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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'It Is A Commandment'

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 (King James Version)
     The newspapers, the television, the radio and the internet are reporting violence and murder.  Just yesterday, I read about a mother who killed her two children.  It is very clear that we are not doing what Jesus told us to do.  I think we understand that we are to love God but we are also to love people.
     “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in Him?” (1 John 3:17)  This verse is not just talking about giving our money; it is also talking about giving compassion, love and understanding.
     Joyce Landorf Heatherley, a Christian speaker and author, said on one of her teaching tapes.  “The people we sit next to in church look fine and darling, but inside they are dying”.  We don’t know what heartaches the people we sit next to in church have but one thing is for sure, all of us need to be loved.
     We need to remember that when we are kind, we are being kind to Jesus.  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).  Are you being kind and loving to Jesus?
Joanne Lowe
July 31, 2012

Sheer Joy Music's new release: 'Lead Me Back Home' sung by Shirley Lange

I'm really proud to announce the release today on the Sheer Joy Music label of a beautiful Gospel song written by my friend Jacqueline Kellock.  'Lead Me Back Home'  has a simple yet meaningful message which can be echoed by many seeking the way to eternal life. Produced by John Thiel at Horizon Studios in Calgary, Alberta, the song, sung by Shirley Lange, speaks to your soul. Great song, great singer and beautifully produced. I'll post the video here today for the first time, so please share it with your friends and 'Like' it on Youtube. It deserves it!
     You can purchase the download from CD Baby from tomorrow and from iTunes and Amazon in a few days time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'No Disappointment With Jesus'

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
John 14:1-3 (King James Version)
     Have you ever planned to go on a trip and saved your money for a long time so you could afford to go and have a wonderful time?  You were very excited and had looked forward to going on the trip for months.  Then, at the last minute something happened and you couldn’t go.
     Remember how heartbroken and disappointed you were?  There are no disappointments with Jesus.  He is preparing a mansion for us in Heaven and one happy glorious day He is coming back for us to take us to Heaven.  We will see our loved ones who are there and we will never have to say goodbye again.
     Nothing will prevent Jesus from coming back for us.  He will come back.  How I long for the day when I shall see my precious Saviour face to face.  Are your bags packed?  Are you ready to go?  Jesus could come back while you read this devotion.  Is your heart right with God?  Is Jesus your personal Saviour?
     Heavenly Father, thank You for the assurance that one day Jesus is coming back for us and we will take our final trip.  Father, touch hearts and lives and change them.  I pray that every person will fall in love with Jesus and make Him the King of their heart and life.  I love You, dear Father.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
July 24, 2012

New 'Hymn for Today' : 'Things I Know'

For my 'Hymn for Today' I have chosen this one which is ideal for children, both for a School Assembly or for Sunday School. of course, we are all children at heart, especially in the sight of God, and so I guess that we can all sing it with gusto! 

Things I Know     77 77
TUNE: Buckland

There are many things I love,
and so many things I know,
butterflies and buttercups,
all the living things that grow.

Birds that fly up in the sky,
kittens, puppy dogs and snails,
tall giraffes and elephants,
dolphins, porpoises and whales.

Pretty flowers and conker trees,
all the things that children love;
every single one of these
has been made by God above.

For each thing that we can name,
we will praise and thank Him too,
not forgetting one last thing,
for He’s created me and you.
© 2006 : Colin Gordon-Farleigh


Monday, July 23, 2012

Colossians 2:13

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'The Medicine of Love'

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.  Amen.”
John 21:25 (King James Version)
     There is a wonderful registered nurse who comes to my home to teach me about my diabetes and instruct me in the proper way to test my blood sugar.  She is very patient with me.  However, the thing that is most important to me is that she really does care about me and is a very compassionate person.
     Yesterday as the nurse was leaving, she gave me a hug.  That hug proved to me that she really does care about me.  That hug was the medicine of love.  The Bible doesn’t tell us that Jesus hugged everyone.  However, there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus hugged every person that He ministered to and healed.
     There are some parents who never hug their children or say to them “I love you”.  If you want your children to know that you really do love them, hug them.  A girl who had gone to her friend’s house to play said “My mother has never told me she loves me or hugged me”.  My heart goes out to this little girl.
     Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Jesus not only to be our Saviour but also to encourage us and hug us.  Jesus, Your hugs have warmed my heart many times and proved to me how much You love me.  Thank You, dear Jesus.  I love You with all my heart.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
July 19, 2012

A hymn for Harvest: 'Harvest Time'

Despite the rain this year there is a harvest that is ready for reaping and gathering in to the Lord's barns. This hymn celebrates this great harvest, and I have chosen it to be my 'Hymn for Today.'

Harvest Time
TUNE: Harvest

See, the land is ripe for harvest,
Look ye upward for your Lord,
He will soon appear in glory,
As He promised in His Word.
He’s returning for the faithful.
For those who know Him true:
Make quite certain you are ready
When He calls out loud for you.
The land is ripe, the land is ripe,
The fields are white as new:
Hasten now to reap the crops,
For the labourers are but few.

We’re told it’s just a twinkling
Of an eye, it is so brief.
He’ll return in clouds of glory
For those with firm belief.
Yes, the land is ripe for harvest,
For the people to go home,
Yes, the land is ripe for harvest,
As He calls us for His own.
The land is ripe, the land is ripe,
The fields are white as new:
Hasten now to reap the crops,
For the labourers are but few.
© 2006 Colin Gordon-Farleigh

Saturday, July 21, 2012

69 Years of My Life!

I can hardly believe that next month I shall be 69!
Why is it that I don't feel anywhere near it?

'Refuge' : 'Hymn for Today'

Here's my choice for my 'Hymn for Today' which I hope you like enough to sing it in your worship service.

Refuge   6666
(From Psalm 121)
TUNE: St. Cecilia

The hills are calling me,
Declaring Your great pow’r,
You are my refuge Lord,
In every sacred hour.
My trust I place in You,
Who made the heav’n and earth;
You keep me safe from harm,
Protecting me since birth.
You keep watch over me,
You plan the paths I take,
That I may safely walk,
And never You forsake.
You keep me safe, O Lord,
According to Your will;
To bring me safely home,
When time for me is still.
© 2007 : Colin Gordon-Farleigh

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Be Creative!

This is a great day to be creative, so why not get out there and create!

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'Happiness'

“And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.  And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
Matthew 9:1, 2 (King James Version)
     One of the most vicious attacks that satan launches against us is when he tells us that our sins have not been forgiven.  I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that satan is a liar.  Our Scriptures verses today confirm that he is a liar.  Jesus said “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee”.
     Not only does Jesus tell us that our sins are forgiven, He also tells us to be of good cheer.  We should be filled with happiness that our sins have been forgiven by the cleansing and atoning blood of Jesus.  The knowledge that our sins have been forgiven should be enough to make us shout with happiness.
     When God forgives us, He never remembers our sins again or holds them against us.  We need to do what God does for us.  When people hurt us, we should forgive them and never remind them of what they did to hurt us.  If we haven’t forgiven them from our heart, we have not forgiven them.
     Heavenly Father, there are times when we have sinned because we didn’t forgive people who hurt us from our heart.  We’re sorry.  Please have mercy on us and forgive us.  I pray that we will always forgive people who hurt us from our heart just as You forgive us from Your heart when we hurt You.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
July 18, 2012

New CD coming from Shirley Lange: 'Lead Me Back Home'

I'm working today on a great new song written by my Canadian friend Jacqueline Kellock which is called 'Lead Me Back Home.' The song is sung by Shirley Lange and was recorded and produced by John Thiel at his Horizon Studios in Calgary, Alberta.
'Lead Me Back Home' is due to be released by Sheer Joy Music at the end of this month and will be available as a download from CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon. We will be releasing a video on Youtube as part of the release, so keep a watch out for more details on this Blog.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Persecuted for her Christian faith

Pakistani acid-attack victim finds new life in Houston

by Susan Carroll
She was 16 years old, working as an operator in a tiny, public call office in Pakistan, when a man walked in and saw the silver cross dangling around her neck.
He asked her three times: "Are you a Christian?"
Julie Aftab answered, "Yes, sir," the first two times, and then got frustrated.
"Didn't you hear me?" she asked.
They argued, and the man abruptly left the little office, returning 30 or 40 minutes later with a turquoise bottle. Aftab tried to block the arc of battery acid, but it melted much of the right side of her face and left her with swirling, bone-deep burns on her chest and arms. She ran for the door, but a second man grabbed her hair, and they poured the acid down her throat, searing her oesophagus.
A decade and 31 surgeries later, Aftab is an accounting major at the University of Houston-Clear Lake with a melodic laugh. She spoke no English when she arrived in Houston in February 2004, but is poised to take her citizenship test later this month.
Doctors in Houston have donated their time to painstakingly reconstruct her cheek, nose, upper lip and replace her eyelids. Over time, her scars have faded from hues of deep wine to mocha.
And, with time, the 26-year-old said, she has learned to forgive.
"Those people, they think they did a bad thing to me, but they brought me closer to God," Aftab said. "They helped me fulfil my dreams. I never imagined I could be the person I am today."
Eldest of seven
Aftab was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan, the eldest of seven children in a Christian working-class family.
She dreamed of becoming a doctor, but dropped out of school at age 12 to work in a sewing factory after her father, a bus driver and the family's sole breadwinner, broke his back in an accident. After the sewing factory closed when Aftab was 16, she took a job as a telephone operator helping people place phone calls from the small office in the city's center.
It was June 15, 2002, two weeks into her new job, when the customer spotted her silver cross, a gift from her grand­father. She wore it despite knowing it branded her as Christian, a tiny minority in the Muslim-majority country.
You are living life in the gutter, the Muslim man told her.
She tried to ignore him, remembering what her mother had taught her since she was a child: "You are no one to insult someone's religion. If someone is insulting religion, they have to answer to God."
You are going to hell, the man told her. You are living in darkness.
"I am living in the light," Aftab replied.
So you think Islam is in darkness? the man demanded.
Aftab was frightened. She knew Christians had been accused of violating Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws in the past when others had twisted their words, to make it sound as though they had attacked Islam.
"No, you said that," she replied. "Not me."
But the man was enraged and returned with the battery acid and his friend. When she finally broke away from them, the acid searing her skin and throat, she ran down the street. As she screamed, teeth fell from her mouth and hit the ground.
A woman heard her screams and threw her head cover on Aftab so she could touch her without getting burned. The woman took Aftab to her home and poured water on her. Others eventually came to help take her to the hospital.
People in the neighborhood detained the two men who assaulted her until police arrived.
Why did you do that? the men were asked.
They said Aftab insulted Islam, that she said Muslims are living in the darkness and are going to hell.
"They all turned against me," she said. "Even the people who took me to the hospital. They told the doctor they were going to set the hospital on fire if they treated me."
The police let the two men go, and did not even file an official report on the assault until Christian leaders complained, she said.
Family persecuted
Aftab's family was turned away from one hospital, and then another. Her mother begged a doctor at a third hospital to treat her, and he relented.
Aftab could not speak or move her arms. Doctors said 67 percent of her esophagus was burned. She was missing an eye and eyelids. Her remaining teeth could be seen through her missing cheek. The doctors predicted she would die any day.
She was angry at first, she said.
"God, why did you do this to me? Why did you put me through this?"
Slowly, she started to heal. Three months and 17 days after being burned, she spoke again and was able to see through her left eye. She spent almost a year in the hospital.
Aftab quickly learned that in her old neighbourhood, she was a pariah. Her mutilated face was plastered on the news, associated with insulting Islam. Her family was persecuted, and their house was burned down.
"They wanted to hang me," she said. "They thought it would be an insult to Islam if I lived."
Aftab and her parents went to a nondenominational bishop in Pakistan, who said he would try to help. He took her in, contacted Shriners Hospital for Children, and arranged for her treatment in Houston.
He gave her one piece of advice before she left Pakistan in 2004: "If you forgive them," he said, "your wound will heal without any medication. You can heal from the inside out."
Shy and speechless
Lee and Gloria Ervin prayed together on the night they heard that a young Pakistani girl undergoing medical treatment in Houston needed a place to stay. The Ervins, active in their congregation at Deer Park United Methodist Church, had raised four children of their own, and had a spare bedroom.
They offered to take Aftab in for six months.
When she first arrived, Aftab was painfully shy, stared at the floor and dressed head-to-toe in black, Gloria said. They quickly realized she spoke no English.
Lee, a retired Shell worker, taught Aftab how to read and write using the children's picture books from the church library.
The couple would sit with Aftab when she woke up scared in the middle of the night, screaming and crying.
Doctors 'gave me a life'
Aftab enrolled in Deer Park High School, and endured surgery after surgery at Shriners and at Methodist hospitals. She credits a list of doctors with the careful reconstruction of her face, neck and ears - all done on donated time.
"Maybe those doctors don't know what they did. Maybe they think they just did their jobs," she said. "But for me, they gave me a life."
She graduated from high school and went to San Jacinto College on a full scholarship, courtesy of the Deer Park Rotary Club.
In 2007, Aftab applied for and received asylum with the help of Catholic Charities. She is scheduled for her naturalization interview on July 17.
Over time, she became part of the fabric of the Ervin family, standing at the center of the group portrait shot at the couple's 50th wedding anniversary. She still lives in the couple's spare bedroom, and calls them "Auntie Gloria" and "Uncle Lee." She says she is unspeakably grateful for them, for their kindness.
She stopped wearing all black, and now calls her scars "my jewel, my gift from God."
"You don't even see the scars anymore," said Lee, 71. "You see so much beauty."
"We are very proud of her," said Gloria, 72. "We're very proud of all of our kids."
Aftab works at Lowe's in the mornings and takes classes at UH-Clear Lake in the evenings. She plans to someday become a pastor, and raises money for a safe house for persecuted girls in Pakistan.
"There is a reason God gave me life," she said. "I don't want to miss one second of it."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Psalm 119: 1 - 8

Psalm 119
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the 
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
    do not utterly forsake me.

New 'Hymn for Today' : 'This Little Child' : Baptismal Hymn

My choice for the 'Hymn for Today' is "This Little Child", which is a hymn for use at a Christening or Baptismal service for an infant.

This Little Child   LM
TUNE: Abends

This little child you bring today,
To bear the symbol of Christ’s cross,
Will always know the joy of Him
Whose victory was in His loss.

As you present him/her here to God,
And promises to God you make,
Remember Christ who loves you all,
And keep your word for His dear sake.

We, as a church, will make our vow,
To help him/her lead a Christian life,
That he/she may know the strength of Christ,
To carry him/her through toil and strife.

Then as he/she grows up in this world,
And learns the meaning of God’s Word,
One day he’ll/she’ll choose Christ for himself/herself,
Acknowledge Him to be his/her Lord.

As solemn vows we hear you make,
May we commit ourselves again,
Then when our Lord makes His return
We all will join the great ‘Amen’!
© 2006 : Colin Gordon-Farleigh

Psalm 119, verse 46

God's word is both true and wonderful and we must always stay true to both God and His Word, no matter how hard the world becomes. The only way to achieve real and lasting happiness is through our obedience to His laws.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jim Whitman sings 'A Bunch of Thyme'

I really enjoy listening to anything that the talented Jim Whitman sings, and this song is no exception. It really is a beautiful song and well sung by Jim. You can download this song and all of his others from iTunes and Amazon, so why not do it today and enjoy listening to this great singer whenever you want to.

"Where there's muck there's brass" : 'Fifty Shades of Grey' : A tale of Pornography

     When I was in W H Smiths the other day I noticed a group of women by a display placed near the sales counter. They were all talking excitedly about the book on display which was 'Fifty Shades of Grey' written by E L James. This book has been labelled as 'mummy-porn', and it is sweeping the best-seller lists. For this reason many of you may be tempted to buy it and see what all the fuss is about.
     Well, let me tell you what the fuss is about. This is what ABC News have summarised about the book:
"Anastasia Steele, 21, and a virginal college student, can't say no to dashing 27-year-old Christian Grey, who insists she sign a contract that allows him to submit her to his every sadomasochistic whim. In their first sexual encounter, Grey unveils his silver tie and binds her wrists in knots, and Steele does as she is told. He is also fabulously rich, a telecommunications tycoon, and uses his wealth to take care of her like a pampered princess. "Ana," as he calls her, willingly and excitedly agrees to spanking, whipping and gagging, with props like ice, rope, tape—a repertoire right out of a BDSM [bondage, discipline, dominance and submission] manual. Grey instructs her to call him, "sir" and sets rules on everything from her diet to her most intimate grooming routines."
     So there you have it. It's pornography, dressed up slightly by those with a vested financial interest to create the impression that it's okay and just a little harmless reading --- but it's not!
     If you are tempted to buy it and read it then just ask yourself if you would place it next to the Bible on the bookshelf without any pangs of guilt.

     Well, the expression "Where there's muck there's brass" certainly applies in this case, for the author has already made several million from writing and peddling this filth, and stands to make much more. However, the time of reckoning will eventually come of course.

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Hymn for Today: 'Lambs of the Shepherd'

Something a little different for my 'Hymn for Today' sung to the tune 'Glorious Peace' which was written by Daniel O Teasley (1911-19 ?). Even though I wrote the words only last year, this would not have been out of place in Sankey's day. The message though, is just as relevant today. 
Lambs of the Shepherd 7777 + Refrain
TUNE: Glorious Peace

We’re the lambs of the Shepherd,
Who often go far astray;
When we lose the narrow path
You can hear our Shepherd say:
Call to me little lambs,
I’ll hear your worried cry;
I will bring you safely home
In the sweet, sweet bye and bye.

We’re the lambs of the Shepherd,
We’ll answer Him when we roam;
He’ll take us on His shoulder,
And carry us safely home.
Call to me little lambs,
I’ll hear your worried cry;
I will bring you safely home
In the sweet, sweet bye and bye.

We’re the lambs of the Shepherd,
We know the sound of His voice;
He calls us to the sheepfold,
And we enter in by choice.
Call to me little lambs,
I’ll hear your worried cry,
I will bring you safely home
In the sweet, sweet bye and bye.
© 2011 : Colin Gordon-Farleigh

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Red Sails in the Sunset

The night sky was truly aflame yesterday evening, reminding me of the song 'Red Sails in the Sunset.' Truly wonderful! This picture was taken looking across the River Mersey towards Liverpool airport from Runcorn.

Prayer Changes Things : Great Quotes on Prayer

"The most important thing a born again Christian can do is to pray." - Chuck Smith

"Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." - Corrie Ten Boom

"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." - E.M. Bounds

"Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer." 
- John Bunyan

"He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life." 
- William Law

"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray." - Samuel Chadwick

"The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history." - Andrew Murray

"If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me." - Robert Murray McCheyne

"Prayer wonderfully clears the vision; steadies the nerves; defines duty; stiffens the purpose; sweetens and strengthens the spirit." - S.D. Gordon

"Time spent alone with God is not wasted.  It changes us; it changes our surroundings; and every Christian who would live the life that counts, and who would have power for service must take time to pray." - M.E. Andross

"Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer." - R.A. Torrey

"Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God's voice in response to mine is its most essential part." - Andrew Murray

"Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence." - W.S. Boyd

"Our prayers lay the track down on which God's power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails." - Watchman Nee

"A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men." - Leonard Ravenhill

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in our country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." - A.T. Pierson

"Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what he can do. Expect unexpected things 'above all that we ask or think.'" - Andrew Murray