Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
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!
Friday, October 24, 2008
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
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
O Lord, I come to Thee
On bended knee,
To this Thy shrine,
This holy place of Thine,
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
Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Waterfowl abound on the great expanses of the mere.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
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 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!
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
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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.
- There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.
- At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
- The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
- A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
- Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
- You mean the world to someone.
- You are special and unique.
- Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
- When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
- When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look.
- 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
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
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
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
25. Keep a folder of favourite scriptures on hand.
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).