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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The recent earthquake in China was in the area where giant pandas live. After the earthquake they rushed out and some stayed together. I received these pictures on an email from a friend, and I really thought that you'd love to share them with me, dear reader.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Now THIS has gotta raise a smile!

To get the full effect, this should be read aloud. You will understand what 'tenjewberrymuds' means by the end of the conversation. This has been nominated for the best email of 2007.
The following is a telephone exchange between a hotel guest and room-service, at a hotel in Asia, which was recorded and published in the Far East Economic Review:

Room Service (RS): 'Morrin. - Roon sirbees.'

Guest (G): 'Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service.'

RS: 'Rye..Roon sirbees..morrin! Jewish to oddor sunteen??'

G: 'Uh..yes.I'd like some bacon and eggs.'

RS: 'Ow July den?'

G: 'What??'

RS: 'Ow July den?...pryed, boyud, poochd?'

G : 'Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled please.'

RS: 'Ow July dee baykem? Crease?'

G: 'Crisp will be fine.'

RS : 'Hokay. An Sahn toes?'

G: 'What?'

RS:'An toes. July Sahn toes?'

G: 'I don't think so.'

RS: 'No? Judo wan sahn toes??'

G: 'I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo wan sahn toes' means.'

RS: 'Toes! toes!...Why jew don juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?'

G: 'English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying 'Toast.' Fine. Yes, an English muffin will be fine.'

RS: 'We bodder?'

G: 'No...just put the bodder on the side.'

RS: 'Wad! ?'

G: 'I mean butter...just put it on the side.'

RS: 'Copy?'

G: 'Excuse me?'

RS: 'Copy...tea...meel?'

G: 'Yes. Coffee, please, and that's all.'

RS: 'One Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin w bodder on sigh and

G: 'Whatever you say.'

RS: 'Tenjewberrymuds.'

G : 'You're very welcome.'

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tag, Hop-Scotch, and Gin Rummy!

I got a message from Natalie at Koinonia who, being someone who reads anything, (even the labels on sauce bottles I'm led to believe), is a regular reading of the ramblings of this blog. She advised me that I've been 'TAGGED'! Years ago, when I was but a small sprog, I played Tag and knew people who played 'Hop-Scotch', but either the rules have changed or this is a different sort of Tag! I mentioned Gin-Rummy 'cos it seemed to 'sit' well with the other two.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, here are the rules:
  • Link to the person who 'tagged' you.

  • Post the rules on your Blog: in other words what you are reading now.

  • Write 6 random things about yourself (mine are below).

  • Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them. There's nothing sinister here --- it's just a game!

  • Let each person know they have been tagged, and leave a comment on their Blog.

  • Finally, let the 'Tagger' know when your entry is up.

Well, that seems simple enough, doesn't it, dear reader. At least it is if you know lots of Blogs, but if, like me, you don't, then it creates the problem of actually finding six to link to. Anyway, being an adventurer at heart I'll have a go!

6 bits of random info about yours truly!

  1. I guess the first has to be what I'm about, which is serving God in any way that I can. You can tell that from my Blog and from my website. I've been a committed Christian since 1969 and no matter how much I do in the way of 'Serving' it never seems to be enough! I'm conscious that every Christian is called to preach and heal, and so it's important to realise that it's not just the task of the ordained Pastor to minister to others, but the task of every Christian. Christ Himself has commissioned us to share the Gospel message everywhere we go, so that's good enough for me.

  2. I have a great sense of humour! The problem is that not everybody agrees with me about that. I think that's funny! But there again, with a sense of humour like mine I think that most things have a funny side if only you know how to look for it. Humour in my average day starts the moment that I get up and look at myself in the mirror . . . oh well!

  3. I love doing 'busy' jigsaw puzzles, usually 1000 piece ones. I like a puzzle that takes me about a week to complete, fiddling with it when I have an odd moment. (My wife thinks that, being me, I have lots of odd moments. Hmmm! I wonder if she means the same thing as I do!

  4. I usually have a couple of books on the go in addition to my Bible reading. I like to dip into a 'serious' type of book, whilst, at the same time, I enjoy reading what I describe as 'Country Sagas'. I like characters who I can get to know through the pages, and then I can go to work with them and see the world through their eyes.

  5. I spent twelve years living in Africa --- Rhodesia/Zimbabwe Rhodesia/Zimbabwe --- and I have a passionate concern for the people who are so desperately in need for so many reasons. You can understand what I mean when you read the entries on my Blog about Zimbabwe.

  6. I'm married to the best woman in the world! In fact, today is our Wedding Anniversary. She makes me feel special, and I absolutely lover her to bits. What more can I say! My Valentine's Day gift to her last year was a love-song, When I'm With You, so you might gather that I'm a bit of a romantic kind of guy. The song was recently released on CD as the title song, and you can hear a whole SIXTY SECONDS of it on the Sheer Joy Music website.
My first 'TAG!' is for the 'Roosters' at A Hen's Pace which is always a worthwhile visit to make. I don't get a lot of time to check out other Blogs, but this is one I enjoy. If ever you think that real families don't exist any more this family will restore your faith a little!

My next 'TAG' is reserved for two great guys at Oddwalk Ministries who love to share the Gospel in a variety of ways, using a mixture of fun and music to do so.

When I need a little extra Scriptural nourishment then I know I can find it by paying a visit to Starr at Thresholds. I know that she has already 'Tagged' Natalie, but so what? I enjoy her Blog, and so that's a good reason to list her here!

Not strictly a blog site but almost! I like John Roller's FREE STUFF, in which he shares his Scriptural viewpoints, and so I've decided to include him on this list, if only because it's such a worthwhile read when you visit. Why not take a look and see for yourself.

There are some Blogs that I visit occasionally simply because they're nice to drop in on. One such blog is A Circle of Quiet, so why not drop on by and call in on them sometime? Some great pictures and a cool look at life.

Finally, because I like the things of God I also like to find people of God and share the moments that they're generous with. Here's a good place to drop by for a while and enjoy a Holy Experience. Share a wide variety of thoughts drawn from the whole gamut of human experience. (That sounded good didn't it!)

So there we are! My first experience at this particular game of TAG. It was fun, but not as easy as it might at first seem.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Andrew Strom to come to UK?

Revivalist preacher Andrew Strom is due to come to Holland in October, and the United Kingdom towards the end of that month. The Voice Christian News & Views magazine regularly features his writing, and it's one of the first items that many people turn to when they receive their latest issue.

I greatly like the way that he writes, telling it like it is, and I would go as far as to say that we could do with many more of his ilk who are prepared to show their heads above the parapet in order to ensure that the TRUTH of the gospel is shared, rather than the watered down version that so many people get served up to them these days.

I cannot wait to meet up with him, a meeting which will follow something like 4 years of email contact, and I will hopefully be arranging a venue not too far from Liverpool to host him as part of his tour. If any of my readers in the UK feel led to host Andrew when he's here, please contact me so that I can try to arrange it for you with him. He's a powerful preacher, and right up front when it comes to Revival preaching, so I know that your church would be blessed. You can email me about this.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What a blessed time we had!

I returned yesterday evening from a 3-day Christian Healing Conference which was held at the beautiful Gregynog Hall in Mid-Wales. Surely one of the greatest of settings for such a conference. It certainly helps to heal simply by being there and appreciating the beauty of the surroundings. The occasion was the 55th year of the Summer Healing School, and the guest speakers were Canon Roy Laurence and his wife Eira. What a joy and a privilege it was to have someone so prominent (and also so humble) to share from their extensive experiences in Christian Healing. Many of Roy's books --- he's written 12 --- were on sale as well, allowing people to take the learning experience not only further, but home as well.
I was privileged to have been invited to conduct the blessing service, and an important part of this Service is when people are invited to the front for prayer and offered the opportunity to be anointed with oil. More people seemed to come forward this year than ever before (certainly in my memory going back over the past 16 years). From the time that I spent in preparation for the Service I was so aware that there was a great and precious anointing on me, and when the Service commenced at 7.30 on the Tuesday evening the atmosphere was positively charged with the power of the Holy Spirit.
I had prepared a small booklet with ten of my hymns especially for use in the Service, and the sound of about 70 people singing their hearts out in worship for the Lord was absolutely phenomenal! The Psalmist urges us to make a joyful sound, and we certainly did that!
What a wonderful blessing it was for me to know that I did not stand on the platform alone! I spoke in the Holy Spirit, and then had the privilege of anointing those who came forward for that blessing. After the last person had been anointed I received an anointing myself, administered by Canon Roy and Eira.
We certainly experienced the WOW! factor throughout the evening, not because of me, but because our Lord used me so mightily. This is not because I'm particularly special, but just because I made myself available. Of course, we are all special in God's sight, but it's when we hand ourselves totally into His hands that miracles happen. Our hands become His hands, and our words are His words. The blessing comes not from us but through us. It is all from Him. How I wish that you, dear reader, could have been there to share in the blessing. At least I hope that by my sharing it with you here, having held my report in prayer, you will still receive a blessing as you read it.
All I can say, once again, is:
Isn't God Wonderful!

Freedom or Slavery?

In some cities in the US it's already mandatory that your pet has a computer chip embedded in its body. Small farmers, including backyard farmers with a dozen chickens, are currently being advised that soon they will have to do that too. Guess who's next? There are already companies hard at work manufacturing and marketing computer chip implants for humans. Some misguided folks are already lining up for them because they been misled into believing that it will increase their 'personal security' and make their medical records immediately available in case of emergency.

You can check it out further on the Brasscheck website here. You can also download a report on the Verichip here.

My guess is that less than 1 out 1,000, maybe 1 out of 100,000, know how far along this plan is. If you don't tell them, odds are your friends and colleagues may never know.

Whatever you do, please don't accept a microchip being implanted under your skin under any circumstances. To do so will mean that you are surrendering your freewill to those who do not have your best interests at heart. They want to turn you and everyone on this planet into slaves, linked to a central computer which even now is being constructed.

The choice is yours.

Choose freedom or choose slavery.

P.S. Please sign up to receive and share Brasscheck TV, e-mails and videos with friends and colleagues. That's how they grow.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mrs Bishop?

At the Lambeth Conference on Monday, The General Synod of the Church of England accepted that the consecration of women bishops could go ahead. Their decision struck down all of the amendments by traditionalists which would have allowed them alternative oversight by their own bishops. This move takes away the alternative options granted and promised to traditionalists when the ordination of women as priests was first allowed, and has created yet another major schism in the historic Church of England, following hot on the heels over the arguments regarding homosexual clergy.

The bishop of Dover Stephen Venner, had this to say before the final debate on the amended motion (check it out here):
I have to say that for the first time in my life I feel ashamed. We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place for those who disagreed. We have turned down almost every opportunity for those opposed to flourish. And we still talk the talk of being inclusive and generous. The Rochester report said in many many pages that there were a variety of ways in which scripture and reason could be read with integrity. It argued over and over again that it is possible to be a loyal member of the CofE and [accept] some legal safeguards for those who oppose the ordination of women. It is not just those who are opposed to the ordination of women who find the motion we have at the moment difficult. I do. Where is the CofE about which we have spoken today? Is this CofE to which we have come to in this vote the CofE at its best? I have to say I doubt it. Is this the CofE to which I thought I belonged? I have to say with huge sadness, I doubt it.

C.S. Lewis explains what the objections are to female priests and bishops in his article, 'Priestesses in the Church?'

Because this is such an important issue I'm reproducing his article here:

"I should like Balls infinitely better," said Caroline Bingley, "if they were carried on in a different manner ... It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing made the order of the day."

"Much more rational, I dare say," replied her brother, "but it would not be near so much like a Ball." We are told that the lady was silenced: yet it could be maintained that Jane Austen has not allowed Bingley to put forward the full strength of his position. He ought to have replied with a distinguo. In one sense, conversation is more rational, for conversation may exercise the reason alone, dancing does not. But there is nothing irrational in exercising other powers than our reason. On certain occasions and for certain purposes the real irrationality is with those who will not do so. The man who would try to break a horse or write a poem or beget a child by pure syllogizing would be an irrational man; though at the same time syllogizing is in itself a more rational activity than the activities demanded by these achievements. It is rational not to reason, or not to limit oneself to reason, in the wrong place; and the more rational a man is the better he knows this.

These remarks are not intended as a contribution to the criticism of Pride and Prejudice. They came into my head when I heard that the Church of England was being advised to declare women capable of Priests' Orders. I am, indeed, informed that such a proposal is very unlikely to be seriously considered by the authorities. To take such a revolutionary step at the present moment, to cut ourselves off from the Christian past and to widen the divisions between ourselves and other Churches by establishing an order of priestesses in our midst, would be an almost wanton degree of imprudence. And the Church of England herself would be torn in shreds by the operation. My concern with the proposal is of a more theoretical kind. The question involves something even deeper than a revolution in order.

I have every respect for those who wish women to be priestesses. I think they are sincere and pious and sensible people. Indeed, in a way they are too sensible. That is where my dissent from them resembles Bingley's dissent from his sister. I am tempted to say that the proposed arrangement would make us much more rational "but not near so much like a Church".

For at first sight all the rationality (in Caroline Bingley's sense) is on the side of the innovators. We are short of priests. We have discovered in one profession after another that women can do very well all sorts of things which were once supposed to be in the power of men alone. No one among those who dislike the proposal is maintaining that women are less capable than men of piety, zeal, learning and whatever else seems necessary for the pastoral office. What, then, except prejudice begotten by tradition, forbids us to draw on the huge reserves which could pour into the priesthood if women were here, as in so many other professions, put on the same footing as men? And against this flood of common sense, the opposers (many of them women) can produce at first nothing but an inarticulate distaste, a sense of discomfort which they themselves find it hard to analyse.

That this reaction does not spring from any contempt for women is, I think, plain from history. The Middle Ages carried their reverence for one Woman to a point at which the charge could be plausibly made that the Blessed Virgin became in their eyes almost "a fourth Person of the Trinity". But never, so far as I know, in all those ages was anything remotely resembling a sacerdotal office attributed to her. All salvation depends on the decision which she made in the words Ecce ancilla; she is united in nine months' inconceivable intimacy with the eternal Word; she stands at the foot of the cross. But she is absent both from the Last Supper and from the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. Such is the record of Scripture. Nor can you daff it aside by saying that local and temporary conditions condemned women to silence and private life. There were female preachers. One man had four daughters who all "prophesied", i.e. preached. There were prophetesses even in Old Testament times. Prophetesses, not priestesses.

At this point the common sensible reformer is apt to ask why, if women can preach, they cannot do all the rest of a priest's work. This question deepens the discomfort of my side. We begin to feel that what really divides us from our opponents is a difference between the meaning which they and we give to the word "priest". The more they speak (and speak truly) about the competence of women in administration, their tact and sympathy as advisers, their national talent for "visiting", the more we feel that the central thing is being forgotten. To us a priest is primarily a representative, a double representative, who represents us to God and God to us. Our very eyes teach us this in church. Sometimes the priest turns his back on us and faces the East - he speaks to God for us: sometimes he faces us and speaks to us for God. We have no objection to a woman doing the first: the whole difficulty is about the second. But why? Why should a woman not in this sense represent God? Certainly not because she is necessarily, or even probably, less holy or less charitable or stupider than a man. In that sense she may be as "God-like" as a man; and a given women much more so than a given man. The sense in which she cannot represent God will perhaps be plainer if we look at the thing the other way round.
Suppose the reformer stops saying that a good woman may be like God and begins saying that God is like a good woman. Suppose he says that we might just as well pray to "Our Mother which art in heaven" as to "Our Father". Suppose he suggests that the Incarnation might just as well have taken a female as a male form, and the Second Person of the Trinity be as well called the Daughter as the Son. Suppose, finally, that the mystical marriage were reversed, that the Church were the Bridegroom and Christ the Bride. All this, as it seems to me, is involved in the claim that a woman can represent God as a priest does.

Now it is surely the case that if all these supposals were ever carried into effect we should be embarked on a different religion. Goddesses have, of course, been worshipped: many religions have had priestesses. But they are religions quite different in character from Christianity. Common sense, disregarding the discomfort, or even the horror, which the idea of turning all our theological language into the feminine gender arouses in most Christians, will ask "Why not? Since God is in fact not a biological being and has no sex, what can it matter whether we say He or She, Father or Mother, Son or Daughter?"

But Christians think that God Himself has taught us how to speak of Him. To say that it does not matter is to say either that all the masculine imagery is not inspired, is merely human in origin, or else that, though inspired, it is quite arbitrary and unessential. And this is surely intolerable: or, if tolerable, it is an argument not in favour of Christian priestesses but against Christianity. It is also surely based on a shallow view of imagery. Without drawing upon religion, we know from our poetical experience that image and apprehension cleave closer together than common sense is here prepared to admit; that a child who has been taught to pray to a Mother in Heaven would have a religious life radically different from that of a Christian child. And as image and apprehension are in an organic unity, so, for a Christian, are human body and human soul.

The innovators are really implying that sex is something superficial, irrelevant to the spiritual life. To say that men and women are equally eligible for a certain profession is to say that for the purposes of that profession their sex is irrelevant. We are, within that context, treating both as neuters.

As the State grows more like a hive or an ant-hill it needs an increasing number of workers who can be treated as neuters. This may be inevitable for our secular life. But in our Christian life we must return to reality. There we are not homogeneous units, but different and complementary organs of a mystical body. Lady Nunburnholme has claimed that the equality of men and women is a Christian principle. I do not remember the text in scripture nor the Fathers, nor Hooker, nor the Prayer Book which asserts it; but that is not here my point. The point is that unless "equal" means "interchangeable", equality makes nothing for the priesthood of women. And the kind of equality which implies that the equals are interchangeable (like counters or identical machines) is, among humans, a legal fiction. It may be a useful legal fiction. But in church we turn our back on fictions. One of the ends for which sex was created was to symbolize to us the hidden things of God. One of the functions of human marriage is to express the nature of the union between Christ and the Church. We have no authority to take the living and semitive figures which God has painted on the canvas of our nature and shift them about as if they were mere geometrical figures.

This is what common sense will call "mystical". Exactly. The Church claims to be the bearer of a revelation. If that claim is false then we want not to make priestesses but to abolish priests. If it is true, then we should expect to find in the Church an element which unbelievers will call irrational and which believers will call supra-rational. There ought to be something in it opaque to our reason though not contrary to it - as the facts of sex and sense on the natural level are opaque. And that is the real issue. The Church of England can remain a church only if she retains this opaque element. If we abandon that, if we retain only what can be justified by standards of prudence and convenience at the bar of enlightened common sense, then we exchange revelation for that old wraith Natural Religion.

It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege, or the burden, which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are, in our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us. But it is an old saying in the army that you salute the uniform not the wearer. Only one wearing the masculine uniform can (provisionally, and till the Parousia) represent the Lord to the Church: for we are all, corporately and individually, feminine to Him. We men may often make very bad priests. That is because we are insufficiently masculine. It is no cure to call in those who are not masculine at all. A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles. He may make a bad male partner in a dance. The cure for that is that men should more diligently attend dancing classes; not that the ballroom should henceforward ignore distinctions of sex and treat all dancers as neuter. That would, of course, be eminently sensible, civilized, and enlightened, but, once more, "not near so much like a Ball".

And this parallel between the Church and the Ball is not so fanciful as some would think. The Church ought to be more like a Ball than it is like a factory or a political party. Or, to speak more strictly, they are at the circumference and the Church at the Centre and the Ball comes in between. The factory and the political party are artificial creations - "a breath can make them as a breath has made". In them we are not dealing with human beings in their concrete entirety only with "hands" or voters. I am not of course using "artificial" in any derogatory sense. Such artifices are necessary: but because they are our artifices we are free to shuffle, scrap and experiment as we please. But the Ball exists to stylize something which is natural and which concerns human beings in their entirety - namely, courtship. We cannot shuffle or tamper so much. With the Church, we are farther in: for there we are dealing with male and female not merely as facts of nature but as the live and awful shadows of realities utterly beyond our control and largely beyond our direct knowledge. Or rather, we are not dealing with them but (as we shall soon learn if we meddle) they are dealing with us.

Well, dear reader, what do you think about the whole issue? I wonder whether you think that the only 'Mrs' or 'Miss' or even 'Ms' BISHOP should be the wife or daughter or sister of MR Bishop? Well, it's certainly a thought!

A Great Gift!

I had ordered an advertising screen for the Cardiff exhibition that I blogged about yesterday, from a local design company called Reload, owned and run by a young man called Lee Rhodes. I'd been quoted an acceptable price for the job and was duly advised that it was ready for collection. imagine then, my great and pleasant surprise when Lee announced that, as he'd got some new material to test out, it was FREE! I was thrilled, dear reader, you can be sure of that. The picture above shows me standing next to the new sign (Well, I guess that's obvious, but I needed to say something!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back in harness!

Well, I'm back from the exhibition in Cardiff which was a success in many different ways. The fellowship was tremendous! The concerts were great!

There were two choirs, one on the Tuesday evening and one on the Wednesday, each different from the other, and yet each using their extensive talents to praise the Lord with not only their voices but plainly their hearts as well. At the first of the concerts we were treated to more traditional Gospel singing by the Cardiff Gospel Male Voice Praise Choir, with many hymns that we all recognised plus a few that were not perhaps so well known to some people. On the second evening we were treated to a wonderful evening by the Bethesda Church Choir, a mixed choir of varying talent but all with a tremendous enthusiasm both for the Lord and for singing. This was a very different evening to the first, and we were treated to some lively singing that shouted 'HAPPINESS' as loud as they could. By that I mean that it was impossible to listen to them and not come away with a tremendous sense of joy from being there.

A real treat was that both concerts also included the internationally renowned Welsh harpist, Bethan Myfanwy Hughes, and Bethan interspersed the choirs numbers with either instrumental numbers on the full concert size harp or else accompanied the harp with her beautiful voice. It was a truly magical event, made more so by the inclusion of interviews with some of the exhibitors, a flute solo by one of the exhibitors, and also a rendition of The Aaronic Blessing, written and sung by Vivienne Oates who accompanied herself on the guitar. You can purchase her recordings from Anchor Recordings. The whole evening left one almost breathless! What a privilege it was to have been there. AND, as an added bonus, Bethan Myfanwy Hughes agreed to sign to Sheer Joy Music, so look for some fabulous recordings of her harp-playing and singing to come very soon on the Sheer Joy Music site.

A very moving moment was when the exhibition organiser, Rev Roy Weaver of Decade Ministries, unfurled one of his amazing 'Wallpaper Rolls' whilst Bethan played and sang the Louis Armstrong hit number, What a wonderful world. Roy really earns his sobriquet of 'The Wallpaper Man'! I first met him about eight or nine years ago when he came to my church to take part in the service, unrolling his wallpaper messages as he did so. If you ask him how long the sermon will be his usual answer is "About ten metres!" If you are in the UK and you've never experienced Roy's ministry first-hand, then I recommend you to book him for an appearance in your Sunday Morning Worship Service or to contact him to find out when he might be in your area. It will be a decision that you'll certainly not regret.

Why not follow some of the links in this post and find out a little more for yourself dear reader?

Monday, July 14, 2008

In Cardiff for a few days!

I am going away for a few days today down to Cardiff in South Wales, where I shall be at a Christian Arts Festival and Church Supplies Exhibition. If you have chance to visit, please come along. There's a lot going on, including concerts, drama, Gospel choirs and much more!

The Exhibition runs from tomorrow, Tuesday 15th July until Thursday 17th July, and it's at Hebron Hall, Dinas Powys. For those with a 'sat-nav', the post code is CF64 4YB.

Hope to see you there!

Jesus Paid YOUR Debt

Once again today, dear reader, I am going to share the following, which I received by email from Joanne Lowe. The copyright is hers for this piece. You can visit her via this link or email her direct.


“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12: 2 (King James Version)

What horror and what agony and pain our precious Saviour endured for us! It should have been us who hung on the cross that the Saviour of the world hung on. He paid the sin debt that we owed. It was a debt that we could never have paid. It took the spotless Lamb of God to satisfy the requirements of a Holy God.

Jesus had never done sinned but because His heart is filled with unconditional love and compassion for us, He allowed them to beat Him, torture Him, spit on Him, ridicule Him and mock Him. He did all of that for us when it should have been us who hung on that cross. What a precious Saviour; what a friend, this Jesus of Calvary!

Just as Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him so we should also endure the criticism, sarcasm, ridicule and scorn for the joy set before us. One day, if we have made a heart commitment to Jesus, we will see Him face to face and we will spend all eternity with Him. What joy floods my heart when I think about being with my precious Saviour for all eternity!

The next time someone says hateful words to you or does something cruel to you, remember that one day you will see Jesus face to face and spend all eternity with Him. Remember, one day it will be worth all the pain, loneliness, heartaches and burdens you bear because if you are serving Him with all of your heart He will say to you “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25: 21).

Joanne Lowe
July 14, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Brief Decade!

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Sunday that I came to St John's in Runcorn to 'preach with a view', as the expression goes. The church was packed with the majority of the members who had turned up to hear me and decide whether or not they wanted me to come on a more permanent basis as their Minister. Thankfully, as it has turned out, they did! I've now had the privilege of serving God and pastoring the congregation for ten years, and although I won't pretend that it's been the easiest task in the world, it certainly has been a rewarding one.

Today, to mark the occasion, I am going to preach the same sermon that I did on 12th July 1998, albeit that the Spirit will probably lead me in slightly differing directions as I speak. My message is entitled 'Freedom', and is based on Paul's letter to the Galatians, Chapter 5, verses 1-15. The picture shows the pulpit from which I preached 10 years ago, but at present we meet in the Hall behind the Sanctuary, whilst we await for our long-awaited building works to commence.

One of the exciting things when you set out on your spiritual journey is that you never know the direction that it will take. One thing, however, is certain, and that is that provided you follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and walk in the path that the Lord leads you in then it will always be worthwhile. Along the way you will find pitfalls and climb mountains, but much of the journey will be along smooth paths. I'm reminded of Acts 14:22 which says, . . .and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God. We have never been promised an easy ride. There will always be difficulties to be faced. but, oh, how worthwhile everything will prove to have been in the end when we reach, as Augustus puts it that Kingdom that has no end.

Corsham, long, long ago!

Spurred on by discovering that someone from Corsham --- the town where I was born --- actually read my Blog post yesterday and left a nice comment, I guess it just got the memory juices working a little harder this morning!

I was born in the Nursing Home --- now converted into apartments --- which was on the opposite side of the High Street, just a few yards down from The Wine Lodge, which was the family home. (Of course, from a different perspective you might say that it was a few yards up). That was almost 65 years ago, and the Corsham that existed in my childhood is vastly different from that of today. Gone are the familiar shops and the names that I knew as a boy, yet if I close my eyes for a moment I can still see them, still smell the wonderful scents that came from many of them. There was Watts' Sweet Shop at the Town Hall end of the High Street, and a paper shop next to that run by a family called Barber. A little way from that was Joe Damond's bakery where the smell of new-baked bread was as powerful as any perfumed invitation can be. I remember that you could by miniature Hovis loaves there, about 4" long. Joe was often mentioned in conversation at home because he had 'a reputation with the ladies', although I had no idea then what was meant by it!

The sweet-shop was my favourite of course, in common with most small boys. Watts also sold many of the small toys that helped you to be parted from your pocket-money, and often were the things that most annoyed your parents and were subsequently the subject of a disappearing act. I remember Mars Bars at 4d, Sherbert Dabs in a pale lemon tubed packet which had a tube of liquorice protruding from the top which you dipped into the powdery sherbert to suck off afterwards. Gobstoppers were there too, brightly coloured and available for just 1d, but my favourite was always Dolly Mixtures because you got lots of individual sweets for your money. Of course, not only did you need money, but it was necessary to have Sweet Coupons as well, for these were the days of rationing. One thing is certain, it never took me too long to be parted from my 6d each week!

I've mentioned previously about my early schooldays, spent at Miss Bailey's in the High Street, and remembered amongst the happiest moments of my early years. Looking out from one of the two classrooms you could see the Glove Factory workroom across the garden. I guess they must have rented the building from old Mr Bailey, Miss Bailey's father. He was a dapper little man with a waxed moustache that was yellowed from years of smoking a pipe, and as far as Miss Bailey was concerned he seemed to be somewhat of a tyrant. He resolutely refused to let her leave home, believing that her first duty was to care for him. As a result, although she was engaged to Ernest Hodson for decades it was not until after the death of her father that they were free to marry. I recall the school milk-breaks, when the little bottles of milk, (were they about a third of a pint?), were heated during the cold winter months in a large copper boiler in the kitchens. Every memory that I have of Miss Bailey's is a good one, and that statement speaks volumes about the care and love that she showed us all. Long after we had grown up and flown the nest she used to keep in touch with my parents to find out how we were doing. I'm one of seven children, and we all went to Miss Bailey for our early education. There was none better, yet in these days of ridiculous PC attitudes I expect that she would not have been allowed to run her little school, and that would have meant that the world --- certainly my world --- would have been a poorer place.

I remember The Beanstalk Coffee Bar opening in the town in the mid-1950's. Coffee Bars were springing up all over the country then, and were a part of the Rock 'n Roll era, and as such were instantly condemned by our parents and the town's 'elders'. Near to the Horse Fountain, it was along from the Town Hall, sandwiched between a shop where you could buy hardware and pet foods and George Cooper's Barber Shop. It was at the latter that small boys like myself were plonked on a piece of wood that fitted onto the Barber's chair in order to raise us to the right height for shearing. There was no choice of style, just the instruction from my mother that it should be 'a short back 'n sides, please George'. Clothing was purchased either at MacMillan's or at Smith's. I recall the pungent odour of Cigars at MacMillan's shop, and the hat boxes that were piled on the top of the cabinets, almost to the ceiling. Next to MacMillan's was the Hardware store run by Joe James, one of Corsham's elder statesmen. It was a magnificent emporium! You could wander the wooden-floored interior for ages, and you could purchase what you needed rather than what some far-distant accountant decreed was the quantity that you should by. Hence, if you wanted just two screws for a job or one 6" nail, then you could buy just that. The shop had its own interesting smells, a mixture of tallow, paraffin, metal and wood.

There were three main butchers in the town, Love's and, just a few doors up, Ives', and one on the other side of the road, run by Bill Beazant, which was our family's main supplier of meat. Shergolds ran the wet fish shop and Bollom's the Dry-Cleaners. Mr Thorn rented a shop from my father and ran the chemists. Of course there was no Precinct in those days, and you walked the length of the High Street and a little portion of Pickwick Road for your shopping. The first glimpse that I ever had of a TV set was in Bulson's window in Pickwick Road, outside which the school bus spewed us out onto the pavement at one stage of our development.

For leisure we would go to the Youth Centre, overseen by the indomitable Miss Reynolds, or when older, to the Community Centre where the Town Clerk, Bill Light, was in charge. There were Old Tyme Dances on a Friday evening, where young and old enjoyed waltzing round the floor, and later on in life there were Wednesday night Rock 'n Roll dances too. Apart from that we had church on a Sunday --- usually three times --- and a wealth of fields and woods to play our games in as we re-enacted wars and battles, played Cowboys and Indians, or pirates on the high seas. For the lucky few, and I was one of them, there were farmers who would allow small boys to go and help out, usually the payment being the occasional opportunity to drive the tractor across a field. I spent many happy days 'working' for Jack Vowles who rented Park Farm from the Methuen Estate. Sometimes, because we were friendly with the Methuens, we would take the punt out on the lake when were older, always with the warning to take great care because the weed in the lake would drag you under if you should fall in!

Well, dear reader, there's a lot more where that came from, but I guess that's enough of a trip down this section of Memory Lane for awhile, although you never know! I hope you enjoyed sharing the journey with me. I enjoyed your company.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Please don't forget Zimbabwe!

The news about Zimbabwe no longer dominates the Press, does it? Sadly, the fact that there is less in the media about the atrocities perpetrated by Mugabe and his henchmen, it doesn't mean that they are taking a rest from beating, torturing and killing innocent Zimbabweans. That continues on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, despite the threat of sanctions from many nations, Mugabe's evil regime is being propped up by those nations and leaders who either tacitly offer their support or who resolutely sit on the fence. Of course, if you are the leader of a nation yourself, and have a bad record on the violation of human rights in your own country, it might be considered inauspicious to throw stones whilst sitting in the proverbial glasshouse!

One of the images that sickened me recently was that of Mugabe holding up a Bible whilst he was sworn in for another term of office following the sham elections that he engineered. How he can hold a Bible at all is beyond me! I wonder whether it burned the skin on his hands.

He now swans about once more, surrounded by his sycophantic thugs whose task it is to protect him. Perhaps from amongst their ranks there will emerge a 'Brutus'? We can only hope!

All this apart, the major factor for concern is not the sham democracy that exists in Zimbabwe today, but the needs of the Zimbabwean people. So once again I urge you to hold them before God in your prayers.
  • Pray that they might be released from the fears that grip them.
  • Pray that they might obtain the food that they need to live.
  • Pray that they might have the medical resources available to them.
  • Pray that they might have freedom of religion.
  • Pray that the leaders of the world might unite in their favour.
  • Pray that they can be set FREE from the grip of this tyrannical despot.
  • Above all, pray for peace in their lives and the means to live a fruitful and rewarding existence in their land.
  • PRAY FOR MUGABE'S DOWNFALL. He has challenged God Himself, and so we can pray that God will deal with this totally Godless tyrant.

Hidden in the forest . . .

In my previous blog post, I mentioned the late Ivor Ball, the father of one of my best friends, Dickie Ball. I remember on one occasion, when I had my very first poem published in the local church magazine, that Ivor challenged me over it as he didn't believe that I could write poetry. Rising to the challenge I demanded pen and paper and sat down to write the following poem which is called Memories. It was to form the title poem for my first book, encouraged by Ivor's wife Aggie, whom I dearly loved and referred to as 'Mum Ball'. Anyway, I thought that you might like to read it for yourself dear reader, so here it is, exactly as it was written down in the space of about fifteen minutes, all those years ago.


Hidden in the forest

where the trees grow thick and strong,
there's a cottage, small and humble,
where I lived when I was young.

There's a yellow roof of thatch,
and a rough red chimney there,
with diamond-latticed windows
letting in the cool fresh air.

When work was finished for the day
in peace I hurried home,
through the trees so thick and handsome,
where as a child I'd roam.

A smiling face would greet me
hot dinner on the grate;
but this day all was lonely,
'twas so early, yet so late.

No smoke came from the chimney,
no whispers filled the air:
but the memories still haunt me
of my mother smiling there.

Now many years have crept along;
I sadly realise
that never shall I see again
the love-light in her eyes.

Till I walk down the cobbled path,
and lift that rusty latch:
till memory brings back again
my home with the yellow thatch.

I was a boy of fifteen when I wrote that, and the book was published in 1966 when I was a young man of 22 years of age. My, how tempus fugit!

Sometimes I ponder on where these words for the poems and songs come from. It's as though they are locked away in the annals of my mind, waiting for the right trigger to send them hurtling through time and onto the page. I have absolutely no idea how this particular poem came about in reality. Some people have asked whether it describes the home that I lived in when I was a child, or even a composite of several homes, but the answer is a resounding 'NO'. Perhaps it's an image of a home that I might have liked to live in, who knows?

I guess that the best thing to do is to accept that all of these things come as a gift from God, and serve the purpose of pleasing many people down through the ages. Perhaps, in this instance, you might imagine, dear reader, that I'm describing your home, or at least one that you might have loved. Certainly, re-reading the poem over the years has given me a great deal of pleasure, and is certainly aptly titled, Memories.

Corsham Court & All That!

In my Blog yesterday, I mentioned Corsham Court, together with the information that I had been born in Corsham. I thought that you might be interested to know a little more about the place, and Corsham Court in particular.

Corsham has been home to the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Army, especially during the second world war. Prior to that it was a typical West Wiltshire weaving town, tastefully built of Bath stone, several quarries of which were worked in the parish from early times. Of particular interest to visitors is the row of weaver’s cottages known as the Flemish Buildings.

The local Anglican church is the Church of St Bartholomew, and it was there that I first sang in public when I was a choirboy! I remember that we used to get paid the princely sum of two shillings and sixpence, (about 12.5 pence), whenever we sang at a wedding!

In 1801 it was the eighth most popular town in the County, jealously preserving a number of ancient rights, which included the right to hold a Court Leet and have its own coroner. The parishioners were exempt from jury service and the vicar was empowered to hold his own consistory court. As a point of interest, my father, who was a well-known wine merchant in the town for around forty years, used the name Court Leet as a brand name for his own-brand sherry. I well remember spending many hours as a youngster labelling bottles with the Court Leet name on them. His business was unusual in that it was one of only five in existence that boasted an ‘irrevocable licence’.

In and around Corsham is are several distinguished country mansions, Hartham Park, Monks Park, Puckeredge House, 17th century Pickwick Manor, Jaggards and Easton Manor House (Circa 15th century) amongst them. Without doubt, the finest and most imposing of those in the district is Corsham Court, home for many generations of the Methuen family since the mid-18th century.


The earliest known records of a house at Corsham date back to 978 when the house was a summer palace for the Kings of Wessex. The property subsequently became part of the dowry of the Queens of England until Elizabeth I granted a leasehold interest following which Thomas Smythe (one of her subjects) erected an Elizabethan manor house on the site.
Corsham Court was a Royal Manor in the days of the Saxon Kings and is currently the home of James Methuen-Campbell, the eighth generation of the Methuens to live there. He succeeded to the Corsham Estate on the death of the Seventh Baron Methuen in 1994. The home is based on Thomas Smythe’s Elizabethan Manor House, dating from 1582. It was bought by Paul Methuen to house a collection of 16th and 17th century Italian and Flemish Master paintings and statuary. During the middle of the 19th century the house was altered to receive a second collection of fashionable Italian Masters and rare Italian Primitives and stone inlaid furniture.

Inside the building, Corsham Court is home to a magnificent collection of over 140 paintings, statuary, bronzes and furniture. The collection includes works by such names as Adams, Chippendale, Caravaggio, Lippi, Rubens and Van Dyck. The picture gallery is 72ft in length, and the intricate plasterwork of the ceiling is mirrored in the pattern of the carpet specially commissioned by the 4th Lord Methuen and made in 1959 by the Royal Tapestry and Carpet factory in Madrid.

The grounds to Corsham Court were planned by ‘Capability’ Brown and were later finished by John Nash and Thomas Bellam. When I was growing up I was close friends with Richard (Dickie) Ball, and his father, the late Ivor Ball, was Head Gardener at the Court for many years.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that once you kick-start your memory about a particular period of your life, so the friends and incidents surrounding it come rushing to the fore in waves. At this moment, as I write this blog-post, I am surrounded, metaphorically speaking, by my childhood friends. I can see in the darkened recesses of my mind, the images of yesteryear, images such as the late Joan Pictor, a great local eccentric and ultimately benefactor to the town, shabbily dressed and sitting in her house in the High Street, gazing out onto the passing world through her net curtains that were so dirty that they would fall apart if they were touched. After her demise the town benefitted by her bequest of her house and contents.

I loved the Alms Houses, set on the edge of the town, and magnificent in their design. These were given to the town by Dame Margaret Hungerford, wife of the commander of Cromwell's forces in Wiltshire, and incumbent of Corsham Court at that time. The Schoolroom doubled as the Chapel, and it still contains the original desks, the master's chair being built into the pulpit. Well worth a visit!

I’ve written before about childhood trips to the local sweet shop, but there was so much more. My early forays into the world of learning were the result of my childhood educational journey via ‘Miss Bailey’s’, or, to give it the correct title, Cheviot House Primary School, which was housed in the High Street.

Ah, dear reader! The wonderful benefits of memories! I hope that you enjoyed today’s journey down Memory Lane.

Friday, July 11, 2008

At present I'm reading a book by Joanna Trollope called The Steps of the Sun, and written under her pseudonym of Caroline Harvey. Like all of her books it's well-written and provides a good read, something to relax me in the few moments prior to finally shutting off the day. Last night i had an interesting experience as a result of my reading, for one of the characters in the book, which is against the background of the Boer War, mentions his commanding Officer, General Methuen, and goes on to recall a time spent at the 'Family Seat' of the Methuens, Corsham Court in Wiltshire. The reason that the words jumped out at me and made me reflect for a moment, was because Corsham Court was a few minutes walk away from my childhood home, for I was born in Corsham and spent the first years of my life there.

I recall another incident, this time one that involved one of my brothers when he lived in Johannesburg. One day he was feeling a little homesick (NOT something that I ever experienced, I must say!), and he had gone into a cafe for a meal. Whilst looking around at the pictures on the walls he saw a framed poster of the Wiltshire village of Castle Combe, voted several times as the prettiest village in England, and also the village which was taken over for much of the filming of Dr Doolittle. There in the picture was one of my late father's vans! You can imagine the effect on my brother, already feeling far from home! Just to give you an idea of how pretty the village is, I've included some pictutes of Castle Combe on this blog. One of them is of the Cstle Combe Manor House Hotel, where I have enjoyed several excellent meals in the past. Even the memory of them makes my mouth water!
It puts me in mind of our Christian lives as well, for there are times when we need a gentle reminder that we are far from home in a sense too. Not our physical home but our spiritual home, I mean. As Christians we are Ambassadors serving in Christ's diplomatic service, and our task is to ensure that we deliver His message to everyone whom we meet. Sometimes, when we are on our life's journey, we will stop for a while and reflect on the fact that we are far from home, yet that is exactly where we should be. When our period of service is over then we will be called home. In the meantime we have to ensure that we do a job well done.

Our call is a call to MISSION, and it means that we have a job to do! There is no time to simply sit back and leave it to somebody else, for they will have their task before them too. When God calls out to YOU, He really means YOU, and not the person in the next seat or the next row!

We are all part of God's army, and we are called to fight in the battlefield every day, never letting our guard slip for a moment. We are equipped with all that we need when we Have His Word, for His Word is the SWORD OF TRUTH.

I spent the first few years of my life in Corsham, and I have many memories of my childhood there. After that I travelled all over the place, including twelve years in Africa, and my head is full of memories of people, places and events from those years. Now I'm here in the North-West of England, once again building up my memory reserves with many pleasant things. But through it all I've looked to the ultimate home. I've looked towards the time when I go to take up my place that has been prepared for me by my Saviour when He finally calls me to Glory! Not, dear reader, that I'm anxious to depart from the here and now! not for a moment!!! Life is exciting, life is wonderful, life is here to be lived and experienced in full, but experienced in the fullness of Jesus Christ. But when the time comes I hope that I may be told that I have served my Saviour well. I certainly try my best to do just that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Amazingly Beautiful Places!

I thought that I would share this picture of the Yosemite Valley with you, which I think is an amazingly beautiful site!

I hope it gives you the sense of peace that it does for me.

Just Enjoy!

An Insidious Encroachment

Yesterday evening the television was on and the programme was hosted by Gordon Ramsey, the foul-mouthed TV chef who has become extremely rich by becoming well-known for his use of the 'F-word' expletive. We changed channels. However, the Gordon Ramsey programme was followed by the TV Reality show 'Big Brother', and this is another programme where the use of obscene language is so blatantly used by the contestants that it almost slips by without notice.

When I was growing up, we were taught that the only people who constantly felt the need to use obscene or blasphemous language were those whose education was sadly lacking, and who simply did not have sufficient command of the English language to know the correct way to express themselves. In this age where the teaching methods instigated by various government 'red papers' leave much to be desired it has long been felt that the standard of education has caused a 'dumbing down' of those in receipt of it, the result being that we have reared a couple of generations of people to whom the use of expletives is as normal as riding a bicycle.

Interestingly, one contestant in the Big Brother programme, a female named Belinda, blasphemed the name of Christ at one point, and then said to her fellow contestant, "I suppose that I shouldn't have said 'Christ', it would have been better to say 'Fxxx'. How sad that her educational standards are so lacking that she feels that they are the only two alternatives that she knows to express herself!

I realise that in writing this blog today I open myself to ridicule by those whose standards match Belinda's and many millions of others, but I feel strongly about the manner in which the use of profanity and blasphemy is such an everyday event in so many people's lives. It is an insidious encroachment into our lives which has lessened the quality of them rather than enriching it.

What do you think about it all, dear reader? Does it really matter, and if you think it does, what can be done about it at this late stage in the day?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Spirit Stirred!

Yesterday afternoon I was a guest at a Baptism Service here in my home town. This was a great service! There was no fancy Baptismal Pool, no river or rock-pool, just a swimming pool in a local Leisure Centre, but that made no difference at all to the occasion. Seven people went through the waters of baptism after confessing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and their ages stretched from about 15-years old to about 60-years of age (My guesswork, which is a reasonable estimate!)

My own profession of faith goes back to September 9th 1969, and that was the moment that my life was changed for ever, for from then onward I have always done my best to walk in Christ's footsteps. I came to Christ at a meeting that was held in the Friends' Meeting House in Bath, and was led by the evangelist, Peter Scothern, a great man of God. A few years ago I had the privilege of sharing a platform with Peter at a meeting which was held in a school hall in Chester, and I was struck again by the humble manner that he had.

Since I accepted Christ into my life it has been a wonderful walk, although not always an easy one. There have been many moments when I found the going tough, but in retrospect I can look back and see that they were moments of growth. I guess that they were my 'growing pains' as I moved on towards Christian maturity. Despite these tough times I would not change a moment of the journey, for how can any journey with Christ be anything but a mind-blowing experience.

Along the way there have been times when I have been out-of-step with God, even wondered if He had left me alone, and yet once I came back into line I was always able to see that He'd always been there, and that He had never left me. I remember one night in 1982 when I was in hospital in Zimbabwe awaiting a major back operation. In a lot of pain and very fearful of what the immediate future held, I sat in a window-seat one night at around 11.30 pm, looking up to the stars, trying to get everything into perspective, and trying my best to reach out to God. Yet, try as I may, I could not reach out! I felt totally desolate, for it seemed to me that I had become separated altogether from God. How could I go on on my own? It would be impossible.

The duty night nurse came to speak to me and I turned to her with tears coursing down my cheeks, yet no sound came from my lips. She arranged that I could call my Minister, a great guy by the name of Mike Rutter, and so I 'phoned his home. His wife answered and all I could do was sob down the 'phone. "Is that you, Colin," she said. Somehow I managed to mumble that it was. "Just put the 'phone down and Mike will be with you in a moment," she said. Even though it was past midnight and he lived about five miles away, it seemed like only a few minutes before he was there with me. The nursing staff allowed us to use an empty side-room and made us a cup of tea. For a while I couldn't speak, tears still coursing down my face. Mike talked quietly to me fro a while and then, taking my hands in his, started to pray. The desolation was dreadful. I was in the darkest place that I have ever been in. It really was as though I was completely and utterly without God, and I could not stand it. It felt as though my separation from Him was breaking my heart.

About 4.30 in the morning, as dawn was beginning to break, suddenly everything changed. I felt a warmth spreading through my body. I was no longer alone. I was back with God. Mike immediately sensed and then saw the change in my face.

It was an experience which I never want to go through again, yet it was an experience that gave me a taste of what it would be like to spend eternity without God. Every experience is a learning experience, and that day I learned the importance of doing all that I could to share the gospel with those in need of salvation, for the outcome for the lost soul is too dreadful to imagine. It would still be many years before God brought me into full-time ministry, although I already knew that it was something that would happen when He said that the time was right.

Today my heart burns with a passion for the lost souls that are still awaiting to hear about Jesus, to know about His saving grace, and to be released from the chains of sin. How I thank God for the wonderful committed Christians who have been in my life, and for the opportunity to give back something of the gift that He has blessed me with.

Yesterday at the Baptismal Service I spoke to a young man of about 18-years of age, asking him if he went to a local church. "No," he replied, "I just came here with my sister." I made direct eye-contact with him and told him that it was nearly forty years since I accepted the Lord into my life, adding, "and it was the best thing that ever happened to me!" I urged him to get to know the Lord, and to experience the change in his own life that had happened to me. "Just imagine," I said to him, "Who would ever have thought all those years ago that my decision would not only change my life but also have a bearing on countless other lives through the calling with which I've been blessed.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Today, dear reader, I am going to share the following, which I received by email from Joanne Lowe. The copyright is hers for this piece. If you like the way that she writes then I recommend you to visit her via this link or else email her direct.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Colossians 3: 15 (King James Version)
Our Scripture verse tells us that we have a choice. We can make the choice to let the peace of God rule in our hearts and be thankful for what He has done for us or we can choose to allow bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred, criticism, jealousy, envy and sarcasm rule our hearts. We will only have peace in our hearts as we allow Jesus to remove all of these negative and sinful things that hurt Him and bring shame to Him.

We don’t have to live a life that is full of turmoil. We can make the choice to forgive people and let the peace of God rule in our hearts. It is very difficult for us to forgive the people who have hurt us. In fact, it is impossible for us to forgive them from our hearts in our own strength. We are still in the flesh and it takes the power of Jesus working in our hearts to bring us to the point where we can honestly say to people from our hearts “I forgive you.”

I tried for over sixty years to forgive someone. I told this person that I forgave him but I really hadn’t forgiven him because I allowed all of the bitterness, all of the hurt, all if the resentment and all of the hatred for this person to remain in my heart. I finally realized why I didn’t have peace. It was because I did not want to forgive this person. I was honest with God about it. He already knew that I didn’t want to forgive this person but I needed to admit it and confess it to God.

I told God that I was not willing to forgive this person that hurt me but that I was willing for Him to make me willing to forgive this person. Sometimes we have to start with the basics. It didn’t happen overnight but the more I yielded my heart to Him, the more I really did want to forgive this person that had hurt me so deeply. The day came when I could honestly say to this person from my heart “I forgive you. Please forgive me for not forgiving you.”

You have a choice. You can allow unforgiveness, criticism, sarcasm, jealousy, envy, hatred, resentment and bitterness to rule your heart or you can allow the peace of God to rule your heart. What is your choice? Will you allow the peace of God to rule your heart or will you continue to allow Satan to rule your heart?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Which way did you say?

Whichever direction your life is going in the sign says it all!

The main thing is not to be too distracted and to follow the arrow that points in the best direction of all!

A few issues ago The Voice Christian News & Views magazine featured an article on the late Leonard Ravenhill, a great Christian of our time who always seemed to have just the right thing to say at the right moment. I'm often led to turn to his quotes for a quick 'spiritual uplift', guaranteed to set the grey matter working.

I thought that today I'd share a selection from them with you, so here they are:

"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil. A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God. We live in a generation that has never known revival God's way. True revival changes the moral climate of an area or a nation. Without exception, all true revivals of the past began after years of agonizing, hell-robbing, earth-shaking, heaven-sent intercession. The secret to true revival in our own day is still the same. But where, oh, where, are the intercessors?"

"The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer."

"A man who kneels before God will stand before men."

"No man - I don't care how colossal his intellect - No man is greater than his prayer life."

"To stand before men on behalf of God is one thing. To stand before God on behalf of men is something entirely different."

"A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry
for God."

"If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all."

"The one thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history."

"Are the things you're living for worth Christ dying for?"

"We’ll have no broken-hearted pews until we have broken-hearted pulpits."