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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Islamification, (Political) Jihad & World Domination

I have long been concerned with the increasing Islamification of the West, and have voiced my concerns repeatedly in various ways. It is a threat to everyone who is outside of the Islamic world, but especially so to Jews and Christians because they pose a far greater potential threat to Islam than non-believers. It is precisely because of my concern that I am publishing the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman of the Party for Freedom, in the Netherlands, which was given at the Four Seasons, New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem. The speech was sponsored by the Hudson Institute on September 25th 2008.

I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West.

Our many problems with Islam cannot be explained by poverty, repression or the European colonial past, as the Left claims. Nor does it have anything to do with Palestinians or American troops in Iraq. The problem is Islam itself.
Allow me to give you a brief Islam 101. The first thing you need to know about Islam is the importance of the book of the Quran. The Quran is Allah's personal word, revealed by an angel to Mohammed, the prophet. This is where the trouble starts. Every word in the Quran is Allah's word and therefore not open to discussion or interpretation. It is valid for every Muslim and for all times. Therefore, there is no such a thing as moderate Islam.

Sure, there are a lot of moderate Muslims. But a moderate Islam is non-existent. The Quran calls for hatred, violence, submission, murder, and terrorism. The Quran calls for Muslims to kill non-Muslims, to terrorize non-Muslims and to fulfil their duty to wage war: violent jihad. Jihad is a duty for every Muslim, Islam is to rule the world — by the sword. The Quran is clearly anti-Semitic, describing Jews as monkeys and pigs.

The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet. His behaviour is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized. Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a paedophile, and had several marriages - at the same time. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. He advised on matters of slavery, but never advised to liberate slaves. Islam has no other morality than the advancement of Islam. If it is good for Islam, it is good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad There is no gray area or other side.

Quran as Allah's own word and Mohammed as the perfect man are the two most important facets of Islam Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam means 'submission'. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies. This is what you need to know about Islam, in order to understand what is going on in Europe. For millions of Muslims the Quran and the life of Mohammed are not 14 centuries old, but are an everyday reality, an ideal that guides every aspect of their lives.

Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam 'the most retrograde force in the world', and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran. Which brings me to my movie, Fitna. I am a lawmaker, and not a movie maker. But I felt I had the moral duty to educate about Islam. The duty to make clear that the Quran stands at the heart of what some people call terrorism but is in reality jihad. I wanted to show that the problems of Islam are at the core of Islam, and do not belong to its fringes. Now, from the day the plan for my movie was made public, it caused quite a stir, in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. First, there was a political storm, with government leaders, across the continent in sheer panic. The Netherlands was put under a heightened terror alert, because of possible attacks or a revolt by our Muslim population. The Dutch branch of the Islamic organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir declared that the Netherlands was due for an attack. Internationally, there was a series of incidents. The Taliban threatened to organize additional attacks against Dutch troops in Afghanistan, and a website linked to Al Qaeda published the message that I ought to be killed, while various muftis in the Middle East stated that I would be responsible for all the bloodshed after the screening of the movie.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan the Dutch flag was burned on several occasions. Dolls representing me were also burned. The Indonesian President announced that I will never be admitted into Indonesia again, while the UN Secretary General and the European Union issued cowardly statements in the same vein as those made by the Dutch Government. I could go on and on. It was an absolute disgrace, a sell-out. A plethora of legal troubles also followed, and have not ended yet. Currently the state of Jordan is litigating against me. Only last week there were renewed security agency reports about a heightened terror alert for the Netherlands because of Fitna.

Now, I would like to say a few things about Israel. Because, very soon, we will get together in its capital. The best way for a politician in Europe to lose votes is to say something positive about Israel. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I, however, will continue to speak up for Israel. I see defending Israel as a matter of principle. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defence. Samuel Huntington writes it so aptly: 'Islam has bloody borders'. Israel is located precisely on that border. This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam's territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War. The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest.

Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming. Many in Europe argue in favour of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behaviour and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything. Therefore, it is not that the West has a stake in Israel. It is Israel.

It is very difficult to be an optimist in the face of the growing Islamization of Europe. All the tides are against us. On all fronts we are losing. Demographically the momentum is with Islam. Muslim immigration is even a source of pride within ruling liberal parties. Academia, the arts, the media, trade unions, the churches, the business world, the entire political establishment, have all converted to the suicidal theory of multiculturalism. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a 'right-wing extremists' or 'racists'. The entire establishment has sided with our enemy. Leftists, liberals and Christian-Democrats are now all in bed with Islam. This is the most painful thing to see: the betrayal by our elites. At this moment in Europe's history, our elites are supposed to lead us. To stand up for centuries of civilization. To defend our heritage. To honour our eternal Judeo-Christian values that made Europe what it is today. But there are very few signs of hope to be seen at the governmental level.

Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, Berlusconi; in private, they probably know how grave the situation is. But when the little red light goes on, they stare into the camera and tell us that Islam is a religion of peace, and we should all try to get along nicely and sing Kumbaya . They willingly participate in what President Reagan so aptly called: 'the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.'

If there is hope in Europe, it comes from the people, not from the elites. Change can only come from a grass-roots level. It has to come from the citizens themselves. Yet these patriots will have to take on the entire political, legal and media establishment. Over the past years there have been some small, but encouraging, signs of a rebirth of the original European spirit. Maybe the elites turn their backs on freedom, the public does not . I n my country, the Netherlands, 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat to our national identity.

I don't think the public opinion in Holland is very different from other European countries. Patriotic parties that oppose jihad are growing, against all odds. My own party debuted two years ago, with five percent of the vote. Now it stands at ten percent in the polls. The same is true of all similarly-minded parties in Europe. They are fighting the liberal establishment, and are gaining footholds on the political arena, one voter at the time. Now, for the first time, these patriotic parties will come together and exchange experiences. It may be the start of something big. Something that might change the map of Europe for decades to come. It might also be Europe's last chance.

This December a conference will take place in Jerusalem. Thanks to Professor Aryeh El dad, a member of the Knesset, we will be able to watch Fitna in the Knesset building and discuss the jihad. We are organizing this event in Israel to emphasize the fact that we are all in the same boat together, and that Israel is part of our common heritage. Those attending will be a select audience. No racist organizations will be allowed. And we will only admit parties that are solidly democratic.

This conference will be the start of an Alliance of European patriots. This Alliance will serve as the backbone for all organizations and political parties that oppose jihad and Islamization For this Alliance I seek your support. This endeavour may be crucial to America and to the West. America may hold fast to the dream that, thanks to its location, it is safe from jihad and sharia. But seven years ago to the day, there was still smoke rising from ground zero, following the attacks that forever shattered that dream. Yet there is a danger, an even greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine.

An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for America - as its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem.

Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe's children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so. This is not the first time our civilization is under threat. We have seen dangers before. We have been betrayed by our elites before. They have sided with our enemies before. And yet, then, freedom prevailed. These are not times in which to take lessons from appeasement, capitulation, giving away, giving up or giving in. These are not times in which to draw lessons from Mr. Chamberlain. These are times calling us to draw lessons from Mr Churchill and the words he spoke in 1942: 'Never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy'.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Brrrrr! Let's think of holidays & get warmer!




As the weather forecast promises cold weather coming in from Siberia over the next week, so my thoughts turn to holidays as a means of combating what might otherwise cause the gloom to settle. In particular they turn to the little cottage that we have booked for a week in August in one of my favourite areas, Pembrokeshire, which is in the South West corner of Wales. The cottage, which is surrounded by 180 acres of our own organic farmland and ancient oak woodland is on the upper reaches of a tidal estuary, making it very peaceful. Close to the towns of Haverfordwest and Milford Haven, Pembroke Castle is close by. There is a wonderful beach at Sandy Haven should we want to laze in our deck chairs and munch on sand-garnished sandwiches, and although the cottage appears to be in a slightly remote position, we will have the convenience of shops, supermarkets, restaurants and the theatre, within a few minutes drive.
All in all, nice warm thoughts for a somewhat cool day!

Praise Him! Praise Him!


God is good towards us and His gifts are seemingly endless. No matter how dark things seem to be sometimes, there is a silver lining to be found to every cloud. Often the best way to dispel the clouds is to offer praises up to God for His goodness in every situation. As you praise Him, so you will find that your spirit lifts you towards Him as a praise offering. There is nothing better that we can offer than ourselves, and nothing that God wants more than such an offering, confirming that just as He is our God, so we are His people. This is the subject that my friend Joanne Lowe writes of in her Meditation for today. I share it with you, dear reader, in the hope that it blesses your day as you think about it and offer your praises up to our heavenly Father.

THE STORM CLOUDS OF LIFE

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.”
Psalm 113: 3 (King James Version)

We have a lot of storm clouds in our lives due to the vicious attacks of satan and the world. We have storm clouds of disappointment, discouragement, fear, abuse and depression. There are storm clouds of divorces and broken homes. Then we have teenagers killing other teenagers and even killing their own parents. Our teenagers also taking drugs, drinking alcohol and are involved with gangs. We wonder why our teenagers go astray and sometimes become violent.

I believe with all of my heart that many times it is because of what their parents have allowed them to watch on television. They watch movies where people kill each other and the idea is planted. One of the most frightening and devastating weapons we have is the television. It is full of violence, sex and cursing. However, there are teenagers who are not allowed to watch these things and have been in church all of their lives yet they still go astray.

These things not only break the hearts of their parents, they also break the heart of Jesus. When our children go astray, it puts terror in our hearts and it is a very devastating storm cloud. We now have another storm cloud in our lives because of the lack of money and jobs due to the economy. Yet no matter how many storm clouds we have in our lives, our precious Saviour is more than able to bring us through every one of them victoriously. There is nothing too hard for Jesus. He can do anything!

If ever someone deserved to be praised from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, it is Jesus. He takes our hands and walks with us through all of the pain, the heartaches and the turmoil of our lives. He never leaves us, not even for one minute. At night when we can’t sleep, and the night seems like it will never end and all of our fears and problems return to haunt us, He puts His arms of compassion around us and draws us closer to His loving heart. He whispers softly “I love you” as He gently kisses our tears away.

There is no one like Jesus. No one loves you like Jesus loves you. He loves you more than your spouse loves you and more than your family and friends love you. He not only loves you; He loves you unconditionally. There is nothing you can do that would make Him stop loving you. You will never have a better friend than Jesus. What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth!

Are you praising Jesus from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night? Are you praising Him in the bad times as well as in the good times? Do you remember to thank Him when He does something for you? Most important of all, are you telling others about the wonderful things He does for you? If you haven’t been praising Jesus, I urge you to start praising Him from the time you get up until you go to bed at night.

Our precious Saviour is worthy of our praise and adoration. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the great I AM! He is the bright and morning star and the fairest of ten thousand to our souls. Thank You, Jesus, for all that You do for us. I am so glad to know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You are Lord. You deserve all of our praise, all of our time and all of our lives!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Average Little Home in Zimbabwe (Provided you are the corrupt President)

















If you are corrupt enough to inveigle and cheat your way into the presidency of a nation, then you too can have a comfy little home like this one. All you need to do is ensure that you subjugate your people to the point of death by starvation and disease and the money rolls in to fill up your coffers. Of course you have to put up with the occasional downside as well, like your wife swanning of to stay in £600 per night hotels in countries that don't allow you to enter them, but that's small change for a despot like Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who lives in this palace.

While his people starve, and die because of no medical help....and we are asked to help his people over and over again...he and his family live like this.......his GREED kills his people.....

Lobby your elected representatives continually until this evil tyrant is deposed. That's the very least you can do for the impoverished people of Zimbabwe.

Sights, Sounds & Smells : More Memories from a Corsham Lad


Memory is a strange thing, isn't it? There you are, happily going about your business, when suddenly some small thing can trigger a memory about something from many years ago, easing it from the deep recesses of your mind and hauling it out into the light of day once more. Smells do this in particular, I find. I don't even have to actually smell something, for often simply recalling the smell is more than sufficient to trigger a memory.

For example, yesterday I was driving in the afternoon towards Llandudno in North Wales, to attend a meeting, and the sun was flickering through the trees to my left as I drove, reminding me of autumn days long ago when I was a child, unwell and in bed in the nursery at my home. I could look across and out of the window, beyond the little paddock that lay parallel to our rear garden, and towards the woods that stretched from Lacock Road to the parking spaces in front of St Bartholomew's church and Corsham Court entrance. As the sun began to set so there would be a range of golds, reds and yellows that seemed to filter through the trees, casting a kaleidoscope of patterns across the window and into my room. I can still hear, in my mind, the sounds of people in my father's shop downstairs, a medley of the voices of shop staff and customers. I would often try to figure out whose voice belonged to whom, attempting to identify anyone whom I might know. But the thing that I remember especially is the smell of it all. Warm, smells of wine, of wet floors, and of the shop itself; and when I remember them the memory brings with a comfortable feeling of security and family.

Musing on the subject I remember other shops in Corsham at the time, recalling the distinctive odours that identify them now so readily in my mind, and with the memory comes a recall of the individuals, most now long since passed away probably. The fragrance of cigar smoke reminds me of MacMillan's, the ladies' and men's outfitters diagonally across from the Methuen Arms Hotel at the top end of the High Street. Even now I can transport myself to the shop, standing on the linoleum floor with its strip of olive green carpet stretched in front of the counters, and look upwards to the stacks of hat boxes which contained a variety of men's hats. As you entered the shop, the men's side was to the left, the women's to the right. I don't ever recall going into the latter, although maybe my mother might have taken me in once or twice. No, it's the men's side that I recall; the cloying smell of stale cigar smoke seeming to cling on to everything in the shop, as much a part of the shop itself as the fixtures and fittings were.

Just a couple of doors up was James' Hardware, and I remember the bare wooden floors, aged with the dirt of thousands of feet over the years, as Corsham folk shopped for a bottle of paraffin, a few nails or screws, or something for the home. I remember Joe James with his dark moustache and friendly manner. Joe was a leading light in the local amateur dramatic company, and interested in everything about Corsham in general. It was a shop where the customer was king, and where Joe, and I believe his father before him, ensured that they supplied every need. A shop where, should you so require, you could buy just one 6" nail, or just the right quantity of screws for a particular job. Certainly, in those days, quantities were not arrived at by accountants in the way that they seem to be today. The shop smelled of a mixture of metal, polish, paraffin, dust and old buildings.

Halfway down Station Road, next door to the chapel, was a convenience store, and it was there that I would go to buy broken biscuits by the half-pound. The biscuits were kept in square tins to the left as you entered the shop, glass lids on the tins lifting to get at the biscuits. The floor was given a fresh dusting of sawdust each day. I remember bacon being cut on the slicer, cheese being measured by eye, cut with a cheese-wire, and weighing virtually the exact amount requested when it was popped on to the scales. The shop smelled of a mixture of sawdust and assorted foods, and was always a pleasant place to visit.

One of the places that I never found so pleasant was the Dry Cleaners, of which there were two, Bollom's and Johnson's. I hated the smell of the cleaning fluids which always gave me a problem with my breathing, and so I always tried to avoid going to drop off or collect things for dry cleaning. Similarly, although I never had to go inside the shop, I remember the chemical smell that was emitted from the ladies hair salon next to the SWEB Showroom in the High Street. It must have been from the concoctions used for perms, and to this day I find that ladies hairdressing salons, especially the older-fashioned ones, are best avoided!

Some things good, some things not so good, yet all of them a pot-pourri of sights, sounds and smells that make up so many yesterdays, and each remembered for differing reasons and with different degrees of pleasure or distaste, primarily the former rather than the latter. there are many more of course, far more than I have either room or time for today, and even if I did, sometimes I think that it's better to eke our memories out a little sparingly and enjoy them even more.

I wonder what you remember in this vein, dear reader. Why not leave a comment and share it with me and with my other readers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Memories of a Corsham Lad : Snippets of Binder Twine


I have noticed that whenever I post a blog entry under the heading 'Memory Lane', and write about some of the instances of my childhood, growing up in Corsham in the late 1940's and through the 1950's, then my readership increases noticeably. I guess that means that you like sharing other people's memories as much as I do. I have now started to collect all of these memories, together with some new, as yet unpublished, ones, to grace the pages of a slim volume under the heading Snippets of Binder Twine. I hope to be able to release the volume later this year, probably about September, under the Voice Publications imprint. Watch this space!

In the meantime here's a few thoughts to be going on with:

Can you remember:
  • Looking over the wall at the start of the road to Biddestone, to see the ducks on the farm pond.

  • Feeding the horses after climbing onto the five-bar gate at the entrance to the field at the top of Priory street, now and for many years a large housing estate.

  • Scrumping apples from Sawbridge's orchard, entered by climbing the high wall down the lane which ran down to the woods from the High Street (I've forgotten the name of it, but it was almost opposite the road which led up towards Alexander Terrace, past the public toilets).

  • Walking down to Squitter's Lane to go 'nutting'.

  • Being amazed by the bluebells that grew in such abundance in the copse on the right-hand side of the road leading to Biddestone.

  • Drinking frothy coffee in Corsham's very own Coffee Bar in the late 1950's, named 'The Beanstalk', which led your parents and those of a certain age to forecast that the whole thing would destroy the very structures of Society as it then was, with teenagers getting too much freedom.

  • Jumble Sales in the Town Hall, climbing up the stone steps to buy someone else's rubbish!

  • Spending evenings at the Youth Club in Priory Street, under the watchful eye of Miss Reynolds.

  • Wednesday evening Rock 'n Roll dances in the half-light of the Community Centre.

If you can remember all or most of these then I guess you must be in my age-group; but if you might have once remembered them, but have now long-forgotten, then I guess that you must be a couple of decades older! Either way, I hope that I've triggered the grey matter into a moment of excitement today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amazing love; amazing grace . . .

One of the all-time favourite hymns that is sung all around the world is John Newton's hymn Amazing Grace. The story behind the hymn is now legend, its connection to the slave trade and the realisation of that trade's offensiveness in God's eyes being well-known.

Sometimes it's good to read the words slowly through, out loud, experiencing the emotion that John Newton must have felt as he was inspired to write them down.

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found;
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fear relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
We have already come.
'Twas grace that brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

And when this heart and flesh shall fail
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of health and peace.
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.

Verses 4 & 5 are not generally sung any more, the popular version being verses 1 to 3 together with the last verse, shown here in italics, which was in fact not written by John Newton but, I believe, by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

However, whichever version you prefer, or even if you prefer to join the two together, it's a beautiful hymn that tells of the wonderful grace of God towards mankind; not only wonderful grace, but also overwhelming love towards His creation. So great is that love that He died in order that we might live. Spend an hour or so thinking about that!

How incredible God is the display of His love towards us.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alone with my thoughts

Sometimes a guy just needs a quiet moment alone.
.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Memories of a Corsham Lad


When I was growing up in the 1950's, an important facet of life for most children that I knew was attending local church services, and it was no different for me. The family background from a religious aspect is a very mixed one, and is a mixture of Jewish and Gentile blood, the Jewish blood being passed down through my paternal grandmother whose father emigrated firstly from Germany to Poland, and then to Alsace, my grandmother finally finding her way to the UK.

My father was raised in Llanbedrgoch in Anglesey, and attended the Wesleyan Chapel, whilst my mother, a cockney born in Kensil Rise, London, was raised as a Baptist. My parents started going out with each other when they were both sixteen, and married a few years later. A few years into their marriage they moved from the Bournemouth area where they then were, to live in the Bath area, and whilst there they attended a Baptist church together. Soon after they moved to Corsham in Wiltshire where my father had bought The Wine Lodge, a wine merchants that had been established since the late 1700's. They became members of St Bartholomew's C of E church, situated at the end of Church Street, adjacent to Corsham Court. Accordingly, it was to this church that we children were sent three times every Sunday; to the morning service (Matins); the evening service (Evensong); and Sunday School in the afternoon. It was also at St Bart's that I sang in the choir as a youngster. I have many happy memories of times spent at services in that church, although by and large I was never fully content from a spiritual point of view.


Together with my sister Norah I would go on a Tuesday evening to a chapel club for youngsters which was held at the Congregational Chapel, tucked out of sight behind the Pickwick Papers at the 'High Street' end of Pickwick Road, although this was very much frowned upon by my father. We went as long as we could keep it a secret from him, but ultimately were told to stop. Nevertheless, the times spent there were great, and certainly spiritually rewarding. We probably learned more about spiritual matters and about Jesus Christ in the short time that we went there than we did in years of attending St Bart's. Perhaps that was because we were going to somewhere of our own choice rather than somewhere we were sent --- who knows?

Those days are far off now, writing as I do some fifty to sixty years on, but the memories still please as I recall them. Just like everything else, it is the things like this that serve to shape us into the people that we become as adults. The things that we learned as children remain with us for ever, even if the ability to recall them might eventually pose a bit of a problem. Faces and images from the past come flooding to the fore as various people and places are remembered, and in the latter years of life provide much comfort and a sense of belonging.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gone Fishing . . . Memories of a Corsham lad.


Well, to tell the truth, I don't go fishing any more, and haven't done for many more years than I care to think about, but I certainly did when I was a boy growing up in Corsham. I recall that when I was around eleven or twelve I made my own fishing pole from a four foot long bamboo garden cane, some cut of and bent over safety pins which I taped on for the eyes, and an authentic fishing reel, also taped on to prevent it falling off.
Armed with this piece of creative engineering, off I would walk to Reybridge, which is near to the National Trust village of Lacock, a distance I guess of about five miles, and there I would spend the greater part of a Saturday --- or a weekday if it was school holidays --- throwing my float and baited hook at the water with great gusto. I'm not certain whether I was trying to knock the fish out by my efforts or what, but I was certainly an energetic fisherman!

Above is a photo of the very bridge that I used to fish from

On rare occasions I even managed to hook a fish, although landing it was a completely different kettle of --- yes you've got it 'fish'. I recall one particular occasion when I was fishing from the bridge and hooked a fish about six or seven inches in length. It was well and truly hooked, but I struck so enthusiastically that the weight of the fish carried it up and over my head, finally freeing it from the hook and releasing it into the water on the other side of the bridge!!!

You've probably gathered that I was never what you might call a successful fisherman, but I nevertheless enjoyed the experience of a day spent by the river, even though it was mostly spent teaching reluctant worms to swim. That particular stretch of the River Avon provided some good pastoral scenery, and I have very fond memories of some happy days spent along the river banks or simply on the bridge itself. The waters seemed to teem with a wide variety of fish, including some large pike which could often be seen basking close to the bank on a warm Summer day. Sandwich lunches, warm orange juice, and an apple, made up my food for the day; all meant to be eaten about 1 o'clock but, typical of a boy, usually well and truly scoffed by about 10.30 in the morning, meaning that the rest of the day would see the birth of a few hunger pangs, although somehow, when you are a young boy on an adventure, they never seemed to matter very much.

I remember trudging back to Corsham at the end of the day, often as dusk was beginning to fall, extremely tired and hungry, but ecstatically happy. In those far off days that make up the distant scene in my memory, it was generally perfectly safe for a lad to travel a few miles from home and stay out all day, even though things like mobile phones hadn't been invented, even if they had been imagined, as they probably had in the pages of The Eagle.

Nowadays such a trip would be unthinkable for most parents to allow, for their is a constant fear of attack or abduction, and whether real or imagined it is certainly enough to put the brake on such activities for the average boy. That is, even if they should want to follow such harmless and healthy pursuits in these days of bedroom-closeted, computer- game-playing, youngsters.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Think I Saw an Angel


I Think I saw an Angel

One day, when I was walking,
When all the sky was blue,
And all the world was bustling,
So many things to do,
I saw a choir of angels
Passing overhead;
Or was it just a fancy
Of my beating heart instead?

I’m sure I heard a whirring,
The sound of angel wings;
I’m sure I heard the chorus
An angelic choir brings.
I’m sure I saw a shadow,
Passing overhead;
Or was it just a fancy
Of my beating heart instead?

I’ll never know for certain
What happened on that day;
And I’ll never know for sure
If an angel came my way.
If it was an angel’s wings
Passing overhead;
Or only just a fancy
Of my beating heart instead.
© Colin Gordon-Farleigh, January 2006

Let the words of my mouth ... Psalm 19:14


Today I'd like to share this meditation that came from my friend Joanne Lowe today, with you. Whenever I read or hear this verse it reminds me of Bony-M, the group that put this passage of Scripture in the Hit Parade many years ago. I love this verse because it is a complete prayer in itself, and a prayer that we would each do well to pray and adhere to every day of our lives.

ARE THEY ACCEPTABLE

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19: 14 - King James Version

We think that nobody knows the things we are thinking or the words that we whisper. However, Jesus knows everything! He can see into our hearts and see the things we keep hidden from people. He knows what we are thinking and He hears the words that we whisper so softly that nobody else can hear. Are our words and our thoughts acceptable to Jesus? Do they bring joy to His heart or do they bring sadness to His heart?

We read in the Bible “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23: 7a). Are our hearts filled with criticism, sarcasm, unforgiveness and judgment for others or are they filled with unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion for people? Do our families and friends see Jesus in our smiles and hear Him in our words when we talk? Are we drawing them closer to Jesus or are we turning them away from Him by our hateful actions and words?

Heavenly Father, search our hearts and if there is anything that is displeasing to You and hurts You, please forgive us and cleanse our hearts of those hateful things that bring shame and disgrace to You. May we be children that bring joy and happiness to You instead of children that hurt You and make You sad. Thank You for loving us unconditionally and for being a God of mercy, grace, compassion and forgiveness. Thank You for the gift of Your beloved Son, Jesus.

Amen.

Joanne Lowe
January 22, 2009
joannelowe8@cox.net
www.fromtheheartofjesus.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Picture Worth 1000 Words!

I loved this picture when I saw it.
It's so simple and so expressive, especially to anyone who either has or has had a teenager in the home!

Created By God





I Challenge Rowan Atkinson

Last year, on November 17th, I published a post regarding what I and many others regarded as blasphemy by Rowan Atkinson., who chose to mock Jesus Christ by misquoting Holy Scripture for the purposes of what he considered were humorous. This is what I said in the opening paragraphs:

On Saturday last, 15th November, the TV viewing public were 'treated' to the sight of comedian Rowan Atkinson dressed up as a vicar and blaspheming, using the Bible as a prop and misrepresenting Scripture. As a result of the text of his so-called humorous broadcast I charge him with outrageous blasphemy. He contravened the rules laid down by Ofcom in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, which state :
2.1 Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.
4.2 The religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.
5.7 Views and facts must not be misrepresented.

As a result of registering my complaint, I received a letter a few days ago from OFCOM, the Watchdog concerned in dealing with the hundreds of complaints in this instance, and in it they gave their ruling that the broadcast was perfectly acceptable because it is recognised that Atkinson dresses as a priest and misquotes Scripture as part of his act.

This does not make it right in any way of course.

I challenge Rowan Atkinson to appear on national television dressed in the robes of an Imam and misquoting from the Qur'an in order to elicit laughs. Somehow I don't think that he would dare to do this, any more than the BBC would dare to show it! According to a report in the Press, Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General, has suggested that the corporation needs to treat Islam more sensitively than Christianity, which I guess disproves any theories about 'all things being equal'. To most observant Christians this fact will come as no surprise whatsoever, of course, for it has long been the norm for Christians and Christianity to be poked fun at in an assortment of so-called 'comedy' programmes.
However, I still throw down the gauntlet to both parties.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Atheist Bus Advertising Campaign


There's always a silver lining to things that might otherwise seem grim, and the wording used in the latest anti-God campaign by British atheists, led of course by self-seeking Richard Dorkings (sic), is no exception. Up to now the definition of atheism according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary is 'the theory or belief that God does not exist.' By definition it follows that an atheist is someone who practises atheism, or in other words, someone who believes that God does not exist. After all, 'The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile, there is no one who does good. (Psalm 14:1 NAS)

Interesting then, isn't it, that the current anti-God campaign that has been launched, with advertisements on 800 buses in the UK, state their belief in a different manner. The advertisements state that THERE'S PROBABLY NO GOD. The use of the word 'probably' indicates that after decades of posturing that there is NO GOD, they now have to admit in this campaign that they might be completely wrong, and that the best they can claim is that there is PROBABLY NO GOD. This is, of course, a completely different stance, and one which would indicate the need to re-define the meaning of atheism in the dictionaries so that it reads, 'the theory or belief that God may not exist.'

Praise the Lord for this change in their understanding. There's hope for them even yet!

Of course, Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of every repentant sinner, and that includes atheists just as much as anyone else. Thankfully the God whom they choose to deny is a forgiving God, and the path to reconciliation is open to everyone who chooses to believe in, and accept, Jesus Christ as their Saviour, acknowledging Him as their Lord.

There is one particularly good thing about this campaign, although I hardly think that Dawkins and his assorted cronies intended it, and that is that the advertisements draw people's attention to the whole question of God, and in many instances will help to strengthen the faith of some who are weaker in the faith than others.

The strange thing is that these people who are so opposed to religion in general, and to God in particular, together form a sect whose beliefs are as fervent as any other sect on the planet. They seek to proselytise, converting people to their point of view, stating that it is the only sensible viewpoint to hold. And all the time it helps to make the leaders like Richard Dawkins wealthier as more and more people buy his fictional books which he passes off as factual.

Of course, he's perfectly entitled to his own opinions, just as we all are, but when he tries to ram them down the throats of others, regardless of the offence that it might cause, then it's a different issue altogether.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Growing Old Gracefully!

To commemorate her 69th birthday , actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan 's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was 'My Favourite Things' from the legendary movie 'Sound Of Music'.

Here are the lyrics she used:

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillac’s and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Humour? Well I rather liked this . . .


WIFE FROM HELL . . .

A police officer pulls over a speeding car and says to the driver, "I clocked you driving at 80 miles per hour, sir."

The driver says, "Gee, officer I had it on cruise control at 60, perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating." Without looking up from her knitting the wife says: "Now don't be silly dear, you know that this car doesn't have cruise control."

As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, "Can't you please keep your mouth shut for once?" The wife smiles demurely and says, "You should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did."

As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth, "Dammit, woman, can't you keep your mouth shut?"

The officer frowns and says, "I notice that you're not wearing your seat belt, sir. That's an automatic £75 fine." The driver says, "Yeah, well, you see officer, I had it on, but took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket." The wife says, "Now, dear, you know very well that you didn't have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you're driving."

As the police officer is writing out the third ticket the driver turns to his wife and barks, "WHY DON'T YOU PLEASE SHUT UP?"

The officer looks over at the woman and asks, "Does your husband always talk to you this way?"

I love this part . . .

The wife responds, "Only when he's been drinking."

Zimbabwe: The Latest News


I continue to keep a close watch on Zimbabwe, holding that beleaguered nation and its people in my prayers. I continue to pray for the removal of the tyrant Mugabe and his henchmen, and that they may be brought to trial for their crimes against the people of Zimbabwe. Whilst the people face shorter and shorter life-expectancy, the elderly pariah, Mugabe, continues to live in luxurious surroundings with no shortage of anything that his demented mind desires. How does he do it? How does he cling on to power, despite the will of the people to see him and his evil band of thugs removed from office (and preferably from the face of the earth)? The answer is simple. So much of the leadership in Africa is corrupt, and for the leaders of other African nations to stand firm against Mugabe might just focus on the corruption in their own back yards.

Human rights have continued to deteriorate drastically in Zimbabwe again this year. In addition to the indirect denial of such basic human rights as food and clean water, health care and education, the last few months has been marked with the shootings of illegal diamond miners by the police and army, the arrest of more than seventy people at trade union protests, the detention of Woman of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members after peaceful protests and the systematic targeting and detention of human rights defenders.

Zimbabweans are suffering through a devastating economic and human rights crisis as millions struggle to survive. Despite a recent political agreement, for thousands of Zimbabweans, politics remains less important than food.

As a Christian I cannot stand by and do nothing at all. Despite the distance geographically, prayer does not recognise distance, and so I implore you to join in prayer for Zimbabwe and its people on a daily basis. Pray for the removal of the political canker that is personified by Mugabe and his despotic rule, and pray for the strengthening and recovery of the people whose suffering is so unbearably great.

A Holy War

I wonder why so much of the Media aims its criticism in the current war situation against Israel, when so little is made of the fact that Hamas has been targeting Israel with rockets for the past sight years. After all, if your neighbour had been throwing stones at your windows for the past eight years would you not retaliate? I guess that the answer is that if your neighbour was part of the Islamic jihad movement then if you dared to retaliate it would be you that would be seen to be the aggressor.

Make no mistake, the current situation in Gaza is most definitely part of a global movement towards the Islamification of the entire world. the terrorist organisation Hamas' avowed intent as part of this is to deal with what they refer to as 'the Saturday People' first of all and then turn their attention to 'the Sunday People'. In other words, the annihilation of the Jews is a primary objective with a similar fate promised for Christians upon the primary objective being realised.

With the influx into most countries of large numbers of Muslims, many of whom are Islamic extremists, it seems that the host countries bend over backwards to accommodate their viewpoint at any cost, claiming that anyone who dares to broach opposition in any form is a racist, or is guilty of religious persecution. In the West it is not politically correct to criticize Muslims or Islam in any way whatsoever, yet there is no objection to the Islamic world's vilification of the host country and its way of life. Hence we have seen in Britain --- that nation that was once referred to as GREAT Britain --- a series of hate-filled Islamic Clerics who have focused their attention on the destruction of Western Civilization and anything that stands in the way of Global Islamification.

Nobody can condone the deaths of innocent civilians, especially children, in any war situation, but Hamas is a war-machine that considers the deaths of its own people, irrespective of age, as being simply a cost attributable to achieving the 'Primary' objective, i.e. the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. Find this difficult to believe? Question then why Hezbollah is now starting to attack Israel in the North of the country. Hamas claims that god is on their side. If that is the case then I wonder why their casualties are so great whilst Israeli casualties are so few?

Make no mistake, what is happening to the Jewish nation today can happen to the Christian nations tomorrow. It is not simply a localised conflict, nor does it only involve Israel and Gaza. It is a Holy War. Ignore it at your peril.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Something to bring a smile to your face!


Nothing brightens our day quite like finding something as cute as this little charmer! I hope it brings a smile to your face, the same as it did to mine when I first found it.

Hope in Jesus







Saturday, January 10, 2009

A new post from Joanne Lowe

Here's today's post from Joanne Lowe with words of wisdom that we could all learn from. I get a meditation from her every day. You can too, if you log on to subscribe on her site.

CHANGE MY HEART

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Jeremiah 17: 9, 10 (King James Version)

Have you ever noticed that many times we pray for God to change other people’s hearts rather than asking Him to change our own hearts? One of my pastors used to say in his sermons “If you will concentrate on keeping your own heart right with God, you won’t have time to criticize and judge someone else.” My pastor was so right. It is a full time job making sure that my own heart is pleasing to God.

Instead of praying for God to change people’s hearts, let’s ask Him to change our own hearts. We should ask God to let the people we are praying for feel the unconditional love, mercy, grace and compassion He has for them. Until people feel in their hearts that they are loved, they will never change. They can know that they are loved with their intellect but it is only when they feel it in their hearts that they will believe it. We can’t change people. Only Jesus can change a person’s heart and life.

We need to live our lives in such a way that others will see the difference that Jesus can make in a heart and life. We must love our families and friends to Jesus not only by our words, but especially by our actions. We can tell them that we love them but it is only as we prove it to them by our actions that they will believe us. Are you loving others to Jesus by your words and by your actions? Are you asking Jesus to change your heart by making it tender, forgiving and understanding?

'It was the best of times' : Memories of home, farming and Collie dogs


'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.'

Charles Dickens, (1812 - 1870) Opening lines from A Tale of Two Cities

This morning I was reminded of the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, that great literary classic by Charles Dickens, one of our all-time best story-tellers. I was thinking about the house in which I grew up. Perhaps the somewhat tenuous link comes about because in Dicken's classic tale, our heroine, Lucy Manette, discovers that her father whom she believed to be dead is, in fact, still alive. She goes to meet him at the home of the Defarges, Monsieur Defarges having been Dr Manette's servant prior to his incarceration. The Defarges own a wine shop, and it is this that is the link, for my father's wine shop, The Wine Lodge, was on the ground floor front of the large house where I grew up.

For me, as a growing child, it was often the best of times but also the worst of times; the former because the most major decisions that I had to make, apart from schooldays, involved deciding whether to stay in and play or go out and play; the latter because we were not allowed to have friends in to play in the house, and this meant that staying in would mean transporting myself in my imagination to one of a myriad destinations --- just so long as I was quiet!

Outside play was marvellous, for the world was my oyster, with hundreds of acres of parkland and wooded areas laying beyond the back of the house, together with its own lake. In those days it was quite safe for children to go out and play in the fields, provided that the owners had no objections. There were some fields that we were not allowed into, but generally speaking most of the land was available provided that it was treated with respect and care. So these fields became magic places, transformed by childish imagination into far-off parts of the globe according to the need of the game. With my friends I would climb trees, run through the woods, make dens, and explore as far afield as possible. I knew the trees and the hiding places, the meadows and cornfields, and, it seemed, almost every square inch of the land, and I loved it. The area belonged to the Methuen family who owned Corsham Court, and the land, Park Farm, was tenanted by Jack Vowles, a hard-working tenant farmer who served the land well. I spent many hundreds of happy hours at Park Farm, helping out wherever I was needed and allowed, and those times are firmly imprinted in my memory still.

I recall the time that a new dog --- a border collie --- arrived on the farm. It was my first experience of such a beautiful creature, and when Mr Vowles told me, in response to my questioning it being penned, that it was a 'working dog' whose task was to bring in the cows for miking, I couldn't believe it. In fact I didn't believe it! That's why, in order to test the statement, I opened the pen door and told the dog to "Go, fetch!" Of course it responded, much to my amazement, and then to my consternation, especially when a short while later I saw the cows being herded in for milking by the dog! The problem was that it was almost two hours too early! I decided that it might be better if I went quietly home, and so I did, hoping that Mr Vowles would forget that I had been there that day, although this was a vain hope of course, as I was to discover a few days later. I guess, looking back with the benefit of experience, that my sudden absence pretty well proved my guilt in the matter, but I also suspect that Jack Vowles had to smile at the incident in retrospect!

The lake and surrounding woodland was out of bounds, watched over by the game-keeper who seemed to have a sixth sense whenever boys were near. Despite this I would sometimes creep into the woods and go down by the water's edge, hoping to see some of the fish. The lake was stocked with carp, some of which were reputed to be huge, but also had many other fish which had arrived over the years, probably carried as eggs on the feet of ducks and swans from other waters. Amongst them were pike, and one in particular had the reputation of being able to take ducks and even small dogs who ventured out into the lake for a swim, it being the last thing they ever did. I suspect that most of the stories were exaggerated tales in reality, but they certainly managed to conjure up a somewhat scary image in the mind of small children. The lake was a dangerous place, with weed growing in abundance, reaching close to the surface. Later, when I was about twelve, I used to go out with friends from the Court in a flat-bottomed row-boat, and it was sometimes a little too easy to get the oars entangled with weed in some parts of the lake. I remember one summer when there were French visitors to the Court and I used to take them to the lake for a row. My memory of the two small boys is almost too hazy to recall, but I remember the young woman in charge of them far more. She was probably about seventeen, although I, then aged about thirteen, thought she was a real grown up, although this never stopped me having a crush on her! Aah! The innocence of youth, certainly in that distant scene.

Summer holidays would be spent, in large degree, working in the fields at haymaking time, helping to gather in the harvest. It was a period of long days, hard work, and great happiness. I was treated well by the other workers, and remember especially the times when we would relax in the shade of the trailer with our 'bait' --- our lunch of bread and cheese, and perhaps an apple, all of which would be washed down either with cold tea or cider. Returning to the farm at the end of the day, twilight beginning to fall, we would be given an ice-cold draught from the large barrel near the back door of the farmhouse, which contained water into which barley had been shovelled. It was always cold and always refreshing. I have no idea whether any other ingredient was added, but it was just another great part of a wonderfully magical part of my childhood. I loved working on the farm, especially so because Jack Vowles had a fierce reputation, and could not be bothered by time-wasting children around the place. This told me that I was allowed to go because it was recognised that I would work rather than be a nuisance --- despite the affair with the border collie!

Friday, January 9, 2009

REVIVE ME, O LORD!

"Many have an idyllic and sweet idea of revival. And they pray to this end. But our prayer should be to expose sin and lies, first in our own hearts and then in the churches. To pray for a great conviction of sin and that man would crumble and surrender at the terrifying presence of a Holy God. Then they would find the sweet, rapturous joy of being at peace with their God!... Do you still want revival? We must pray and PREACH to this end. If we are silent, or silenced, many in the churches will perish." - Jeri Woods.

How easy it is to pray that the Lord will revive His Church, casting our eyes towards all those people whom we personally consider need reviving the most. How easy it is to point the finger at others as we consider just why thy Church is in the state that it is in. Of course the problem is easily recognised, because the whole problem of the back-slidden is the same as that of the unsaved --- the problem of sin in their lives. Change that and you change everything. Fix that problem and the solution is plainly seen.

Yet surely the problem when we look at the sin in people's lives is that we do so all too often from an outside viewpoint, considering that, because we are praying so fervently for REVIVAL, and for the SALVATION of others, that we must be pretty good, and pretty sin-free! Yet the truth is such a long way from this in reality.
  • Our recognition that there is a problem is a blessing.
  • Our acceptance that it is a problem caused by sin is a blessing.
  • Our understanding that it can be resolved through the prayers of repentant sinners is a blessing.
  • When we can recognise, accept, and understand that we are a part of the problem, then that too is a blessing.

In praying for revival the first thing is to lay yourself before God, confessing that you are a sinner, repenting of every bit of sin that stains your life and seeking God's forgiveness. Of course, one of the issues regarding forgiveness is that before we can expect to be forgiven ourselves then we need to ensure that we have forgiven others, and so it is important to search your heart and forgive everyone whom you have ever wronged, no matter how far back in your life you need to go.

Do you want REVIVAL with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your soul? If you do then you need to understand that it comes at a personal cost. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ gave everything possible in order that all people might be forgiven their sins and be reconciled to God through Him, so we must also be prepared to give everything that we have if we are to truly answer His call to 'Follow Me.'

When Jesus calls you to follow Him, if you choose to respond then it's a call to follow Him to every place, even to the Cross. Not a response that can be made by the faint-hearted or the weak, for to be a true Christian takes great strength, great humility, and great compassion.

He calls you to follow Him:

  • Into the darkest places - in order that His light might shine from you.
  • To touch the sick - that His healing touch might revive and renew them.
  • To reach out to the lonely and the depressed - that your hands, words and compassion, might convey His comfort.
  • To seek out the lost - that you might, in His name, bring them home to the fold.
  • To proclaim the Gospel of Repentance, Forgiveness and Reconciliation - the same gospel message that God sent Jesus to bring to the world in the beginning.

It's not easy being a Christian. It means far more than going to church once or even twice on a Sunday. It's a 24/7 thing! It means that you have to give up the world but not give up on the world. The burden is a heavy one, being burdened for the lost, yet Jesus will carry the burden for you if you only hand it over to Him. He said: Come to Me, all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11: 28-30)

In order to be a confident Christian we must first learn to accept ourselves for who we are, for only when we can accept ourselves can we be accepted in the fullest sense by others. We need to be confident about who we are and what our purpose is. we need to understand the journey that we are on, the means of travel, the destination and how we can get there. So often we waste time seeking the approval of others, failing in confidence to go on with our journey without their approval that what we are doing, and the manner in which we are doing it, is the best and right way. In her book, Approval Addiction, Joyce Meyer points out the need to first discover, and accept, exactly who you are, helping you to face the fears that bind you to the past, so that you can shake them off once and for all. In her closing words she says this: learn to please God, not people. You have His approval, and that is all you really need.

You want REVIVAL? Well then, get on your knees and confess everything that is wrong in your life, begging God to forgive you. Let REVIVAL start with you, and then see how infectious it can become.