Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Cheshire based choral group, Cantoris, are to release a new CD on May 1st, through Sheer Joy Music. This is something quite different from the CD of my worship songs which they released last October. This time it's a collection of music sung unaccompanied from past centuries, and is really quite beautiful. In a few days time you will be able to check it out on the Sheer Joy Music website, and also have a listen to a bit of it.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I'm enjoying my few days of relaxation and rest here in Swansea, South Wales. The weather certainly helps! The last couple of days have been fine and sunny, with temperatures around 17 -18 degrees, which is reasonably warm for April (at least for this April!).
One of the reasons for coming down here was to give me the opportunity to write the last couple of songs that Greg and I need for our proposed Country CD, and yesterday I finished the first which is titled Just a Country Boy at Heart. Today I hope to come up with the last song that we need, so I need to get my thinking cap on pretty fast as the best part of the morning has already gone!
I'll get back to you in a couple of days, but in the meantime I leave you with above picture of Rhossilli Bay on the Gower, where I enjoyed the sun, sea and sand, on Tuesday. The promontory of rock is named 'The Worm', though I have no idea why!
I wish you all every blessing,
Monday, April 21, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I received the following by e-mail today. Many of you dear readers will know that I spent 12 years in Zimbabwe, living through a turbulent time in that nation's history. Arriving in 1972 when the country was named Rhodesia, living through the transitional period of it being named Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and finally living under the name Zimbabwe until 1984. It is a land that is very dear to my heart, and I carry a great burden for its people, for the vastness of their suffering and deprivation under the brutal regime of the despotic dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Human life beyond his immediate circle holds no value for him, and his tyranny has extended to genocide on a massive scale. When he is finally toppled, either by force or by death, then the world will gasp as the true horrors that the Zimbabwean people have had to face become known.
Evil can only flourish when good people stand by and let it! Are you prepared to do nothing? Are you prepared to shrug at the awfulness of the situation and then ask, "But what can I alone do?"
You are being asked in the following paragraphs to pray for the salvation of Zimbabwe and its people; just to commit to praying for ONE MINUTE each day at an appointed time. Together we can make a difference! One man alone may be weak, but one man standing with God is the most powerful army that can exist.
If you will commit to ONE MINUTE of prayer each day for the Nation of Zimbabwe, please add a comment to this post. Your comment need only be a word or two, but it will serve to seal your promise of commitment.
The following is a letter from the people organising the Prayer Vigil, plus a letter from a 16 year old Zimbabwean.
In World War II, while Hitler was brutally taking over the world, there was an advisor to Churchill who organised a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed time to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and for peace. Things drastically changed, and the rest is history. God is the answer, and prayer is the only way for Zimbabwe! In view of the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe we are organising a daily one minute prayer time at 8 am; 1 pm, or 8 pm. At any one of these times please stop whatever you are doing, and spend that one minute praying that God will intervene in the affairs of Zimbabwe. Someone once said that if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer we would be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Together we can make a difference.
If you know of any Christian brother or sister who would like to participate in this powerful prayer exercise, please pass this message on to them.
ZIMBABWE 24-hour Solidarity Vigil
This message came from Margaret Kriel's Morning Mirror. Please try and pass it on to as many people as you can,
I am a 16 year old person living in Zimbabwe. I think the time has come for a more direct appeal, and so I am writing to you, the world.Maybe, just maybe, there might be someone out there who can help us...It's tough here now. The inflation rate is so high that if you don't change money within 6 hours you could get half the amount of foreign currency that you would have originally received.We're starving now; people die around us. In the last year alone at least ten people associated personally with my family have died despite the fact that they were only middle-aged. Other people don't make it to middle age. They don't even make it past childhood.Our once-proud nation is on it's knees. We flee or die. This beautiful, bountiful once-rich land has become a living hell. We have dealt with it until now; we have made a plan. That was the Zimbabwean motto: "MAKE A PLAN".
But now we can't make a plan. We're too tired, too broken, too bankrupt. We can't afford life, and life does not cost much, not really. We cannot afford to eat, we cannot afford to drink, and we cannot afford to make mistakes, because if we do we die. We don't have the capital to support ourselves, and those few who do, have to deal with the horror of watching their friends and family fall into absolute poverty as they cannot afford to help them.We're waiting desperately for a great hand to pick us up out of the dirt because at the moment we are outnumbered by Fate herself, and so we close our eyes and pray. We have fought for too long, and have been brought to breaking point. We simply stand, heads down, and bear it. Our spirit has gone; we are defeated. After a valiant struggle of over fifteen years, we have been broken.
There is no will left, no spirit. Like a horse that has been beaten until it cannot fight anymore; we are the same, and, like that horse, we stand dusty, scarred and alone, with dried blood on our sides and lash marks along our flanks. Our ribs too stand out; our hide is also dull.
Our eyes are glazed, our throats are parched, and our knees struggle to support us so that we stand with splayed legs to bear the brunt of the next beating, too dejected even to whimper...This is my plea. The thought of picking ourselves up again is sickening; one can only take so many blows before oblivion is reached, and we are teetering on the rim of the bottomless void. One more push will be the end of us all...There must be someone out there who can do something. There must be someone out there who cares! We are a destroyed nation, and the world sits back and watches, pretending they cannot hear our cries.
I appeal to you all...HELP US!
A 16 YEAR OLD ZIMBABWEAN......
Friday, April 18, 2008
One day his little daughter set him straight. “Daddy,” she said, “does God hear you when you thank Him for all His blessings?” With confidence her father replied, “Yes dear, of course He does.” “Daddy,” she continued, “does God also hear you when you complain about things as well?” A little hesitantly he replied, “Yes, He hears that too.”
“Daddy,” she said again, “which does God believe?”
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I'm currently working on writing a new album of Country songs with Greg Scheer, and the plan is for Greg to record this CD himself. Even now, though he's busy composing the music, I'm sure that he's got a picture of himself in the recording studio. Perhaps he is looking further ahead to a great beach house in some exotic location. Hmmm! Could be next to mine, I guess. What do you think of that dear reader? (!!!)
One of the exciting things about song-writing is that you never know what the final outcome will be, for there are so many things that need to fall into place. Even when the song is a great song it needs to have some catchy bits in the melody so that people can't get it out of their heads. You know the sort of thing I mean, like the Mavericks did when they recorded Dance the Night Away. Now that was a song that I couldn't let go! I had to rush out and buy the CD! Even when the song is great and it's been recorded by a good singer, there is still a long way to go.
Keep on watching my blog for news about this project so that when the CD is available, possibly about the end of this year, you can listen to it and then rush out and buy it! If you keep a check on Greg's musicblog, accessed via his site, then you can find some of our songs posted there.
We have a CD of love songs that is due for release mid-May, so watch out --- or should I say, 'Listen out,' for that as well. It's called 'When I'm With You', and is sung by Susan Marrs who has a powerful voice.
Could it be that Scheer/Gordon-Farleigh might be the new Lennnon/Mcartney one day? Who knows!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I guess that there are times in everyone's life when they need to stop looking down and start looking up! The problem is that often there's nobody around with such a good idea as that old lady had. When someone comes along who can help us to look up though, we see a whole different world, and find that we have a different way of looking at it as well.
The old lady used that red kite as a means of communication with the boy. She would go out into her garden and fly the kite with him, and all the time he was looking up he was seeing life from a new perspective. Life became better, and it was all because someone found a way to communicate with him.
Communication is about more than words. In fact, often words can seem too empty to do the job properly. So, how can we become better communicators?
I think that the best place to start is with the whole concept of communication. Just imagine a world in which communication didn't exist. imagine all the things we would be without!
- There would be no words and so no books.
- There would be no music.
- There would be nothing but a silence that was interrupted by our own grunts.
- With no conversation, nor the means of it, the human race would die out.
- Without communication we would be incapable of showing or feeling love.
John Donne wrote that: All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated ... As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness ... No man is an island, entire of itself ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne recognised the need for good communication between human beings if they were to function as they were intended.
The Bible teaches us that man does not live by bread alone, but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. In order to live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to God we need to communicate with Him often through the medium of prayer. Like all communication, prayer is a two-way happening. To pray without believing that God is listening to you becomes little more than a meaningless babble that will have little more than a placebo effect. For prayer to become meaningful you need to pray believing that God hears you, that He will answer you, and you must also listen to what He says to you, remembering that communication is about much more than simply words alone.
- When you take a walk in the country then God communicates with you through the scenery, reminding you of His greatness in Creation.
- When you hear a beautiful piece of music that stirs your soul, then God is speaking to you through it.
- When you see a beautiful picture that fascinates and holds you, then God is speaking to you through that as well.
- When you love someone deeply, and when you are loved deeply too, then God speaks to you through those feelings, reminding you just how much He loves you.
For the greater part of my life I've been involved in communicating with people through the gift of writing, whether it be prose, verse or song. Many of the people who will read my work will never meet up with me, yet the communication is still there, just as positively as if we were meeting face to face. Through the words that I write, they will find a way to communicate with others and, more importantly, they can find a medium through which God can speak to them.
Greg Scheer --- the composer with whom I write most of my songs --- and I, have never met, yet we meet up in a sense through the words themselves. We are on a similar wave-length, and that's because the words and the music of the songs communicate, linking us together.
Communication. The tool that enables us to live side by side, cheek by jowl, comfortably. Without it we are empty, devoid of feelings and without companionship. Without it we would be lost, for without communication we would be out of touch with God. And life without God would be meaningless and empty.
Let's think about the way that we interact and communicate with others, for when we do then not only their lives are changed, but our lives also.
A kind word, a smile, a look, a touch. These are all ways to reach out and touch people's lives. In our hands we have a powerful tool that can bring about change through all these ways.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Note the crazed look on Mugabe's face. It is the face of one of the world's worst and most evil despots, a man who is responsible for murder on a massive scale; and a man who is determined by every foul means possible, to deny the beleaguered people of Zimbabwe the right to have their votes taken seriously. the only reason that this moron has allowed elections over the years of his despotic and evil rule is because he has always been able to rig the results to make it appear that he is still the popular choice.
He has systematically destroyed what was a beautiful country when he came to power, until today there is nothing left for those outside of his inner circle but an early death and a life of fear and starvation.
There are those who try to say that he has been corrupted by power. this is not truly the case. Certainly, the absolute power that he has wielded over the past twenty-eight years has made him more corrupt, but the truth is that his rule is exactly what he intended it to be. He was corrupt from his early childhood, and the evil that he has done has flourished because the world has stood by and let it. Every African leader who has paid him lip-service must to share his guilt, for they have been party to his corrupt rule, his grand theft, his murdering and torturous rule, simply by verbally offering support rather than condemnation. The attitudes of these African leaders has been one of sycophanticism with no concern for the millions of hard-working Zimbabweans who have been Mugabe's whipping posts.
Needless to say, this horrendous and evil man has had support from the Western leaders as well, for, even whilst paying lip-service to sanctions of one sort or another, they have allowed him, his vain wife and his hobble of henchmen, to travel to their countries with impunity. Obviously filling the coffers of the West's shop-keepers with the spoils of his systematic looting of Zimbabwean resources must be considered acceptable by the Western leaders. In this then, they too must share in Mugabe's guilt.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the reason that this tyrant has persistently refused to announce the results of the recent elections is because he and Zanu-PF have well and truly lost the election. Even their traditional threats to the voters finally had insufficient effect. Now his dogs have been turned once more on the people in order to offer them the opportunity to vote for Mugabe in a run-off or be destroyed totally. No doubt he intends to invite specially selected 'International Observers' from amongst his cronies once again, in order that they can state that the election run-off has been free-and-fair. The problem is that when it comes to the words free-and-fair these observers will not even know the meaning of the words. To them it's simply an invitation to 'earn' large payouts from Mugabe's slush fund for telling lies.
It is time for us to make a difference. We must not allow this man to destroy Zimbabwe even further, (as if that's possible!). Please contact your elected representative and get them to raise the matter in government, asking your government to make their protest known. Mugabe can only stay in power if he continues to receive the support of the South African government and the tacit support (often marked as support by their silence) of other world leaders.
Edmund Burke said that evil flourishes when good men do nothing. Urge your governments not to be counted amongst those 'good men who do nothing', but rather to be seen as excellent people who are determined to do something.
You can help to make life better for the Zimbabwean people. please, I beg you, do it today.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The ‘Electronic Age’ has advanced us in so many ways, yet when it comes to communication, despite the advances that are open to us, such as email and text messaging, communication has suffered drastically.
Our children have grown up — and continue to grow up — lacking the power of communication. The grunts of the teenage years are often carried into adulthood. Children isolate themselves in their rooms in front of a TV or computer screen, spending their time playing games that may accelerate reaction yet decelerate human interaction. When meals are taken to the bedroom as well, to be eaten in isolation, then the death of communication in family life is almost complete.
When we fail to talk to each other in a meaningful way, how can we talk to God either. Is it not true therefore, that the demise of church attendance is down to a lack of communication, and that the ‘Golden Age’ is not only over, but dead and buried as well?
Let’s pray for a revival in communication skills, and start talking to each other meaningfully once more!