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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hymn for today . . .

Here's a great hymn for you to help celebrate the Easter festival either at church or in your own home. Hope you enjoy using it to praise the Lord!

Poem for Today

Blood-red On Green
High on the hill see the cross,
flanked by thieves on either side:
sobbing flesh and crying souls,
out of the dark my Lord’s voice cried:
“Father, forgive them,
they know not what they do”
from He who gave His life for you.
darkness deepens to the end,
yet still I see no tears,
only tears of blood and sweat
that, throughout the coming years,
we all may look and not forget.
Please say that it was not in vain
that God should give His Son,
to cleanse our guilt, to heal our pain.
Please let it be, lest I forget,
that on my knees, in looking down
in all humility, may I look up
and say,
“My God, will you forgive me still?”
© 1998 Colin Gordon-Farleigh

Richard Littlejohn's House of Fun


I've been reading excerpts from Richard Littlejohn's new book, published by Hutchinson on April 1st at £12.99, and titled,
Littlejohn's House of Fun: Thirteen Years of (Labour) Madness.

I'm torn between declaring it a great book for its sense of humour and a great book for its declaration of the truth that lies behind the myth of Labour's Social gospel.

If, like myself, you often cannot believe the extent of idiocy that has been introduced by the government of the last thirteen years --- far exceeding anything that has happened in the past --- then this book should be a 'must-read' for you.

If you are astounded by the leniency shown to criminals and the draconian sentences imposed on ordinary folk who dare to stand up against their local council, then you have to read this book.

If you find it difficult to believe that councils will pay huge 'fat act' salaries to people for a variety of made-up jobs with creative job titles, then you have to read this book. After all, where would you go to find crazier jobs than some of those that have been on offer such as the job advertised by Lewisham Council who were recruiting for a '£41,000 per annum position, promoting healthy weight'? Week after week, year after year, the various Labour-controlled Councils create more and more non-jobs, all of which cost the tax-payers a small fortune.

Do you wonder why your Council Tax demands increase year upon year? It's easy to understand why when you stop and think about Council chiefs who are paid in hundreds of thousands of pounds per year for doing what was once done voluntarily by publicly-minded citizens. Of course, today's bureaucrats will argue that the very size of their organisations make it necessary to pay these huge salaries out, but of course, if you scrap all of the unnecessary jobs that they have created in the first place, then the organisations will be brought down to size, and the fat-cat employees running them, likewise.

I could go on and on citing instances of the reckless and foolish behaviour of both Councils and Governments, but then you can see much of that for yourselves, dear readers, and probably experience it first-hand as well.

Oh, for a return to the days when Public Servants actually served the Public Interest rather than their own nefarious ends. Oh, for a time when our street were swept clean by someone who actually cared, rather than being left to build up the detritus cast onto them by a yob culture which has no pride in anything at all!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

REVIVAL Meeting this Thursday!

Only a couple of days before the Gospel Service at St John's in Victoria Road, Runcorn. Don't miss this opportunity to hear the rich voice of Gary Cordice singing praises to our Lord, as well as the opportunity to join in the congregational singing of Revival hymns.

Rev Colin Gordon-Farleigh will share God's message of the need for repentance as we seek for Revival to change our lives, our nation and our world.

Amazing Sand Sculpture

These pictures arrived in my mailbox today. They say it all!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Some Bishops stand up for the rights of Christians

It has long been recognised that Christianity has been targeted for marginalisation in the UK, especially by the ruling Labour Party, and so it is good to see that a group of Anglican Bishops have come out in support of Shirley Chaplin who is currently being ordered by her National Health Trust employers to hide or remove the cross which she has worn on a necklace for more than forty years.

There are some who still fail to see that Christians are being persecuted and discriminated against in the UK, yet here, once again, is further proof of the unacceptable situation. Apparently the NHS Trust concerned is quite happy to allow exemptions to the uniform policy which it is applying in this case, such as allowing Muslim women to wear headscarves, recognising that it is a display of their faith. What this screams out is that it's fine for other faiths to display symbols of their faith, but not for Christians to do so.

Of course, the Muslim community are constantly being wooed by politicians because of the huge voting power they represent. Why don't Christians start to let their MPs understand that they are offended to the point of withholding their vote unless matters change. In the forthcoming election there will be many candidates standing for the Christian Party, and they will offer an alternative to the corruption of those of the current Party's candidates who seek election in order to feather their nests at the taxpayer's expense, just as so many have been doing for so long.

So I applaud those Bishops who have put their signatures to the letter calling for the rights of Christians to be protected. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, is a man of great faith who is never prepared to accept the side-lining of Christianity, has consistently voiced his opposition to the various attempts of this government to marginalise Christians and Christianity in this country. Now other voices join his stance by putting their names to a letter about Mrs Chapman's case. They are the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey; Rt Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt (Winchester); Peter Forster, Chester; Jonathan Gledhill, Lichfield; Nicholas Reade, Blackburn; Anthony Priddle, Hereford, and the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, the liberal theologian Dr Rowan Williams, is notable for his silence and absence.

The fact that there are not scores more adding their weight to the argument speaks sadly of the state of the church in the UK today. Perhaps it also goes a long way towards explaining just why the government continues to appease the Muslim Community whilst marginalising the christian Community.

Blair gets rolled out once again . . .

I note from the Media today that the latest weapon in the Labour Party's arsenal that is being rolled out in order to help them cling on to power a little longer is the ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Well, if the best they can do is to rely on a proven liar to say the things that people want to hear in order to persuade them in the forthcoming election, then I guess that the other parties must be rubbing their hands with glee.

What does this opportunist, money-grabbing ex-PM have to offer the electorate? Well, we must remember that he told bare-faced lies in order to help his pal George Bush go to war in Iraq, and that was the decision that has cost both nations many lives. I guess that means that he has blood on his hands as well as being a liar.

Personally I would not want to buy a clapped-out used car from him, let alone shake his hand, so why would the Labour Party want him as their special envoy to the British electorate?

Oh well, something to ponder on for a while if nothing else!

Friday, March 26, 2010

So, what about rights to practise what you believe?

Once again a story hits the Media about a homosexual couple who have been refused the opportunity to share a room in a guest house. The owners, Susanne and Francis Wilkinson, who run a Berkshire Guest House, are practising Christians, and it goes against their beliefs to allow same-sex couples to cohabit under their roof, albeit temporarily as in the case of paying guests.

Claims have been made against the Wilkinsons that they are homophobic, although these claims are made without a real understanding of what being homophobic actually is. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 'Homophobia' is: an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexuals.

As Bible-believing Christians, the Wilkinsons are supported by the Word of God in refusing to accept homosexuality. It is one of the tenets of their faith, and, as such, cannot therefore be deemed to be extreme and irrational. Standing firm to their belief does not make them homophobic, although it may suit those with a vested interest to claim that it does.

I can understand that the decision not to allow Michael Black and his partner, John Morgan, the opportunity to share a room at the Guest house would have been distressful for them. However, had they made it clear when the room was booked that it was required for two men sharing, then the situation could have been dealt with over the phone. Some irritation would have been felt, but it would not have caused distress. After all, the stand taken by the Wilkinsons is not an isolated incident, for it would be a stand taken by any practising Christians who refused to compromise their belief. Given the same situation I would have made the same decision myself.

The 2006 Equality Act made it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of a persons sexual orientation, although the Act itself is discriminatory in that it is supportive of homosexual and lesbian couples whilst discriminating against incestuous relationships, paedophiles and those whose orientation leads them towards bestiality. Note that I am most definitely not suggesting that each of these orientations is equal. In the eyes of the Law the last three are most definitely not permissible, yet they each, nevertheless, are relevant to the argument on sexual orientation. In the eyes of God, according to Holy Scripture, they are all considered wrong.

The argument therefore, is not to be based upon claims of homophobia but on the rights of individuals to practise what they believe in. So, just as Mr Black and Mr Morgan have every right to live as they wish and practise what they believe in, so the Wilkinsons have the same right.

Hymn for today . . .


Saved for Glory 8.7.8.7.
Tune: All to Jesus

Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Christ is all in all to me;
I will tell the wondrous story,
How He came to set us free.
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Saved by Christ alone!

He came down to bring us freedom,
From man’s own self-righteous law;
Came to grant us free salvation,
Tell it out from door to door.
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Saved by Christ alone!

Christ, the one Son of the Father,
God incarnate came to earth;
When you claim through Him redemption,
Through God’s Spirit get rebirth.
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Saved by Christ alone!

You can claim this glorious blessing,
You receive the bounty free;
You can sing the Saviour’s story,
Tell it out aloud like me.
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Saved by Christ alone!

Tell the world you’re saved for glory,
That in heav’n one day we’ll meet;
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
We will worship at their feet.
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Saved by Christ alone!

© Colin Gordon-Farleigh, 2006

Poem for Today


Nelson
Nelson was an intelligent, intellectually inclined, cat. He moved on, with a degree of mechanical help, on the evening of February twenty-second, nineteen hundred and seventy-six.

Born in March, with my son,
Differing styles ─
Minds as one.
One flesh of mine,
the other, substance
of my inner self,
personified.

Both grew to be
loved beyond all;
born, out of love ─
lived within its
warm shadow:
cared for ─ protected
by my instinct.

Now the flesh lives on
alone ─ his friend
and ally gone.
Calling gets no response
from the small
cold pile
of heaped stones.

Out of the night
lights ─ engine-hum ─
Burnt rubber from
The screeching tyres;
Noises that carry
The passenger
Who visits, unwelcomed.

Now the sound of steel
cutting through earth;
a soft thud, rhythmic
in moonlight;
the fresh soil
watered
by my tears.
.
© 1978 Colin Gordon-Farleigh
Taken from Flight of a Bee,
First published in 1978 by
Gazebo Books (Pty) Ltd, Rhodesia


Joanne Lowe's Meditations

YOUR OWN HEART
“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”
Luke 6:37 (King James Version)

One of my pastor friends says this all the time in his sermons “If you would concentrate on keeping your own heart right before God, you wouldn’t have time to criticize, condemn and judge others”. Every one of us would do well to follow his advice. None of us are perfect. All of us fail Jesus. Instead of pointing the finger at someone else, we need to point it at ourselves.

How is your heart today? Are you in right standing with God? Have you forgiven those who have hurt you? Have you asked those you hurt to forgive you? When God looks in your heart, what does He see? Does He see things that bring joy to Him or does He see things that hurt Him?

You might say, I haven’t sinned. If you have told a lie, you’ve sinned. To God, sin is sin. Unless we can say that we are perfect, which we will never be able to say, we have no business condemning anybody else. We need to clean up our own back yard. Let’s stop judging and start loving others unconditionally as Jesus has commanded us to do.

Heavenly Father, please forgive us for having a holier than thou attitude and for being judgmental. Help us to love one another unconditionally and to forgive one another. Father, please help us to say and do things that bring joy to you instead of sorrow. Amen.


Joanne Lowe
joannelowe8@cox.net
www.joanne-ourprecioussaviour.blogspot.com

North Korean's suffering people . . .


There is much evil in the world perpetrated by mankind, often by despotic governments and tyrannical rulers against their own people. I have often, for example, written on this Blog about one of the greatest despots of modern times, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, responsible for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of his citizens either by ordering their deaths or by starving them to death as a punishment for daring to oppose him. Another such evil is the communist regime in North Korea. Spare a thought for the people in that nation who continue to suffer under their communist rulers. The Dictator, Kim Jong Il, ranked as one of the most brutal dictators in the world, is portrayed as a god to the people of North Korea, even though millions starve due to his policies. I Was Hungry provides food for North Korean followers of Christ ... all of whom are enemies of the state.

The above picture shows someone scooping corn which was supplied by Heaven's Family as part of their Food Aid programme.

The following report that has come to me from Heaven's Family, a Christian organisation committed to helping the poorest of the poor.

Due to rampant inflation, a few months ago North Korea’s regime devalued the national currency by 100 to 1, effectively vaporizing the savings of its citizens. North Koreans were required to trade old currency for new, turning in old 1,000 won notes for new 10 won notes. Because of an exchange cap of 100,000 won per family, anyone holding old notes, worth a little more than about $700, have lost virtually everything. Our contacts inside North Korea have indicated that the whole nation is grieving to an extent not seen in many years.

Many struggling North Korean Christians—already set back by dwindling government food rations—had been saving as much extra cash as possible over the summer months in order to subsidize their family’s food needs through the lean winter. In light of the catastrophic currency devaluation, they wondered how they would survive the winter.

The North Korean government has also cracked down on the once-tolerated underground markets, where most North Koreans purchase their emergency food rations.

Ironically, the harsh winter season created a unique opportunity for us to meet the pressing needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling for survival in North Korea. Extreme cold froze the border rivers, which became a firm pathway for food aid couriers.

Your gifts have been saving North Korean Christians from starvation this winter. Every week secret food aid delivery missions are being carried out. The families who are being served "send their jubilant thanks with grateful hearts filled with new hope." Thanks so much.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Highly Recommended Read . . .

Christopher Power introduces a story of the journey from street to stage. This inspiring book, which is especially topical in today's climate of teenage violence, is an encouragement to those who feel trapped by circumstances and who want to break free. In telling his story, Christopher demonstrates to the reader that we all have the power within us to change our lives too. Breaking Free opens with a sensational murder and Christopher continues to describe this explicitly and graphically, as well as the sexual abuse, drug abuse, theft, gambling, alcohol and teenage gang warfare. He talks openly about his rebellious teenage years, which ended in a prison sentence. His delicious sense of humour sustained him through the worst, and the dangerous journey leads from crime and hopelessness to his joy today as a Christian and actor. This is a moving and inspiring story that illustrates how anyone, from whatever background, can pursue their dream and find fulfilment.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teenagers: Are they all a problem then?

In my area of work I speak to many elderly folk about a wide variety of subjects, and one of those subjects is often about the youth of today. One of the commonest comments is that they feel threatened by groups of teenagers. Sometimes I will be told of particular instances where an individual has been rude or perhaps shown disrespect towards someone. We have read in the Press lately about the horrific cases of violent and abusive behaviour by gangs of teenage thugs whoo have terrorised people so violently that death has ensued. Currently an 18-year old gang member is on remand charged with causing the deaths of two elderly disabled pensioners by setting fire their property.

The resultant picture for many people is a fearful one, and teenagers are perceived to be all cut from the same cloth as these violent yobs. Thankfully, that image is far from the truth.

Consider this example. One close friend of mine who is 80 years old and badly disabled, often makes the trip on his mobility scooter to the supermarket. On the way he regularly passes groups of young people walking towards him. As he approaches them they part for him to drive through and he acknowledges their action with a cheerful 'thank you.' Never once has he met with anything other than friendly politeness, and he cannot speak highly enough of the young teenagers whom he meets. I'm certain that this is a far more general image than many would have us believe.

Yes, there are far too many violent yobs in our society, largely, I believe, because the law is far too soft on them. Because we live in a society which is ruled by the Political Correctness Brigade, too much time is spent on form-filling for the forces of law and order to function as they should. All too often criminality and yobbish behaviour is dealt with far too leniently, if at all. The passage towards believing that you can rehabilitate violent bullies by sending them on safari-style holidays and telling them that it is understood that their behaviour is the fault of anybody or anything other than themselves.

If only respect was more prevalent in our society today! Of course, in order for people to be respected then they need to show respect for others, and it is the responsibility of adults to demonstrate that to the younger members of society. In the instance that I quoted above, my friend shows respect for the young people and they for him, with the result that all parties concerned are better off for it.

What a pity we don't hear far more about the youngsters in our society who are a shining example to everyone, for if we did then much of the fear that older people experience would prove to be unfounded.

Let us make an effort to report on the huge pool of good reports that are out there. I invite you to share some of them that you know of through the comments section of my Blog.

Bad Memory & the Big Bang!


Iraqi terrorist Khay Rahnajet happily finished making his latest letter bomb and left his room to take it to the post-box where it would start on the journey which would end in the destruction of his enemy.

Unfortunately, he didn't put sufficient postage on the package with the result that it was returned to him a couple of days later with 'Return to Sender' stamped on it.

Sadly, he suffered from a bad memory, although the good news is that has now been cured and will trouble him no longer.

Forgetting what was in the envelope he opened it and was blown to bits.

Having a bad day?

The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez Oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were being released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers.

A minute later, in full view, a killer whale ate them both.


Still think you are having a Bad Day?

A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen shaking frantically, almost in a dancing frenzy, with some kind of wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current, she whacked him with a handy plank of wood, breaking his arm in two places.

Up to that moment, he had been happily listening to his Walkman.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Things get you down? Consider this then . . .

In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed, on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 am, regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the super natural.

No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11:00 AM Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents. The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11:00 AM all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits.

Just as the clock struck 11:00 , Bert Johnson, the part-time Sunday cleaner, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.

Preparing for the General Election

The nation awaits --- with bated breath --- the forthcoming announcement of the date for the General Election here in the United Kingdom. It's a great opportunity for members of the current ruling party to share with the electorate all the plans that they have for keeping everyone happy. No doubt there will be statements about improvements planned for the National Health system, for increasing Law & Order and, of course, for boosting the Education system.

Ministers will 'talk up' every issue which they feel will benefit the people and be vote winners, and 'talk down' every issue that they think might be vote losers.

There will be many thousands of people in the country --- in fact it will most likely number in the hundreds of thousands --- who choose to believe all the good things that they are told. Why? Simply because we live in a Society where people have been led along the pathway of delusion that has been created by successive politicians.

Some people may be tempted to vote to retain the current party simply because they work on the principal of 'Better the devil you know', but is that really an option? Of course, nobody knows for certain how a new party might actually rule. After all, the recent 'Expenses' scandal was a cross-party scandal, with MPs from all the main parties involved in filching from the public purse by fiddling their expenses, quite apart from the ones who were blatantly dishonest and caught out thieving from the taxpayers.

It would be understandable if the nation decided en bloc to refrain from voting, unable to trust anyone with their vote, but that would achieve nothing at all. That leaves us with what is probably the best decision, and that is to vote out the current party and vote a new one in. Given that there are probably relatively few MPs who you would trust to buy a new car from, it will be very important to ensure that those who can demonstrate that they are actually worth being voted in are the only ones that we vote for. Once they are in power, it is then incumbent on every voter to keep on their MP's backs to ensure that what they promised will be delivered.

It will be a long and painful process to return this country to any semblance of financial stability, and that is something which we all have to take on board. The 'Gravy Train' not only carries Members of Parliament, it also has countless thousands of voters on board as well. These are the voters who want to ensure that their lifestyle of free handouts will not suffer adversely by a change of Government, yet these people are also a major part of the cause of our national woes.

It is no secret that when people get something for nothing then they are careless with it. Things that are obtained for free are usually held in little value. We have become a nation with a sub-culture of free-loaders who despise the work ethic. There is a generation that has grown up in some cases with no-one in the family either working or having any interest or intention to work, and yet it is the work ethic that is so important in giving people a reason to live. Without it then people become like rudderless ships. They float around aimlessly in the ocean of life with few interests beyond supporting a football team or a pop star's antics, drifting occasionally into port where there finances are replenished, and finally arriving at an early grave.

What a pity that life, the greatest gift imaginable, can be so blatantly wasted by some!

It's time for politicians to take the bull by the horns and do what needs to be done for the good of the nation and its people. Of course, such politicians will never win the popularity vote, but they will eventually earn a respected place in the nation's history, just as many have done in the past from across the different parties. So what should they do to change things? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Education: Stop dumbing down the system. Return to guiding children by telling them they are wrong and praising them when they are right. 'Nearly Right' means WRONG, so why not say it in the beginning. Misleading a child about their ability and/or potential is not a useful thing, and is generally counter-productive. Far better to recognise the true potential and then help the child to realise it. Making examinations easier in order to create the (false) impression of a good education system is bordering on the insane and certain immoral.
  • Welfare: The welfare/benefits system is a wonderful thing when it is applied correctly for the benefit of those who are unable to work for health reasons or who are temporarily unemployed through no fault of their own. However, it should never be regarded, as it certainly appears to be by hundreds of thousands of people, as an alternative to working. For those who choose a life-style that does not include work then that is a perfectly acceptable choice, provided that they can fund it themselves and not accept to be milk-fed by the taxpaying populace.
  • Immigration: Sometimes it appears to me that the Government fail to understand that when you live on an island there is a finite amount of land available for people to settle upon. Equally, because of the limitations imposed by that fact, there are a finite amount of resources available as well. These facts mean that immigration needs to be controlled very carefully. It appears that the current government has allowed unchecked immigration as a means of importing voters who will rush to their support, and such behaviour is both abominable and unacceptable. It's great to increase the diversity of culture with a nation, and when correctly controlled is of benefit to the nation concerned, but it goes against the nation when their is a bias involved that allows the culture of the nation to become threatened, and that has been allowed to happen in the United Kingdom.
Well, dear reader, there's a few interesting comments and thoughts of my chest. Will it do any good? Maybe or maybe not, but if it helps even a little to get this once-great nation back on its feet then it will have been worthwhile.

What is Maundy Thursday about?


Maundy Thursday - also called Holy Thursday is the feast or holy day on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

The Last Supper
On this day, Christians remember the Last Supper. During the meal Jesus took bread and wine and shared them with his disciples. Christians continue to share bread and wine as part of their worship in church.

The Last Supper was probably a Passover meal – the meal which Jewish people share together to celebrate the time when God delivered Moses and the people from slavery in Egypt.

The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. It is one of the lesser known days of the Christian calendar.
The name 'Maundy' is derived from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning a commandment. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, commanded:

'And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.' John 15:12

Maundy Thursday Ceremony
In Britain today, the Queen follows a very traditional role of giving Maundy Money to a group of pensioners. The tradition of the Sovereign giving money to the poor dates from the 13th century, from the reign of Edward I.

At one time recipients were required to be of the same sex as the Sovereign, but since the eighteenth century they have numbered as many men and women as the Sovereign has years of age.

Every year on this day, the Queen attends a Royal Maundy service in one of the many cathedrals throughout the country. 'Maundy money' is distributed to male and female pensioners from local communities near the Cathedral where the Service takes place.

The Service
Yeomen of the Guards carry the Maundy Money in white and red leather purses on golden alms trays on their heads.

From the fifteenth century, the amount of Maundy Money handed out, and the number of people receiving the coins, is related to the years of the Sovereign’s life.

In 2008, the white leather purse contained silver Maundy coins matching the Queen's age in pence - 82p, while the red purse contains ordinary money.

In 2009, each recipient will be given two purses – a red purse containing a £5 coin celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Accession of Henry VIII and a 50p coin to mark the founding of Kew Gardens, and a white purse containing 83p in Maundy coins because the Queen is 83 years old this year.
The men and women who receive the coins are all retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and to the community.

What is Maundy Money?
Maundy coins are specially minted for the occasion and are legal tender and, as they are produced in such limited numbers, they are much sought after by collectors.

(Acknowledgements to Woodlands Junior School in Kent (UK)who always have a lot of interesting information on their
website.)

Gospel Service on Maundy Thursday

As you can see from the picture above, there will be a Gospel Service at St John's Presbyterian Church in Runcorn, Cheshire (UK) on Maundy Thursday, which is April 1st this year. The guest soloist this year is Gary Cordice, an excellent singer who will be travelling up from South East England for the occasion. Gary has sung professionally in many of the musicals staged in London's West End, including Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats. The message will be given by Rev Colin Gordon-Farleigh and there will be a retiring collection in aid of the work of Young Life, Runcorn, a mission to the young people of the town led by Luke and Jenny Wilkinson.

If you live near enough, you will be welcome to join with us in worshipping God and fellowshipping together.

Emynau Cymraeg

PYSGOTWR POBL

Gwna fi’n bysgotwr i’r deyrnas,
Taflu fy rhwyd ger y lli.
Rhannu’r newyddion am Geidwad,
Bu farw i’n hachub ni.
Rho imi’r geiriau sy’n denu,
Gad imi wybod y man
Lle gallaf dystio i’r cariad
Gadwodd y truan a’r gwan.
Ein golchi ym mhur waed yr Oen,
I ryddid fe’m prynwyd gan Dduw.
Glanhawyd, maddeuwyd fy mai.
I’r Arglwydd byddaf fi byw.
© 2006 Colin Gordon-Farleigh
Cyf. © 2010 Eirlys Gruffydd

Hymn for today . . .


My Prayer 7.7.7.7.
Tune: Gaelic Lullaby

Father, hear me as I pray,
Jesus take my sins away;
Help me pass the darkest night,
Praise His glory in the Light.
Keep me, my Saviour,
Yes, keep me my Lord;
Keep me forever,
As promised in Your Word!

Though in sin I bow in shame,
Help me call upon His name;
Teach me how I should forgive,
As each day in Christ I live.
Keep me, my Saviour, . . .

Seeking always as I walk
Christ the Truth, the Life, the Way;
Serving Jesus in this world,
Praise Him always every day.
Keep me, my Saviour, . . .

Helping others in His name,
Find salvation through the Son;
Till we stand in heaven’s light
Praising Him for battles won!
Keep me, my Saviour, . . .
© Colin Gordon-Farleigh, 2007

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Emynau Cymraeg: MAE O YN FY YMYL

MAE O YN FY YMYL
Ysbryd Duw sy’n symud yn fy enaid i,
Cefais fywyd newydd drwy aberth Calfarî.
Ysbryd Duw sy’n symud yn fy enaid i
Drwy aberth Calfarî.
Cytgan:
Mae o yn fy ymyl,
Pob eiliad o bob dydd,
Mae o yn fy ymyl,
Yn fy nysgu’n ffordd y ffydd.
Yn fy ymyl, yn fy ymyl,
Yn fy ymyl bob dydd.

Fe ddaw Crist i’m harwain ar bob cam o’r daith.
Wrth i’m dystio iddo mewn gweddi ac mewn gwaith.
Fe ddaw Crist i’m harwain ar bob cam o’r daith,
Mewn gweddi ac mewn gwaith.
Cytgan:

Iddo beunydd tystiaf a’i wasnaethu’n daer,
Addo wnaf bob amser i fyw yn ôl ei Air
Iddo beunydd tystiaf a’i wasnaethu’n daer
A byw yn ôl ei Air.
Cytgan:
Colin Gordon-Farleigh © 2009
Cyf. Eirlys Gruffydd © 2009

Poems for Today about Devon and Wiltshire

Here are two poems from my book Flight of a Bee, published by Gazebo Books in 1978 and again by Voice Publications in 2006. They reflect on two areas of the United Kingdom where natural beauty and man-made beauty abounds, Devon and Wiltshire. I hope you enjoy them dear reader.

Wiltshire Memories

Green trees look down in regal splendour
upon the lushness of prolific summer;
the gentle sweep of grassy slopes
echoing the soft lullaby of Nature.
Whispering leaves above the cricket’s chorus,
calling onward to the pink flush of sunset,
looking back with fond reflection
upon those pleasant Wiltshire summers
when life had just begun.

Rolling fields of golden corn
stretching far beyond the country Inn.
a place where farmhands rested tired feet,
and stopped to quaff a jug of English Ale.
Where the lustre of red-gold sunset
hangs deep into the velvet night,
carried onward into tomorrow
by the gentle breezes of the summer evening,
scented sweet by the new-mown swathes.

In the distance, past the sloping Downs,
where chalk beats watch the closing day,
as the last fading rays of sunlight fall,
bringing the cool of silvered moon,
Then I will rest, safe till dawn breaks.
I’ll sleep sound, wrapped by dry stone walls,
the ancient stones supporting musty thatch,
dreaming of West Country life,
Where man can pleasant moments snatch.
Copyright 2006 Colin Gordon-Farleigh


Devonshire Memories

I shall walk again through winding lanes,
Past greening fields; where cattle low
In soft unison to some hidden brook;
Where blackbird sings, and echoes sweet
The memory of Nature’s full parade.

The gate with the lichen-covered slats
where once we rested, whispering, dreaming
our distant dreams and thoughts of love.
Paying fleeting visits to far-off places
that held us once in the long ago.

On, past the rustic’s cob and thatch
with painted walls of blushing dawn;
tall hollyhocks that outstretch man,
reaching skyward in tumultuous profusion,
with colourful, pristine abandonment.

See the distant viaduct of ancient stone
passing by the lake of Burrator,
where heathered moorland stretches wide,
showing the unseen artist’s hand
that wove the sky, the gorse, and me.

Dear Devon — do you ever stop awhile
to think of me, as I still think of you?
In the morning’s golden hour of dawn,
where the plaintive cuckoo’s call
echoes his trespass of some small domain.
Copyright 2006 Colin Gordon-Farleigh

Great Spring Days!

As soon as I saw snowdrops peeping through the Winter snow I knew that Spring would not be far away.

One of the great beauties of Springtime is the picture painted in a bluebell wood. It takes your breath away!

What better than a brisk walk in the countryside, especially if you are fortunate enough to have hills and --- even better --- mountains, to tread the pathway to God, experiencing the wonders of the natural world that He has created for you to enjoy.

Opposite my house there are several flowering cherry trees which have already started to burst into bud. Soon they will look just like this one which I photographed last year in a local park. These are the sort of sights that stir the poet's soul when Spring bursts onto the scene!

I took this picture at Lake Vyrnwy a couple of years ago, and love the simplicity of the composition. Some years ago, I was privileged to work as a candle-maker in the Craft Units situated close to this beautiful place. This is a man-made lake, though so beautiful that it creates a sense of awe and wonder.

When is a crime not a crime?

That might seem to be a strange question, but it has an easy answer. A crime is not a crime when it's been committed by an elected member of the UK Parliament. At least, that's what the MPs currently charged with their various crimes linked to the expenses scandal would have us believe.

Now I think we all recognise that MPs are, by and large, invariably strangers to the truth from time to time, some more so than others; and of course we are approaching a General Election, which is a time when all sorts of fairy tales are spread by politicians and labelled as truth. We have long been subjected to distortions of the truth by politicians such as Tony Blair, easily recognisable by his duplicity and hunger for wealth, and the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who lied blatantly when facing the Iraq Inquiry.

However, I think that even by the standards which they apply to themselves, it is stretching it too far to ask us to believe that things such as falsifying accounts by creating receipts for non-existent purchases or claiming for a mortgage that didn't exist are totally honest and above-board things to do.

If they are found not guilty, and remember, we live in an era when it's often demonstrated that there are different levels of law for different people, then will this open the doors for everyone to take part in creative accounting?

If the charges against the three MPs and the Peer involved in this additional scandal were unfounded then the Criminal Prosecution Service would not have allowed them to be brought to the Courts. Therefore it would appear that they are totally founded on truth. The MPs are attempting top claim Parliamentary privilege, but if we have a system that allows criminals to go scot-free by hiding behind the skirts of 'Mother' Parliament then it would indicate that the system is even more corrupt than some people think, and that is something that I would hate to see proven.

No, there can only be one possible outcome to this debacle, and that is that those committing crimes, whether MPs or not, must pay the just penalty for those crimes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who cares about the children?

Well, not the people who make up the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV, that's for sure. If they did, then they would be targeting children with a campaign to say 'NO' to sex rather than encouraging them by allowing the advertising of condoms on TV prior to the watershed. Not surprising really in a nation that has suffered from declining morals for the last few decades, but also not too late to have a change of heart and start to encourage our children to be children and not mini-adults, complete with adult 'desires' that must be satisfied at all costs.

I believe that when you promote the use of condoms to children under the age of sixteen then you are effectively telling them that sex is okay for them provided that they take precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancy. What a crazy manner to approach the subject!

For many years successive governments have approached the subject of teenage pregnancy in ways which have proven to be abject failures. We still have an abysmally high rate of teenage pregnancies. Of course, the benefit system supports the whole concept by making the State take over the financial responsibilities that should rightfully be those of the families concerned. Surely the financial responsibility of raising a child should be born by the parents of the child or, if they are too young to be able to do it, then the families of the parents.

The responsibility for the education of children is a matter for all of us, for it is all of us who finally pay the price for unwanted or 'accidental' pregnancies, but first of all it is the task of the respective parents to guide their children correctly, and then the task of all of us to ensure by speaking to our MP's, that the Government encourage the parents by making things more difficult in such matters as financial support, not easier.

Some years ago I was impressed by a statement made by the TV host, Montel, in a discussion on the matter of unwanted pregnancy. His advice was quite simple. "If you are not prepared to take full responsibility for the consequences then you should not lie down with someone in the first place." What great advice, and advice that many people, especially children, would do to repeat to themselves first thing every day.

It is good to see the Catholic Church making a stand on the matter, but where are the voices from other Churches?

The new UK Advertising Code for the industry announced yesterday will not only allow condoms to be advertised prior to the watershed, but will also allow the advertising of pornography in the shape of both films and magazines on the subscription adult TV channels. The fact that the channels concerned are 'subscription adult' channels does not, of course, prevent children from accessing them.

Add to everything else the allowing of betting tipsters to advertise on TV, and what we have is a further slide into the amoral morass that increases every parent's difficulties when it comes to raising responsible children who will ultimately form into morally responsible adults.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Emynau Cymraeg

IESU NGWAREDWR
Tôn: Bunessan
Iesu Ngwaredwr,
Geidwad trugarog,
Maddau ein beiau,
Gwir Fab y Tad.
‘Rôl edifeirwch
Duw rydd faddeuant,
Cawn iachawdwriaeth
Drwy’r Iesu mad.

Iesu ddaeth atom
O nef y Duwdod,
Ganddo mae’r ateb
I gyflwr dyn.
Angau yw cyflog
Pechod , ond talodd
Ein holl ddyledion
Â’i waed ei hun.

Deuwn, addolwn,
Gweision y deyrnas,
Tystion ei gariad
I ddynolryw;
Nawr a’n dragwyddol,
Nes gweld ei wyneb,
Caria’r colledig
Deillion a briw.

Nawr gorfoleddwn
Caed iachawdwriaeth
Drwy Iesu’r prynwr
Ddaeth oddi fry.
Ef yw ein Ceidwd,
Mab y goruchaf,
Bendith ei gariad
Roddwyd i ni.

Dyrchafwn foliant
I nef y nefoedd;
Fe ddaw’r diwrnod
Cawn weld ei wedd.
Canau’r angylion
Glod ei ogoniant
Ef yw’r Meseia,
Awdur ein hedd.

© Colin Gordon-Farleigh
Cyf. Eirlys Grufydd

It was very different then . . .

The older that I get, so the greater the difference seems to be between the way the world is now and the way it was then. There are many differences that are for the better, as least as far as the individual is concerned, but I wonder about many more of them in more general terms.

I'm sure that lots of things are similar, but we live in an age where even young children are sexualised to a degree. Government decrees that children of a very tender age are to be taught about sexual matters, yet laugh at the suggestion that children of any age be taught to say 'NO'. Even adverts for children's clothing show us apparel that is quite unsuitable. This is so different from the world in which I grew up in, and I cannot think, even for a minute, that it's better in any way.

Then, at the local dance, boys would line up on one side of the hall and girls on the other, each side eyeing up the other and commenting to their friends the reasons that they would or would not like to dance with a particular person, yet often doing little about it. The real reasons were simple. The boys wanted to appear 'big' in front of their mates, yet the fear of rejection held them back. For the girls, the fear of being labelled 'too forward' was never too far away, and so held them back.

Life was so different in many ways. If a girl became pregnant then a hasty marriage would be arranged to avoid the stigma of an illegitimate child being brought into the world. Nowadays, it would appear that there is more stigma attached to those who decide to wait until they are married to have children. It's a sort of volte face situation.

When I was a boy, taking drugs meant having an aspirin for a headache. By the time I was well into my teens and taking in the local dance and coffee bar scene, although I heard about drug-taking amongst pop stars I never came across anything to do with drugs myself. It was about as far away from my life as travel to the moon was.

Nowadays we hear and read much about the problems of obesity, but when I was growing up there was never enough food going spare to allow people to become obese. Not only that, but we walked to our friends' houses. If they were too far to walk then we either cycled or got on a bus. Either way, the result was that we were healthier and fitter for it. Our bedrooms were places in which we went to sleep, not, as so often nowadays, places where we lived separate lives from our parents and siblings. Meals were not plated and taken to our rooms but rather shared around the dining-table with the rest of the family.

Take a family with three children and it's not unusual for each one to have a different meal and even eat at a different time. As a boy, growing up in post-war Britain, the choice was quite clear when it came to mealtimes. You either ate what was put in front of you or went without. If you left half your meal on the plate then it would be likely to be served up for you at the next meal-time.

There were no ready meals then, at least if you discounted the one that ran around the farmyard until it was caught, butchered and cooked! Continental foods, usually referred to by our elders as 'that foreign muck', were certainly not visitors to our meal tables. Curries were, by and large, meals that were eaten in far-off India, and pasta in distant Italy. Children drank Tizer or some similar drink on the rare occasion when the adults had wine with their meals. I recall how grown-up I felt when I was allowed, aged about fourteen, to have a small glass of sweet cider with my Christmas meal.

There were, generally speaking, no thoughts about cohabiting instead of getting married. Many young people of both sexes, despite claims to the contrary, were often virgins when they married at twenty-one or twenty-two, although it seems hard to believe that now in the over-sexed climate that today's youngsters grow up in. It was not that you never wanted to find things out for yourself, more that you were too scared of the possible consequences! We had the most effective contraceptive of all handed to us constantly --- FEAR!

Getting married and looking for a new home meant finding a flat that you could afford, furnished, more often than not, by the hand-me-down furniture of relatives. Certainly, with credit so difficult to obtain, there was not too much new furniture to be had. That was something to save up for and gradually acquire, and it was all the more appreciated because of it. Actually buying a house was not even on the radar, particularly in an age where more people lived in rented property than owned their own homes. Before the wedding girls would have been saving up bed-linen and so on in their 'bottom drawer', thus ensuring that they had at least got fresh new bedlinen for their new status in life.

Even when mortgages became easier to obtain you still needed a twenty-five percent deposit in order to splash out against a new home costing £1500 to £2500, and that deposit had to be scraped together by going without other things. Often families would not be started until the young couple were finally settled into their own new home.

Of course there was no need to worry over-much about the cost of petrol because travel was usually either on a bike, bus or train. Holidays were still taken at home or else, if you could afford it, at a destination in the UK. Not for us in those days the luxury of waiting around at an airport for several hours before travelling for another two or three hours in order to sit on a crowded beach somewhere in the sun, plagued by flies, tummy-bugs or sharks trying to sell you Time-Share apartments that might not even exist, and, even if they did, you either couldn't afford them or didn't really want them.

Of course there are many things that are better nowadays, even if we don't really know how to keep them all in perspective. Computers, once the subject of science fiction films, are now found in almost every home. They can be great aids to modern living, but they also have a dark side that sucks people into traps that destroy lives. Children have too much freedom, creating a sort of anarchic existence for many of them, an existence which we see and hear the results of every time we turn on the News and hear about another teenage killing or tragedy. Many adults fear going out at night because of what is perceived to be poor policing of their streets. The streets themselves are often litter-strewn, or at least spoiled by the white blobs of discarded gum that ruin so many of our pavements.

It is claimed that we live in a Society where the rule of law has broken down, yet is the truth more that Society itself has broken down? Over the decades of my life I have witnessed a Society where general individual wealth has far exceeded the wildest dreams of many, and yet where that very excess has caused people to turn their backs on God, believing that their salvation lies either in a corrupt government or in themselves. The brokenness of the world around us will only be mended when people learn once more to respect their Creator.

Have I finally turned into a 'Grumpy Old Man'? Probably! Yet, like others of my ilk, it's just my way of expressing great sadness when I see the opportunities that are missed and the demise of a once-promising nation.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

DID YOU EVER WONDER
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 (King James Version)

There are only ten words in our Scripture verse for today but these ten words are the most powerful words in the world because they describe the heart of our Heavenly Father. Did you ever wonder why God, our loving compassionate Heavenly Father, created us when He knew that His beloved Son would have to be crucified on a cross of horror and excruciating pain for our sins?

That didn’t make any sense to me at all because not only does God give unconditional love, His very nature is love! I wondered about that many times so one day I asked Him. I said “God, You are a loving compassionate Heavenly Father. Please tell me why You created us when You knew that Your precious and beloved Son would be crucified, tortured and beaten beyond recognition for us?”

He spoke to my heart and said “I am God. I don’t need anybody or anything. However, I desired fellowship and that is why I created you”. When He told me that I cried, because none of us, including myself, fellowship with Him like we should. If we will listen with our hearts, we will hear the heart of our Heavenly Father saying to us “I miss you. It’s been a long time since we fellowshipped together. Do you have time for Me today”?

We read in the Bible “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). When God formed man, it was the start of His dream, the beginning of His desire that we would fellowship with Him. How we must hurt Him and break His heart when we don’t fellowship with Him!

How important is fellowship? It is the most important thing in the world to God. He desires us to fellowship with Him and with one another. What a sad commentary it is on those of us who claim to be Christians that we don’t take the time to fellowship with Him and with one another. Why don’t we fellowship with Him and with each other more than we do? I believe it is because there are times when we sit and watch television hour after hour instead of fellowshipping with our Heavenly Father and with one another.

Will you respond to the cry from our Heavenly Father’s heart and fellowship with Him? Spending time with Him does not mean just our quiet times with Him or the prayers we say for others. It means an ongoing fellowship with Him that never ends even in the midst of our daily activities. I started a prayer to Him on January 24, 2005, the day that He entrusted me with and gave me the ministries of encouraging pastors and writing devotions. I have never said Amen to that prayer.

I don’t do a lot of talking to Him. I listen so He can talk to me and tell me what He wants me to do. Many times when I want to pray for someone, I just say the person’s name. God knows a lot better than I do what the person needs. There are times when we hinder God working in the hearts of people by what we say in our prayers. I heard a man say one time when he was praying “Father, my son has to go to this college I want him to attend. Make him go there”.

How dare you and I pray to a Holy God and demand anything from Him? He knows what we need and what is best for us. We need to stop praying so selfishly, get out of His way and stop telling Him what to do. I think sometimes we forget that we are the clay and He is our potter. “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still.” If these words of this beautiful inspiring song are not the cry of your heart, ask God to give you a heart checkup because something is very wrong! It is a lot more important that you allow God to check your spiritual heart than it is to go to the doctor so he or she can check your physical heart.

Heavenly Father, we have heard the cry from the depths of Your heart for us to fellowship with You. Please have mercy on us and forgive us for hurting You by not spending more time with You than we do. May we always remember that You created us to fellowship with You and that fellowship is very important. You have told us that not only do You desire us to spend time with You, but we also need to spend time with each other.

Please forgive us for being selfish at times and help us to realize the importance and urgency of turning off the television set and reaching out to one another and loving each other with Your unconditional love. Please plant a desire deep in the heart of every one of us to get out of our comfort zones and spend time with You and with one another as You desire us to do. Amen.


Joanne Lowe
joannelowe8@cox.net
www.joanne-ourprecioussaviour.blogspot.com