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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Tim Farron - is homosexuality a sin?

My personal admiration for David Robertson is no secret. As one of many who was dismayed and disappointed by the recent statement from Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (that, imo, is neither liberal nor democratic!) that "homosexuality is not a sin", I have been wondering how I might respond on this blog. David has done the work for me.

This article was published on Premier Christian Website in response to Tim Farron’s recent comments re gay sex.  A number of years ago we warned that the whole issue of sexuality had become the religion of our contemporary society and the shibboleth question.  At first we were told that accepting the current liberal absolutist morality would be voluntary, but we knew it would soon become determinative and prescriptive.  The fact that someone who apparently upheld the biblical view that sex outside marriage is wrong should be hounded and intimidated in this way is dreadful.  Bear in mind he was not be criticised for party policy or his actions but for the way he thought.  The thought police are now part of our civic culture.  Today in the Times David Aaronovitch suggested that we should offer absolution to the sinner who has now repented.(!!!)

Why Tim Farron’s comment on gay sex lets the Church down
By: David Robertson | 26th April 2017
Having repeatedly refused to answer the question ‘Is gay sex a sin?’, Tim Farron has finally given in to media pressure and stated: “I don’t think gay sex is a sin”. David Robertson responds
I feel real sympathy for Tim Farron. He is a decent man and a Christian who, whatever you may think of his politics, comes across as sincere, intelligent and passionate. Because of his Christianity he has been hounded for years. And although I profoundly disagree with his support of same sex marriage I have defended him many times – including on television and on this blog.
Overall he has acquitted himself well but this week he seems to have let himself down and those who were defending him. After years of deflecting the question of whether gay sex was wrong, he has now publicly stated that it is not. In doing so he has let himself, the Liberal party and the Church down. Why?
Farron’s comments will not prevent the criticism or the attacks. Although it may make the news story move on – which was undoubtedly the intention. Before he looked evasive when he refused to say whether or not gay sex was wrong. But now he looks weak – giving into the media pressure or perhaps the media advisors in his own party: “Make it go away Tim”. This of course may be grossly unfair – it is possible that all along he really thought that gay sex was not wrong and that it was some kind of principled evasion that he now accepts looks bad. But it is doubtful whether many will believe that he was that stupid
Farron’s apparent U-turn is not helpful to the Lib Dems because it makes them look illiberal. I was a founder member of the Social Democrats – the ‘Dem’ part of the Lib Dems. Because I uphold the teaching of Jesus that all sex outside of marriage (which is between a man and a woman) is wrong, then I would no longer be welcome in my old party. Tim Farron tried to defend and exemplify the traditional liberalism that allowed diversity of views and freedom of expression. But by caving into this pressure one can sense that even the Liberals have headed down the increasingly totalitarian thought-police route of our culture.
Note that this was not about policy, or politics (Farron has repeatedly voted in favour of LGBT rights). This media storm was only about Farron’s personal thoughts. So it seems unless our politicians think the right thoughts they can be outed and condemned. That’s hardly the essence of a liberal society, is it?
Tim Farron has let the Church down. Now it’s not just liberal clergy (who have never been too keen on Scripture anyway) but an increasing number of ‘evangelicals’ who are changing their view.  So whether it is the liberals who say that the Bible has got it wrong, or the post-truth evangelicals who say that we have got the Bible wrong, it leaves the rest of us being treated and viewed as some kind of out of touch Westboro Baptist group. It feels as though we’re being picked off one by one.
I’m afraid that when I heard of Tim’s turnaround, the thought ‘another one bites the dust’ struck me. I say this with incredible sorrow because I can only imagine the struggle and pain that Tim has gone through – and I know how easy it is to snipe from the sidelines. I also know how easy it is to give in to the pressures.
So let’s not be too quick to rush in to condemn or to justify. We need to pray for Tim as we do for all our political leaders. If our hearts are heavy because we regard him as an errant brother then we must pray all the more. And let us be aware of the price that Christians are asked to pay as they are increasingly targeted by the illiberal secular thought police. Channel 4’s behaviour in this witchhunt has been despicable but we can expect it to be repeated.
The Church needs to get its act together. If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, then little wonder that the troops are confused. When so many Church leaders are caving into the demands of contemporary culture it is hardly surprising that Christians like Farron follow. And its not enough for those of us who hold to the teaching of Jesus to expect others to be our martyrs. We need to be the salt and the light.
Let’s not circle the wagons, retreat into the bunkers, or shoot our own wounded. But instead let’s confess our own sin, look to the Lord and endeavour to serve Him with new obedience. May the Lord raise up those who will stand in the gap, who will be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. And may He have mercy on us all.
Premier has another couple of excellent articles on this subject:

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Answers - and a remembrance.

Thanks to my dear wife for reminding me that I had not provided the correct answer to the quiz I posted, ten days ago (in spite of my good intention to post them on Resurrection day)!!!! So, with my apology to anyone who has been waiting, here they are:

1. (a); 2. (b); 3. (c); 4. (c); 5. (a); 6. (c); 7. (c); 8. (b); 9. (c).

How did you do? If you scored from 0-3, it would appear that you have never looked at the hard evidence that Jesus, the Christ, rose from the dead.  If you scored 4-7, then you would appear to know something about the resurrection. If you scored 8-9, then you certainly know the facts. However, question 10 would be: "Do you know Him as your own Saviour and Lord, alive today?!


On a different note, sunset today in Israel sees the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). All over the nation, places of public entertainment will close, and a state ceremony will be held in the Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem to honour the Jewish people who perished in Nazi Germany.

The flag will be lowered to half-mast, prayers will be recited, and six Holocaust survivors will light the six torches that symbolize the Six Million Jews who perished in the Holocaust (half the world's Jewish population at the time) under Hitler's "Final Solution".

Multiple railway tracks led from all over Europe to concentration camps like Auschwitz. Jewish people were crammed into cattle cars and shipped to these death camps. Very few survived. Of course, the Nazis intended that no one survive. Many were gassed immediately upon arrival and their bodies burned in ovens.  Those who were healthy enough to work when they arrived were literally worked to death.

This horrible, unfathomable number—six million murdereddoes not include the many Jewish children who will never be born because of this genocide. Whole families were destroyed.  Some Jewish people who came out of the Holocaust were the sole survivor of their family.  They were left completely alone. 

May We Never Forget.

If you are a praying person, please take a moment to pray for the survivors and families of survivors, and the emotional scars they carry.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Deeper than that!

Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer who tried to measure the depth of part of the Arctic Ocean. On the first day he used his longest measuring line - but was unable to reach the bottom. Having recorded the length of his line in his log-book, he wrote: "The ocean is deeper than that."

On the following day, he added more line, but was still unable to measure the depth so, once again, the log-book entry read: "Deeper than that!" After several days of adding more and more lengths of rope and cord to his line, he had to leave that part of the ocean without having learned its actual depth. All that he knew was that it was beyond his ability to measure.

Here, in S.W.France, I have the privilege of, among other things, ministering the Word of God to a group of anglophones. We are currently nearing the end of our study of the First Letter of John - a letter that covers a number of important areas, none less so than the love of God and the fact that "God is Love" (I John 4:8,16).

Nansen's experience reminds me that we cannot plumb the depths of the love of the God Whose very essence is Love, because our human measuring line is too short. The Russian folk-song, come hymn, reminds us:

"Vaster far than any ocean,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Is the love of Christ my Saviour,
Reaching through eternity."

John, in his record of the Gospel, provides what is probably the best-known verse from the New Testament scriptures: "God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever places their trust, unreservedly, in Him may not perish, but have eternal life." (my paraphrase!). 

Paul. writing to the early disciples of Jesus in Ephesus, reminded them that: "...  God, Who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, ..." (2:4-6; emphasis added).

In the light of such incredible love, ought not our gratitude cause us to serve, and praise, Him more zealously during the years that we are granted on this earth? Grace Reese Adkins wrote the lovely old hymn: "By and by, when I look on His face", with these words in the chorus:

"More, so much more;
more of my life than I'd e'er given before.
By and by, when I look on His face,
I'll wish I had given Him more."

As we try to comprehend God's love, we may well exclaim: "It's deeper, much deeper than that.", and determine, by His grace, that we shall give Him more.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Resurrection Day.

It was, if memory serves me well, the late David Jenkins who, as Bishop of Durham, made a statement about the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth being nothing more than a story about a load of old bones! (If it was someone else, I apologise to the late Bishop!). Of course, he certainly knows the truth now!

Today is Resurrection Day. There is, of course a sense in which, for the true disciple of Jesus, every day is Resurrection Day. We who seek to follow Him do not confine our thinking of His resurrection to one day in the year. It is, of course, the central teaching of the Christian faith. Paul wrote to the early believers in Corinth that "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." (15:17-20).

So is there any real evidence for the resurrection of Jesus - or is the whole story just a load of old bones. Sadly, there are many, even within the ranks of the Christian clergy, who seem to think so! However, if we approach the question reasonably, and logically, we find that there is ample evidence to support the claim. Let's look at some of the attempts to explain the resurrection away as less than it was.

1. Jesus didn't die, but merely swooned. He then revived in the cool of the tomb, and made His way out, convincing His disciples that He had risen from the dead.
    Those who advocate this scenario have totally ignored a number of facts. The first, and most obvious is that crucifixion was a means of executing the death penalty. The whole point of the exercise was that the victim would die - as surely as if beheaded. People simply did not survive crucifixion. Secondly, the Roman soldiers were men who knew a dead body when they saw one. All of them, and particularly the centurion in charge of the execution squad, were battle-hardened men who had killed others, and seen comrades fall dead beside them. However, when Pilate, the Roman Procurator, was asked for permission to take the body down, he insisted that a check be made that Jesus was well and truly dead. Anyone who believes that Roman soldiers would send back a false report needs to do some studying in history! The, again, there is an eye-witness account that, when the soldiers started to break the legs of the three victims - in order to hasten their demise - they discovered that Jesus was already dead. Hammering at the knees to break them was not easy with the object being above head height. So they contented themselves, as a precaution, with one of them stabbing his spear into the body of Jesus - upwards, and at an angle. This means that the heart would have been pierced. The eye-witness records that "...  at once there came out blood and water." (John 19:34). Now this was not two substances flowing beside one another like a Mr Softee two-flavoured ice-cream. It was, according to modern pathologists, a clear serum that contained clots of blood - and that is incontrovertible proof that the body is dead!

But let's give the sceptic the benefit of the doubt. Let's imagine that, having already endured hours of questioning, and being pushed around; being flogged by a Roman soldier with a whip of multiple thongs that had bits of bone and metal tied into them; having His head pierced with the long, hard thorns of the mock crown forced down on it by the Roman soldiers; and having carried the horizontal beam of the cross to the extent that the soldiers - who were not renowned for having any excess of "the milk of human kindness" - realised that He was physically unable to carry it any further, and hauled a man from the watching crowd to carry it for Him; He was then tied and nailed to the cross and left there, naked, subject to the verbal abuse of His enemies. The rough wood of the cross would have caused agonising pain against a back already lacerated by the whipping. His body would have sagged. This would have constricted His breathing. He would try to raise His body by pushing with His feet (the reason why the breaking of legs speeded up the dying process), and the pain from the nailed feet would have shot through His body. The blood would have risen in His throat, choking Him. Eventually (according to this far-out suggestion!) He faints. The soldiers are fooled; the body is taken down from the cross - and wrapped in sheets with spices - before being laid in the tomb. We must now assume that Jesus revived; managed to extricate Himself from the binding; rolled the heavy stone away - from inside the tomb (requiring it to be moved with just His hands on the inner surface); walk away, naked, without the Roman guard noticing anything amiss; find some suitable clothing; make His way to where the disciples were in hiding; and convince them that He had arisen from the dead! As one might say in certain parts of Scotland: "Aye, right!"

2. It wasn't Jesus Who hung on the cross; that one of the disciples took His place so that He could appear as if He had risen from the dead (the usual Islamic explanation)! 
   This requires a number of factors to come together.  Jesus was not some non-entity.  He was well known to the authorities.  Accordingly, His ‘substitute’ would have had to be identical in build and appearance.  This man would also have to be one of the disciple band.  However, at this stage, the number of followers was relatively small, and most of them would have been known by others.  Certainly, if there had been a ‘double’ that man would already have been marked out.  Such a man would also have had to agree to take the punishment and death that was ahead.  People at that time were all too aware of what crucifixion involved – let alone the previous flogging and other suffering – and it would have been an unusual man who would have volunteered to take another's place.  Finally, there is the matter of the empty tomb – one aspect of the record that appears never to have been seriously questioned!  Where was the body of this amazing ‘substitute’ going to be hidden while Jesus went around claiming to have risen from the dead?  No, once again, the proposed ‘solution’ requires a greater leap of faith than does accepting the Biblical claim.

3. The disciples stole the Body of Jesus, and then went about with these wild stories of His alleged appearances.  
   This does have, at first sight, a measure of feasibility that is missing from the previous suggestions, and is the story which the Roman guards were bribed to repeat.  They were even assured that they would not suffer the usual penalty for having ‘lost’ a prisoner (their own deaths) as the chief priests would square things up with the governor! (Matt.28:11–15).
Certainly, it could be argued that the disciples had a motive for so doing (although, remembering that they were scared for their own lives, such an action seems unlikely).  But any police officer will assure us that, in investigating a crime, motive alone is insufficient.  So, we must also ask about opportunity.  How could the disciples have got past the guard and remove the body – and done so without disturbing the grave–clothes in any way?  And is it reasonable to expect that a group of people, whose morale was completely gone, who were shattered and frightened, who were locked away for fear of the Jews(John 20:19)would have made such an attempt in any case?

4. The authorities – Roman and/or Jewish – removed the body to a different location in order to ensure that the tomb did not become a focus point for other dissidents!  
   This theory certainly deals with some of the difficulties involved in suggesting that the disciples stole the body. There would have been no problem with the guards, and the authorities could have arranged for the safe disposal of the body.  However, if that had been what happened one must ask why, when the reports of the resurrection started to circulate, they did not simply produce the body and parade it around Jerusalem!  Such a simple action would have stopped the spread of the Christian Church right at the beginning.  The irrefutable fact that they didn't do so, is evidence enough that they had not removed the body!

5. The disciples were hallucinating when they claimed that they saw the risen Lord. 
    Could it be that the disciples were simply "seeing things"? An hallucination may be defined as a false or distorted sensory experience that appears to be a real perception. Such sensory impressions are generated by the mind rather than by any external stimuli, and may be seen, heard, felt, and even smelled or tasted.  Normally, there are two pre–requisites:
            (a) an inward desire, the climax of a long period of wishful thinking;
            (b) outward circumstances encouraging the experience.
However, in this case, there was no wishful thinking.  Indeed, the exact opposite was the case.  We read that “... some doubted.” (Matt 28:17)“... He appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and He upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed ...” (Mark 16:14)they were “... slow of heart to believe ...” (Luke 24:25); they were, as already noted, hiding behind shut doors “... for fear of the Jews ...” (John 20:19).

We might also note that the very psychological make-up of the disciples varied from the blustering of Peter to the cynicism of Thomas. 

The outward circumstances were also varied!  It appears that Jesus was seen, not only in the Upper Room but also while they were working, walking, and even trying to forget it all!  And while clinicians inform us that no two people will perceive the same hallucination simultaneously, we find that more than five hundred individuals claimed to have seen the risen Saviour at the same time! (see I Cor.15:6).

6. The disciples concocted the whole story!
    This, of course, still doesn't explain the empty tomb; the complete absence of a dead, and wrapped-up, body.  Nor does it explain why these same disciples suffered unspeakable torture, and why many of them died, for what they would have known to have been a deceitful lie.  

So, we are left with only one reasonable conclusion - that the resurrection of the Christ is proved as well as any historical fact has ever been proved. That only leaves one issue - you need to ask yourself the question, put to the crowd by Pontius Pilate: "... what shall I do with Jesus Who is called Christ?” (Matt.27:22). Read these words from Albert B. Simpson (1843-1919):

"Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;        Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;                                   Some day your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?" 

Jesus is standing on trial still; you can be false to Him if you will;                 You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?

Will you evade him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide?         
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide: What will you do with Jesus?

Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny? Or will you scorn from His foes to fly,   Daring for Jesus to live or die? What will you do with Jesus?

Let the last words of the song be your personal response:

“Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,         Gladly obeying Thee!" will you say: “This I will do with Jesus!"

Friday, 14 April 2017

He took my place.

Many will have watched the video of a doctor being forcibly removed from an aeroplane, in the USA, at the beginning of this week. The social media reaction was, I suppose, not unexpected as the airline - United  - was deluged with a torrent of abuse, and demands that the crew be sacked; the airline closed down; and the doctor be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour! (Okay, I didn't read that last one anywhere - but I wouldn't have been surprised!).

It was interesting, to say the least, to read a response from someone who describes herself as a pilot's wife, and who begins by making the point that there are always two sides to a story. She makes the following points, that none of the MSM have made, and that appear not to have been considered by the 
general public.

"Things to consider:
1) “You can’t just kick a paying customer off the plane!”    Psssst! It’s in the fine print. They can, indeed, do just that. And it’s not an airline specific rule, it’s a commercial aviation rule. Every ticket you purchase comes with a plethora of fine print–you know, the stuff we just click ‘next’ on without actually reading what we are agreeing to. Yeah, that. Well, it’s in there, and you checked the ‘I agree’ box when you purchased your ticket. You can read about it and oh-so-much-more here. Kind of makes you want to read all those tiny words on your next phone update before you click ‘I agree’, huh? You should. United did not break any law, and he agreed to the policy and possibility of involuntary bump when he bought his ticket. And so do you.
2) “Kicking a paying customer off an airplane!? I’m taking my business to Southwest!” Ummmm, okay. But just be sure you understand that every major airline, Southwest included, has a similar policy for involuntary bumping in a ‘must ride’ scenario.  Don’t believe me? It’s called the contract of carriage. If you’re really bored, you can read Southwest’s here. Or Delta’s here. Believe me, it’s in there.  This could have been any airline.  In fact, it happens all the time. Most people just don’t wrestle the feds in the aisle.  
3: “So what’s this ‘must ride’ nonsense anyway? They shouldn’t bump a paying customer for a free employee ride!” I’m afraid you’re going to have to take this up with the federal government, not United. And it’s actually pretty important to you as an airline traveller anyway. They were not ‘freeloading home’. That’s called non-rev and they have to wait in line behind your checkbook and often don’t make it home to their families if flights are booked (believe me, I know). No, this was a must fly, a positive space situation. In layman terms, it means that a crew must be flown to an airport to man a flight in order to avoid cancellation of said flight due to crew unavailability. This is a federal DOT regulation, not an airline one. The airlines are required to do so to avoid disruption of air traffic. In other words, if there are no willing volunteers and they need seats to get a crew somewhere to avoid disruption of aviation flow, they can, will, must by federal regulation bump people for the better good of the 1000’s. Why? Because one cancelled flight has a serious domino effect in the delicate, complicated world of connections and aviation law.
4: “It’s the airline’s fault for not planning better!” You obviously have no clue about the complexities of aviation travel and should do some research. There are about a million and one things that can cause a crew shortage including but not limited to weather, maintenance, weather, connecting fight delays, weather, FAA timeout regs, and did I mention weather? I wish I could control Mother Nature because I would be one filthy rich person. But I can’t. And neither can United. So they inconvenience one, or four, to keep hundreds on track. Do the maths. And of course, if we were on the other end of this thing, we’d be tirading and blowing up the internet because United didn’t bump a passenger to make sure our flight didn’t get cancelled and left hundreds stranded. Damned if you do; damned if you don’t. We’re a fickle crowd, we social media folks.
5: “They shouldn’t have picked the minority Chinese doctor! It’s racist.”    That’s just silly. Though federal regulation demands they involuntarily bump to prevent interruption of flights when necessary, each airline does have the leniency to determine how they choose the bumped passengers. They did not play spin the bottle or walk down the aisle looking for the Asian guy. Use your heads, people! There is a computerised algorithm that takes into account  price of ticket, how long ago it was purchased, whether or not they can get the passenger to their destination in a timely manner, etc. It wasn’t an ‘Asian thing.’ Stop, people. Just stop.
6: “United should go under for assaulting that passenger! Fire the entire crew!”   Read the facts. United never touched the passenger. In fact, by all witness accounts, the United flight crew remained calm and pleasant throughout the entire event, never laying hands on the passenger. They followed protocol as required by law. Once law enforcement became involved (also as required by federal protocol), United stepped out of the decision-making process. They had nothing to do with the rest. The passenger was forcibly removed by federal aviation security (the disturbing clip that everyone is talking about) after running back into the secured area after being escorted out once. Once he did that, like it or not, they (law enforcement) were under full discretion of the law to apply necessary force to remove the threat. I’m not saying it’s pretty, but the only one who actually broke a law was the passenger. There’s a reason for these laws – it’s called 9/11. We can’t have it both ways. But by all means, let’s berate and punish an entire flight crew – in fact thousands of pilots, flight attendants, gate attendants, ground crew, etc. – because it makes us all feel a little better.
7: “You piece of **it!”     I get that the passengers were upset, angry, maybe even confused. I get that you are too. After all, media is tossing you out chunks of bloody meat like you’re a pack of starving wolves. But I’m seriously disgusted that the poor must ride crew that had to take those seats after the unfortunate mess that unravelled were verbally abused and threatened. Can you imagine the very uncomfortable position they were in? Then they were demeaned, belittled, threatened. Along with many others all over the internet and airports today. They were and are men and women doing their jobs to feed their families. Just. Like. You.  They didn’t have a choice. They didn’t ask for this. They didn’t assault anyone. They are not a corporation; they are individuals who need a job. They are my friends and maybe even my husband. There’s a very fine line between what you despise and becoming what you despise.  Many of the comments and actions I have seen perpetrated against United employees cross it. 
Don’t become what you hate.
Like I said, I know you’re mad at United, but there’s much more to the story than hits the media fan. I truly hope that this gives you something to chew on and gives you a smidgen more insight into the complexities of aviation. I’m not making excuses. I think there were bad decisions made on both sides. However, I am saying there are always two sides to every story. Make sure you consider them both.
***A correction to the previous article. Mr. Dao was indeed Vietnamese and not Chinese.  That quote was verbatim from a comment off the internet. I apologise profusely for the confusion.
Angelia (A Pilot Wife)"
That is not the whole piece. If you wish to read it all, you may do so at:
Now I am not another supporter of the United airline - until this story broke, I wasn't even aware of its existence! - but an American pastor has taken an important lesson from the story.
Today is Good Friday. This is the day in the year when many people take special remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Christ. There was no need for the incident in the airplane to happen. All that was required was for one other passenger to say: "This man is a doctor. His flight is more important. I'll take his place and leave the aircraft." That passenger would have been lauded; he would have been very well compensated; and, according to the pilot's wife, the airline would have pulled out all of the stops to get him on an alternative flight (I suspect, if necessary, even one operated by one of their commercial competitors!). It didn't happen!
Yet, almost 2,000 years ago, on the first "Good Friday", that is exactly what Almighty God, in the Lord Jesus, did. He looked at you and at me, in all of our sin; worthy of nothing but His righteous judgement, wrath, and punishment.  And He took our place!  Centuries before, the Jewish prophet, Isaiah, had been granted a glimpse into the future, and had written " ... He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (53:5-6; emphases added; read the whole chapter!).
On this Good Friday, are you willing to confess your sins and your need of the forgiveness of Almighty God? You see, He won't force salvation on you; you have to recognise your need of it, and then come to Him to receive it. If you need some more personal counsel, please feel free to use the e-mail address at the top of the blog; or speak with a disciple of Jesus whom you already know. Any true disciple will be delighted to help.
Oh, and don't forget - "It's Friday - but Sunday's coming"!!!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A topical quiz!!

Work in both the house and the garden have, it is true, been taking up a great deal of my time recently - as well as preparation for various preaching, and singing, opportunities. Well, that's my excuse for the current neglect of the blog!

Anyway, with the annual, special celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, taking place on Sunday, I thought that I would throw in a wee quiz - after all, I haven't published one for quite some time!

So, what do you know about the season of the Resurrection? This is a multiple choice quiz, so that should help.

1. Jesus is mentioned by name in
                             (a) very early Roman writings;
                             (b) the Gospel records and later writings, only;
                             (c) only the Gospel records.

2. Jesus was hanging on the cross for
                             (a) 3 hours;
                             (b) 6 hours;
                             (c) a whole day.

3. Jesus was taken from the cross
                             (a) conscious;
                             (b) in a coma;
                             (c) dead.

4. Jesus' body was left in the tomb
                            (a) uncovered;
                            (b) covered only with a single sheet;
                            (c) wound with a cloth and partially embalmed.

5. The tomb was
                            (a) closed carefully, sealed, and guarded;
                            (b) hurriedly closed;
                            (c) left open.

6. The tomb was later found
                            (a) in utter chaos;
                            (b) with the grave-cloths neatly re-folded;
                            (c) with the grave-cloths intact, and the cloth that had been wrapped around the head, folded and separated from the rest.

7. The resurrected Jesus appeared to a maximum of
                            (a) 12 people;
                            (b) 20 people;
                            (c) 500 people.

8. When Jesus appeared, after His resurrection, He was
                            (a) sometimes unrecognised;
                            (b) eventually recognised;
                            (c) immediately recognised.

9. The early disciples said that Jesus rose
                            (a) some weeks after His death;
                            (b) at some unidentified time;
                            (c) two days after He was laid in the tomb.

Okay, see how you get on (without cheating, of course!!). I'll provide the correct answers in the post that I plan to publish on Sunday.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

An answer to prayer!!!

As those who know me well are aware, I am of the firm belief that there is no such thing as unanswered prayer that is offered, in faith, in the Name of the Lord Jesus. It is true, of course, that I do not always receive that for which I prayed, at the time for which I prayed, in the manner for which I prayed. However, that is NOT "unanswered" prayer! It is merely Father God over-ruling my immediate desires and requests with His perfect will and timing.

Yesterday, I was reminded that there is another way in which I may look at "answers to prayer". That is when I discover that I, myself, am that answer!! Let me explain.

My wife and I were over at the static caravan yesterday, for a viewing by a family from England. Regretfully, we have not yet heard from them if they wish to purchase!! On our way home, we were discussing the possibility of attending to some shopping before we got there. We had, in fact, decided to leave it until Saturday as there was nothing that we needed urgently. Then, about three miles from the shopping complex at Pineuilh (pronounced "Pinoy"!) my wife decided that she wanted to buy some croissants for her breakfast this morning (I had my usual bowl of porridge!) and so we turned off to the Lidl store. 

Of course, we do not go into Lidl and merely purchase a couple of croissants! We did our usual "splitting up) and, as I headed down towards the fruit and veg, I passed a young woman with a trolley, accompanied by a young girl whom I assumed to be her daughter. It was as I passed by that I heard the mother say something about what they would have that evening - in perfect English. That, in this area is, itself, not unusual. What made me make a beeline for my wife, in order to share this information with her, was that I detected a distinct Scottish accent!

I told my wife that I was going to go and say "Hello" - and that is what I did. It turned out that she hails from Aberdeen - but she was willing to speak to a couple of folk from the West Coast! She was as delighted as we were to find someone else from Scotland living in the area and, after a good conversation, we gave her a card and invited her to call in any time she was passing our home.

We had been back in the house about an hour when the 'phone rang. The number was not known, so I answered it. It was our new Aberdonian friend. She assured me that she was not a stalker (I should be so lucky!!) and informed me that she had looked up my blog. That was when she realised that she had been speaking to a couple of disciples of Jesus and she had 'phoned to tell us that she had been converted, just a couple of years ago. She had one believer friend who is Polish, but she had been praying that the Lord would send into her life, fellow-disciples of Jesus who would lead her to an evangelical Fellowship! We, my wife and I, were His answers!

We are so excited, and look forward to getting to know our new friend better in the coming months and beyond. Was the sudden decision to shop; my walking past just as she and her daughter were in conversation; my decision to go back and say "Hello"; a series of random events? Not as far as I am concerned. Father God was simply bringing about His answer to our friend's prayer in His way, and at His time.

Have you been praying about something for a long time? Don't give up! And always be seeing the possibility that you might be the answer to the prayer of another. It's a wonderful feeling!