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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Flood

‘Come,’ said Noah, to his three sons,

‘For God has spoken to me;

He says that we must build an ark

From the wood of the cedar tree.

Three hundred by fifty by thirty,

Is the size God said we should make;

And it should have three decks,

Each living creature to take.

We shall bring to the ark

Two of each kind,

And food for us and for them:’

So he set about to build the ark,

With Japheth, Ham and Shem.

The animals went to the ark,

As God commanded they should,

And just as God commanded them,

It was made of gopher wood.

After Noah, his sons and their wives;

Then the Lord closed the door,

And rain started to pour,

Outside the rest lost their lives.

For forty days and forty nights

The flood covered over the earth,

As God blotted out all living things,

For man had abused his birth.

The waters covered the mountains,

Till no land was left in sight:

Then God caused a wind to pass over,

After the fortieth night.

Slowly the waters receded,

So Noah decided to see

If the land had been returned,

And if the mountains and plain

Would sweep once again,

Down to the shores of the sea.

He sent out a raven

Which flew here and there,

Over the face of the land,

But could find no place to rest;

So he sent out a dove

Which, soaring above,

Found  no place to build a nest.

Noah waited for seven more days,

Then the dove was sent once again,

Returning this time with proof

That the land was free from rain.

The waters had dried from the earth,

And God spoke to Noah once more:

Take your sons and their wives,

Each beast and each bird,

And leave the ark through the door.

Then God made a promise to Noah,

That never again would there be

Such a flood as had been in those days,

When the land was covered by sea.

I’ll set in the sky, for all men to see,

A bow, high up in the cloud,

That will stretch from heaven to earth,

To trumpet my promise aloud.

That’s why, when it rains,

We often will see,

As the sun comes shining through,

A rainbow of every colour,

Confirming God’s promise to you.

© Colin Gordon-Farleigh, January 2006


Pentecostal Power of the Holy Spirit

Reading: Philippians 3: 7-14
I recall a conversation that I had with my Dad many years ago on the subject of Divine Healing, and was saddened that he firmly believed that the miracles that took place during the course of Jesus’ ministry belonged to that age, and that, whilst he accepted that they actually happened, nowadays, he insisted, they can longer happen. It saddened me because his belief was limiting the power of God to the past, yet God who performed those miracles then is the same God whom we worship today. The same God with the same limitless power, which means that miracles can happen today just as they could then. The problem is not with the limit of God’s power but the limit of human understanding and acceptance.
Back in the late 1950’s I became disillusioned with the church. It seemed to me that whilst the Bible contained some of the most exciting stories and information imaginable, the church service was simply a regulated, polite form of worship, designed to comfort those partaking yet not edifying them. Sermons tended to be more like history lessons, and as such they seemed to bear little relevance to me as a 14 year-old teenager. I was at the point of leaving the church behind altogether. Not, mind you, leaving God behind, just the church. Whilst I knew that God was very relevant in my life the same could not be said of the church. Then something happened. We had a new curate arrive in the parish. Alan was what was often referred to as a ’trendy vicar’, and he quickly made an impact with the young people of the church. He lodged around the corner from where I lived and often invited several of us up to his room where we would discuss Scripture, religion, church, and many other subjects over a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa. This was something new! Suddenly the fact that we could discuss these things away from the church building was something entirely new to us, and we loved it. Even though I moved away from the church for much of my later teenage years I often recalled the discussions that Alan had led us through, and I’m certain that they helped considerably to keep me grounded in the faith.
It was a time of change, especially for young people, moving into and through the 60’s. Even so, it was many years before I became more deeply involved, meeting with Christ in a dramatic manner at the end of the 60’s. Reading the Bible once again was more a passage of discovery than re-discovery. I loved reading through the Book of Acts and learning about the establishment and growth of the early church, yet I saw little evidence of signs and wonders around me. Since then I have read and re-read the book of Acts, and have discovered that there are many examples of miracles in the world today. In many churches they are as much a part of the norm as they were in the early church. Why? Because, I guess, there are people who not only believe that they can happen, they expect it as well. The age of miracles, contrary to my Dad’s arguments, and those of many other, churchgoers and no-churchgoers alike, is definitely not over! If we believe that God is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), then how can we dare to think that He acts differently towards us today than he did towards those of the early church?
I believe that what is needed more than anything else today is for the church to be a Spirit-filled, New Testament Church. More than ever, considering the culture in which we live today, we need to see people’s lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to see people healed in every sense; physically, emotionally and spiritually. We need to become a unified church, all about worshipping and serving God through Christ, not about individual denomination. In short, we need to be the same sort of church that Acts 2 speaks of, discovering and worshipping the same unchanging God that sent down the fire of Pentecost to the early church. We need to have the fire fall on the people of God today, causing them to rise up.
When God sent down His Spirit on the early church amazing things happened, and the same can happen today. There is renewal and revival of people and communities, the curing of diseases and addictions and the church grows through it and because of it. People and communities are blessed and the hope that we have in Christ is established afresh. When God sends His Spirit forth into the world amazing transformation takes place. This transformation will wake up the sleeping, lukewarm church and breath fire into the dry bones once more.
In order for the church to experience this amazing Pentecostal power today there needs to be change of perception. The Christian life is not about keeping rules, but about knowing Jesus Christ. It’s not enough to know about Christ. Transforming change comes in your own life when you get to know Him in a real and personal way. The same applies to the church as a whole. Transforming change will sweep through the church when the church believes in and proclaims a living Christ. Whilst Jesus is a part of history He is just as much a part of the present and of the future. Our faith is not something to remain private but something to share and proclaim. When we do this then we are proclaiming the living Christ, and that is when we can expect Pentecostal power to fall on us and on the church. As a people of God we need to become passionate about our beliefs, passionate enough to share them with others, especially those who wander like lost sheep in the world. We should be eager to share our testimony, eager to witness to the saving grace of Christ, and eager to do all that we can to turn our corner of the world over to God.
All too often today the gospel that is being preached is a social gospel. Now that may be good for people to hear about, but it’s devoid of the saving grace of Christ, and therefore is not a real gospel at all, yet it’s one that you can hear in many churches across the land today. The social gospel encourages us to be tolerant to the ways of the world, and to follow a universalistic pattern of worship. It proclaims that there are many ways to God, Christianity being just one of them. It proclaims that doing good and being a good person will be rewarded in heaven. But it is not Scriptural!

Of course it’s good to do our best to be tolerant and good, but unless we are committed to preaching that Jesus Christ is the only way to come to the Father then all our professed goodness becomes worthless in kingdom terms. So, to experience Pentecostal power we need to first renew our commitment to preaching the true gospel, renew our commitment to knowing Christ and walking with him on a daily basis, and living our lives faithfully for Him. Being a Christian is not about something we do, but about what God does in us. It has nothing to do with knowing the right people, joining the right church, or about the rituals of the church. It’s about turning your whole life over to God in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s about surrendering your entire being to Jesus and living the way that he leads you. It’s about giving yourself 100 percent, with nothing held back, seeking to serve God for the benefit of His kingdom in everything you do.
The Apostle Paul proclaims his desire to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:10/11). The overwhelming reality of the Christian faith is that it is a real relationship with a real person ― Jesus Christ. Becoming a Christian is not just about receiving the gift of salvation but about the transformation of all that were to all that you become in Christ, and an important part of the transformation comes about as you grow in Christ, living the Christian life, walking the Christian walk, and feeding on the Word of God.
We are to be salt and light in the world, changing the world around us from a dark, tasteless place to a place where grace is found, and where Christ is seen to be. As Christians we are the ambassadors whom Christ uses to make a difference and to bring about His kingdom. As we grow in Christ so we will be transformed, and then we become agents of transformation in the world around us. Receiving the gift of salvation following our repentance and our acceptance of Christ is just the beginning, but we should want the Spirit to use His power to transform our lives for kingdom benefit.
The Kingdom of God is here and now, not far away in time and space, and to belong you need the power of the Holy Spirit operating in your life every day. In Scripture, the apostle John speaks of the need to maintain our obedience to God and faithfulness to Christ throughout all of the things we have endure in this world, speaking of, the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus (Revelation 14:12). The Christian faith expresses the belief that in order to belong to the Kingdom of God you must firstly accept salvation through Jesus Christ, but being a Christian is far more than saying that you are one. It should be the desire of every Christian to become as much like Christ as possible, wanting to grow daily in His ways, maintaining a heart that’s on fire for God. As you grow, so you get to know God more and more, and so your love for Him increases, and the more that this happens so the more you will experience His presence and power in your life. Your daily living improves because through it you want to show more of Him and less of yourself to the world.
Christianity is coming under attack from many sides these days, probably more so for this generation than for many previously. This year alone we have seen advertising on buses by atheists promoting the belief that there is no God, and regularly read or hear news items reporting various forms of persecution against Christians in their workplace. As a society we live in a nation where millions express a belief in God yet have only the fleeting relationship with Him when it suits them to rather than a desire to draw closer to Him through love, obedience and service.
In order to unleash Pentecostal power in their lives, Christians need to forsake their old ways, no matter how attractive they might seem, and grow in Christian knowledge and service. When this is done then the power of the Holy Spirit will be unleashed, and the experiences of the early Christian church experienced.

Corsham Toy Shop in the 1950's

One regular Saturday morning occurrence for me when I was a small boy was a short trip to visit Fred Lord's Toyshop, just a couple of doors away from our house. In the photograph above, the building to the forefront with the white painted columns is where I lived. Lord's can be seen a couple of doors up where the steps up to the shop entrance jut out onto the pavement. As well as being a toy shop it was also a tobacconists, although that held little interest for a small boy compared with the delights that lay beyond that section. Walking through from the tobacconists section you entered a long, fairly narrow, shop area which had a walkway around a large central display unit. As you walked around along the narrow aisle, both sides were packed with every variety of toy imaginable. It was a child's paradise!

I had two firm favourites when it came to the things that caught my attention in those days, the first being items to extend my toy farmyard and the second new sections to add to my Bayko building set, both of which I loved to play with and both of which occupied much of my time when I was growing up. Little wonder that once I was old enough I went off to spend as much time as possible at Park Farm, and that as an adult I have been involved with many building projects in connection with my own homes, from minor repair work to complete rebuild. Without doubt, the interest was originally aroused in me through my favourite toys.

On a Saturday morning, about ten years old, I would rush to Lord's, pocket money burning a hole in my pocket or clutched in a tight palm, and ask to look through the selection of Bayko bits and pieces. Depending on how much money you had you could purchase anything from a few bricks, a window, a roof section or a complete set, each of which enabled you to extend and upgrade your set. It was a wonderful toy, not only because it gave endless hours of enjoyment to a child but also because it was educational, although that's something that you only appreciate with hindsight. Of course the time came when the 'killjoys' decided that it was 'dangerous' for children to play with because it involved metal rods being inserted in a base, down which the pieces slide to create your building. Once this decision had been made the toy disappeared from the market, although there are places where the intrepid hunter can still locate sets to buy. just Google in the word 'Bayko', and have a look for yourself.
I remember the kindly Mr Lord who always seemed to have a pleasant smile and a ready welcome into his emporium. Later, after his retirement, the shop was taken over by Stan Herrington, who I believe had been the manager for a time prior to taking over. Maybe it was simply because I had grown older, but the magic seemed to have gone with Mr Lord. Stan seemed to be more involved with the tobacconist's aspect of the business.
What is the business there today? Is it connected with the new age of computer technology, I wonder?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Persecution of Christians : More examples

Increasingly we are seeing various forms of persecution aimed specifically at Christians which, if we do nothing or choose to believe that it's not really happening, will increase to the point of driving the Christian Church underground. So far the persecution appears to be aimed exclusively at Christians. No surprise there then!

I believe that these things are further signs of the end time scenario.

Government official tries to shut down home Bible study.
A Fox News interview with the Pastor, his wife and their lawyer.

The San Diego official asked the couple: "Do you have a regular meeting in your home? Do you say 'Amen'? Do you pray? Do you say 'Praise the Lord'?

When Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary replied "Yes" to these questions, the official told them that their meeting was violating County regulations. A few days later the couple received a written warning accusing them of 'unlawful use of land'. It said they could either 'stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit'. Obtaining such a permit would cost thousands of dollars. Pastor Jones has one for his church building which is about three miles away from the couple's home. But the couple say their regular Bible Study meeting simply consists of around 15 friends gathered in their house for a meal, discussion and prayer. "Are you telling me I live in an America where I can't pray with my friends? I would say your authority stops at my door," Pastor Jones said. He continued, "This is America, this is supposed to be freedom. I should be able to pray here whenever I want to, 7 nights a week."

The San Diego authorities have defended their intervention, claiming that the group's meeting was creating problems for neighbours and adding that people often "take it personally" when presented with such warnings. But Pastor Jones says his neighbours are supportive, and that the authorities' letters consistently cited 'religious assembly' rather than parking or traffic issues.

The couple have been told they will face successive fines and ultimately court action if they fail to comply. The couple's attorney, David Broyles, said, "The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion", and warned that the authorities' actions were in danger of having a 'chilling effect' on other Christian groups. He asked, "Is this county really going to treat a religious gathering any differently than a boy-scout troop or a Tupperware party?"

Mrs Jones added, "The implications are great because it's not only us that's involved. There are thousands and thousands of Bible Studies that are held all across the Country. What we're interested in is setting a precedent here --- before it goes any further --- and that we have it settled for the future."

In the UK, similar stories of Christians facing censure and heavy-handed treatment by local authorities have prompted concerns about the erosion of civil liberties. Discrimination law expert Neil Addison warned recently that attacks on religious freedom are symptomatic of this wider erosion. Speaking at the London Oratory, Mr Addison said, "We are in a society which is increasingly intolerant, repressive, regulated and untrusting, and in consequence we have officials who are dictatorial, interfering and untrustworthy." He added, "It is no coincidence that the first thing any totalitarian state does is to regulate and control associations, organisations and churches. We need to be alert to this danger, and we need to defend the rights of churches and other organisations, not simply in order to defend religious freedom, but in order to preserve freedom itself."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Who cares what God thinks anyway?

The church of Scotland has approved the appointment of the openly-homosexual Scott Rennie, despite worldwide condemnation of the move, opposition which supported the proposal by Lochcarron and Skye Presbytery to assert the primacy of heterosexual marriage. There can be no other kind of marriage of course, for marriage is a state of union entered into by a man and a woman. Any other union, however it is viewed from a legalistic point of view, cannot be accurately described as a marriage. It is sad that the Church of Scotland leads in the way of the world rather than in the way of God on this subject.

Of course the old chestnuts surrounding the quotation from Leviticus were aired (how boring!), yet there was an apparent failure to put the real point of view that sexual union outside of marriage is fornication and as such is an abomination to God.

Just in case anyone in the Church of Scotland might want to promote God's standing on the subject, the Kirk have agreed a moratorium on any discussions about it for the next two years, the reason being given that it is to suppress any potential debate with the media. I suggest that the real reason for the moratorium is that those in favour of the situation hope that after two years the whole matter will have blown away and been accepted without further debate.

We know that in certain areas of the Church there have been paedophiles in the priesthood. this is a fact that has been well documented, particularly over the last couple of decades, and is being addressed to a large extent, albeit that the damage inflicted upon countless children can never truly be repaired. No amount of financial compensation, awarded in many cases decades after the offences were committed, can heal the scars of the abuses. At least there is an attempt to root out the evil, punish those responsible, and fall in line with Scriptural teaching.

But, now that the Church of Scotland flies the banner in favour of appointing openly-homosexual ministers, allowing them to live with their partners in the church manse, what next? In fact, does it really matter what the ministers are like in their personal lives, and which of God's laws they break, just as long as they make the right noises from the pulpit?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Same-sex 'Marriage'?

On Tuesday, California's Supreme Court upheld the State's ban on same-sex couples being allowed to marry, although it decided against retroactive application of the ban, dissolving all previously recognised such marriages, considering that it would be too disruptive to do so. 

Not surprisingly, there was the usually outcry by those affected in real terms by the Court's decision, and equally there were comments from those who had lobbied in favour of Proposition 8, a Californian Ballot Proposal passed on 4th November, 2008, which altered the State Constitution in order to restrict the definition of the term 'marriage' to mean legal union between opposite-sex couples, eliminating same-sex couples in the process.

Perhaps it would help to look at a few definitions regarding marriage according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary:
  • Marriage: 'The formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognised by law, by which they become husband and wife.'
  • Husband: 'A married man considered in relation to his wife.'
  • Wife: 'A married woman considered in relation to her husband.'
  • Man: 'An adult human male.'
  • Woman: 'An adult human female.'
Throughout the world the majority view is the same as the view of the Christian church, that marriage is a gift of God that is not to be taken lightly, and is a state entered into by a man and a woman as defined in the Bible in the Book of Genesis.

I hold firmly to the Biblical Christian viewpoint that marriage, in terms of the accepted definition, can only take place between a couple of the opposite sex, and it is for this reason that I cannot accept the term marriage in relation to a union between two people of the same sex, whether in a homosexual or lesbian relationship. Simply to shout over and over that it's unfair, discriminatory, or any of the usual rhetoric, will not, and indeed cannot, make it right in terms of the Bible. Unfortunately, those who support the concept, albeit in a small minority when viewed as a percentage of the global population, are extremely vociferous in their protestations, particularly when compared with the relative wall of silence from people who are either afraid to speak out or who are somewhat apathetic in these matters.

It is irrespective that some States have passed laws recognising homosexual and lesbian unions as marriage. It still does not make it right in terms of Holy Scripture. 

I stress that my belief with regard to this issue is in support of the Scriptural concept of marriage, and is not intended as a condemnation of any individuals, although I cannot accept the life-style choice of those individuals. It is, of course, my right to believe as I do on the matter, just as it is the right of others to oppose my beliefs by stating their opposing beliefs. Despite this, I have no doubt that the heterophobic sections of society will once again sharpen their poison arrows and try to shout me down.

Still won't make it right though, will it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Raised by the Grace of God


Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

The Bible tells us that all people are born with a sinful nature, the legacy of the fall from grace by Adam and Eve. As Christians we should be burdened with a desire to see people freed from the constraints of sin, constraints that are the shackles preventing them from reconciliation with God. In Psalm 51, David writes, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me (51.5), and the meaning of this is that a person possesses a sinful nature from the very moment of conception. It is sin that separates us from God, for to Him all sin is an abomination. Yet even though we are born in sin we have been given the opportunity to be redeemed to God, according to His grace, in and through Jesus Christ. So we learn that though we are born sinful we don’t have to live and die in sin.

In accepting Christ as Saviour through what He did on the cross we are given a new nature and become, as Paul puts it, transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12.2), advising us that if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5.17). In the passage that we have read today from his letter to the Ephesians, Paul provides great encouragement for believers, striking at the very heart of the three stages of our being; who we once were, who we now are, and who we will be in the future. In verse 1 he speaks of who we were: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, and in this he is speaking not of a physical death but a spiritual death. Because of sin we are separated from God, and for those who continually reject Jesus Christ, this leads ultimately to the second death which is eternal separation from God.

The important word in verse 1 is were. Paul says that you were dead. As believers in Christ we are saved from spiritual death by Him, because we have been transformed by God’s grace and are now no longer dead in sin. Paul continues in the next two verses to outline our unrighteous lives prior to our transformation, the lives that condemned us to eternal separation up to that point. By the use of the word formerly in verse 2, Paul transfers his focus from death to life, describing the life that we lived which brought only the promise of death with it.

It is difficult for the average person to identify fully with what Paul says about them, and we are able to do so only when the Holy Spirit leads us to discover Christ for ourselves. With the transformation that comes with meeting Christ for the first time we are brought face to face with our natures and convicted of the sin that exists, and has existed, in our lives to that point. With the vivid description of our lives prior to accepting Christ, Paul is saying to us quite clearly that this is the way that we were, but in the next verses he tells us that we have something to celebrate, saying, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2: 4-5). Because God loves us so much He has poured out His grace through our salvation.

For those who reject Christ in this life, believing that they are ‘good people’ and have no need of repentance and the subsequent salvation through Christ, Paul paints a very grim picture, pointing out that for all who remain spiritually dead they will deserve God’s wrath. For those who continually reject Christ and the offer of salvation that we have through grace, there is no reason for them to hope, for life devoid of Christ’s leadership and companionship is filled with hopelessness, and it is this hopelessness that raises the hope that believers have in Christ even higher. Because of God’s grace we share in the hope of eternal life spent in His presence, for it is by grace that we have been given this wonderful gift of salvation through the faith which we have in Jesus Christ. The amazing thing is that even this faith is in itself a gift of grace as well.

We can see that there is much to celebrate for the believer. Jesus Christ is the mediator, God the designer and the Holy Spirit is the prompter, together drawing us to the point where, recognising ourselves as sinners, we are brought through a state of repentance to the very foot of the cross, and it is then, whilst gazing on the broken body of Christ, that our transformation takes place. It is there that we experience God’s mercy to the fullest extent. Ephesians 1:7 says, In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. By God’s grace we are pardoned and have been changed into new beings in Christ. Up to that moment we have been imprisoned by sin, but in Christ our pardon is complete and we are changed people. Salvation cannot be earned. Paul makes it clear that is a gift from God, and from God alone, and for that reason, we are to celebrate the present.

In verse 6 we are told that not only did God save us from the power if sin, death and wrath, but also that we were ‘raised up’, this to prepare us for the time when we will be enthroned with Him in heaven, in Christ. Because of His great love and mercy, God reached down to the very depths of our sin, saved us from death and raised us up.

The evangelist, D.L. Moody, once said: "God is so anxious to save sinners He will take everyone who comes. He will take those who are so full of sin that they are despised by all who know them; who have been rejected by their fathers and mothers, who have been cast off by their wives and their husbands. He will take whose who have sunk so low that upon them no eye of pity is cast."

So we see where we were and where we now are. The cause for us to celebrate is both for the blessings in this life that we receive through knowing Christ and also the promises contained in the Bible for our future lives when we follow Him. So what are these promises? Firstly we are promised that there will be no death. In the Book of Revelation we read, He shall wipe every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; for the first things have passed away. (Rev 21:4).

We are promised eternity with Jesus. Paul writes, Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4.17).

We are promised that we will be in the presence of God the Father. In Revelation 22.4 we read, and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

The book of Revelation contains a detailed description of the New Jerusalem, which is where our promised home will be, and it will be the most wonderful place, judging from the description that we have. John writes that he saw no temple in the city for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple (21.22); and he goes on to point out that there will be no need of sun or moon to light the city because it will be lit by the glory of God (21.23).

Paul message fills us with hope. If you are in Jesus Christ, although you were once dead, now you are alive. You were unrighteous, but now you have been purified in the blood of the lamb. You were objects of wrath, but now you stand before God forgiven by His mercy, through grace.
Because of God’s love, we have been transformed from our past sinful natures and recreated according to His grace in Jesus Christ. He has saved us. He has lifted us up, and He has given us a promise of hope for the future that comes about only through a decision to repent, and to accept and follow Jesus Christ. Most people in our world believe that they’re going to heaven, but the truth is that they can only go in Christ. For, as Peter said of Christ, at his trial, there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4.12)


Saturday, May 23, 2009

I really HATE waste!

Recently, I took a trip down to our local Waste Tip to get rid of my recently accumulated recycling waste. I try to recycle everything that I possibly can, partly because of all the publicity to do with recycling that we get these days, but primarily because I've always hated wasting anything.

Today, of course, we live in a 'throw-away' society, where perfectly good items get taken to the tip simply because they're considered out-of-date, which usually means that they've been superseded by the latest model. In this digital, computerised Age, even the newest of items is quickly considered to be out-of-date, with newer models being issued at rapid intervals. All of this is really just clever marketing, a means of encouraging people to believe that the thing which was the ultimate in latest chic yesterday is fit only for the scrap-heap today, having been replaced with an even newer, faster/brighter/quieter/whatever, model virtually overnight.

Of course, there are still many folk who squirrel away things that remind them of younger times in their lives, and so a great many collections of vinyl records --- and even of the old 78's --- exist. I have still got the very first LP which I bought when I was a lad of about 15 years old. It's a Slim Whitman LP, and I get as much pleasure from listening to it today as I did when I first purchased it, even though I don't get the opportunity to play it very often nowadays.

Another thing that I readily admit to is that, like many men who have done a lot of DIY over the years, including, in my own case, rebuilding a house, I collect nails and screws and other useful (or in the eyes of some people, 'useless), items such as escutcheons and hinges, all of which I am certain that I'll find a use for 'one day'. Now, as those of you who hoard these sort of items like me will know, the 'one-day' never seems to materialise very often, the result being that your hoard gets bigger and bigger until, in a fit of spring-cleaning the shed or cupboard where you store the endless jars of carefully collected items such as the nails that you spent ages straightening out, you finally commit them to the tip.

As you enter the nearby town of Widnes, there is a vast moutain of rusting metal scrap. I guess that if you don't have a clean out in your sheds every now and then, this is what you can end up with! It's about twice the height of the average house!

Take a visit to your local tip and you'll be amazed at what you can see. There are piles of electrical goods that the Charity Shops no longer take, even though they are in perfectly good order, because they have to have them checked out and certified OK by an electrician, which usually costs a couple of pounds. Hence, a perfectly good item which could be sold for about ten pounds is turned away for the sake of spending a few measly pounds to certify it. Mind you, this regulation is of ten taken to the extreme. Last year I took four sets of spotlight tracks to a local Charity Shop, still pristine new in their unopened and factory-sealed boxes, only to be met initially with a refusal because they needed, so I was told, to be checked by an electrician! I explained that they were BRAND NEW, and that the reason I was disposing of them was because I had purchased them for a project that eventually never came to fruition. Incredulously, I was still met with a refusal. I told the Lady Jobsworth that if she wouldn't take them I would jump up and down on them until they were fit only for scrap-metal, rather than take them to the tip so that the 'man-who-collects-things-to-sell-on-the-market' could grab them! These lighting units had been purchased by me originally at a discounted cost of £29.75 each.

Poems and Feelings

The following poem is taken from my book Flight of a Bee, published originally in 1978 by Gazebo Books, and republished in its current form by Voice Publications in 2006. The ISBN number, should you consider purchasing it, is ISBN 0-9553583-3-7. The collection of 64 poems primarily reflect on the subject of love in its various guises.


I wake, and see your smile, as early dawn
removes the shadowed sleep from out my eyes:
I turn, and in my longing, glance towards
the echoed memories of love, realising
that moments, such as these we share,
will stay forever, printed on my mind.
The sunlight shafts across the morning dew,
To softly echo words, that I love you.

I dream, and in the reaches of my dreams I see
the hopes of life, that lie ensnared
within the ever-rolling surf upon the shore.
I hear the soft caressing whisper of your voice
as word fall constantly, carelessly, around my head,
to lie in wild confusion in my heart.
The sunlight shafts across the morning dew,
To softly echo words, that I love you.

I sleep, and far within the gold of sleeping hours,
memories of every day are magnified; long
days of sunshine, stretched on silvered sands,
where dreams are made, whilst day lasts.
Then I awake, see your smile, and early dawn
removes the shadowed sleep from out my eyes.
The sunlight shafts across the morning dew,
To softly echo words, that I love you.

© Colin Gordon-Farleigh 2006

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Latest Meditation from Joanne Lowe

Here is today's meditation from my friend Joanne Lowe. As usual, she gives plenty to think about and meditate upon. I really value her ministry, which is why I often share it with you, dear reader.



“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”

Psalm 61: 1 – 3 (King James Version)


Jesus is not only the rock of our salvation, He is also our rock of protection from our enemies.  He protects us from the vicious poisonous darts of satan and the cruel sarcastic and criticizing remarks that people make to us.  Thank God for our rock of protection! 


If Jesus didn’t protect us daily and remove these darts from our hearts with His soothing salve of compassion and unconditional love, we would be walking around with these poisonous darts in our hearts all the time.  However, there is another area in our lives where we need His protection. 


We need Him to protect us from ourselves.  I think if we are honest with ourselves, that there has been a time in all of our lives when we have allowed satan to lie to us and discourage us.  There are times when we become our own enemies. 


Jesus has told us that we are to love people unconditionally and to forgive them from our hearts.  We need to understand that He is also telling us that we should love ourselves unconditionally and to also forgive ourselves when we fail Him.  Jesus loves every person in the world unconditionally. 


It doesn’t matter how many sins we have committed if they are under the cleansing atoning blood of Jesus, He has forgiven us for all of our sins and He will never hold them against us again.  We read in the Bible “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43: 25).  Four years ago, I used to go to God practically every hour and ask Him to forgive me for the sins I had committed before I was saved. 


One day while I was praying and asking Him to forgive me, God spoke to my heart and said “What sins?”  He doesn’t even remember them.  Does this mean that He has a poor memory?  No, of course He doesn’t have a poor memory.  It simply means that He chose to forgive us for our sins and He will never hold them against us again. 


When somebody hurts us and we tell them that we forgive them, we sometimes hold it against them for years.  We have not really forgiven them and our attitudes stink in the nostrils of Jesus.  When God tells us that He has forgiven us, we can know without a shadow of doubt that we are forgiven. 


When our sins are washed away in the precious atoning blood of the Christ of Calvary, they are gone forever.  If you are putting yourself down all the time for what you did in the past, stop it!  What you are really saying is that you don’t believe that God has forgiven you and you are calling Him a liar.


Heavenly Father, thank You so much for being so loving and compassionate to forgive us when we hurt You.  Help us to bring honor to You and not shame by the way we live.  May others always see Jesus in our actions and may they hear Him in our words.  Thank You for sending Your beloved Son to save us from our sins.  Thank You, Jesus, for loving us so much that You died for us.  Thank You, dear Jesus, for being our rock of salvation and protection.  We love You,  Heavenly Father.  We love You, Jesus.  We love You, Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Joanne Lowe

May 20, 2009