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Thursday, October 30, 2008

'SURVIVE the DEPRESSION' by Andrew Strom : The shaking has begun!

The latest book from Andrew Strom, the founder of and the international REVIVAL List, deals with current world financial crisis from a spiritual angle. Just a year ago, whilst preaching in Wisconsin, Andrew Strom reiterated earlier warnings that he had prophetically given about a coming economic crash in America, predicting that within six months America would be in Recession, and that within 12 months the actual Depression would begin.
As our daily media reports from around the globe testify, this is now the case. Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the two largest Mortgage giants in the world, collapsed in September, the world's largest Insurance Company and the largest thrift bank in America collapsed, Lehman Brothers, in business for 158 years, went bankrupt, Money Markets reeled, the Investment Baking Industry crumbled, and the Stock Market plunged by 777 points, the greatest fall recorded in a single day. Without question the Depression had begun.
Here in the UK, although it took a little longer to take effect, the same sort of thing has happened. Familiar names from the High Street and the City have all but disappeared, certainly as individual trading entities, already many have lost their jobs, house repossessions are increasing daily, thousands of people are already in a negative equity situation, with thousands more about to join them, the FTSI is taking an unprecedented battering, and there is an air of unease throughout the political and the business world. Billions of dollars and pounds are being thrown at the situation in order to attempt and force a rescue. Here in the UK the government are trying to persuade us that the way out is to 'spend our way out of Recession', and interest rates in the USA are at rock-bottom in an attempt to kick-start the economy.
What can we expect for the future? Is this recession something that will soon go away? Will the tumbling house prices be restored to their former extravagant glory?
Approaching the matter from a spiritual aspect, the question we ask is: 'What has God been speaking prophetically about this very period that we are now in and moving even deeper into?
This latest book from Andrew Strom explores all of these matters in an in-depth and eye-opening way. For anyone who wants to understand the situation better, then this book is, I believe, a must read for these perilous times that we are now in.
In fact, dear reader, so strongly do I feel that it is a 'must read' that I am offering you the opportunity to get a copy simply by making a donation towards the costs of getting it to you. All you need to do is to email me with your details and leave the rest to me.

Brand resigns, Ross suspended . . .

In the latest news regarding the saga of Russell Brand, Jonathan Ross and their combined obscene phone messages left on Andrew Sachs' telephone is that Brand has resigned (expeditiously I think, before he was sacked), and Ross has finally been suspended from broadcasting until the BBC have investigated and reported on their findings.
What I fail to understand is the manner in which the BBC continues to refer to the whole episode as a 'prank', rather than stating exactly what it was, a case of gross misconduct. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a prank is 'a practical joke or mischievous act', neither description coming anywhere near defining what this puerile pair were involved in. Turning to the Oxford Dictionary once again we read that a joke is defined as 'a thing to cause amusement' and 'a trick played for fun', and I don't believe that any right-minded person would be able to describe what they did in either of those terms. On the other hand, the word joker is defined as a 'foolish or inept person'. Now that comes close to describing this duo!
I think that one of the things that causes such intense furore in this matter is that both of these people are so grossly overpaid for what they do, Jonathan Ross in particular, who receives a reported £6 million of licence payers' money for his brand of so-called humour.
The best result of all would be for this pair to be removed from broadcasting altogether, and simply fade into oblivion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time to be CHEERED UP a Little!

The picture above should help to focus your thoughts on holidays, either past or future, and that's a cheering thought
--- lying on a beach in the sun, preferably in some exotic location.
With the cold days upon us, and snow already even though it's still only October, we need a little cheering up. Many years ago it was normal for the family to sit around a blazing fire, perhaps one thing that is sure to cheer even the most depondent person up --- a little at the very least. I remember getting the toasting fork out and toasting either bread or crumpets, afterwards savouring the spoil with an ample spread of good farmhouse butter.
Even the thought of it makes my mouth water ... mmmmmm!

Of course, the arrival of daylight saving time, which started last weekend, heralds the coming of Winter and dark afternoons when we all need to turn the lights on a little sooner than previously. Of course we all need to have light in our lives too, and what better to have than the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, to light up our lives, no matter what darkness we encounter in our daily lives. His is the light that overcomes all darkness, and lets even the sightless glimpse the glory of God!
Thoughts of Winter, coupled with thoughts of the Light of the World, turn our minds to the Nativity story, one that will be enacted throughout the world in a few weeks time, wherever Christians gather to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World.

It's a story that tells us of God's overwhelming love reaching down into an undeserving world, a world where people so often live in the shadows. God's love, personified in Christ, casts the shadows away and brings Light, Love, and Joy, into our lives once we learn to stand aside and let it flood in and over us.

This final picture, of the flower that heralds the Spring, was taken at Lake Vyrnwy in North Wales, and serves to remind us that God has a plan for our renewal and reconciliation; a plan that we can claim ownership of when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

Andrew Strom visits Runcorn today

Andrew Strom, the prophetic revival preacher from New Zealand, will be speaking at my church in Runcorn, Cheshire, this evening, and judging from the number of telephone calls that I've had it's likely that we'll be putting the 'Full House' signs up.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with Andrew, who has been a regular contributor to The Voice magazine for the past few years, his articles always being a worthwhile read. I always think that it's a great privilege to hear speakers of this calibre, and to have them come to our church is especially so.

If you are reading this and live close enough to come tonight, then the venue is St John's Presbyterian Church, Victoria road, Runcorn, and the meeting starts at 7 o'clock. I'm sure we can 'shoehorn' you in somehow!
We will have copies of Andrew's latest book, True & False Revivals, available. If you'd like a copy but can't be there tonight then you can order one by clicking here. There is no charge for the book, although we appreciate a donation to help with the despatch costs.
Andrew will be speaking in a couple of weeks time in South Wales, visiting Cardiff on 12th November and Neath on 13th November. More details regarding these venues are on the Voice Ministries website.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BBC is guilty by association over Ross/Brand affair

The furore created as a result of the obscene messages left on Andrew Sachs' 'phone does not want to go away, despite a lukewarm apology by the BBC for the 'unacceptable and offensive' content of calls made to him by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross during a radio show.
The BBC has said that they are to investigate how the offensive content came to be aired. Brand has said that it was 'just a joke'. Well, in my opinion, the correct answer if any sort of confidence is to be restored to the licence payers who combine to pay the inflated salaries of these two poor excuses for comic expression, and of the executives who allowed this to be broadcast, whether knowingly or simply because they did not know what they should have done --- i.e. what is being broadcast on the BBC --- then the only acceptable answer is the dismissal of all concerned. At the very least, all should initially be suspended without pay whilst the matter is investigated.
I come down heavily against this sort of thing because it is typical of the gutter-mentality that has damaged the moral fibre of this once-proud nation. I believe that it is up to those people who are aware of what is morally right to make protest at such loutish behaviour. To pass something as offensive as this off as a joke is to insult the intelligence of every decent-minded citizen.
As a Christian I believe that I have a duty towards others to do all that I can to help make our nation and our world a better place for all to live in, and that means that I will protest against the unacceptable levels of crudity that seem to prevail in our dumbed-down, anaesthetised society.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me. And your right hand shall hold me."
(Psalm 139:7-10)

Ross & Brand controversy: Now there's a surprise . . .

Interest in the controversy caused by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, the two so-called comedians who left obscene messages on the answerphone of Faulty Towers actor, 78-year old Andrew Sachs, has been immense judging by the huge number of references to it on the Internet, and certainly by the amount of hits to my own piece on it yesterday.

There is a strong possibility that the BBC will be prosecuted over the affair, not because they were the ones who carried it out, but because they are complicit in it by virtue of their sanctioning the broadcast of this obscenity. I sincerely hope that they are prosecuted, for this will let them know that even if there are individuals within the BBC who consider this type of filth to be humorous, that does not make it acceptable.

As for Brand and Ross, --- well, personally speaking I fail to see even a smidgen of real humour in either of them, finding them both somewhat puerile. In fact, to refer to either of them as having 'schoolboy' humour even, would be to elevate them to a description beyond their worth.

As I pointed out in yesterday's post, as BBC licence payers we are responsible in part for the employment of anyone working for the BBC, whether executive or performer, and I, for one, do not wish to my money squandered on trash like this. What has exacerbated the whole issue is that, far from condemning these two vacuous individuals for their behaviour the BBC has said that it is 'standing by them', thereby compounding their complicity in the matter. What makes the matter even more repugnant is that, reportedly, Andrew Sachs was approached prior to the broadcast and asked whether he was offended by the pre-recorded segment, to which, naturally, he replied that he was. However, the BBC decided to ride roughshod over his feelings and air it anyway. How thoughtful of them!!!
Yesterday the BBC claimed that they had not processed any complaints from Andrew Sachs, despite the fact that not only had he told them that he considered the segment offensive prior to it being broadcast, but also that a formal email of complaint was sent to the Radio 2 controller, Lesley Douglas, on Thursday. The BBC has admitted that they had received 69 complaints up to yesterday, though I doubt if that concerns them in any way whatsoever, as they seem to opt for anything that is offensive in preference.
I believe that it is time for change to take place --- time to be rid of infantile comment and behaviour that is passed off as humour --- time to start a clean-up that will reach out with the statement that we seek to make things better in our world and not worse. Starting with this incident, I suggest, as strongly as I am able, that not only are the contracts of both Ross and Brand torn up and thrown in the trash, but also that the BBC executives and staff members who happily sanctioned this debacle are thrown out with them.

I repeat what I said yesterday, for the benefit of the BBC hierarchy:

It's time to put the trash out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A story of BBC TRASH!

Front-page news in the UK Press today is the story about two BBC presenters, Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, who thought it highly amusing to telephone 78-year old actor Andrew Sachs (who is best known for his role as Manuel in Faulty Towers) and tell him that Brand had had sex with Georgina, Andrew Sachs' granddaughter. Not only that, but it was done before an estimated 2 million listeners.

Now, just how hilarious was that piece of broadcasting! In the twisted minds of these two so-called entertainers, they obviously thought it was side-splitting, but then that shows just how puerile they both are.

If the offensive had been mounted live on air then the BBC might be forgiven for it, BUT it was not only a prerecorded section of Brand's radio show, it had actually been PASSED as being OK!!!

Quite apart from my consideration for the feelings of Andrew Sachs, I am also highly concerned that part of my licence money goes to pay the inflated fees that these two trashy 'entertainers' receive.

I sincerely hope that both the BBC and also Brand and Ross are prosecuted for this highly offensive episode. Perhaps the BBC might even consider the best final solution. If they are unsure of what that is then I'll tell them now:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Different Laws for different Citizens

One of the basic tenets of true democracy is that the same applications regarding freedom of speech, freedom of religion, human rights, and matters of law will apply equally to every citizen. It is wrong to discriminate against people on the basis of their age, colour, religion or interest; perhaps with the proviso that such is applied unless it either offends against the greater beliefs and practises, or that, in the case of an individuals interests, it is not in the interests of the nation or a significant part of it. I think that this is right and proper, safeguarding (at least as it should) the rights of the majority, and basing those safeguards on a clear understanding of what the morally right responsibilities of every citizen are reckoned to be.

In this country we have upheld a system that is based on Judao-Christian laws and beliefs, and one factor in particular is that one legal system serves all, thereby ensuring, at least as far as possible, that in matters of law every citizen is equal.

Why then if this is supposed to be the case, are we legitimising the use of Sharia Law in the United Kingdom, a country that, despite the lack of spirituality amongst so many, is still nominally a Christian country. Is our law so badly flawed that we need a separate system for some of our citizens? If that is the case then should we not be doing all that's necessary to correct matters rather than introducing a parallel system, even if the decisions made under that system require the rubber-stamping of the existing law courts. Indeed, the term 'rubber-stamping' itself indicates that it is nothing more than a formality ---- something require to legitimise.

For those who wish to live under Sharia Law there are plenty of nations that they can turn to and live under. Of course, one of the problems of most if not all of those nations is that there is no sense of the equality that is enshrined in our own UK constitution. They are male dominated and favour males above females. In fact in many of them, women are regarded in many ways as being no more than a chattel, a belonging. Wives can be dispensed with simply by stating the fact three times, thereby ensuring that they know their place --- which is a long way below their male masters.

In the UK, some Muslim priests have warned against sharia having an official role in society because of the manner in which women are discriminated against by the fact that sharia accords unequal status between men and women, weighted in favour of men.

Dr Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested in a speech that he gave last February that a move towards the inclusion of sharia law was unavoidable. His appointment, in case you are wondering, makes him the official spokesman for the UK's tens of thousands of Christians who belong to the Church of England. Thankfully he is not, therefore, my spokesman!

Despite the assortment of flaws that seem to be in our own legal system, matters such as treating criminal perpetrators more as victims and vice versa, most of them arise not as a result of flawed laws but due to the application of the laws in conjunction with the prevailing political expedience. Hence we have seen this week, for example, that many instances of knife-crime violence have, in the past, been downgraded in order to manipulate the crime figures released to the general public. Overall this misapplication has resulted in too many people being handed a custodial sentence for less serious crimes --- things such as non-payment of council tax --- and yet given a community service order for crimes which deserve a custodial sentence.

Notwithstanding the flaws that exist, either those due to misapplication or those due to the particular law being overtly flawed, I believe that we have need for only one legal system in this country, for to bring in a parallel set of laws brings in with an imbalance in the equalities of the society in which we live. For example, under British law it is a crime to commit bigamy, whereas under Sharia law it is not.

If we are to truly live in a democracy then we must protest at different legal systems being put in place that disadvantage any of our citizens who might have a case tried by a secondary legal system. For this reason I protest most vehemently against the introduction of Sharia law into the UK, and urge all who believe in democratic freedom and true justice for all based on equality, to do the same.

Guest Meditation from Joanne Lowe


“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
John 8: 7 - 11 (King James Version)

It is not easy for us to admit that we are wrong about something or that we have sinned. It’s certainly not easy for us to admit that we are addicted to drugs, television, sports, alcohol, pornography or anything else that hurts Jesus. There’s nothing wrong with playing sports or watching television, provided that the programs we watch are programs that we would watch if Jesus were sitting beside us, unless we put these things first in our lives. Anything that comes before Jesus or interferes with our fellowship with Him is sin.

I was in a church service many years ago when the pastor stopped preaching in the middle of a sentence and said “The football game will be on soon so I am ending my sermon early so that we can get home to watch the football game.” How that must have broken the heart of our precious Saviour. Jesus must come before everybody and everything. He paid a very expensive price to earn that right when He was crucified on the old rugged cross of horror and torture for our sins.

While these things hurt Jesus, there are other things that also hurt Him. It hurts Jesus when we abuse our spouses physically or verbally. When we criticize and ridicule our children and our parents and our siblings, it not only hurts our loved ones, it also breaks the heart of our precious Saviour. If we are constantly hurting people on purpose because we are stronger than they are or to get even with them for something they did to us or if we are addicted to something, we need to understand that we must stop doing these things.

Also, we should never condemn someone for being addicted to something. Just as Jesus said to the woman “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” so He says that to us. None of us are perfect. All of us fail and hurt Jesus. The sweetest Christian we know is just a sinner saved by grace. How dare we criticize and condemn someone when Jesus doesn’t criticize and condemn the person. We are at times a very arrogant people. May God forgive us for our holier than thou attitudes.

Our precious and loving Saviour is waiting for us to come to Him with humble and broken hearts for sinning and hurting Him. We need to ask Him to forgive us and help us get through these difficult times. Our precious Saviour is a loving, understanding and compassionate Saviour. Reach out and take the hand of our Saviour. He will take your hand and walk beside you as you are going through these dark valleys. He will never leave you, not even for one minute and He will set you on the mountain tops of joy, peace and happiness. Thank God for our risen Saviour!

Joanne Lowe

Friday, October 24, 2008

In Everything Give Thanks . . .

In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Saying 'No!' . . . Part 2

Yesterday I posted comments regarding the proposed sex education lessons to be instituted into the curriculum of Primary Schools. Personally I feel that the children that this programme will be aimed at are far too young, and see the programme as being yet another step in the sexualisation of our children. Already their young minds are being programmed by the amount of sexual content that is allowed to be screened in television programmes that are aired at times when children are able to freely view.

One claim by Schools Minister, Jim Knight, is apparently that 'age-appropriate sex and relationships education from five onwards was needed to combat the 'earlier sexualisation' of youngsters.' I believe that it is good parenting to answer the typical questions of children who ask where they come from, but in most cases the simple explanation that they 'come from mummy's tummy' will, I believe, satisfy most enquiring minds of a very young age. A question has been asked and an answer given. In most cases, in my own experience, that is enough. I believe that to delve too deeply into the subject of either sex or, even in some instances, relationships, serves to arouse the curiosity in children to potentially unhealthy depths.

It often seems to me that we live in a sexually-obsessed culture, and it appears that these moves will do nothing to calm that situation and much to inflame it. Should these proposed lessons become a reality then I believe that they should only be allowed with one or both parents of the children present. This would ensure that parents are fully conversant with exactly what is being fed into their children's minds, and also enable them to answer any later questions in the most appropriate manner.

We have seen the various attempts in the past to infiltrate our children's education in the matter of relationships with the attempts to normalise same-sex relationships in families. It is widely recognised that if you can manipulate the mind of a child up to the age of seven then you have them for life, at least generally speaking. Surely the best education that a child can have is that which points it towards respecting self and others, responsible citizenship, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a strong desire to grow up as caring and responsible members of both family and community. I do not believe that giving lessons which name genitalia, talk about contraception, and so on, appropriately fit into this blueprint.

Yes, by all means answer the natural questioning of a child's mind, but do not elaborate unnecessarily and open Pandora's Box in their little lives. It is obvious from the problems that young people face over sexual matters such as teenage pregnancies, teenage abortion, unsafe sex, and STDs, that attempts at sexually educating them have so far fallen short of the mark. The traditional reticence of so many parents to discuss personal relationship matters with their children, the attitude that it's the job of teachers or the job of the State, do nothing to help either. There is a great need for people at all levels and from all quarters to adopt responsible attitudes when it comes to discussing the various aspects of personal relationships, including sexual matters. If that can be achieved, together with the instillation of the responsibilities that ALL people have, then perhaps we might start to see a change for the better which will, in turn, let us see more responsible members of society in all its facets.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's wrong with saying "NO!"

On September 16th I posted an entry on this blog about the 'No Outsiders' project being promoted here in the UK, which includes, amongst other aspects of its agenda, the following stated intention, which appears on their website:
During the course of the project, a team of primary teachers from three areas of the UK will develop ideas and resources to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in their own schools and their communities.

There is more news of the project in the Media today, trumpeting the fact that children as young as five will be taught the names of genitalia and taught about the basic differences between boys and girls. As they progress through their school lives the children will then be taught increasingly about sexual relationships.

Talking to my 14 year old step-son, he advises that at their High School the sex education/ relationship lessons take the form of one day a year where discussions take place, primarily focusing on contraception. When it comes to the question of saying 'No', the brief discussion centred around a situation involving a girl of about 15 who had a boyfriend aged 18 or 19 who was pressuring her to have sex with him, and in these circumstances the class were advised that the best answer is 'No'. He advises me that there is not a lot of discussion about relationships otherwise, beyond the question of whether or not the children conversed with their parents.

Nowhere do I see any indication that children might be taught that ABSTINENCE is the BEST PATH TO TAKE! I can hear some people laughing even as I write. Abstinence? Why that's an infringement of their human rights, or at least, if it is NOT then it SHOULD be!

Yet surely the best course of action if we are to teach our children anything about the subject of relationships at all, is to teach them about RESPECTING OTHERS, and RESPECTING THEMSELVES. A better world is not created by making children aware of sex at too early an age, but it is helped by teaching them MORALS, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY and the fact that there are many things in this world where the best answer to the temptations offered is simply the word 'NO'.

Successive governments over the past few decades have promoted an assortment of policies regarding our children's education, particularly on the subject of sex education. Now, I agree that the better informed that ALL people are, irrespective of age to a degree, about all matters concerning that which serves to hold families together, to preserve community and foster good and responsible citizenship, then the better it is for everyone. However, when it comes to sex education I hear the figures of over 4300 abortions per year for under 16's in the UK, and I have to acknowledge that the education obviously has been misguided, and has failed in its prime purpose, which is to educate.

Why can we not have government by people who are concerned more about creating a better world than they are about amassing wealth and power for themselves?

It is so easy to talk about our children 'being the future', but the reality is that our children are 'the NOW'!

If we fail them now and behaviour continues to spiral out of control in the way that it currently is, with so many teenage pregnancies, such a great a 'knife culture' that sees, according to statistics, over 300 instances of knife-crime in the UK every day, so much 'yobbish' behaviour, drunkenness and disrespect, then we fail them, not only the 'NOW' but the 'FUTURE' as well.

Of course I am aware that much that is deemed 'bad behaviour' is displayed by only a relative minority of our young people. There are thousands of young people who do good because they are good. In general they will come from situations where they are cared about, in the home, in the school and in the community. One of the greatest means of getting respect is to give it, but it is a two-way street.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A child's everlasting Prayer

A Prayer

O Lord, I come to Thee
On bended knee,
To this Thy shrine,
This holy place of Thine,
To pray.
To pray for peace,
That war may cease,
And that all mankind
Will not be blind to God.
I thank You for the things You’ve done
Throughout the day, each little one
I treasure dear. So Lord,
Please hear my prayer to You.
Forgive me for those things done wrong,
I’ll try, as I’ve tried all along,
To do Thy will:
And I’ll try still,
Until I die.

The above was originally written when I was a boy of fourteen, way back in the dark ages --- well, in 1957 actually. It was my very first piece of published poetry, and was published in the church magazine of St Bartholomew's Church in Corsham, Wiltshire, (UK), when I was sixteen, after which it appeared in several other church magazines as well.

One very special thing about this poem is that it has weathered the years well, and is as appealing to people today as it ever was. I think that the reason is simply that the sentiment expressed in this poem is timeless.

I have one particular memory regarding this poem:
It was one Thursday in the Summer of 1961, and being a Thursday afternoon it was my half-day off from work. At that time I worked for Weaver to Wearer, a retail tailoring establishment in Bath. I was on my way home, sitting on the upper deck of the bus in the front seat, and opposite me there were two ladies who, it didn't take long to discover, were on vacation from Canada. They were travelling to Corsham to look around, having been recommended to check out the history of the place.

Having nothing particular to do I offered to show them around, thereby ensuring that they would see as much of the town as possible within the relatively short time that they would be there. I showed them the Flemish Buildings, the Almshouses, Corsham Court, and all the main buildings that I felt would be of interest to them. It was a great afternoon, and one that I still remember vividly after all these years. It was whilst we were at the approach to Corsham Court that the ladies asked if they could look around the church, the entrance to which shares the same approach as the Court.

Once inside they showed great interest in everything, exclaiming every now and then on one particular aspect or another. As they came to the table which had various books and so on, available for visitors, they picked up the latest issue of the church magazine and started to thumb through it. As they did, so they came across this poem, and said how good it was, although I declined the information that I had written it. Even though it bore my name they only knew my Christian name at that point.

Soon their visit was drawing to a close and as a way of saying 'Thank you' for my time and company, they offered to take me for the 'Strawberry Tea' that we had seen advertised at Aust's, a small shop where Mr Aust sold prints of old maps, and Mrs Aust was a purveyor of Strawberry Teas. Over tea --- which I can still recall the taste of! --- the ladies questioned me about the poem and I finally admitted that it was indeed written by me a couple of years prior.

I had a letter about a week later updating me regarding their travels, they having removed from my home area down to Hampshire for a while before returning to Canada. They promised to write again, and in time I received a lovely letter from one of the ladies, now back in her own domicile, and in this letter she reiterated her thanks for 'what had been a lovely afternoon when they had enjoyed not only my town but also my company,' commenting that she had cut my poem from the church magazine and pasted it into her diary in order to read it every day, adding that it would remind her of both the afternoon and of me.

Not a major incident, perhaps, but certainly a memorable one. After all, here I am, after almost fifty years, recalling and recounting it for your interest, dear reader.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blessed are . . .

I've spent a little time trawling through my blog today, and have even surprised myself at the y to wide variety of subjects that I have 'blogged' about so far!

Of course it's easy to see the things that I'm affected by, for they get the highest number of write-ups. Things such as the massive problems in Zimbabwe caused by the Dictatorship and tyranny of Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

My years in that now beleaguered nation were made all the happier because of the amazing friendships that I enjoyed with so many of the people --- people who I now wonder have even managed to survive the deprivations of the last two decades. One of the things that so impressed me about the Zimbabwean people is that even despite their poverty in material things, despite the problems of knowing where the next meal would come from, despite never truly owning even a small part of their nation, they still were so rich in spirit.

When I think of this I am reminded by those people of Christ's teachings which we find in the Sermon on the Mount, referring to them as the Beatitudes. There are eight of these teachings altogether.

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fear Not

Night Must Fall

A couple of days ago I wrote about Emlyn Williams, mentioning that I had acted in a couple of his plays when I lived in Mid Wales. I've dug out the programmes of the two plays concerned, Night Must Fall in which I played the part of Hubert Laurie, and The Late Christopher Bean in which I played the part of Rosen. Both were great plays to be cast in and each ran, as did all of our plays, for a week's run. We had our own little theatre in Newtown, Powys, which is still going strong all these years later.

Anyway, here are the pictures of the two programmes plus a few shots from Night Must Fall. Regrettably, I do not have any shots from the second of the two plays, although my memories of both are still strong and able to bring pleasure with their recall.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I hope this blesses you . . .

Put no high value on your wisdom: let the fear of the Lord be before you, and keep yourself from evil: [Then] your body will be healed, and your bones will have nourishment.
Let your ear be bent down for hearing My words, and let your heart give thought to knowledge.
Let the teaching concerning Christ remain as a rich treasure in your heart for length of days, and years of life, and peace shall they add to thee.

Proverbs 3:7-8. Proverbs 22:17, Colossians 3:16, Proverbs 3:2

An Autumn Trip to Delamere Forest

Yesterday afternoon we took Sam for a walk in Delamere Forest, which is a beauty spot just a few miles from where we live with lots of trees, lots of water and lots of walks.

Sam loves a walk in the forest as much as we do.

He enjoyed rooting amongst the leaves and discovering lots of new smells!

Plenty of water as well as trees helps to make this forest even more of a special place to experience.

There were so many great walks to choose from.

Waterfowl abound on the great expanses of the mere.

All in all a great place to go for a walk or just to wander and think, all the time appreciating the beauty of the surroundings and praising God for His wonderful creation. These are a few pictures that I took whilst we were there. Hope you like them!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Johhny, Mike & The Shades . . . A real wander down 'Memory Lane'

Whilst browsing the Internet this morning I came across information about the pop group Johnny, Mike & The Shades. Way back in 1959 I met Johnny Cannon for the first time when he was the singer for a group called The Ray Stevens Combo. At that time I worked for a men's tailors and we made a new stage outfit for the Combo. The band members had black with purple trimmings and Johnny had a purple jacket with black trousers and black trimmings. We became friendly, and soon I joined them as resident compere, trailing around with the group on any number of gigs for about three years under the watchful eye of manager Jack Steed.

After Johnny Cannon and Mike Long left the group to set up on their own with The Shades I lost touch, although every now and then I would get some news about them. I remember that they cut a disc in the '60's with Decca, and called 'Poison Ivy', although I never managed to get a copy. If anyone reading this has a copy of any recording by the group then I would greatly appreciate a copy which will help to fill in the 'gap years'. You can email me if you have, or if you have any other news about this great group.

Now, all these years later, I have found a whole raft of information about them, and even a track that they recorded of the Lennon/McCartney song,
'This Boy', for BBC Radio's 'Saturday Club' introduced by Brian Mathews (1963 or 64). This was recorded at Shepherds Bush studios at 8 O'clock in the morning!

The life of pop groups is often a relatively fleeting thing, and Johnny, Mike & The Shades finally split up in 1967, but they certainly left behind some great memories for many people, including me.

Why not read about them for yourself on the Kinema:gigz website.

The Voice

The latest edition of The Voice Christian News & Views is on the presses as I write, and will soon be winging its way to all the people around the world who are on our mailing list. If you, dear reader, don't currently receive a copy, which comes absolutely FREE of charge, then why not register today. Do that and you will be able to enjoy the Christmas edition in a couple of weeks time!

Jesus Loves YOU!

Last month I celebrated the 39th anniversary of handing my life over to Jesus Christ, and that is such an important part of my Journey. As I reflect on the years in between the one overwhelming factor that continues to amaze me is that God would provide such a wonderful means of reconciliation for sinners as His plan of SALVATION through Jesus Christ.

SALVATION is FREE for everyone who chooses to accept JESUS as their SAVIOUR and acknowledge Him as their LORD. Of course, freedom is not a licence to continue to live in the same way as you have always lived, for if this was so then the freedom would be worthless. Salvation grants freedom from SIN, though not freedom from temptation. That will remain, for the devil will constantly seek to trip up the Lord's people just as any other. However, with Jesus in your heart and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead you in the ways of the Lord, it is easier to spot right from wrong and thereby to opt for the right path on your journey.

As I look back over almost four decades of following Jesus I am astounded by the way that, no matter how many times I have slipped up, He has always been there for me. I have no hesitation in acknowledging that my life, in which I find great contentment and happiness, owes those factors to the person whom I am BECAUSE of my love for Jesus.

By nature I am a fairly tactile character, and I recognise the tremendous value of touch, whether it be simply the touch of your hand on someones arm or a hug. Touch, especially when it is in the name of Jesus, offers comfort and sanctuary. There have been many occasions when I have found that a simple touch has spoken louder than a thousand words could ever do.

One of the important things for people is to be reminded that they are loved. It makes them feel wanted, needed, and that they matter as a person. Generally speaking, we all like to be told that we are loved by those close to us. Personally I like to start and close each day by telling the people who matter most to me that I love them, and so the first words spoken in the morning and the last spoken at night will be to tell my wife that I love her. In my daily prayers I also like to tell Jesus how I love Him as well, and every time that I reach out to someone in His name then I reiterate that love for Him.

It's easy to be taken for granted and, therefore it follows that it's also easy to take others for granted. Today, why not change that in YOUR life. Tell the people around you who matter that you love them, that they are important in your life, that they MATTER! Not only will they feel better for it, you will as well. And whilst you are about it, tell Jesus that you love Him as well, and reach out to others in His name to share His love with them.

There are many people who either are or who have been in my life whom I consider it a great privilege to know or to have known, but none has ever had the impact of the greatest friend of all, Jesus Christ. I hope that, through the pages of my Blog, i manage to share Him with you a little, and that you. dear reader, will be blessed by that sharing.

To close this post I would like to share the words of the following hymn with you which tells much of the way that I feel about Jesus, . . . my Jesus, . . . my Lord.

I’ll See Jesus D
Tune: Take Time to be Holy

One day I’ll see Jesus,
We’ll stand face to face;
I’ll offer my praises,
In thanks for His grace.
I’ll worship and thank Him
For His gracious love;
I’ll praise him for ever,
In His kingdom above.

For all of life’s blessings,
My family and friends,
I’ll praise Him in glory,
Where life never ends.
I’ll praise Him as Shepherd,
As one of His sheep;
I’m saved by His grace, now
My soul He will keep.

Keep me and protect me,
For my sins atone;
All as one with Jesus,
Rest in Him alone,
Then one day in heaven,
Through His saving grace,
I’ll stand before Jesus,
With Him, face to face.

© Colin Gordon-Farleigh, June 2006

. . . and we still got change from a shilling!

At present I'm reading the first part of the biography of Welsh playwright and actor, Emlyn Williams, (pictured above) titled George, which manages to evoke quite a few memories in yours truly, even though my younger life started many years after his did for he entered this world in November 1905, whilst I waited until August 1943.

As a schoolboy the young Emlyn Williams --- a quiet, bookish, child, had a vivid imagination that led him on the flights of fancy that would lay the foundation for honing his skills as a dramatist and actor, both of which he excelled at. One of his joys in life was to visit the cinema, and by the time he was at school in Holywell he was going to the cinema twice or three times a week, soaking up the atmosphere to the extent that he would often carry the characters and the plots in his head, later imposing them on the more mundane moments of his life.

How well I recall going to the Gaumont Cinema in Chippenham, Wiltshire, on a Saturday morning when I was a boy growing up in the 1950's. A return bus fare from Corsham, almost five miles away, was 4d, and the cinema cost 6d downstairs (where I always sat) and 9d upstairs. We would sing the Gaumont song, 'We come along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile! Smile! Smile! . . .' and you got in free if it was your birthday. I think some children had two or three birthdays a year in order to avail themselves of this particular benefit! The remaining 2d of your pocket money purchased a few sweets! Aah! The days of our youth . . . what memories they can evoke!

I usually went on my own rather than as part of a group, and yet once there it seemed that we were all part of one big group. The programme in those days was pretty extensive usually starting with a cartoon such as Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, moving on to the next instalment of Superman and often a cowboy film as well. What tremendous value for money we got!

Just as Emlyn Williams recalls in his biography, I too remember the sense of escape from the mundane that the cinema afforded. Blessed with a good imagination it was easy to transport oneself into the make-believe world of the cinema characters, living out their lives long after you had left the cinema itself. Many years later I would put this to good use when I 'trod the boards' in so many plays, including one of Emlyn Williams' play, Night Must Fall.

Of course, I believe that having a good imagination is essential if you are to achieve any measure of success as a writer, whether as a poet, novelist or playwright. Perhaps the only area of authorship where a vivid imagination would be a hindrance is that of the writers of fact rather than fiction, for to attempt to produce nothing but facts would be in danger of being coloured by an over-active imagination! Certainly, I consider that the measure of my own achievements as a poet, songwriter and author of many magazine-style articles, owes much to the manner in which my young mind soaked up the world of the cinema when I was a child, as well as the world that I populated via my imagination.

What about you, dear reader? Have I managed to evoke any special memories for you in today's post? I hope so!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mugabe runs true to form . . .

Stories are filtering through into the world's Press about the way that the despotic tyrant Mugabe has attempted to foist junior positions on Morgan Tsvangarai's MDC in the so-called 'Unified Government' deal brokered by Thabo Mbeki recently as a way forward from the horrors that Mugabe has persistently inflicted on the beleaguered people of Zimbabwe.

Well, here's one observer who is not the least surprised by Mugabe's double-dealing. No matter what he says or promises, no matter what pieces of paper he puts his name to, at the end of the day he is what he is --- a liar. The only truth he recognises is that which he makes up in order to cling to power. This clown of a leader knows only one form of rule, and that does not include sharing power with anyone at all. Mugabe's belief is that he is the only one who knows best, and when it comes to the things that keep him clinging to power he's quite right!

I have stated before, and reiterate now, that the only thing that will get Mugabe out of Office is his demise. When that happens, hopefully sooner rather than later for the good of Zimbabweans and of that once-proud nation, then I for one will shed no tears of sorrow. No, my tears are reserved for the countless thousands who have been slaughtered and/or tortured at this despot's direct command.

Maybe Tsvangarai offers a better future. One thing is for certain, it could hardly be worse. Only time will tell. I hope and pray that Zimbabweans may come soon to a time of renewed hope and of faith in living. May God bless them and deliver them from the murderous hands of Mugabe soon.
Do not stop praying for the freedom of the Zimbabwean people!

A Few Things to Remember

There are so many things that we should remember and take note of, yet so often they pass us by simply because we cannot see the wood for the trees. Here's a list of things which would benefit you to read and remember, especially useful for those times in life when you're tempted to feel a little sorry for yourself.

  1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

  2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

  3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

  4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

  5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

  6. You mean the world to someone.

  7. You are special and unique.

  8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

  9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

  10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look.

  11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

Always remember.....When life hands you lemons, make lemonade and call me over!!

Good friends are like stars..... you don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

'Whenever God closes one door He always opens another'

I'd rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend while I'm here, than a whole truck load when I'm gone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ok, so it's the 13th. So What?

Today is the 13th of the month, and that means that there will be lots of people who go about all day worrying about what disaster is going to befall them, or at the least, what is going to go wrong in their lives today.

There will be people who hope to see a black cat walk across their path; people who try to avoid walking under ladders or on the cracks in the pavements; people who don't even want to get up all day until the perceived 'bad luck day' is over and done with.

Personally, I couldn't care less! I happen to not believe in the power of 'Bad Luck', although I do believe that if you will something to happen or not to happen, then it invariably works out that way.

Of course today is only a Monday, so that's probably not as bad as if it were a Friday!

I found the following regarding the various superstitions surrounding the 13th, and now I share it with you:

Superstitions - Mirrors and Number 13
by Sarah Todd

Superstitions have been a part of our everyday life since the beginning of time. The basis for these beliefs has its source in fear. They've been with us since the dawn of time, and although they've undergone many changes they remain with us today. And there's no sign of them dying out any time soon.

Superstitions are not based on rationale and practical thought. They've evolved from ancient religious or supernatural genres, a huge resource that includes belief in specific events (Halloween), apparitions (vampires, werewolves and ghosts), charms and incantations (salt over the shoulder, avoiding pavement cracks) and predicting the future (horoscopes, palm reading).

Another famous superstition revolves around the number 13, with the date being an inspiration for a series of horror films entitled Friday the 13th. There are many different stories that have evolved to give this date its notoriety, among them:

  • The biblical reference to the Last Supper, with Judas betraying Jesus. He was the 13th guest at the table. Jesus was reportedly crucified on Friday.
  • In ancient Rome a witch's coven comprised 12, with the 13th member being the devil.
  • A Norse myth tells of 12 gods dining at Valhalla, their heaven. A 13th uninvited guest, Loki, arrived, persuading the god of darkness to slay the god of happiness.

Numerologists consider the number 12 a complete number for several reasons: the number of apostles, the total number of tribes in Israel, the number of months in a year, the number of Olympian gods, the zodiac signs and Hercules' labours. 13's association with bad luck is the simple, unavoidable fact that it exceeds a complete number by just one.

Another modern myth about this unfortunate number claims that if you have 13 letters in your name you will have the devil's luck. So is it a coincidence that the following characters reflect this trait?

Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, Albert De Salvo.

The humble mirror is probably the focus of more superstitions than any other object. These stories evolved from the times when water was used as a mirror. People would look into the water to see their fates. If the image was distorted it was a sure sign of the viewer's death. As the mirror changed form, so did the beliefs. Early people gazed into a mirror in the same way that someone might gaze into a crystal ball. He imagined he saw the image of his soul. If the mirror was shattered so was the soul, and the person would die. The seven year's bad luck seems to have evolved from the ancient Roman belief that it took seven years for life to renew itself. The Romans are also responsible for little known remedy useful for anyone who breaks a mirror - the only way to escape the seven year sentence is to bury the broken mirror pieces!

Consider the following superstitions, all very different, but relevant to the superstitious history attached to the mirror:

  • There's an ancient superstition that says all mirrors in a house where someone has died must be covered.
  • This prevents the soul from getting trapped in the mirror. And anyone else who's admired his or her reflection in the mirror risks loosing his or her soul, because the ghost of the dead person will take it!
  • If a mirror falls from a wall it means someone is going to die.
  • Vampires and witches show no reflection in mirrors because they have no souls.
  • A mirror framed on three sides means a witch has used it to see over long distances.
  • Some cultures believe that a baby who looks into a mirror during the first year of its life will die.
  • Ancient Chinese believed that mirrors frighten away evil spirits who get scared when they see themselves; and if the mirror was broken the protection was lost.
  • It's considered bad luck to see your face in a mirror when sitting by candlelight. In your youth did you look at your faces in a mirror with a torch shining below your chin? That was a scary sight!
  • Actors believe it's bad luck to see their reflection while looking over the shoulder of another person.
  • If a couple's first sight of each other is their reflections in a mirror they will have a happy marriage.
  • Want to see what your future husband looks like? Sit down in front of a mirror and eat an apple before brushing your hair. An image of a man will appear behind your shoulder!

I've briefly touched on some of the lesser known superstitions around two of the most superstitions topics in history. Even today mirrors and number 13 have the ability to strike fear in the heart of the bravest men and women. I wonder how many superstitions will be added to these icons of superstition in the years ahead.

About the Author
The writer was born in Africa, and lived there for the first 38 years of her life. She worked in the world of public relations for over five years, running her own PR company and dealing extensively with the world of journalism and the print media. She is an author on
http://www.Writing.Com/, a site for Writers. Her blog can be visited at:

Where Does All the Time Go To?

I wonder why mornings have to start so early in the day?
My thinking goes like this: I work best in the mornings, so it stands to reason that if only I could spend a little longer resting in bed before I had to get up that I would work even better. All it needs is for the morning to start a couple of hours later than it does now.

As a matter of fact, on the subject of time, why is it that there are only 24 hours in a day, when everyone knows that we could do much more if only there were more hours in the day! Even the weeks and months go by too quickly nowadays. Why, no sooner have you got Christmas out of the way than the months have rushed by and it's time for the next Christmas to begin.It all seems so unfair. When I was a child the days, weeks, months and years took absolutely ages to go by. There always seemed to be enough time for everything then, not like it is now. There must be an answer somewhere!

Well, actually there is of course. The answer is that as we get older, so time, in relation to our age, is less. When you are just a small child then a 6-week Summer vacation is a HUGE amount of time in relation to your years. For the same reason 24-year old grown-ups seem positively ancient to an 8-year old, who is, after all, just a third of their age.

What all this means is that if we are to get the most out of our time then we need to plan it out a little better. We need to ensure that the important things in life get attended to before it's too late.

One of the most important things that we need to ensure we have done is to put ourselves right with God. Reading John 14.6 we learn that Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me." Therefore we need to ensure that we have truly repented of our sinful state and acknowledged Jesus as the Living Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God who was sent to save mankind and redeem them to God the Father.

No matter how early or how late your morning starts, the one sure thing is that you don't know is how much time you have left, so there's no time to waste. So, if you still have not done this one important thing, no matter what else you do today, no matter how busy you seem to be, get this task out the way now!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beautiful Advice

An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say 'No' to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and de-clutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19 Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favourite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you, Jesus .'
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.


'If God is for us, who can be against us?'(Romans 8:31)