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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Paliwood ('Palestinian' Hollywood) at its best!

This shocking picture is being used, for obvious propaganda purposes, by terrorist organisation Hamas and/or their supporters. As you can read, it purports to be "... what the medical personnel saw after the Israeli army left this house in Gaza."

If that were true, then Israel would rightly be the object of much, well-deserved, criticism.  However, please look carefully at the bottom one of the three pictures.  Notice, if you will, the object on the door-post at the top right-hand corner.  That object is, most definitely, a mezuzah.

Now, as anyone who has even limited knowledge of Judaism will be all too aware, a mezuzah is an object of great importance - to Jews!  It is part of their physical response to the command, given in Deuteronomy 11:20, concerning the words of YHWH (Ha'shem to a Jew who would not use the sacred Name as someone such as I would do): "... you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, ..."   A mezuzah might be found in a Christian home (I have one, gifted by a dear Christian friend from Australia that is normally kept on the doorpost of my study), but never - absolutely never - in an Arab home.   The mezuzah traditionally contains a small scroll with the words of the Shema written thereon (see Deut.6:4ff).   Whatever this home, we may be assured that it is not the home of a 'Palestinian' family in Gaza!

However, we do have knowledge of the origin of the photographs.  Revealing this to be an act of the most obscene deceit, they have been confirmed as photographs of the home of the Jewish Fogel family - slaughtered in their home by Islamist terrorists who cut the baby's throat!   I asked, recently, when Hamas would start using pictures from the Holocaust to promote their own agenda - this suggests that such a possibility is not as remote as some may have thought!

You are unlikely to see any of this in the mainstream media, but please disseminate among your own friends and contacts.  The truth must be known!


Friday, 25 July 2014

I am a 'Nasrani'.


Apparently, this is the Arabic letter 'N' - short for 'Nasrani': the Arabic word for Christian. It is reported that the al-Qaeda-inspired ISIS group (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), that aims to establish an Islamic Caliphate throughout the Middle East, have spray-painted the Arabic letter on the homes of thousands of Iraqi Christians over the weekend in order to identify them.

An ultimatum, issued by ISIS militants, gave the few remaining Christians a stark choice: stay and convert, pay Islamic tax, or leave. "If they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword," the ISIS statement said.

Let it be known to one and all - I am a 'Nasrani'.

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!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

So who was there?!

This afternoon, my dear wife and I participated in the first of a series of English-language worship services, planned for this summer, in the France Mission Fellowship in Loches.  Posters had been placed around the town, and leaflets placed under the windscreen wipers of cars with UK number plates (and Dutch and German ones, as well!).  There were six of us, altogether!

What a great disappointment, some might conclude.  All of that effort in preparation, and all of that travel, for four other people.  Not at all!  

I recall, when in the British Merchant Navy, that I always attended the "Divine Service" that was held in the First Class ballroom every Sunday when we were at sea.  It was never an uplifting experience, but was a witness to my shipmates.  However, if we were in port on a Sunday, this service was cancelled, and I made a point of attending a worship service ashore.

On one occasion, we were in the Australian port-city of Melbourne (there's a lot more to it than Ramsay Street!).  The nearest place of worship was the local Anglican church but, although I wasn't yet aware of the idea of ecumenism, I knew that I could worship with others who shared my faith in the sole sufficiency of the blood of the Christ for salvation, and in His resurrection life.  I went along - and increased the number of folk at the service by 50% (and that included the vicar!).

I hadn't been to an Anglican worship service before, so was paying particular attention as we went through the prescribed order of service.  It was as the vicar led up to communion, that I received a wonderful insight.  He spoke the words: "With angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy holy Name."

I looked around, and suddenly realised that the building was packed out!  Oh, I could still see only two other human beings.  But I realised that, all around us, were angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven!  What a congregation!

We may have been twice as many at that service this afternoon, in Loches.  But what was exciting was that that much smaller building was likewise packed - packed with angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven!

Sometimes, preachers - and other church-goers - are a bit downcast if the numbers in attendance at any worship service don't match up to expectations.  Don't be down-heartened! Like Elisha's servant (II Kings 6), you only need your eyes to be opened to the supernatural, to realise that, if you are truly there to worship father God, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, through the power of God the Holy Spirit, then you are joined by angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven.  If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Following directions!

It's almost midnight, as I start typing, and we are in the town of Loches. some 4 hours drive north of the static.  We are here - my wife and I - to be involved in the first of a planned series of English-speaking worship services to be held over the summer months.  My wife will be leading the praise, and I will be bringing the message.  I suppose that if I am first, it can only get better!!

Anyway, never having been here before, we entrusted ourselves to the guidance of our sat-nav.  All was well until, just south  of Châtellerault, there was some confusion (not unknown with our Garmin!) about the number of exits from a roundabout.  We took the wrong one!

This mistake resulted in us having to go all the way through Châtellerault, instead of skirting around it - adding both miles and minutes on to our journey.  Eventually, of course, we were brought back to where we should have been.

I was reminded of the way in which, so often, I make mistakes on the journey of life.  My heavenly Father has a route all mapped out.  It's the perfect route for my particular journey.   If I follow His instructions, I will never go wrong, and will arrive safely at my ultimate destination.

However, because I do make mistakes; because I do go my own way; because I am sometimes willfully disobedient; I end up going the wrong way - making my journey that much more difficult.  Thankfully, just like the sat-nav, my heavenly Father continues to direct me, and eventually gets me back on path.

Are you finding life difficult at the moment?  Then one of two things may be happening.  You may have gone off on your own, abandoning God's plan for your life.  Or it may be that you are actually in His plan, but that the road at this juncture, happens to be difficult.  In either case, re-affirm your trust in Him, and be assured that He will either bring you back to His perfect purpose, or see you through the most difficult stretches of the road.

He is sovereign, and His will is perfect.  Being in the centre of it is the safest place in the world to be.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Bodies of 3 Kidnapped Boys Found

Yesterday, I sent my personal note of condolence to the parents of three Israeli, Jewish, boys who were kidnapped almost three weeks ago, and whose dead bodies were discovered on Monday.  There is little doubt that the perpetrators of this crime were connected with Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organisation that aims to remove the Children of Israel from the land that was covenanted to them by Almighty God.

Over the last few days, thousands of Israelis were forced to take shelter, as Hamas launched dozens of rockets from Gaza towards residential areas in Israel. In the recent barrage, three homes were hit, a paint factory was destroyed, and several vehicles were damaged. More than 70 rockets have been indiscriminately fired at Israel over the last month, a dramatic increase compared to the same period last year.
Israel’s Air force has been targeting Hamas and terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, killing three terrorists over the last week. In a message to the press, a Hamas spokesperson responded that these attacks “will open the gates of hell on Israel”.
It is important to note that the kidnap, and murder, of the three boys, and the indiscriminate fire aimed at Israeli civilian centres, are by no means isolated events - they are both the result of Hamas’ ruthless terror tactics and vehement ideology.  As already noted, Hamas’ radical charter calls for the eradication of the Jewish State and states that: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him”.
In describing Israel’s battle against terrorism, the international media often employs phrases such as “tit for tat” or “cycle of violence,” implying moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, between an army’s unwavering commitment to protecting civilians (on both sides) and a terrorist organization that targets civilians in Israel and then hides behind them in Gaza.   There is no comparison!
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem - and we pray for the parents, and families, of Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali, and for all who have suffered, including Palestinians, from the cowardly attacks of Hamas.