointing at oneself as are pointing at the other person!


Having said all of that, I was struck by two items that I saw on Facebook earlier this evening.  The first one was from a dear Canadian friend who makes no secret of her humanist sympathies, and her opposition to (at least, organised) religion.  It deals with the well-known American tele-evangelist, Pat Robertson who, it is claimed, read out a letter on his TV show - a letter from an elderly couple. The link informs us that the letter read: "My husband and I are in our 80s and have been tithing for many years. We both love the Lord and give willingly and our tithe is over 10 percent…but we never have an extra penny after our monthly bills are paid. Our old car just broke down and we had to borrow money to fix it. We both need dental work, but we can’t afford it. I constantly have to use our credit card to pay for medical needs… What could we be doing wrong?"  Pat Robertson's response, we are informed, was to suggest that "they sell their belongings on eBay or go back to work. He also told them that God would grant them a blessing if they asked for one. The one thing he didn't tell them is to give a little less of their income to church so that they can take care of themselves."


Now, as an advocate of tithing, and of giving a freewill offering over and above, I am not about to criticise the practice.  In fact, I am convinced that it is at least part of the reason why my wife and I always seem to make ends meet, regardless of circumstances.  As I learned a long time ago, the Lord's mathematics work on a different principle than mine!  However, I have a great deal of sympathy for my friend's only comment: "REALLY!!!"   Mr Robertson's response to this couple might have been better as a cheque towards the expenses that they are encountering - having checked, of course, that the letter is genuine!


A little further on, I came across another post that has to do with 'giving to church'!  This one displays a picture of another well-known figure - Richard Dawkins, the 'high priest' of secular, humanist, atheism.  Across the top of the picture (which is as unflattering as is the one used of Pat Robertson!) are the words: "THINKS PEOPLE GIVING MONEY TO CHURCHES ARE GULLIBLE".  Across the bottom of the picture are the words: "CHARGES $85 A MONTH TO JOIN HIS ONLINE 'REASON CIRCLE'".  This is not the information that any of my humanist friends is likely to disseminate.  Yet why not?  Is not Mr Dawkins being every bit as much a hypocrite as Pat Robertson?  


When it comes to the Christian aspect, I well remember my former minister, spiritual mentor, and friend - and the man who married my dear wife and I to one another, 44 years ago yesterday - saying: "Don't judge the Christians - they will fail; don't judge the church; it will let you down; don't judge the clergy, they are much too fallible.  Judge the Christ - and see if you can justly criticise Him."  That statement still stands.  My personal faith does not depend on my personal achievements - however good they may sometimes be.  It depends wholly, and solely, on the finished work of God Incarnate, at the cross on Calvary, when He paid the punishment that I deserved to pay, in order that I might go free.  He died there for you as well.  Why don't you take Him at His word: "Whoever comes to Me I will never drive away" (Jn.6:37) - that's acceptance; "I will never leave you , nor forsake you." (Heb.13:5) - that's assurance; "... if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, that where I am, you may also be." (Jn.14:3) - that's anticipation.


Hypocrites!  Yes, Pat Robertson is one; Richard Dawkins is one; and you and I are in that same league!  Only One stands out in all of history as not having been of that ilk.  Come to Him; know the wonder and joy of sins forgiven; let Him rule in your life.  You'll still make mistakes (see I Jn.1:10), but you will no longer be under condemnation (Rom.8:1), and you will spend eternity in His nearer Presence.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Anniversary!

Today, I celebrate forty-four years of marriage to my wonderful wee wife.  She has been as good a wife as any man could wish for - loving, faithful, supportive, diligent, encouraging, and the mother of our two wonderful daughters.

Thank you, my love, for all that you have been, and continue to be.  I cannot say that I love you as much, today, as I did when I saw you walk up the aisle all of those years ago.  It simply wouldn't be true!  I didn't really know what love was, at that time.  Now - I love you much, much, more.

I pray that the Lord Whom we have sought to serve, throughout our marriage, will grant us many more years to love one another; to share with one another; and to serve Him together.

Happy Anniversary, my love.  :-)