Important Information.

STOP PRESS: My second book - Foundations of the Faith - is now available as a Kindle e-book at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XTAE98C?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
My apologies! I have just discovered that, in fact, this book is NOT yet available as a paperback! I will have it ready for sale as quickly as possible!


The first volume - Great Words of the Faith - is still available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009EG6TJW
Paperback to come!

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

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

As I am currently unable to access any comments/questions that may be left, please feel free to use author@minister.com as a contact e-mail address. I don't access that Inbox on a daily basis, but I shall respond whenever I do!



Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Dove-man.

After such a long time in which I have been unable to access the link for a "New Post", I have finally managed to get here - albeit by a roundabout route.  Hopefully, when this post is published, I will be able to continue as before.  If I am not so able, at least I now know the alternative route!

Knowing the route is, of course, of great importance in the journey that we call 'life'! The story is told of a certain guide who lived in the deserts of Arabia - before the dynastic rule of the Saudi family!  This guide was well-known for never losing his way.  His secret was simple.  He carried with him a homing pigeon with a fine cord attached to one of its legs.  When in doubt as to which path he should take, he threw the bird into the air.  The pigeon quickly strained at the cord, in order to fly in the direction of home, and thus led the guide accurately to that destination.  Because of this unique practice, he was known as "the dove-man".

In the spiritual realm, God the Holy Spirit - the heavenly Dove - is willing, and able, to direct those who are have submitted themselves to the Lordship of Jesus the Christ.  You see, before a person is made spiritually alive, that person walks (i.e. lives) "... following the course of this world, ...", lured on by "... the [evil] spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience." (Eph. 2:2).  However, after having experienced the regenerating power of salvation, new and different longings are received. The true disciple of Jesus is then made able to do the things that God leads him to do.  God the Holy Spirit continually guides - often through the written Word - regarding the path that should be pursued if the believer wishes to reach the heights of victory, and full blessing.  The danger comes when we cater for the flesh, and stop seeking the will of Father God for our lives!

All of us, who claim to be disciples of Jesus, ought to be "dove-men and -women" - sensitive, and fully responsive to our heavenly Guide of Whom the Lord Jesus said: "When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come." (John 16:13).

Monday, 9 May 2016

My utmost for His highest.

The heading to this post is also the title of a book of daily readings from the pen of Oswald Chambers - a Scots Baptist minister who was converted, in his mid-teens, under the ministry of Charles Spurgeon.  In 1915, shortly after his marriage, and the birth of a daughter, he volunteered to be a Chaplain to the Army.  He died on November 15th, 1917, in Egypt, as the result of a ruptured appendix - having suffered the extreme pain of appendicitis for three days before seeking medical attention, because he refused to take a hospital bed needed by wounded soldiers.

Physical Energy
The title of Chambers' best-known book is very similar to the motto that, I read recently, was adopted by the artist George F Watts - "My utmost for the Highest".  Possibly Watts' best-known sculpture - done in bronze - is that of a youth astride a horse, and which he entitled "Physical Energy". Apparently, in his preparations, he altered the the pose of the youth's head several times - from a straightforward upright position  to one in which the face of the young rider is no longer looking out upon the world but, rather, upwards towards God.

In Psalm 5:3 the shepherd-king of Israel, David, writes these words to the LORD: "...  in the morning will I address myself to Thee, and will look up." (J.N.Darby translation) - apparently similarly impressed with the need to set his sights on eternal things if he was to properly conduct himself in this present world.

It is said of another painter, the 17th-century portrait artist, Sir Peter Lely, that he made it a rule never to look at a bad work of art as he had discovered, from his own experience, that he would be disturbed and hindered in his own work, by the ugliness that he had seen.  As a result, his own brush would reflect the partially-warped complex that the unworthy scene had produced in his mind!

The same principle holds true in the pursuit and cultivation of inner purity.  It can be preserved only by refusing to look upon evil. If we fail to fix our attention on the Lord Jesus, and on heavenly things, our imaginations will be poisoned, and our old, carnal, nature stirred to improper action.

It would be good for all of us to make our own motto "My utmost for His highest". If we do, let us remember that nothing keeps the heart so pure, and the hands so busy, as the "upward look"!  There is an old chorus, much-loved by many of my generation, that goes like this: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."    

The writer of the great Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus wrote: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:1-2; emphasis added). 

David also wrote: "I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to Him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed." (Ps 34:4-5). 

Whatever the outlook, be sure to maintain the uplook!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Material prosperity - is that the heart of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ?

I have referred to my friend, David Robertson, minister of St Peter's Free Church of Scotland, Dundee, in a previous post.  He has his own blog, and I read his posts with regularity.  There is always something worthwhile to glean from them but, sometimes, he states a matter so clearly and succinctly, that it seems right to republish (with his permission) so that his words reach an even wider audience.

One of the so-called "Prosperity Gospel" preachers has been invited to Scotland, and David has already published an article about this gentleman - the aptly-named Creflo Dollar!   However, the group that has invited Mr Dollar has objected to David's criticism of him.  The following is David's response:

Dear Creflo,
Forgive me for calling you by your first name but since we both profess to be Christian brothers I think it is appropriate. We have other things in common – we were both born in 1962 and we are both pastors in the Christian church. But there I guess the similarities end. You have a church of some 30,000 members, I have one with 125. You have two Rolls Royce’s and a private jet; I have a leased car and pushbike! To you that might sound like jealousy, to me it just indicates the different worlds we live in and the different theologies we have. You of course are a world famous tele-evangelist, with your own ministry and TV show; I am an unknown Scottish Presbyterian minister. So why am I writing you? Why should you listen to me?
Because you are coming to my country in a few weeks, and I have been challenged by the church that is inviting you after I gave a somewhat critical response to a question I was asked from a Scottish newspaper about your forthcoming visit. I then wrote this blog – Why Creflo Dollar is not Welcome in Scotland (https://theweeflea.com/2016/04/12/why-creflo-dollar-is-not-welcome-in-scotland/)   There was, as you might expect, quite a response. I understand that it even made it into your local Atlanta paper, where one of your staff indicated that it was just a little local difficulty, with the implication being that this was some kind of turf war where we were a bit jealous about your coming to another church.
I met with the leaders of that church who invoked Matthew 18 and asked why I had not consulted you first, before writing in public. I told them that I did not think you would even read my letter, never mind respond, but they did not agree and suggested that I was still in the wrong not to do so. I don’t agree with their application of Matthew 18 (see Don Carson on the misapplication of Matthew 18 - http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/editorial-on-abusing-matthew-18) but nonetheless I want to respect their desire and write to you.
Firstly I want to apologise if I was wrong in my assumption about your willingness to listen, and also if I have misunderstood your teaching and theology.
Secondly I want to ask you about that theology. I have listened to several of your sermons and it seems clear to me that you specifically teach what is understood as the prosperity gospel, of the ‘name it and claim it variety’. I listened to your latest series on ‘taking authority’ and it seemed to me that you believe Christians have only to ‘take authority’ and claim wealth and health. Could you let me know if my understanding is correct? Did you ask your congregation to finance a $65 million jet for your ministry?
Thirdly, if you do teach this Prosperity Gospel, I would issue a plea to you as a Scottish pastor, who is seeking to communicate the Good News in a society which is increasingly ignorant of Christ, or hostile to him. Please don’t come. Your visit will only cause harm – to the Church, to the culture and to those of us who have to stay and work here. The name of God will be ‘blasphemed amongst the Gentiles because of you’. (Romans 2:24).
Fourthly, if you do come then I would simply ask that you be prepared to discuss/dialogue with myself in public about what the Lord really says and wants. You know how when Peter came to Antioch Paul publicly rebuked him to his face (Galatians 2:11)?  Let's meet and discuss in public.    If I am wrong you can show the church and the world, and I will be corrected and taught the way of God more perfectly. If you are wrong then the same applies to you. What is there for either of us to lose? The God who answers by fire, let Him be God.
I would also like to invite you on your way to Aberdeen to pop in for a wee cup of tea and we could have that same discussion in our own small studios here in Dundee at the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.
If you have a heart for the cause of the Gospel here in Scotland, or for the name and honour of Jesus Christ, then I would urge you to listen to my plea. If you refuse to do so, then I feel bound by my love for Christ and His gospel to do everything that I possibly can to resist the cancerous poison of a false theology which assaults the poor, the weak, and the sick; and which makes a mockery of the cross of Christ. I have no interest in church politics, ‘turf wars’ or any other such examples of the worldly spirit that so often invades the churches. I seek only the glory of Christ and the good of His church.
You are clearly a man with considerable communication gifts – imagine the good that could be done if you used them to preach the Gospel (and yes I am suggesting that if you add to the gospel the whole prosperity doctrine it is not the Good News to the poor that you are preaching)? I look forward to hearing from you ASAP.
Yours in Christ
David
David A. Robertson
Pastor of St Peters Free Church
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (a small denomination in Scotland with about 15,000 people in 100 churches).
Dundee, Scotland 30th April 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How God answers prayer.

I confess to getting annoyed when someone informs me that: "God answered/didn't answer my/our prayer!"  You see, Father God always, without exception, answers every prayer that is brought to Him in the strong Name of the Lord Jesus.  The illustration that I learned, many years ago, is of UK-style traffic lights. When the light is green, the message is that one may move forward safely.  However, there are times when the light is red - and that means "Stop"!  In that case, one goes forward at one's own risk - and will be held responsible for any accident that may occur as a result of having disobeyed the clear signal.  Then again, the red and amber lights may be displayed together.  This means "Wait" until the green light shows.  "Yes", "No", and "Wait".  And these are the three answers to prayer.

Allow me to illustrate further.  When my children were very young, I can imagine (just!) one of them coming to me and asking me if I would provide her with a sports car.  Now, regardless of the financial aspect of such a request, my answer would have been "Not just now.  Perhaps when you are older".  I would not have been refusing her request; merely telling her that the time was not right.  Then again, she might have come to me and asked if I would provide her with some dangerous, addictive, mind-transforming, illegal drug.  As a loving and, I trust, responsible father, my answer would, of course, have been "No!"  This would not have been a temporary delay, but a final and definite decision. There were, quite naturally, many times when my answer was, "Of course", and the request was granted as quickly as possible.  However, on no occasion was there no answer!

The apostle Peter prayed, and Dorcas was raised from death (Acts 9:36ff).  Yet, three times Paul asked the Lord to remove a physical affliction, but He didn't do so (II Cor.12:7ff).   Just these two incidents are a Biblical reminder to us that the Lord doesn't always give us what we would like to receive; other times He seems to make us wait a long time before He responds.

I have listened to amazing testimonies of the way in which Father God has positively answered prayer.  I have many such testimonies from my own experience.  However, very often, I have not received the answer that I wanted, and expected.   In many such cases, I have later realised exactly why my heavenly Father denied me my request; or made me wait.

Contrary to the apparent belief of so many, prayer is not some kind of 'magic wand' by which we may always secure healing, or success, or a new relationship, or whatever.  The little printed and laminated 'plaque' that is on my study wall, reminds me on a daily basis that: "Sincere prayer is not an attempt to influence the Will of God; but a genuine desire to bring my will into line with His."

When you pray, acknowledge that God's will is best.  If you are discouraged because He doesn't seem to be answering, tell Him about it.  Never despair; never doubt. He will either give you the desires of your heart (Ps.37:4[b] - but be sure to read in context!!), or He will uphold you with His supernatural power so that, with Paul, you will be able to experience the truth of His promise: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor 12:9).

Friday, 22 April 2016

FOR SALE!

Due to having had to move closer to Bergerac, we are able to offer our residential, static, caravan (38’x13’; 12mx4m) to a discerning buyer.  The ‘van is already sited in a quiet, family-owned, and run, site in the Gironde Départment (33) in SW France.  The nearest large town is Coutras; while Bordeaux, with its airport, is only some 40 kms (25 miles) away.  Bergerac, with its own small airport, is a little over 50 miles away.




If you are looking for a Club, a large swimming complex, two Bars, and a Disco, then Camping Le Chêne du Lac is definitely not for you.  However, if you seek a peaceful site, with friendly, helpful, English-speaking, owners who live on the site themselves, and who are constantly upgrading it (for example, since the top photograph was taken, the roadway has been fully surfaced), then you will love this beautiful corner of France.    Although there is no pool, we do have a private lake, with a sand beach.  There is also free access to pedalos, rubber tubes, kayaks, etc.  How many pools can boast such an array of water activities? Of course, one may swim in the lake as well!

The ‘van, which was privately built to our specifications, is still less than three years old, and has not been host to either smokers or pets.  There are two bedrooms with double beds; one bedroom with bunk beds; and the lounge area has seating that may be made into a full double bed.  This provides sleeping for up to six adults and two children.

The lounge area has the above-mentioned seating, plus a coffee-table, and a TV table — complete with a TV!  We are leaving a clock on the wall, and a Monet print on the opposite wall!  There is an outside aerial that allows the reception of French TV programmes on a number of channels.  By the way, the master bedroom also has TV reception through a wall-mounted aerial socket, with a power socket beside it.     Luxury!
The kitchen area is well fitted with a stainless steel sink; a gas hob, and oven; an electric cooker hood; and oodles of cupboard space.  We are even leaving a microwave!      Safety is of paramount importance, so there is both a smoke alarm, and a fire extinguisher.  A dining-table and four chairs  are also provided.

There is a full bathroom, with wash-hand basin, toilet, and a proper bath with over-bath shower and a glass screen.   Other fitments are in place as shown in the photographs.  There is also an additional, separate toilet — a boon when up to eight people are in residence (or when someone is relaxing in a hot bath!) — complete with wash-hand basin. 

The ‘van boasts full double-glazing, and full, gas-fired, central heating.  The lounge area also has an electric fire, complete with remote control (luxury!!). There are curtains, or venetian blinds, at every  window.  This includes the patio doors that lead from the lounge area to the  verandah which, at this point, also has a roof. 

All of this allows for all-year-round living and, indeed, we have lived in the ‘van as late as November, and as early as January!  The site, of course, is open all year round.  Free Wi-fi is available, and we could usually connect from the ‘van!

The verandah stretches all the way along that end of the ’van, and beyond the front door.  Inset  steps  lead  to ground  level.    At the end of the verandah, but on the ground, is a wooden shed for storage purposes.  The verandah has a full balustrade which provides a level of privacy.   The pitch is clearly marked by shrubs at one end, a low fence at the back, trees at the other end and, of course, the verandah at the front.  There is also room to park a car beside the shed.  The ‘van has a Gas Safety Certificate that is valid until April, 2017, and it is insured until the end of August 2016.  There will be a full bottle of gas left, together with whatever is in the second gas bottle (currently almost full!).  The site rental is currently a mere 160 (app. £125) per calendar month.   Having the ‘van already sited provides a saving of some €1200!  This is not simply a “holiday chalet”, but a fully-fitted residential ‘van.

The price for all of this is only £28,495 sterling (or €36,550) - ovno. 
Viewing may be arranged, or questions asked, by contacting me by e-mail at

author@minister.com        

Additional photographs (and enlargements of those provided!) are also available, on request.

This is a wonderful opportunity to own your personal spot in the sun, in one of the most beautiful areas of a beautiful country.   Lots to see, and do, in the area, e.g. St. Emilion, Bordeaux, Bergerac, the Atlantic coast, weekly markets, wine-tasting, walking, horse-riding, cycling, fishing, golfing, and other attractions. There is also the potential of hiring the ‘van  -  especially during the summer months, and over the Easter period.    If one were to do so, even for those periods alone, the anticipated income should more than cover the site rental for the whole year.

Don’t delay - contact me today!