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Friday, 20 October 2017


Once again, the world is being urged to act on a lie! Someone named Mohammed Mahmoud has posted the following on Facebook:  

Mohammed Mahmoud: appealing to the world for funds for Gaza· 
Help make it happen for Gaza's children in need of clothes for Warm Winter.  FreeGaza

This is the accompanying picture - which would surely touch any but the hardest heart.

The only problem is that this picture was 'lifted' from The Los Angeles Times - and shows a boy in the Philippines, with the caption:

"A Filipino boy stands behind a vehicle to keep out the cold wind in a heavy downpour. Tropical Storm Meari will make its presence known as it strengthens into a Category 1 typhoon sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. It will continue on its northwesterly course to the northeast of the Philippines."

The picture was taken on June 23rd, 2011 - more than six years ago!

It is yet another example of the blatant, and false, propaganda that is pushed out by those who wish only to see the nation State of Israel condemned and, eventually, destroyed. I am reminded of another "damning photograph" from a few years ago. It was captioned as being of a "Palestinian" home that, allegedly, had been targeted by Israeli troops who slaughtered the family of innocent "Palestinians"! However, closer inspection of the photograph showed a mezuzah on one of the doorposts of the home. For those who do not know, a mezuzah is a small container - made of wood, metal, or some other suitable material - that contains the words of the Shema written on a small piece of parchment. The Shema is the text of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, and is recited on a daily basis by every orthodox Jew (and even many who would not class themselves as Orthodox). It is certainly not something that would be found in, or on, any "Palestinian" Arab Muslim home! The picture was later shown to have been of an Israeli home, targeted by Muslim militia, and in which a whole family of Jews had been slaughtered! Of course, the MSM didn't see any need to publish that information!

It is also worth pointing out that the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza, and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the "Strip" had been completed by September 12, 2005. So much for Mr Mahmoud's tag of "FreeGaza"! More than twelve years out of date!

Please take the anti-Israel reports that you hear so constantly with a very large pinch of the proverbial salt. 50% of them are lies - and the other 50% are not true!

L'chaim Ysrael!

Sh’alu shalom yerushalayim.

Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai.  

Gadol Adonai mehulal me’od.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

"Telling", or "Showing"?

During some long-needed tidying-up in my study this afternoon, I discovered a piece that I had published in a church magazine - a very long time ago! However, as I read it, I decided that it might be worth publishing on this blog. It's a true story with, I trust, a clear lesson!

We were travelling through the Belgian city of Brussels, en route to visit friends in Germany, when we missed a turning! It was already quite late in the evening; it was dark; our children were young; and with neither map, nor knowledge, of the city we were completely lost!

I stopped at a petrol station and, in faltering French, asked for directions to the airport as we had arranged our overnight stop close to it. The directions were willingly given - but completely in French, and at a speed that left us barely any wiser than we were before. 

Our next attempt at finding help was somewhat better as, at an all-night café, we at least received some directions in the English language. However, by the time that we had crossed over the same little bridge for the third time, we had realised that we were getting no closer to our destination.

Eventually, just two simple words brought clarity to the situation. We asked a young man, who was topping up the radiator in his own car (it really was a long time ago!), if he could help. "Certainly", he replied, "Follow me!" and, as we did so, we quickly arrived at the main road leading to the airport, and were then able to find our planned destination.

FOLLOW ME! There is a world of difference between telling someone the way, and showing them the way. In I Cor.11:1, Paul issues an amazing invitation to his readers. "Follow my example," he writes, "as I follow the example of Christ." Writing to the believers in Thessalonica, he uses similar language: "You became imitators of us, and of the Lord." (I Thess.1:6). Jesus, Himself, not only said that the wise man is the one who "... hears these words of Mine, and puts them into practice." (Matt.7:24); He also said: "I am the Way ..." (Jn.14:6), "Follow Me." (Mk.1:17).

You (if you are one!) and I may be able to tell others how to live the life of the disciple of Jesus, but it is a different thing to show it! Paul was saying, in effect, "Doing as I do will ensure that you are walking in the footsteps of Jesus." It's as we live "... in the fear of the LORD." (Ps.34:11) that we "... live lives worthy of God, who calls [us] into His kingdom and glory." (I Thess.2:12), and are able to say to others who would seek Jesus - "Follow me!"

Friday, 13 October 2017

What's in a name?

When a couple are expecting a child, one of the exciting things that they tend to do is to think about what name(s) they will give the baby when it is born. When my wife was pregnant, we had chosen two sets of names - one if the baby should be a girl, and another if the baby should be a boy. Today, of course, the gender of the unborn child may be known from quite early on in the pregnancy - giving the lie to any suggestion by the pro-abortion lobby that what is aborted is merely an amorphous lump of cellular material!

In the last post, I looked at the Old Testament prophet, Hosea, and how he was commanded by Almighty God to take a wife - who would be unfaithful to him! However, as we read the book that bears Hosea's name, we discover that his marriage to Gomer appeared to have started well. Before too long, their first child was born. What name would they give this little boy? They didn't name him after his father - or after any other relative. Instead, in obedience to God, they gave him the name 'Jezreel' = 'God shall scatter' for, said YHWH, "... yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day, I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel." (Hosea 1:4-5; see II Kings 10:1-11).

Then gradually, Gomer's interest in her marriage began to fade and, soon, the symptoms of an extra-marital affair began to show - unexplained absences; unreciprocated love; endless excuses; etc. However, although Hosea's suspicions were surely growing, it was not until the arrival of a second child - a daughter - that his doubts became certainty. "And YHWH said to him, “Call her name 'Not pitied', for I will no more have pity on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will deliver them by YHWH their God; I will not deliver them by bow, nor by sword, nor by war, nor by horses, nor by horsemen." (Hos.1:6-7).

After this little girl had been weaned, this unfaithful woman bore a second son. "And YHWH said, 'Call his name 'Not my people', for you are not My people and I am not your God'." (Hos.1:8).

What a sad story! According to the law of the time, Hosea was entitled to have his wife stoned to death for her repeated adultery. However, he chose to forgive her. His love for her was too strong to be broken by her infidelities. Of course, he was considering God's particular interest in his marriage. It was, after all, to be a visual aid for Israel, enabling them to see what was happening in the bigger 'marriage' between themselves and their Covenant God.

This, Hosea declares to the people. Speaking the words of YHWH, he says: "Plead with your mother, plead - for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband - that she put away her harlotry from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked  and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and set her like a parched land, and slay her with thirst.

Upon her children also I will have no pity, because they are children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot;  she that conceived them has acted shamefully." (Hos.2:2-5).

As I look around me, I see so much of that which claims to be the Church - the Body of the Lord Jesus, the Christ - acting like the kingdom of Israel. I hear those who have been ordained to the ministry of the Word, diluting it; diminishing it; denying it; destroying it. Those who proclaim from their pulpits that when Jesus said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6), He didn't really mean that He is the only way! Those who support the 'marriage' of persons of the same gender, in spite of it being contrary to the clear teaching of the written Word of God. Those who appear to be happy with the latest fad of 'transgenderism', by which I may simply declare myself to be a woman, and society must treat me as such - including allowing me to share the ladies' showers at the gym: a veritable pervert's charter!

There are those who claim that it is only by conforming to the standards of the contemporary culture that the Church can survive. Yet I see those denominations, and congregations, that espouse this point of view continuing to lose members (many of whom were only 'paper-members' in any case!) hand over foot. Perhaps they need to return to the Word; to reflect on the inspired words of Paul that we should "... not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom.12:2).

Of course, all of us may learn from Hosea, and the patience and forgiving love that he displayed towards his wayward wife. We will be learning from the Lord Himself - Whose love for us is beyond anything that we can think, or imagine. As I shared recently, in a preached message (you may hear the message here: but I should warn you that it is in French!), He cannot love you any more than He already does - and Calvary proves it!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Walking the walk, not just talking the talk!

It's been a while since I posted on the subject of marriage. It is, however, a very important subject - perhaps more than ever in these days when its God-ordained status is being increasingly downgraded - not least by the fact that, Biblically, it is used as a picture of the relationship between Almighty God and His people: El Shaddai and the Children of Israel under the Old Covenant; and the Lord Jesus and the Church under the New Covenant.

The 'Minor Prophets' are a group of Hebrew prophets whose writings are gathered together, in English-language versions of the Bible, at the end of the "Old Testament". However, this is not the case in the Hebrew Old Testament (the Tanakh). One of these men, whose book is at the beginning of the Minor Prophets, is named Hosea, and his message is more than interesting! The book that is named after him commences with these words:

"The word of the Lord that came to Hosea the son of Be-eri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. When YHWH first spoke through Hosea, YHWH said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry, for the land commits great harlotry by forsaking YHWH.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son." (Hos.1:1-3).

Read those words again - carefully! Did you catch on what Hosea was commanded to do? Not simply to get himself a wife - nothing unusual in that - but to be married to a prostitute!

Hosea came into prominence some 700 years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, during what was a period of stability in the northern kingdom of Israel (Ten tribes; Judah, to the south, was composed of the other two tribes). Indeed, it was known as the "Golden Age" because of Israel's military, political, and economic strength: the greatest since that of the united kingdom under Solomon. Morally, however, she was rotten to the core! She had turned her back on the one thing that made her unique - her faith in the Covenant God Who had redeemed her from bondage in Egypt.

I suspect that I was not unusual when I proposed to the young woman who became my wife. I had high expectations for our marriage, and anticipated that any problems we encountered would be met by the two of us together.  However, when God spoke to Hosea at this point in the nation's history, and commanded him to marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him, he "proposed" knowing that, right from the start, his marriage would be plagued with deep and disturbing problems. 

Why would God lead one of His chosen prophets into a marriage of such a kind?! The answer is provided in those opening words: "...  the land commits great harlotry by forsaking YHWH." or, as another translation puts it: "... for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord." (NIV). In Exodus 24:3, we read that, after the Children of Israel had been delivered from Egypt, they entered into a covenant relationship with YHWH (the Lord) that they would be faithful to Him. The vow that they made to Him was similar to a marriage vow. However, by 'flirting' with other gods, the nation was guilty of adultery. So, in effect, God is saying to Hosea: "I need your help! I have marriage problems. Stick to Gomer, no matter what happens, and perhaps the nation will understand, through you actions, something of my undying love."

Hosea faced an astonishing request from God - not only to preach His message, but also to live it!

"Words", the old adage has it, "are cheap!". A similar proverb reminds us that "Actions speak more loudly than words!". Personally, I have to be honest and confess that, if God had given me a challenge similar to the one He gave Hosea, I would have had great difficulty in meeting it! Yet Hosea's is the level of faith to which all who own the name of Jesus are called - a faith that trusts Him, even although it cannot see the way ahead. Indeed, that is the only true faith. William Barclay states, somewhere, that for the disciple of Jesus, "faith is spelled R.I.S.K."

Are you willing to stake your all on Him today? Are you willing to walk the walk - or merely talk the talk? 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

What, in the world, is happening?

Mass murder, and mayhem, in Las Vegas; mass uprising, and demonstration, in Barcelona; the mass of an asteroid the size of a tower-block forecast to miss planet Earth by just thousands of miles (close, in astronomical terms!); the growing threat of North Korea being the catalyst for World War III. This is the world in which we live - and it would be easy to despair in the light of these, and other, events happening around the world.

In my personal devotions, I am currently reading in the book of the Revelation of Jesus, given to the apostle John. It is not the easiest Biblical book to understand. It is of the apocalyptic genre, and is filled with symbolism. I certainly find it to be confusing, at times; but I am also being led to rethink some long-held ideas. However, the overriding lesson of the book is that, however events may seem to suggest otherwise, Almighty God is in control, and that He is working all things out according to His own eternal plans and purposes.

I have just reached chapter 20 of the book (not that John wrote it down in chapters and verses! These were added by others in order to facilitate finding any particular part of the book - and of the Bible). In the previous chapter, we have what we might refer to as the beginning of the end. John records:

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying,
            “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
              Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory,
             for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
             and His Bride has made herself ready; 

            it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure” - 
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints." (Rev.19:6-8).

Almighty God has been reigning in heaven throughout eternity. In His sovereignty, He has permitted evil men - and evil angels; the servants of the satan - to do their worst, and we are seeing some of that, on a daily basis, in our own time. However, there is a day coming - and it may be a lot sooner than some seem to think - when He will move in divine power, and His will shall be fulfilled on earth,  even as it already is in heaven. 

The Lamb, in this great chorus of praise is, of course the Lord Jesus, the Christ; and the Bride is the Church - not simply those who have their names on a congregational/fellowship roll, but those who have been truly born again through God the Holy Spirit, through repentance and faith. (see Jn.3:16; Eph. 2:8).

One day (soon, I believe) Jesus will return for His Bride, and take His faithful people to that dimension that we refer to as 'heaven'. So Paul writes:

"But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the shofar of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (I Thess.4:13-17). 

At the Judgement Seat of the Christ (see II Cor.5:10), the works of His people will be judged, and all spots and blemishes removed. It will be after this that Jesus will return to earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords, and will conquer His enemies and establish His kingdom.

The Revelation was first given to people who were going through similar experiences to what we go through today. As today, many were persecuted, to the point of death, simply for being faithful to Him. In Rev.19:11, we are introduced to "... a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, ..." Suffering saints then, and now, need to be reminded that our God is faithful, and never deserts us, because His promises are true. 

So how does this relate to current events? I would suggest that we are seeing more and more evidence that we are in the end-times. The devil knows - better than we do! - that his time is limited. He is doing all that he can to wreak havoc. There is no hope without Jesus. However, in Him, there is true hope, and life, and the assurance of an eternity spent in His nearer presence, where sin cannot exist, and where we shall praise Him, the Lamb upon the throne, our Saviour, our Lord, and our Friend.

How do you see the future? Perhaps it doesn't concern you! I believe that it should. I also believe that you need to ensure that your future is with the Lord. He gave Himself for you, on a cross - dying there that you (and I) might have the life that He offers - "... life in all its fulness." (Jn.10:10). Will you respond to His call? Will you accept the gift of salvation that He offers? It is a simple fact that tomorrow is promised to no-one - as the victims in Las Vegas have, sadly, discovered. What you do have is this moment. What will you do with it? 

Saturday, 30 September 2017


The English-language word "conversion" is reasonably common in everyday conversation. We use it to refer to a positive change in many areas of life - from making a living-space out of a loft, to achieving more power from a vehicle engine.

However, for the disciple of Jesus, it is the way in which we refer to the change in our lives that comes from a personal encounter with Him, and entering into a living relationship with Him. It may be sudden, or gradual. I have often illustrated that by comparing someone jumping into the sea from the end of a pier with someone walking along the beach and discovering that the water is lapping around their ankles. Both are in the water - but while one may pinpoint the precise moment that they entered it, the other is unable to do so.

However, is it possible that a spiritual; conversion may be both sudden and gradual?! Whether, or not, we can specify the precise moment as, for example, could the apostle Paul (see Acts 26:13), in God's eyes, there is a particular moment of transition. Even Paul's dramatic encounter with the risen Jesus was the culmination of what we may refer to as God's "softening-up" process. It is clear that all of his experiences with these "Followers of the Way" (i.e. of the One Who said: "I am the Way, and the Truth , and the Life; no-one comes to the Father, but by Me." [Jn.14:6]), and especially with Stephen, the first Christian martyr, had roused his conscience - even although he appears to have endeavoured to stifle it (see Acts 26:14). Indeed, his increasing fury and activity against them may well have been an unconscious effort to still that accusing voice within!

Paradoxically, it is just when men's opposition to the Gospel message is multiplying - as it is at this present time - that we may take heart that God the Holy Spirit is at work. Paul's efforts to make disciples blaspheme the Lord Jesus (Acts 26:11) was the same policy described some fifty years later by Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, in a letter to the emperor Trajan, as something which "... people who are really Christians cannot possibly be made to do." (see I Cor.12:3). This, by the way, is still the case to day - in spite of the attempts of evil men to make them do so. Check out this link:

I am unable to totally verify that report - but nor do I have any grounds for doubting its veracity!

The people referred to in the report were seeking to serve others - and that is what any converted man, woman, or young person will seek to do. The old, now clichéd, phrase was: "Saved to Serve". Recognising the change that has taken place in him/herself, the new disciple of Jesus will wish to help others - particularly to have their own personal encounter with the risen Lord.

The activity of the devil must not be taken lightly. He is always blinding people, and enslaving them. (see I.Cor 26:18; cf II Cor.4:4, II Tim.2:26). This is why so many neither realise their dire situation, nor appreciate their need to repent, that they may know the full forgiveness of Father God, and the sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Conversion. It's a great word. It's an even greater experience!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Australia showing the way?!

The following information came from someone with whom I have recently become friends. To my mind, it makes rather disturbing reading, especially as I had just read David Robertson's latest post. I have added the link to that post at the end - it is (as always!) well worth reading.

Make sure the grocery buyer in your household reads this. 
There should be more leading Australians like Dick, he gets to the bottom of important issues and anything that amounts to selling out Australia is very important.
You may be aware that " Dick Smith " chain franchise stores are being pressured by the Islamic Council of Australia to gain 'Halal Certification' otherwise they will be proscribed and banned from Muslim custom.

This is their response:
"We at Dick Smith 's have received a number of letters from people asking if we will be putting the Muslim Halal logo on our food.

To acquire Halal certification, payment is required to the endorsing body (the Islamic Council) and involves a number of site inspections of both our growers and processors in order to ensure that our practices comply with the conditions of Halal certification.

It is important to note that this does not reflect the quality of the food being processed or sold – it only means that the products are approved as being prepared in accordance with the traditions of the Muslim faith.

We are aware of an increasing number of large companies both in Australia and overseas, such as Kraft and Cadbury, who have obtained accreditation to use the Halal logo. We don’t believe they have done this because of any religious commitment but rather for purely commercial reasons.

Perhaps these large organizations can afford to do this.

While we have a choice however, we would prefer to avoid unnecessarily increasing the cost of our products in order to pay for Halal accreditation when this money would be better spent continuing to support important charitable causes where assistance is greatly needed.

We point out that we have never been asked to put a Christian symbol (or any other religious symbol) on our food requiring that we send money to a Christian organization for the right to do so.

Others would add that money paid to ANY Muslim 'organization' (and you had better believe it: these people ARE 'organized') can easily find its way into the hands of Islamic extremist-fanatics and murderers, irrespective of assurances to the contrary.

What other assurances do we accept from Muslims? Oh, that's right, 'Islam is a religion of PEACE'!  How less Australian can companies get, than to place money into the hands of those who seek to exploit us?"

This is an example of how the leaders of Muslims in Aus./NZ. are bullying large commercial organizations (especially in the food industry) into paying what is no more than blatant extortion money. The amazing part is that these weak-kneed organizations (Cadbury/ Schweppes/ Nestles/ Kraft etc.) actually pay the large sums demanded by these self-appointed religious bureaucrats.

Of course, the manufacturers promptly pass this levy on to unwitting consumers as cost increases.

Next time you buy a block of Cadbury's chocolate, look for the Halal Certification seal on the wrapper. So, regardless of your own religious faith, you end up subsidising Islam.

The Council also controls the Muslim voter bloc which, as yet, does not have sufficient critical mass to make a difference - but give them time.

Several state jurisdictions are under pressure to adopt or permit Sharia Law in Marriage, Family and Property matters and some, under the delusion that they are being progressively liberal, are permitting this. This has already happened in some local authorities in the U.K. Google the U.K. Education Department's current investigation into the conduct of Muslim-run schools in the Birmingham area of England.

How many more warnings do people need?
Check the produce on the shelf and don't buy anything Muslim extorted.


Here is the link to David Robertson's latest post - you will quickly understand the relevance!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Colour blindness

I must confess that, until last evening, I thought that "colour blindness" involved no more than an inability to distinguish between certain colours; and I had never even heard of "Enchroma" spectacles.

However, a video clip on Facebook has set me right. Here is the YouTube link:

I hope that you found that to be as informative - and as moving - as I did! It certainly set my mind off in a particular direction. I recall, away back in the 1970s when I was the minister to St.Andrew's Parish Church in Bellshill, inviting the Rev Dr Leonard Small, who had been the Moderator of the Presbytery of Edinburgh when I was ordained to "the holy ministry of Word and Sacrament", to preach at the first anniversary of my induction to St.Andrew's. When he spoke to the children, Dr Small used the example of colour television, as against the monochrome television that most people still had, to illustrate the difference that becoming a disciple of Jesus makes in the life of an individual - regardless of age.

Life without Jesus is, in fact, colourless. It is bland and, in reality, uninteresting. Now, of course, if one has known nothing else, one is excited by monochrome television, and cannot conceive of anything better - until one sits in front of a colour television screen! William Reed probably did know that he was 'missing out'. He undoubtedly, during his 66 years of life up to the day of the video, heard others speak about these 'strange' concepts of red, and blue; green and yellow; brown and pink; etc. But he could only experience black and white (and. possibly, shades of grey).

Jesus said: "I have come that they (i.e. you and me) might have life in all its fulness". (John 10:10; emphasis added). What He was saying is that, without His input, we merely exist; we do not know what true living is all about. It is NOT about parties, and drugs, and sex, and fast cars, and the latest in computerised technology, and making as much money as possible as easily as possible. Oh, that's how a lot of people see it - but they are living monochrome lives! If you watched the video, you will know that William Reed was gifted a special pair of spectacles - Enchroma spectacles - that, somehow, enable him to now see all of the colours that were hitherto hidden from his sight. That's a bit like responding positively to the message of the Gospel that is summed up in the words of John 3:16: "God loved the world (that's you and me, again!) so much that, in the Persona (not a typo - see my book "Great Words of the Faith", the chapter on the Trinity) of the Son - Jesus - He gave Himself on the cross at Calvary, paying the penalty for your sin, and for mine, and enabling us to know, here and now, His own eternal life." (my paraphrase!).

Many years ago, one of the songs that I sung when on a deputation, had these words:

"Heaven above is softer blue,
earth around is richer green;
something lives in every hue,
Christless eyes have never seen:
songs of birds in sweetness grow,
flowers with deeper beauties shine,
since I know, as now I know,
I am His and He is mine."

It's like receiving a pair of spiritual Enchroma spectacles - and life is never the same.

I am delighted for William Reed. I would be even more delighted to know that he has accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. I would be delighted to learn that you had done so as well - if you have not already made that decision. As always, if I can be of any assistance, please contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the blog. I don't access that Inbox on a daily basis but, as soon as I access your e-mail, I will respond. Blessings, and shalom.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Evolution - is it reality?!

Okay, later than intended (due to my failure to publish the previous post when I had intended to do so!), a few comments on the film that my wife and I watched at the "Cité de l'Océan" exhibition in Biarritz.

As already stated, the English-language version was narrated by David Attenborough - a convinced evolutionist. This meant that everything was interpreted as evidence for Charles Darwin's celebrated theory. There, of course, is the first problem for what is now known as "neo-Darwinism" - it is a theory! 

Now, I have been challenged on that claim before now. I have been told that the word "theory", when used by Darwin, does not mean what most people understand by it! What has never been made clear to me is what it does mean! The dictionary definition of "theory" will be slightly different depending on which particular dictionary is used. However, the Cambridge English Dictionary states that a theory is: "a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event or, more generally, an opinion or explanation." In other words, a theory is not a proven fact! 

What I found interesting in the film that we watched, was the frequent use of the word "perhaps"! "Perhaps" this happened; "perhaps" that happened; "perhaps" something else happened! However, in the next sentence, that "perhaps" had become an established fact! That, I have to say, is something that I have discovered to be the case, over and over again, throughout a goodly number of years being interested in the subject. 

Science should be, I would claim, a constant seeking after knowledge. "The scientist ... must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors." (J.Robert Oppenheimer; Physicist). True science should look at evidence, not close its eyes to anything that doesn't fit its own particular ideas. A scientific "fact" is something that is both observable, and repeatable. The theory of evolution is neither!

On the other hand, when I observe the world around me - whether I look at the delicate petals of a tiny flower; the exquisite colours and patterns of the wings of some butterflies; the night sky with its myriad of stars, all moving in such a way that we are able to predict where they will be, in our line of vision, in six months' time - or sixty years!; a murmur of starlings performing their aerial acrobatics in the sky above me; an aeroplane taking off from the nearby Bergerac Airport; or a thousand and one other things; I see overwhelming evidence of design, and planning, and creation.

I am, of course, a fully convinced creationist - and I make no apology for being so. I would also claim that I am not some uneducated, mentally retarded, 'brainwashed', person. I have a considerable list of formal academic qualifications, and (for what it's worth!) a reasonable IQ. However, even if one does not accept the existence of a supernatural Being, Who created all that exists by the power of His Word, and to Whom, in the English language, we ascribe the nomenclature "God", I fail to understand how any unbiased, right-minded, person can fail to see order and design all around us.

Of course, "intelligent design" (ID) does raise the question of the identity of the Designer - but that is another issue!

If you have the time, and the inclination (and almost an hour to spare!), I commend this video to you. If, part of the way through, you decide that you don't wish to watch any more, at least scroll to 55'50 - and make sure that you wait until 56'00! You may be surprised!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Evolution, and Reality.

I apologise! It would appear that, having previewed this post on Friday evening, I failed to publish it! Désolé!

My wife and I are currently spending a few days with friends who live in the Basque Region of SW France. When the arrangement was made, we had anticipated time at the beach and maybe even a swim in the sea! Sadly, the weather conditions are not conducive to such activities! :-(

However, we are still able to get out and about and, today, we drove to Biarritz and visited a major exhibition entitled "Cité de l'Océan". It was fascinating, and we learned a great deal about the oceans of the world; the many forces behind wave production; and denizens of the deep of which we had previously been unaware.

Two experiences stood out,especially, for me. One was "Virtual Surfing" - my first ever experience of the use of virtual reality technology. The other was a forty-minute, 3-D film, based on the Galapagos archipelago, and narrated by (in the English language version) David Attenborough. As with the other exhibits, it was totally biased towards the theory of evolution (no surprise there!).

Many years ago, I was invited to produce an article for a German Christian magazine on the subject of "Reality". Having made reference to, and quoted from, figures such as Plato, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking, I posed the question: "Is true reality to be found in that dimension that we call the spiritual?" I then suggested that, if the spiritual dimension is indeed the true reality, then it follows that ultimate reality is the Being Who exists eternally; is neither created nor destructible; and who, in the English language, is referred to as God! 

Stephen Hawking has stated, somewhere, that: "The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary. The universe would be completely self-contained, and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE!" Take out the references to "the universe", and replace them with references to God and, with one exception, we would have a not unreasonable definition of the "Immortal, ineffable, God only wise; in light inaccessible hid from our eyes" Who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, the Christ.

However, that one exception is of eternal significance! It is in the words "... not affected by anything outside itself." Because the core of the Christian Gospel is that Almighty God is affected by something outside Himself. And that something is your sin, and mine. But, being One Whose very essence is love - and neither the sentimentalism, nor the eroticism, that is passed off as 'love' in our contemporary culture; but the unconditional, immeasurable, unending love that is expressed by the Greek word 'agape' - He was not prepared to let our sin cut us off from His love, and from a living relationship with Himself. His justice demanded that justice be meted out; His love took that punishment upon Himself as, in the Persona (NOT a typo - see the chapter on The Trinity in my book: Great Words of the Faith) of the Son, He hung on a man-made cross, and died the death that we deserve. He paid the price that we might go free, and now offers salvation, and real life - "... life in all its fulness." (Jn.10:10).

Virtual reality may be great fun - but it is virtual! It is not genuine; it is fake. Certainly for the disciple of Jesus, true reality is found, as is salvation, only in Jesus the Christ. May this be the experience of all who read these words. It will be for your good; and for His glory.

I'll comment on the evolution film in the next post!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Defending a lion?!

Budding evangelists, and those who wish to witness more overtly concerning the Christian faith, could do a lot worse than take some lessons from that star evangelist, the Apostle Paul.

Dr Luke records, in Acts 17:1-15, two basic requirements for effective sharing of the Gospel message. The first of these is, quite simply, to concentrate on the Lord Jesus:

"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ'.” (vs.1-3)

It is Jesus Who is the centre of the Gospel message, rather than the benefits He confers. Paul stressed two specific points. First of all, the historic man, Jesus, is the Messiah (the Christ). No one can properly respond to Jesus, the Christ, until they are sure as to Who He is. This requires the study of His claims, and how they were vindicated by His life, and His final triumph over the grave. Secondly, we need to be confident about the theological explanation of why it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead.In other words, granted the facts, what do they mean? So the Gospel proclamation must be Christ-centred, factual, and theological.

However, as we read on, and discover that Paul has now arrived in Beroea, we learn the second requirement. That is to use the Scriptures! So we read:

"Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (v.11)

The Christian message is reasonable, but its reasons should be drawn from the written Word. This is the weapon that God has placed in our hands. This is "... the sword of the Spirit ..." (Eph.6:17). At Beroea, the preaching was made doubly effective because the hearers checked what they heard by the touchstone of God's Word - which was, of course, for them, the Tanakh (the Jewish Scriptures; what we know as the Old Testament!). I suspect that there are many in churches today who have not yet caught on that the early church did all of its evangelisation with just the Old Testament to hand. Check out Peter's great sermon on the first Day of Pentecost of the Christian era (Acts Acts 2:14ff); Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26ff); and note that when Paul writes to Timothy and tells him that "All scripture is inspired by God and[a] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (II Tim.3:16-17) he is referring only to the Old Testament of which, he also states, Timothy has from his childhood, "... been acquainted ..." (v.15). Because of Paul's use of the Tanakh, many believed (Acts 17:12). When our arguments make no headway, the written Word will often strike home, simply because it is the living Word of the living God. There is great power in the Word - power to convict; power to convert; power to construct (or 'build up' - but I do like my alliteration!!).

Even although others distort, dilute, diminish, deny, and even seek to destroy the truth of God's Word, the faith remains unaltered - this "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude:3).

It was C.H.Spurgeon who once remarked: "Defend the Bible? I would as soon think of defending a lion!" Use the Word to share the Saviour. It's a great combination.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A principled man!

Prior to the referendum on the United Kingdom's continuing membership of the European Union, I don't think that I had ever heard of the Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Member of Parliament (Conservative) for North-East Somerset. However, his obvious depth of knowledge; his razor-sharp wit; his debating prowess; his ability to make his point in a mature, gentlemanly manner; and his overall demeanour; caused me to look more closely at this man - whose name suggests that he lives in an élite bubble, unaware of the circumstances of "ordinary" people (although that is, quite obviously, not the case!).

I have continued to keep a close eye on "JRM" in the many months since the result of that referendum was announced - even although the government have not yet represented the will of the majority of UK voters. He has become, as many will be aware, the favourite to replace Theresa "Sharia" May(be, maybe not!) as Prime Minister, and has an enviable following in social networking - many of his followers being from the younger generation!

Of course, this has meant that he is suddenly the man every radio and television presenter wishes to interview. One such interview, was on Good Morning Britain, which aired yesterday morning, and in which Mr. Rees-Mogg, in answer to a question, told presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that he supported the teaching of the Catholic church and opposed gay marriage, adding: “The teaching of the Catholic Church is completely clear.” He was also asked if his opposition to abortion included cases of rape and incest, and replied: “I’m afraid so. Life is sacrosanct and begins at the point of conception, and I think it is wrong.”

My first reaction to the reports of this interview was to be grateful for a modern MP who is not only a man of principle, but who is not going to hide his principles for the sake of "popularity". Of course, the usual leftie-liberal-luvvies went into a hyper-ventilated frenzy of opprobrium. "This homophobe wants to take us back to the 18th century" may not have been said, verbatim - but it sums up a fair number of the comments that I have since read by those who believe that they have the freedom to publicly disagree with JRM's personal beliefs - but who would deny him the right to publicly state them! As has often been said - the most intolerant people are often those who demand tolerance!

Now, let me state clearly that, with regard to matters of theology, I am opposed to certain matters of doctrine that JRM would presumably hold - even marriage is seen by him, as a member of the Church of Rome, as a sacrament. I do not agree with that. However, my mind goes back to when I was a student at the University of Glasgow. The former Trinity College had been "acquired" by the University, and was now the Faculty of Theology. In what was seen, by many, to be a bold move, a priest of the Church of Rome, from the nearby Cardross Seminary, was invited to speak to the new Faculty - staff and students - for the first time in some centuries. I was there, as a rabid evangelical, ready to denounce whatever this man might say that would be in any way opposed to my solid Protestant heritage. I left the lecture, somewhat chastened! I discovered that I had more agreement with this Roman priest than I had with some of my regular lecturers! Since those far-off days, I have counted a number of members, and clergy, of the Church of Rome to be among my friends - including a Prince-Cardinal of the church!

However, going back to JRM, I am - as those who know me well would expect me to be - in full agreement with him on these two specific issues. More than that, I firmly believe that, in speaking as he did, he was representing the views of many of the "silent majority" who recognise that the nation has not merely drifted away from its Judaeo-Christian roots, but has been deliberately led away by a succession of governments and others who have been under the influence - and, in some cases, have themselves been active participants - of militant atheists, secular humanists, sexual deviants, and devotees of the so-called New World Order. Certain newspapers have been quick to vilify him. There are those who claim that his views will have totally destroyed any possibility he may have had of becoming PM.

I have now added JRM to my personal daily prayer-list, and will be praying for him and his family that they may know divine protection from those whose metaphorical knives are being sharpened in order to metaphorically stab him in the back. Perhaps you will join with me in doing this!

As usual, my friend David Robertson has published an excellent post on his own blog. You may access it by clicking on this link:

If you have the time, do listen to the video-clips that David has provided. If short of time, then miss out the Ali-G one!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

There's no time like the present!

Have you ever put off making a decision - and, later regretted having done so? I suspect that I am not alone in being able to look back over my life, and have some regrets. In Dr Luke's record of the acts of apostolic men, he tells of one particular man - a Roman governor named Felix.

"... Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs. After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus. And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you.” At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison." (Acts 24:22-27).

This man, by all accounts, was notoriously ruthless in suppressing opposition. He was also avaricious, and was prepared to curry favour to gain cheap popularity. The historian, Tacitus, writes: "He exercised the power of king with the mind of a slave." Drusilla was his third wife - and she was already an adulteress before she grew out of her teens. It is quite likely that it was this renegade Jewess who prompted Felix to send for Paul. As Calvin comments: "apostates of that sort are tickled by a certain curiosity, rather than moved by a s sincere desire to learn." 

However, neither Felix nor Drusilla had bargained for the kind of talk that Paul gave in their presence. What the apostle knew they most need to hear was not at all welcomed by them, but filled Felix with alarm. Sadly, like so many who come under conviction of sin, by God the Holy Spirit, he postponed any action. "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you." As far as we know, that further opportunity never presented itself! This kind of delay is something against which God warns us in His written Word: "Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts ..." (Heb.3:15).

That decision is one that no individual can afford to postpone. 

We may also see, from Paul's words, that he preached a full Gospel! There is a contemporary danger of cheapening the Gospel message by painting only a part of the picture. Paul spoke, not only of faith in the Lord Jesus, the Christ; but also of justice (God's standard for mankind), self-control, and future judgement. He knew that it is only against this backcloth that the splendour of God's amazing grace may be seen in its true light.

In my personal devotions, I  am still reading in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus, given by Father God, to John. In what we know as chapter 6, we read these words of warning: "... I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?” " (vs.12-17).

Don't find yourself in that situation - come to the Son now, and know forgiveness of sin, and new life in Him. It's the most important decision that you will ever make!