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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Today's Meditations from Joanne Lowe

Here is the meditation received from Joanne Lowe this morning, which I'm pleased to share with you, dear reader. I pray that it will bless you today.

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
Ezekiel 3: 17 - 19 (King James Version)

Jesus has told us that we are to warn others about the results of living a wicked and sinful life. However, He did not tell us to criticize them. We are not to have a “holier than thou” attitude. Every one of us who claims to be a Christian is just a sinner saved by grace. None of us are perfect and the person who claims to be perfect is deceiving himself or herself. There was only one perfect person who ever lived or ever will live and His name is Jesus.

There is a hell just as there is a Heaven. If we want to win our loved ones to Jesus, we will only do it by loving them and by the way we live our lives. Yes, we are to tell them that if they are not saved, if they have not made a heart commitment to Jesus, then they will go to hell and spend all eternity in hell with satan. After we tell them that, we shouldn’t keep preaching to them. We must let them see the difference that Jesus can make in a person’s life by the way we live. If they don’t see a difference in the way we live our lives, we will not be able to lead them to Jesus.

Does your family see the difference Jesus has made in your heart and in your life or do you still act like you did before Jesus saved you? Jesus has said that we will be held responsible if we don’t warn them about the danger of hell but we must prove to them that Jesus can make a difference in our hearts and lives by the way we live. It’s how we live our lives that will lead others to Jesus. How are you living your life? Do you forgive people when they hurt you or do you still harbor unforgiveness in your heart? You can’t expect God to forgive you if you refuse to forgive the ones who hurt you.

When Jesus looks into your heart, what does He see? Does He see the things that bring joy and happiness to Him or does He see things that bring sadness to Him? Again, it’s how we live our lives that will lead others to accept Jesus into their hearts as their personal Saviour. I urge all of us to live our lives in such a way that our families, our friends and the world will see the difference Jesus has made in our hearts and in our lives.
Joanne Lowe
February 27, 2009

Things I remember from my Corsham childhood . . .

It's strange how memories from childhood pop into your head when least expected, bringing people, places and situations back from the past into the forefront of your mind. Sometimes I find myself drifting in and out of sleep in the middle of the night, with my shambled thoughts suddenly clearing and placing an event from decades ago into my head once again.

They say that as children we have minds that act like sponges, soaking up everything that we see, hear and experience, and that everything is stored away in our memories for ever. As we get older so it seems that we forget things, but the reality is that we perhaps lose the ability to unlock the store-cupboard that holds our memories. Occasionally it's as if someone comes along to peek inside and a few memories slip out. Then, with the suddenness of a pistol shot, we recall an event that happened perhaps fifty years or more ago with such clarity that it might have been only yesterday. Mind you, sometimes we recall things that we think happened decades ago with that clarity and then finally discover that they did indeed happen yesterday!

Last night I recalled an incident from childhood that occurred when I was about ten or eleven as far as I recall. Together with my friends Henry and Richard, (almost inseparable, like the Three Musketeers), we were playing in the large car-park that was bordered by the entrance to Corsham Court, St Bartholomew's Church, a small copse and the railings that led into Corsham park, the latter being part of the Corsham Court Estate. The park featured throughout my childhood in so many ways, for it was there that I played out various games with my friends, there that, as an introspective teenager, I communed with nature, and it was there that I worked on the farm whenever the opportunity arose in my teenage years.

Anyway, back to my story. On this occasion we were joined after a while by Robin A... whose parents ran the Post Office, the family living on the premises which lay at the beginning of the row of houses known as the Flemish Buildings, and opposite the imposing Town Hall. As often happens with small boys, we felt that he was a bit of an annoyance, muscling in our games. On this occasion we decided to teach him a lesson that would keep him out of our way in the future, and pinning him against the railings we held a dampened handkerchief over his mouth and convinced him that the dampness was caused by chloroform! As soon as he was released he ran the two hundred yards or so home and reported us to his mother.

Let us say that when we got home there was a little present awaiting each of us and that we were persuaded that it had not been a good idea! Mind you, Robin A... never came near us again either, not unsurprisingly!

Those railings featured prominently on another memorable occasion as well, this time the star of the occasion being Henry. Typical of park railings of the time, I guess that these were about three foot nine high and with pointed tips. Henry, in a fit of bravado and showing-off, boldly stated that he could easily jump them, and then he proceeded with his run-up before we could do more than express our doubts and fears at something which was so patently dangerous. Well he ran, he jumped and he cleared them, but only by a hair's-breadth! In those days, like our peers, we wore short trousers, and so close to disaster was Henry's leap that the spikes caught in the legs of his shorts at the back and they ripped down the seams. Henry's family were Scots and dressed the part in kilts when occasion demanded, and on this occasion a somewhat chastened Henry went home fairly rapidly, cloaked by the woods that lay between the park and our houses, his shorts flapping with the speed of his progress like a grey kilt! Needless to say, this was not an exercise that was ever repeated.

I never found out what happened to him when he got home, but I can imagine that it left him with a sore backside!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sermon on the 23rd Psalm


Most people know of the 23rd Psalm, known as the Shepherd's Psalm, having heard it read or sung, often at special services such as weddings or funerals, for it’s a Psalm whose words bring great comfort to people, especially the bereaved.
The Lord is my Shepherd.
These first few words of the Psalm infer that we have received Him into our lives as Saviour. If you have claimed the gift of salvation and acknowledge Jesus as your Lord, then He is your Shepherd.
I shall not want
This phrase speaks of the proper care of the flock Often we are referred to in the Scriptures as ‘the sheep of His pasture.’ Unfortunately, as any good shepherd and farmer will tell you, sheep are not really very smart creatures and are not known for their brains! You need to be able to turn to the Good Shepherd for guidance about all the important matters in your life.

When the psalmist says, I shall not want; he’s not saying that you’ll never want the things that are out there in the world, dangled in front of you by the advertisers. He’s saying that you will never want for the things that God provides. Many years ago I was saved by the stripes of our Lord Jesus Christ. He saved my soul. He provides for all of my needs, and always has done. He cares for me far better than I would ever be capable of caring for myself.
He makes me lie down in green pastures He leads me beside quiet waters
You might think that if you were a sheep you’d want to be on the move eating! However, He makes us lie down and rest. He directs us, knowing what is best for us at all times. Sometimes He says to us, Be still and know that I am God.

Our Shepherd has prepared, does prepare, and is preparing a table for us. A good shepherd will always find the best pasture for his flock, taking care that there are no poisonous weeds and that there is a good supply of pure water. If a shepherd in the earthly sense does so much for the sheep in his care then how much more will our Good Shepherd take care of His flock.

God hasn't saved people just so that they can go to heaven. He wants us to be productive in the kingdom of God.

When the sheep lie down, they begin to digest this green pasture on which they grazed earlier. To be up and moving about in the heat of the day would reduce their productivity. They need to be fat and must lie down for some of the time.

Often we don't obey God. Our Good Shepherd tells us to lie down, but we resist and try to do our own thing. We often find that it’s difficult to be still because our minds are full of the worries and cares of our over-busy lives. But, He is our Shepherd. We should be eager to obey His voice and do His bidding without question or complaint. He always knows what’s best for us and has made provision for us. He will lead us to the still waters from where we can drink our fill.
He restores my soul.
If sheep lie down in one place for too long then they become what is known as cast, and they are unable to get up. They need the help of the shepherd to avoid being left behind. This is another reason why we need to listen and obey the voice of our Good Shepherd.

As Christians we need to always be ready to listen to the still small voice of God that leads and guides us. This is the same voice that brought us to a knowledge of salvation in the first place, the same voice that prompts us every day to do things for others, the same voice that encourages us in our lives, lifting us up to be with Him, When He asks us to do something then we need to obey, so when he says that we should Lie down, we need to lie down. When He says, Get up and do this for Me, then we need to respond immediately. If we try to be our own master - our own shepherd - then we will find that we may become cast and unable to get up in our own strength.

We can be thankful that our God is one who will seek for each one of us if we are lost. Jesus told the story of the lost sheep, the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine safely penned whilst he went to find the one that was lost That lost sheep could easily be me, or you, or one of your immediate family. Aren't you thankful that we have a Shepherd who cares so much about us that He will come and find us? No Christian ever gets into trouble without having heard God calling out to him to stop! No Christian wanders into a state of sin without the Holy Spirit saying No!, over and over. Often, aware of our rebellious natures, God will put things in our way in order to keep us from sin. If you never hear this voice inside you, guiding you, then the bad news is that you haven't given yourself over to Christ, even if you think you have. You haven't yet been saved, even if you think you have. It's quite possible for the devil to have deceived you. You may be doing everything physically right and yet be spiritually dead. If you don't hear God speaking to you, drawing you closer to Him through prayer and longing, then you need to give yourself fully over to His control. Then you'll notice the difference. The change will ignite the fire within you so that you can burn brightly and light the paths of others in His name. If you are a lost sheep what will happen when your Shepherd finds you? Will he scold you for getting lost? No, never! He will pick you up, draw you close to himself and reassure you through His voice and touch. He will calm you, restoring you. He will take you home rejoicing. Our Good Shepherd loves us that much! Don't listen to the devil when he tries to tell you that you don't matter, that you're not important, for everyone is special in the eyes of God. He knows each one of us personally; He loves each one of us personally; He hears each one of us personally. This is the kind of God that we have, of whom the psalmist wrote, He restores my soul.
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
God's leading is always in paths which are the right way in His eyes, and which will bring honour and glory to His name. We’re not granted salvation and the opportunity to become followers of Christ in order to swell the attendance of one particular denomination or another. It’s for His name's sake, for we are His children, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). We have been redeemed by His blood in order that we can bring Glory to God in and through all things.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, l fear no evil; for MY art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
For a sheep to be at it's most productive it cannot be fearful. The presence of an enemy such as a wolf or a dog can bring fear with it. As Christians we have many enemies. We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death every day of our lives, sensing the fears that abound. Fear of illness, cancer, aids, financial difficulty or even ruin, broken relationships ... the list is endless. All of these things can be used by the devil to reduce our effectiveness in our Christian walk.

When we’re facing problems we have no need to face them alone, for the Good Shepherd will be there with us, comforting and calming us with His presence. If a shepherd steps in amongst his sheep when they are fearful they will start to calm down, knowing that they can trust him to protect them. We need to learn to recognise our Shepherd so that, in times of fear and concern, we do not run this way and that, but run only towards Him. All the peace and protection that we need we will find in the Lord. If the devil tries to tempt you away, promising you a good time, then know that he’s a liar. He’ll stand by and laugh as you weep at the frustration of a life littered with lost opportunities. The promise of Hebrews 13: 5 stands as firm today as it ever did when the Lord promised us: I will never leave you nor forsake you. If you believe it with all of your heart then you will always be able to turn to Him, knowing that His presence is there to comfort you.
Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil and my cup overflow
As a gracious host God has provided us with all that we need, not simply just enough, but in abundance. Just as the shepherd pours oil onto the sheep to deal with the problems of flies and other parasites in order to protect them, so our Good Shepherd will anoint us with the Holy Spirit in order that we might have His protection. It’s this that will help us when the devil comes to us trying to convince us that we’re poor Christians, and trying to drag us down. He doesn't mind you going to church as long as you don't listen to the message, as long as you don't change your life, as long as you don't serve God, as long as you are weak in testimony. He actually likes Christians who are dead because they don’t threaten him. But, the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives will enable us to live according to the Spirit and not to follow the weak leading of the flesh. And how worthwhile it is to serve Him. How good it is to know that He is our Shepherd!
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever.

When we accept Christ's invitation to be with Him then we’re not just visitors for the day. We’re recipients of God's covenant loving-kindness forever. When God provides for us He doesn't look for a place to stop! He provides for us for eternity! Scripture confirms this to us when it says, Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life. He will always lead us to green pastures, always to the still waters, that we might eat of the bread of life and drink of the waters of everlasting life for ever. His unchanging love is all the confirmation that we need. We will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever, the place where God is to be found.

Can you read the words of this Psalm to yourself and not be changed. Can you say in truth, The Lord is my shepherd, with conviction and assurance? If you can then you’ll know that you have been saved for eternity, but if not then it’s time to repent and make a confession of faith before Him, receiving Him into your life, letting Him control every aspect of it.


Meditations from Joanne Lowe

As I mentioned the other day, Joanne Lowe is having a problem with her blog at present, and so I'm posting some of her meditations here. She writes a fresh one every day, so why not email her, (the address is at the bottom of this post), and sign up to receive them each day.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
Hebrews 13: 8 (King James Version)

I had a frustrating day yesterday. My computer kept giving me error messages. I worked on it from eight o’clock yesterday morning until ten thirty last night. I got very frustrated and discouraged. I have to send my computer back to the factory to be repaired because the tech has determined that I have hardware problems.

However as soon as I went to bed, I started laughing because I know that Jesus loves me. No matter what happens in this life, one thing will always be the same. Our precious Saviour will always love us. He loves us as much today as He did yesterday and He will love us as much tomorrow as He does today. He is never in a bad mood and He always has time to talk to us.

Whenever we need Him, He is here for us. The questions we must ask ourselves are “When Jesus asks me to do something, am I here for Him? Am I willing to do it immediately or do I put it off until it is convenient for me?” I don’t think it was convenient for Jesus to go to the cross for us that day but He went anyway because He loves us so much. No matter what is going on in your life today, will you be obedient and do what Jesus asks you to do?

Thank God for Jesus, our loving, dependable and unchanging Saviour. What a comfort it is to our weary hearts to know that no matter what happens today, Jesus will be with us. He will pick us up in His tender compassionate arms and carry us through the dark valleys and once again set us on the mountain tops of joy, peace and happiness. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us and for caring what happens to us.

Joanne Lowe
February 26, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'The Voice' : New issue is a REVIVAL Special!

The latest issue of The Voice Christian News & Views will be out in a few days time. If you don't already receive a copy of this great FREE magazine then why not go to Voice Publications website and register online to get it posted to you. Filled with great articles, great quotes and gentle humour, plus lots of great pics, it's well worth having ---
Not only that, it comes to you absolutely FREE OF CHARGE!

International Prayer & Revival Gathering Coming!

GATHERING for PRAYER & PREACHING - A Gathering Unto Him.

MORIAH CHAPEL, WALES - Where the Welsh Revival began

DATES: APRIL 3-4, 2009

"Revive Us Again, O Lord"

SPEAKERS - David Servant (USA), Torben Sondergard (Denmark),Andrew Strom (New Zealand),

Dyfrig Griffiths (Introductory talk on the Welsh Revival),

Moderator - Colin Gordon-Farleigh.


This is an international gathering at the place where the last great Welsh Revival broke out in 1904-1905

  • for prayer and preaching

  • to cry out to God for Wales and the world

  • that He might rend the heavens and come down

  • that He might "Revive us again".
Find out more by logging on to the special page on Andrew Strom's website here. there will be visitors from all over the world attending this gathering.

If you cannot come yourself then please hold the Conference and the Speakers in prayer.

"My, How you have grown!"

1960, when I was 17 and doing the 'Grown-up' thing and smoking a pipe --- uuugh!

Aged about 8yrs old with my sisters, I don't think that I liked being an indian! My eldest sister is the Ovaltine Lady.

Jumping on to 1978 and this photograph appeared on the back cover of my book Flight of a Bee, which was published in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in that year by Gazebo Books. The picture was taken on the top of The Herald building. Note that then I not only had hair but my beard was dark!

Skipping on to 2005 and here I was relaxing in Mousehole, Cornwall, after my wedding in July of that year. The sun shone on the place where my hair had once been!

The year: 2007; the place: York (UK). Gill and I were there for one of our all-too-rare visits to a city that we both love for its friendliness and warmth (in human terms). My parting gets ever wider and beard ever whiter, but the heart remains as warm as ever.


(Please Note: If you click on the image it should enlarge to a full-screen version)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here is Joanne Lowe's meditation for today.

My friend Joanne Lowe has a problem with her blogsite at present, and so I'm sharing her meditation for today with you here.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12: 1, 2 (King James Version)

One of the most vicious and cruel attacks from satan is when he reminds us of our past life and the sinful things we used to do before we were saved. Our enemy tells us that we haven’t changed and we never will change. When satan brings that accusation against us, we can boldly and confidently and with great joy tell satan “Because of Calvary, I am a new person and all of my sins have been washed away in the precious blood of Jesus never to be held against me again.”

Jesus has told us to lay aside every weight and satan is definitely a weight. We don’t have to let satan discourage and defeat us. As soon as satan attacks us with his poisonous darts, we need to cry out to Jesus to help us. It is because of Calvary and the cleansing atoning blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross that we have the assurance that satan can not keep us discouraged. How I praise and thank God for sending His beloved Son to die on the cross of Calvary for my sins so that I do have this assurance in my heart.

Don’t let satan lie to you and keep you discouraged. Don’t let him tell you that Jesus doesn’t love you. We read in the Bible “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103: 10 - 12). We can stand confidently on the promises of Jesus. When Jesus tells us something, we can take it to the bank. We never have to wonder if He will fail us. He can not fail for He is the Saviour of the world. We never have to question Him because He is faithful to keep His word.

Thank You, Jesus, for Your great love for us. Thank You for loving us unconditionally. Thank You that You love us as much today as You did yesterday and You will love us as much tomorrow as You do today. There is no one like You, Jesus. Indeed, you are the great I AM! Thank You for dying on the cross for us so that we can have our sins forgiven and live with you in Heaven for all eternity. We love You, Jesus, and we appreciate all that You have done for us and all that You do for us every day.

Have you been to Calvary? Have your sins been washed away in the cleansing atoning blood of Jesus? If not, I urge you; I plead with you to give your heart and life to Jesus today before it is too late! One day, it will be too late for you to say “yes” to Jesus. Give your heart and life to Jesus right now. He will be the dearest friend you have ever known and He will never leave you, not even for one minute. Don’t miss out on spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus.

Humble yourself, admit that you are a sinner and invite the Christ of Calvary into your heart. You will have a joy, a peace and a happiness that you have never known. It is all because of Calvary and the unconditional love of Jesus for you that you can be saved and live with Jesus. No one loves you like Jesus loves you. Open your heart to the Saviour who loves you so much that He died for you on the cross of Calvary.

Joanne Lowe
February 21, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Video is now on

Our song, When I'm With You, is now on, and you can take a look at it by clicking on this link. This new video demonstrates the 'crossover' nature of the song, and has a great Christian feel to it. Why not take a look for yourself, dear reader, and let me know what you think of it. My friend Martin, who is responsible for creating the video, is very talented, and I think that he's done a great job. The video only appeared yesterday and it has already had 77 hits on it. If you like it why not help us to get the word out by sharing it with your friends. All you have to do is copy and paste the link to it in your email and they'll be able to have a look for themselves.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines's Day message of love

Once more I turn to my friend Joanne Lowe for today's Meditation. Every day we read of disasters in our press or hear about them and see them on the media. Sometimes it's almost as though the reports are in overkill, and the danger is that we start to become hardened to them, especially when they concern people far away from us. Yet we are all linked together in some way. Often we may know people in the countries in question, even having relatives there, and so the situations become more real to us.
Thank goodness that God thinks differently to us! He cares for each person, no matter where they live, no matter who they are, whether they love Him or not, and even whether they acknowledge His existence or not. His heart of love is big enough to encompass everyone, and one day we will all know and experience that love in a depth that will defy explanation.
'Greater love has no man that he lays down his life for one of his friends' Jesus laid down His life for me and for you, dear reader. Now that's what I call a demonstration of love!

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Revelation 21: 4 (King James Version)

On Thursday, a plane crashed and all forty nine people on the plane died. There was also one confirmed death on the ground reported. At a tragic time like this, only our Heavenly Father and Jesus can heal their families and friend’s broken hearts. We can comfort and encourage them and we should do so. However, only Jesus and our Heavenly Father can fully understand the depths of the grief in the hearts of those who have lost loved ones.

Thank God that one day there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. One glorious day, our precious and loving Saviour is going to come back for us to take us home to live with Him for all eternity. We will have peace and joy and happiness forever. What a privilege is ours to have our sins forgiven through the precious atoning blood of our Saviour.

Our Heavenly Father knew that we were in desperate need of a Saviour. From His heart of mercy, grace and unconditional love, He sent His beloved Son into the world to save us from our sins. What love and what compassion for us flowed from the heart of our Heavenly Father on the day that He sent His Son on His mission!

What compassion and love flowed from the heart of Jesus on that dark and terrible day as He hung on that old rugged cross for us. There is no greater love than the love of our Heavenly Father and our precious Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ! Yes, God opened His heart of love and sent us His Son. The question we must ask ourselves is “What have I given to God to show Him how much I love Him and how much I appreciate all that He has done for me?” Have you told God how much you love Him and appreciate Him and how much you appreciate Jesus and all that He has done for you?

This is Valentine’s Day and if you have never given your heart to Jesus, please invite Him into your heart to be your personal Saviour. He loves you so much that He died for you. Accept the unconditional love that He wants to give to you. Say “yes” to Jesus today! You will never have a better friend than Jesus. He will never leave you, not even for one minute. Open your heart to the One who loves you unconditionally.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sarah: A rather special donkey . . .

When I lived in Zimbabwe in the 1980's --- I was there from 1972 until 1984 --- amongst the pets/livestock that we had probably the most dominant of all of them was my donkey, Sarah. One day I had been told about her needing a new home and so off I went to pass on the message that if we didn't give her a home then she might have to be put down. Okay, I admit that I was pushing the boundaries a little, but I only said 'might', and anyway, it worked and Sarah came to live with us.

From the outset she established herself as the boss, firstly chasing our two dogs around the garden to let them know that she had arrived and then chasing me around the garden, teeth bared! I quickly realised that capitulation and submission was the best thing if we were to live comfortably side by side, so to speak. Or at least, I determined that I'd let her think that.

I never let anyone ride upon her as I had been told that she had had a bad experience previously at the hands of an over-energetic child.

What a character she had! There are many stories of the things that she did, but two things come to mind in particular. The first is about her inseparable companion, which was a chicken called Mrs Hopitty. We kept hundreds of chickens over the years in order to supply eggs and meat in a local township, and when this chicken hatched out she had one leg which splayed to the side and was fairly useless to her. Because she was such a fighter I let her live and it was to my dismay that I later found the other leg splayed to the side following some sort of unknown altercation. However, she gamely carried on and so I ended up separating her from the others and pampering her somewhat. Once Sarah joined the family I found one day that Mrs Hopitty loved to be around her and soon this strange pairing had developed a bond of friendship that needed to be seen to be believed!

The other memorable occasion whilst Sarah was with us was when she managed to get out of the garden one day and decided to take a look around the neighbourhood. Matambo, the young chap who worked for me looking after the livestock, went after her with me. She led us a merry dance all around the neighbouring properties until, after about an hour, she allowed herself to be caught and led home. The triumphant glint in her eye said it all!

She was with us for almost four years until we found it was time to leave Zimbabwe behind and travel to fresh fields. We found Sarah a new home a couple of weeks before we left along with her companion Mrs Hoppity, but I still remember them both with much fondness. Over the years I have had many animal companions and often consider that life without them would be much the poorer. At present we have our little dog, Sam, of whom I have occasionally written, a guinea pig named Ffred, and two cats, Felix and Smokey, all four of whom improve the quality of our lives by their companionship.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guinea Pigs, Big Business and Fire in the Barn!

When I was about 12 years old I went into business for the first time with my close friend, Vaughan Lipscombe, who then lived at Gorse Farm in Hawthorne, about five miles from Corsham, breeding and selling guinea pigs as pets to shops and pet-seeking individuals. Together we built cages and runs which were kept in one of the large outbuildings where Vaughan's father kept chickens in a large deep-litter run. We had dozens of guinea pigs and a few rabbits, and somehow Vaughan's dad tolerated this enterprising stab at the world of big business.

Sometimes I would cycle over to Hawthorne, but more often than not I would walk over. Living in the country in those days a five-mile walk was not considered anything out of the ordinary for a lad, rather it was simply all part of our daily exercise. The friendship grew when we both attended Malmesbury Grammar School together, albeit that Vaughan was in the year below me, and remained through most of our school years, although I lost contact with him after finishing school to enter the wider world of work.
The memories that I have from those days are all pretty good ones, but there is one in particular that is not so hot --- or rather it's too hot! I arrived at the farm one afternoon to find the fire brigade had been called because the hay barn, which was attached to the poultry sheds, was on fire. Apparently Vaughan had made a den in the hay and, deciding that it needed illuminating, lit a candle for the purpose. Not a good idea! I remember trying to drag as much hay out of the barn as possible with a pitchfork, but all to no avail as the fire brigade doused everything in sight once they arrived. The building was OK but the hay crop was destroyed altogether. I think that our blossoming little business empire soon faded after that, and soon afterwards my walks to Hawthorne slowed down, metaphorically speaking, to an occasional dawdle. The memories remain, however, and pop up at the least expected moments such as now.

Aah! The folly of youth!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Mathematical Conundrum

1. Teaching Maths In 1970. A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.His cost of production is 4/5 of the price.What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980. A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or £80.What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990: A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.His cost of production is £80.Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000: A logger sells a truck load of timber for £100.His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2008. A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of £20.
What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question:
How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E : The GREATEST Love of all.

Valentine's Day is coming! Of course it's great to send and receive messages to and from those we love, but here is a Valentine's message that speaks of the greatest love of all, that of God for the whole of His creation.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Field, Furrow & Winter Kale

This morning I can see that the car windows are covered in frost and the few people braving the cold morning are huddled into the warmth of their coats as they hurry across the road to the newsagents or down the road to the convenience store. I have to state that I am definitely biased in favour of warm days, although I love the appearance of fresh, virgin snow in certain circumstances. Generally speaking, nowadays that means from the comfort of my lounge, but there was a time when a walk down one of the lanes or across one of the fields of my youth when my footprints were the only marks in an otherwise pristine white blanket of snow, was an exhilarating and magical experience.

I am often led to the conclusion that I'm privileged to experience the magic of nature due, in part, to my poetic soul. One particular memory that I have goes back to when I was around fourteen years old, and down at Park Farm for the early morning session of kale-cutting, a task for which I was given a machete. The objective was to cut the kale with one slash and stack it into a large tub for taking in for the cattle to feed on. The morning that comes to my mind today was extremely cold, and the hoar frost was thick upon the leaves of the crop. I was glad of the warmth of my coat and the advice that one of the older farmhands had given me to stuff newspaper into my wellington boots, the result of which meant that at least my feet didn't freeze. I busied myself at cutting, wanting to get the task over with and back to the yard as fast as possible, for once there I could unfreeze my hands by wrapping them around a warm cup of tea.

It was said that in order to beat the cold it was a good idea to plunge your hands into freezing water and hold them under for about five minutes. It was claimed that the rush of blood to try and combat the cold would keep your hands warm all day. I'd love to be able to report that this worked wonders, but the truth is that I didn't dare try it out!

Anyway, back to the kale cutting. I was happily --- well reasonably happily, at least! --- cutting and stacking when I noticed that some of the leaves had red on them. I wondered for a moment what it was. I soon found out, for it transpired that I had caught the back of my hand in my work and failed to notice it because my hands were so cold! Oh, how readily I realised the absolute necessity of keeping my thick leather gloves on from that moment. I guess that I learned the meaning of the expression 'the folly of youth' on that day.

Farms can be dangerous places for the careless, a lesson that I learned on other occasions as well, but they were all lessons that, being learnt through experience, were learnt well. Despite the odd accident such as this one, if I had my youth over again I would still be the same lad that I was then, enjoying and exploring the fields and furrows around about the Corsham area where I grew up. So many of my happiest memories from the early years were established there.

I'm not forgetting that I started this passage thinking about snow and frost, and certainly I have many special memories of my early morning walk across the fields to get to the farm, or simply to be out in the glory of the winter scenery, simply absorbed into it as just another part of the picture. It's nice to see unbroken snow in your garden, but to see it stretched across a field of many acres, broken only by the darkness of the hedgerows and the leafless trees dotted here and there, is an image that remains etched on your memory for ever. Sometimes I would look across a ploughed field in the early Spring when the snow had fallen lightly on it during the night and the resultant picture reminded me of the icing on a chocolate cake which had been dusted with icing sugar.

One more memory that comes to mind as I write this is that of the picturesque Flemish Buildings at the far end of Corsham High Street, originally occupied by Flemish weavers. The golden colour of the plastered walls and the cobbles of the path in front of them given an added touch of magic by the snowfall that had cotton-wooled their roofs overnight. This image is the stuff of picture postcards and the fuel for a million cameras.

The Flemish Buildings are but one gem in this town on the edge of the Cotswolds. There are many more that make a visit to Corsham both worthwhile and memorable. Of course the Corsham of my youth, of which I write, has long gone. Now there is a shopping precinct where once there were the gardens of friends and neighbours, and vehicles skirt the town in order to get to the new(ish) car parks that were established in other gardens. Yet, despite the changes, so much that was still is, for the buildings that I knew as a boy remain in all their decaying glory, and sometimes I think that the ghosts of people long-gone perhaps still inhabit the houses and streets where I visit on my trips down Memory Lane.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mobile Phone vs. The Bible

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our mobile phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to our children and grandchildren as gifts?
What if we used it when we travelled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh yes, one more thing . . .
Unlike our mobile phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

'When I'm With You' is now on YouTube

My love-song, When I'm With You, has been uploaded onto YouTube today with a great new video to support it. I have my clever friend Martin to thank for this. I feel both proud and humble by this song, which I wrote as a gift for my wife for Valentine's Day, 2007. The song featured as the title track on a CD of love-songs which Sheer Joy Music released last year, sung by Susan Marrs.

If you would like to listen to it and see the great video that Martin has produced then just click on this link.

I hope you like it, dear reader, and that you will get your friends to take a look as well. Let me know what you think of it by posting a comment on this blog post.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ramsay's in your face again!

Gordon Ramsay, the television cook, was on the screen once more a few days ago, and was obnoxious as ever. He seems to have a language block that refuses to allow him to put too many comments between the swearing, using the 'f' word, according to Media reports, no fewer than 132 times during the programme. He was not alone in this, for the additional foul language from others on the show raised the total to in excess of 235 times according to reports.
Of course, Channel 4, who put this poor example of an 'educated' member of society on our screens, insist that it's all harmless, even trying to convince us that it's acceptable because they screen it after the 9 pm watershed. Of course, we've learned to expect nothing less than this type of rhetoric from those in the high places of this particular TV station. However, no matter how much they protest their innocence, they are to be judged for their foolhardiness and their blatant disregard for the senses of the viewer.
If he is incapable of stringing his sentences together without profanity and the blasphemous outbursts as he breaks the commandment regarding the use of the Lord's name, then it's best that he is assigned to where his language is best suited --- in the sewers and gutters in the bowels of the earth.
So why does it matter? After all, it is argued that you are not compelled to watch the programme and that you do have an on/off button. So do the TV chiefs think that it makes this sort of thing acceptable then. Perhaps they use exactly the same language in their homes to their partners and children as they lap up the trash that they expect others to watch.
The real answer to all of this is, of course, that simply because something is done repeatedly it doesn't make it any more right or any more acceptable. Isn't it time that all decent people complained sufficiently to excise this type cancer from the body of society?

'Conversations With God' --- but which god?

It would be so easy for well-meaning folk to buy this book with every good intent, fooled by the title into thinking that it's a book for young people to find the answers to their questions from a Christian point of view, but just how wrong can you get!

If you have children or grandchildren, work with children at church, or you have neighbourhood children whose parents you know, please take note of the information below and pass it along to others. Many schools are acting as distributors for this trashy book to children in their charge through the Scholastic Book Club. The name of the book is Conversations with God. Oprah Winfrey has helped in the promotion of this book, and for anyone who knows anything about her you will know that when she pushes something millions of people are tempted to respond. Unfortunately she is definitely not known for her Christian views!!!

The content of this book is devastating. Parents, churches and Christian schools need to be aware of it. Please pass this information on to Church, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, friends, --- in fact just about everyone you can.

It's so important to pay special attention not only to what your kids watch on TV, in movie theaters, on the Internet, and the music they listen to, but also be alert regarding the books they read.

This book, along with a partner volume entitled Conversations With God for Teens, is written by Neale D Walsch. They sound harmless enough by their titles alone. The books have been on the New York Times best sellers list for a number of weeks, and they make truth of the statement, "Don't judge a book by its cover or title."

The author purports to answer various questions asked by kids using the "voice of God". However, the "answers" that he gives are not Bible-based and go against the very infallible word of God. For instance (and I paraphrase),When a girl asks the question "Why am I a lesbian?" the answer she gets is that she was 'born that way' because of genetics (just as you were born right-handed, with brown eyes, etc.). Then he tells her to go out and 'celebrate' her differences.

Another girls poses the question "I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I should marry him because I am living in sin. Should I marry him?" His reply is, "Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong."

Another question asks about God's forgiveness of sin. His reply "I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone, do not judge people. People have chosen to judge one another and this is wrong, because the rule is "'judge not lest ye be judged."

Not only are these books the false doctrine of the devil, but in some instances erroneously quote the Word of God. And the list goes on. These books (and others like it) are being sold to schoolchildren through organisations such as The Scholastic Book Club, and we need to be aware of what is being fed to our children. The children of our nation are under satanic attack. So I pray that you will be sober and vigilant about teaching your children the Word of God, and guarding their exposure to worldly mediums, because our adversary, the devil, roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We know that the lion usually hunt for the slowest, weakest and YOUNGEST of its prey.

Pass this on to everyone you know. And, if you are in doubt, check out the books yourself.