Important Information.

STOP PRESS: The third book in my series - "Defending the Faith" - is now available, as a paperback, at
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Please note that ALL royalties, on all three books, now go directly to Release International in support of the persecuted church. E-book now also available at
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My second book - Foundations of the Faith - is available as a Kindle e-book at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XTAE98C?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
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The first volume - Great Words of the Faith - is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009EG6TJW
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I may be contacted, personally, at author@minister.com




Saturday, 17 August 2019

The only One.

The story is told of a particular officer in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was completely devoted to the emperor. One day, the officer was mortally wounded in battle. As he lay, dying, he called for Napoleon and, to his credit, the emperor quickly came to where the man was lying. 

The officer thought that someone as great as the emperor, and one to whom he had been so devoted, could somehow save his life. However, all that the emperor could do was shake his head, and leave. The story describes the tragic scene. As the dying man felt the cold, merciless, hand of death drawing him irresistibly to his eternal destiny behind the curtain of the unseen world, he was still heard to cry out: "Save me Napoleon! Save me!" In the hour of his death, the officer discovered that not even Napoleon could rescue him.

The story - which I am unable to confirm, but about which I have no particular doubt - is an analogy of the spiritual. When we seek deliverance from spiritual death, we find that no human being has the power to save - no minister of the Gospel, however faithful; no pastor or priest; not even one of those who may be classed as the great prayer warriors. Only in, and through, Jesus is there salvation for sinful mankind.

Preaching that first great sermon of the Christian era, on the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter spoke these words: "... there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Jesus, Himself, said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." (Jn.14:6; emphasis added).


Not even the officer's devotion to his emperor was enough - and our best works are, likewise, insufficient. Paul wrote: "... by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God  not because of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph.2:8emphasis added).

Have you asked the Lord Jesus to save you? If not, do it now! He always answers those who come to Him, in repentance and faith*, and put their trust in Him. Call on Him. He is the only One Who saves.



*These are two of the words dealt with in my first book; "Great Words of the Faith". Details for ordering it, and the others, in paperback or Kindle e-book formats, at the top of the page. Remember, I receive no financial benefit from the sale of my books. All royalties are sent, directly, to the bank account of Release International, in support of the persecuted church.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Being an apologist.

A dear friend left, today, to travel to her home country of Poland. She has not been a disciple of Jesus for a very long time, and has asked friends to pray that she might be: "... an example with my behavior, my words and my deeds, for His glory. My deep desire and hope is that I can be and remain a great witness of what Jesus did in me and how He has changed me ..."

That, of course, should be the prayer of every disciple of Jesus, whoever they are; wherever they are; and regardless of how long they have been walking the Christian way.

So what is the best reason we can give to anyone who asks why we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Saviour? How may we, most persuasively, bear witness to our faith? "Always be ready", urged the apostle Peter, "to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,    ..." (I Peter 3:15). The Greek word translated "answer" in that quotation, is the word "apologian" - "apology"! However, this is not a weak-kneed excuse from a quivering person who merely wants to keep out of trouble! The word refers to a convincing argument in support of the position that one holds. 

For a long time, I have found it interesting that while "evangelist" is a gift of the Lord Jesus to the church (see Eph.4:11), we are all called to be witnesses! It is not a gift - it is a direct command! (see  Acts 1:8). The only option I have is to be a good witness - or a bad one! Of course, as I witness "with my behaviour, my words and my deeds,", I am being an apologist for the Faith! Please don't think that you have to be a member of the clergy; a theologian; a Bible teacher; or whatever in order "... to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, ..." You can bear witness to the the truth and power of the Gospel message. Your own life can be the best argument in support of your faith in the Lord Jesus, the Christ, to anyone who asks why you believe what you believe. You can share how He has changed you; how He continues to guide you; how He walks with you.

One word of warning! The Greek word translated "witness" in Acts 1:8 is the word "martures" - from which we get the English language word "martyr". Yes, as our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church in some sixty countries who suffer for the Gospel in ways that I am unable to comprehend, do so, it is because of their constant witness!

Are you a good witness for Jesus? Am I? we may not be preachers, or teachers, or evangelists. We are witnesses!

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Freedom!

This video last for about six minutes - but be patient: it's worth the wait!




Okay - what did you just watch? Did you see nothing but a bird thinking about flying; eventually setting off; and then landing again? If that is the case, then you missed so much!

You see, the experience of that Great Condor is a picture of human beings. I believe that the bird was born in captivity; reached maturity in captivity; and was in bondage until someone set it free. However, it didn't immediately fully appreciate its freedom. It stepped around; it spread its wings; it seemed to think about launching forth - but then decided against it. However, it did, eventually, take off - and discovered that it was born to be free! It then soared up into the sky until it decided to land away from the humans who were capturing its every move on cameras.

You and I are born in the captivity of sin. The psalmist-king, David, may not have gained a medical degree from some prestigious university, but he knew that "... in sin did my mother conceive me." (Ps. 51:5). In other words, he knew that, from the moment of conception, every human being is a sinner. 

Worse than that - just like the bird, there is nothing that we, ourselves, can do about our sorry situation. My sin creates a great gulf between me and Father God - and I can never bridge that gap. Praise God, then, that He has already done for each one of us, what we could not do for ourselves - He has paid the penalty for your sin and mine when, 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 cross and actually became sin (see II Cor.5:21) for us! Sin, in all of its blackness, and foulness, and vileness. 

When I accept that I am a sinner, and can do nothing in my own strength about my sin; and when I accept that Jesus has done all for me; then I may respond, through faith, to that truly amazing grace. I am released from the bondage of sin; I am no longer in captivity. However, it does take time for me to even begin to fully realise the freedom that is now mine. I step around; I tentatively spread my spiritual wings; and then - I experience the real joy of knowing that I am no longer under condemnation, because I am "in Christ" (Rom.8:1) and, even greater wonder, I have the Saviour in me (Col.1:27)!

This all means that my eternal destiny is secure. Oh, I will slip, and fall; I will make mistakes; I will even be rebellious at times. Being in this mortal body means that I shall never be sinless in this life - but, by His continuing grace, I may sin less! Then, the day will come when "... the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet 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 4:16-17).

In the 18th century, Augustus Montague Toplady wrote the well-know hymn "Rock of Ages". The last verse refers to that great event:

"While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyelids close in death,
When I soar through tracts unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee" (emphasis added)

The Gaither Vocal Band (the best-ever line-up!) also refer to that wonderful moment in the song below. May all who read this post be among to those who will, one day, "be learning to fly"!














Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The personal testimony of Charles Haddon Spurgeon

A couple of days ago, I came across the personal testimony of one of the greatest preachers of the Christian Gospel in the 19th century - Charles Haddon Spurgeon. As his situation may apply to others, I am going to share his testimony on this blog. May it be a blessing to someone. ("Editorial" inserts are in brackets, and in this Italic font).

"I thought the sun was blotted out of my sky - that I had so sinned against God that there was no hope for me. I prayed - the Lord knows how I prayed; but I never had a glimpse of an answer that I knew of. I searched the Word of God; the promises were more alarming than the threatenings. I read the privileges of the people of God, but with the fullest persuasion that they were not for me. The secret of my distress was this: I did not know the Gospel. I was in a Christian land; I had Christian parents; but I did not fully understand the freeness and simplicity of the Gospel."

(I wonder - is there someone reading this post who identifies with the young C.H.Spurgeon? Someone who is going through the same, or similar, thought processes? Do read on!)

"I attended all the places of worship in the town where I lived, but I honestly believe that I did not hear the Gospel fully preached. I do not blame the men, however. One man preached the divine sovereignty. I could hear him with pleasure; but what was that for a poor sinner who wished to know what he should do to be saved? There was another admirable man who always preached about the law; but what was the use of ploughing up the ground that wanted to be sown? Another was great practical teacher. I heard him - but it was very much like a commanding officer teaching the manoeuvres of war o a set of men without feet! What could I do? All his exhortations were lost to me. I knew that it was said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31), but I did not know what it was to believe in Christ.

I sometimes think that I might have been in darkness and despair now, had it not been for the goodness of god in sending a snow-storm one Sunday morning when I was going to a place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a court and came to a little hall. In the hall there were a dozen, or fifteen, people. The minister did not come that morning - snowed-up, I suppose. A poor man, a shoemaker, a tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach.

He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had nothing else to say. The text was: "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 45:22). He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter.
There was, I thought, a glimpse f hope for me in the text. He began thus: "My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, "Look". Now that does not take a great deal of effort. It isn't lifting your foot or your finger. It is just "Look". Well, a man need not go to a college to learn to look. A man need not be worth a thousand pounds a year (a very large sum in 1850!) to look. Anyone can look. A child can look. This is what the text says: "Look unto Me."

"Aye," he said, many of you are looking to yourselves. No use looking there. You'll never find comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No: look to Him by and by. Jesus Christ says "Look unto Me." Some of you say, "I must wait for the Spirit's working." You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. It runs, "Look unto Me."

Then he followed up his text in this way: "Look unto Me; I am sweating great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hanging on the cross. Look! I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend; I am sitting at the Father's right hand. Oh look unto Me! Look unto Me!"

When he had spoken about ten minutes, he looked at me under the gallery and, I dare say, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. He then said: "Young man, (he was fifteen years of age)  you look very miserable." Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made on my personal appearance, from the pulpit, before! However, it was a good blow struck. He continued: "And you will always be miserable - miserable in life, and miserable in death - if you do not obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved."

Then he shouted, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ!" I did 'look'.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun. I could have risen that moment and sung, with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks to alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me that before: "Trust Christ, and you shall be saved."

It was, no doubt, wisely ordered, and I must ever say:
"E'er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy wounds supplied for me;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall, for ever, be." "


Friday, 26 July 2019

The immutability of God.

On Wednesday, temperatures of 50 C, and people in danger of death through dehydration. Today: thunder, lightning, torrential rain, and hailstones - and all of that in the space of less than fifteen minutes (the storm, itself, lasted for more than an hour!).

Regardless of climate change, global warming, or any other fad or buzz-word to which we are regularly exposed, there can be no doubt that the weather can be very changeable. One of the regular 'jokes' about Scotland (and other areas!) is that it has four seasons - every day!

Of course, life itself is filled with change. People grow - and the "I" in a photograph of me at about seven years of age, is very different, physically, from the "I" who is typing this post. I am also different in terms of the knowledge and understanding that I have gained during those intervening decades (both of them - if you are one of my former LHS pupils! But don't forget the "few months"!). I have changed my place of residence more often than I care to recall; I have changed from being a single young man to being a husband, a father, and now a grandfather. I have experienced change in terms of taste - in music; in food; in reading material; etc.

All of that, and more, was going through my head as my wife and I sat in the car, outside the shop we planned to enter, waiting for the rain to ease off sufficiently, and the hailstones to stop playing drum-rolls on the roof of the car! Then I thought of the unchanging One!

The fancy, theological word for the associated doctrine (teaching*) is "the immutability of God". What that means, simply, is that He is unchanging in His love; in His character; in His will; in His purposes. Louis Berkhof, in his classic volume of Systematic Theology, defines the immutability of God as "... that perfection of God be which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises." (p.58). Q.4 in the Westminster Shorter Catechism ask "What is God?", and supplies the answer: "God is [a] Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His Being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth."

These 'credal' statements are, of course, fully backed up by the written Word of God. To give just a few of the Scripture references, we read in the book of the prophet Malachi: "For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." (Mal 3:6; emphasis added). James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, wrote: "Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:16-17; emphasis added). In perhaps the best-known reference to the unchangeability of God, in the Persona (not a typo - see the chapter on The Trinity, in "Great Words") of the Son, the writer of the Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus states clearly that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (Heb 13:8; emphasis added).

So, is this doctrine nothing more than academic pretentiousness, or esoteric grandiloquence? (tongue in cheek, there!). Is there any comfort, or encouragement for the true child of God? There most certainly is! The concept is taught, not simply as belonging to the nature of God in Himself, but as being in the closest connection with His covenant relation to His people, so that the 'religious' value of God's unchangeableness is most clearly implied in this fundamental assertion of the attribute. He is YHWH - the "I AM THAT I AM" - and that very Name, the Covenant name, indicates His immutability. If He ever "was", then He might now be different to what He was before! If he was ever to be, then what confidence could we have that He is not yet all that He might be? However, He Is - eternally; and in that assurance we may take comfort.

As I finish typing this post, the sun is again breaking through the clouds. There, too, is a lesson. Sometimes we may feel so far away from Father God. The clouds of sin get in the way. But He is still there - just as the sun was still there even in the midst of the thunder-storm. And our God, Who created the sun, and all that exists, is far greater, and more dependable, than is it.

The immutability of God. A wondrous doctrine that may be an encouragement to all who call upon the Name of the Lord. May we do so - for our own good; for the blessing of others; and for His eternal glory.

*see my book "Defending the Faith". Details above. Remember, I receive no financial benefit from the sale of any of my books, paperback or e-book. ALL royalties are now paid directly into the bank account of Release International, in support of the persecuted church.