Saturday, February 06, 2016

Our Heritage

The village of Naseby is famous for the Battle that took place there in 1645 between Charles 1st army of Cavaliers and Oliver Cromwell’s ‘Roundhead’ army. Fundamentally, it was between Catholic and Protestant pursuasions and in whose hands government should be, either with the Monarchy or Parliament.

The villagers of Naseby are hoping to get a ‘Visitors Heritage Centre’ constructed at the site where a Monument presently marks  the fields where this momentous climax of the civil war took place. Wikipedia gives good text and illustrations of what happened there, also telling us that the Poet John Milton (Paradise Lost) wrote a song in favour of Cromwell. Former Prime Minister Lord Rosebury is alledged to be the anonymous donor of the Cromwell Statue that stands in the Palace of Westminster grounds, which is a fitting reminder to all who pass by, of the cost of our Parliamentary heritage. This heritage has been shared by other countries throughout the world. Perhaps Cromwell would have gone totally Republican in the few years that he was Protector, but that did not happen and Monarch and Parliament began together to govern, and does so to this present day, with no Catholic Monarch allowed to take the throne.

Half a century after Cromwell, during the eightennth century God raised up men like John Wesley and George Whitfield, whose preaching probably saved England from a bloody revolution that France experienced.

At Gwennap Pit, 5 miles south east of Redruth in the county of Cornwall, it is said that Wesley preached to 5000 people, mainly tin miners at 5.00 am with many turning to Christ. Gwennnap Pit is now a World Heritage site with other Cornish and Devon mines.

In the Caribbean islands one can hear children sing a song about Christopher Columbus and 1492. The Educational Cyber Playground web site shows some of these songs, the one that I heard was ‘In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.He had three ships and left from Spain;He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain. He sailed by night; he sailed by day;He used the stars to find his way.A compass also helped him know How to find the way to go.Ninety sailors were on board;Some men worked while others snored. Then the workers went to sleep; And others watched the ocean deep. Day after day they looked for land; They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand. October 12 their dream came true, ‘You never saw a happier crew!’ Six more verses follow.

Antigua has a heritage site at English Harbour where Nelson had his dockyard and fortifications against the Spanish War Ships. Officers quarters are still standing built with London Stock bricks, which were carried on the return journey of the cotton and sugar shipping from the islands. The Harbour itself is a masterpiece, secreted from the view of passing ships and safe from violent storms.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives three interesting meanings of heritage. (1) Property that is or maybe inherited; an inheritance. (2) Valued things such as historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations, of special value and worthy of preservation. (3) A special or individual possession; an alloted portion, God’s chosen people (the People of Israel , or the Christian Church). It is refreshing in this day and generation to read about things that matter and have valued quality. Some people have little thought or care about who did what to provide a better future for others.

The Bible confirms what the Oxford Dictionary say about Israel’s heritage and the Christian Church. The first mention of heritage in the Bible is in Ex 6:8  “And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” 

There are religious groups that say that Israel are finished, that they have no future or possession. Arab nations want to drive the Nation of Israel from their heritaged possession of the land, they would push them into the sea, but God has promised them a future and the land.

King David wrote in Ps 16:6  “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” God had promised that David’s seed would occupy the throne of Israel in perpertuity, a goodly heritage.

In Psalm 127:3 we read, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:” Sadly for some people children are not looked upon as a Godly heritage, some abort them in the womb, fathers abandon both wife and children to find their own way in life, often with disastrous consequences.

There is only one mention of heritage in the New Testament, found in 1Pe 5:3  “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” Quite appropriately the Church is God’s possession, He purchased it with the blood of His Son. Some people think that the Church is a building of bricks and motar, or stone., it is not, it is made up of people, boys and girls, men and women who are born again, out of every nation on earth. When a person repents of their sin against God, and believes that Jesus died on the cross on account of their sin, and calls upon God in prayer for forgiveness, that moment, they are born again and become a member of the Church which belongs to God. There is no man on earth who is head of the Church but God has entrusted men to care for believers in fellowship in a local Church, not as lords but ensamples to the Christians in their care.  God bless.

Written by a guest blogger

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Proven Relief for a Troubled Mind

A large number of people read this blog every day and I am sure that they are all quite different. People were just the same when Jesus was around. For some reason we imagine that people in Bible times where a bit simple and not quite as civilised as we are - I beg to differ. I think they were much the same if not sometimes more intelligent. We have the benefit of accumulated knowledge i.e. 6,000 plus years of learning to draw upon, which they did not have yet they managed to accomplish some amazing feats of engineering and creativity.

If you are looking for relief for a troubled mind you will find that Jesus Christ is the only real answer. He said 'come unto me' to those who are weary and troubled and He promises to give them rest.

You may be a cynic and very doubtful about the claims of Jesus, the Bible and Christians. Read this chapter; Christ will remove your doubt if you are prepared to trust Him. The scriptures teach that 'faith comes by hearing the word of God'. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen - the Christian believes because he has come to understand that God can trusted.

Maybe you feel that you don't belong. Family relationships have long since faded and you feel alone. May I remind you again of what the Bible says - 'but to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,' John 1;12. God welcomes you into His family when you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. 

One last point - all of these blessings only come when a person has a change in their thinking about themselves and about God. The Bible calls it repentance. This change of thinking will change the direction of your life for ever. It is summarised in a statement found in Acts 20:21 which says become a Christian involves 'repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ'. Put simply you need to turn from your sin to God - this involves more than regret and sorrow but a permanent change in your thinking about God, your sin and your life. Secondly you must trust Jesus Christ, who died to pay for your sins and rose from the dead, if you want to be forgiven and saved.

I would encourage you to read the Bible. The scriptures are 'able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.'

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

How to avoid a guilt trip!

Most of us feel guilty from time to time. We often wish that we could turn the clock back and do things differently!

There are times when it is right to feel guilty. If we have genuinely wronged someone guilt is the God given mechanism that warns us that ‘action needs to be taken’. Sometimes we can rectify the problem and make amends. Other times it is outside of our power to reverse the effect of our actions. It is only right that we should fix the problems that we have caused where possible.

Having said this, many mistakes in life are not really significant in the general scheme of things and will not make a big difference in our lives. Courtesy and true friendship, decency and honesty will however ensure that we behave in ways that are commendable.

A more worrying aspect of life is that of human beings and their relationship with God. In our current society we are in danger of being unaware that we have disobeyed our Creator (and therefore owner) and that he does not tolerate people who break his law. I was aware from childhood of the fact that God had stated his principles (the 10 commandments in the Bible) and that I was incapable of living up to them. The passage in the Bible that explains God’s standards is Exodus 20. The New Testament passage that states that we are not capable of living up to these standards is Romans 3:23 ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’.

Now, contrary to public opinion God gave his Law to make us feel guilty and not to make us feel good. The Bible says ‘Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God’. The reality is that when you and I hear the Bible preached and become aware that God is holy and has his standards; we then realise that we cannot live up to his standards and get feelings of guilt. I lied, I lusted, I took something that did not belong to me (time, emotions, things etc) and as a result I am guilty and am limited as to what I can do to rectify the situation. My offence is firstly against God (Psalm 51:4) and will also often be against a fellow human being.

So we all need to go on a guilt trip – but not for long. When the awareness of our wrong living is heightened and guilt is triggered we will be forced do something about it. That is God’s plan.

What can we do? Again God in the Bible tells us what there is no point in doing! God says in Romans 3:20 that no action on our part will satisfy him because our problem is one we were born with (Psalm 51:5). The problem is reflected in our actions and behaviours but it is deeper than that. God says rather bluntly in the Old Testament that all the right things we do are like filthy clothes. We can never be good enough for God, ‘There is none righteous, no not one’.

I say again ‘what can we do’? The answer again comes from God. He says ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’. The Lord Jesus says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. The early Christian preachers preached ‘neither is their salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved’. God’s Son (The Lord Jesus) came to earth, lived and then was put to death on a cross. God was punishing him for sin, sin that he did not commit (for he is God and perfect) but that sin that he was prepared to atone for. He paid the price God demanded to put away sin and to provide forgiveness for us.

Go on a guilt trip? No way - admit your guilt to God and then accept his offer of salvation through trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will experience inexplicable joy.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Radical Claims of Jesus!

As you survey the New Testament, it’s easy to see that Jesus made history’s most radical claims (John 6:35,John 8:46, John 8:58, John 10:27-28, John 14:6, 9, Matthew 9:2, John 14:15). Even a cursory reading of the four Gospels reveals that Jesus claimed to be a whole lot more than a “good teacher,” “spiritual leader,” or a “prophet.”

Search the writings of the world’s religions and you’ll never read anything like Jesus' claims on the lips of Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, Joseph Smith, or you name the leader. But anyone could say the things Jesus said. Saying those things doesn’t necessarily mean they are true. And Jesus knew that. So, Jesus didn’t just make the claims, He proved that what He said was true by…

• Fulfilling dozens of Old Testament prophecies
• Living a sinless life for which we even have the eye witness testimonies of his enemies
• Opening the eyes of the blind
• Healing lepers
• Opening the ears of the deaf
• Causing the lame to walk
• Casting out demons
• Feeding 5,000 people with two fish   and five loaves of bread

But for His critics, these kinds of things were not enough. Matthew 12:38 says, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
As if these other miracles were not enough! 

So Jesus, graciously, promised them another sign. Two verses down, in Matthew 12:40, Jesus said, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jesus here, of course, was speaking about His impending death and resurrection three days later.

On another occasion, in John 2:19-21, Jesus told them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body."

So again, we see Jesus foretelling His resurrection.

Some days later, Jesus’ enemies did try to destroy Jesus. Jesus was executed just as Daniel 9:26 and Isaiah 53 had prophesied would happen to the Messiah 600 years earlier.

And then an amazing thing happened.

Three days later, Jesus' tomb was empty. Jesus rose from the dead, just as He and the Old Testament prophets had foretold in Psalm 16:10 and Isaiah 53:10-12. 

In Acts 13:38,39 Peter, one of the Apostles, states - 'Be it known unto you therefore men and brethren (he is speaking to a Jewish audience) that through this man (Jesus) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses'.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a monumental event. So monumental, it’s considered the cornerstone of the Christian faith, for it helped to prove that Jesus was the long expected Messiah, whom God promised would come into the world for mankind’s salvation.

But, can an intelligent person living in the 21st century really believe a man rose from the grave two thousand years ago? 

I believe the answer is Yes!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

One purchase you will never regret!

One purchase you will never regret!

While the religious authorities were seeking ways to trap, arrest and execute Jesus there was one person not so far from the city of Jerusalem who were doing the complete opposite. Standing up for what is right will often mean you are in the minority. Don't give up because the majority disagrees with you. Truth is not measured by statistics!

In the small town of Bethany there was a home were Jesus was always welcome. Is Jesus welcome in your home and life?

The people in Bethany that night were, as is always the case, split in their opinion and attitude to Jesus. Some believed him to be who he claimed to be, the Son of God. Others were convinced that he was a fraud, an imposter and not worth consideration. 

Where do you stand in your view of Jesus? Is it the one question that will determine your eternal destiny! Jesus said as recorded in John 8:24 'I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.'

On this occasion a lady comes into the house with expensive ointment and pours it on Jesus' head. The reaction: most said what a waste of good money; it could have been used for better purposes i.e. to feed the poor. 

Here's a point you may strongly disagree with! It's better to worship Jesus than to feed the poor! I think that's true! 

But listen, Jesus didn't say don't feed the poor! He said the poor would always exist! I think this a lesson in priorities. If we see Jesus for who he is, the Son of God. If we turn from our sin and unbelief, confess our sin and trust him as Lord and Saviour.....


We will go on to: feed the poor, love our neighbour and do all the things that are pleasing to God and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. 


Where do you stand when it comes to the cost of worshipping Jesus? It's one price you will never regret paying. 

Mark 14King James Version (KJV)

After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
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Monday, February 01, 2016

Are you being duped?

People love being fooled! Illusionists like Harry Houdini was a star a century ago, and even today his successors such as David Copperfield, David Blaine, Steven Frayne, etc., fascinate millions. People know that they are being deceived by these entertainers, but they adore it!

When I was a teenager, we had a neighbour called Mr. Tolly, a retired electrician. He was originally a Londoner, who as a young man worked in the very theatre in London where Harry Houdini performed. Mr. Tolly took a keen interest in how Houdini constructed and prepared his props, with all their secret compartments and hidden escape devices. Then, years later, he entertained our village by doing his own escapes from locked boxes; escaping from handcuffs, etc., at the local miners’ galas. 

Harry ‘Handcuffs’ Houdini was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, who had originally come to fame for his escapes from police handcuffs. Actually the illusionist had studied locks all his life and had an encyclopedic knowledge of handcuffs. When challenged he looked at the cuffs and knew exactly what kind of key he needed to open them. His assistant then got the necessary key from Houdini’s huge collection and passed it to Houdini who hid it on his person, usually in his mouth. Having distracted the onlookers, he got the key out and opened the handcuffs – simple! As time went on he extended his repertoire to include chains; ropes slung from skyscrapers; straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breath inside a sealed milk churn.

One of Houdini’s famous deceptions was ‘The Hanging Straitjacket Escape’. Houdini usually performed this out on the street in front of the venue where he was performing, suspended from a crane above the gathered crowd. He had previously been tightly strapped into a straitjacket in front of the crowd and also had his ankles bound. A crane lifted him up so that the audience could see what he did, re-enforcing the impression that there was no trick to the feat and he escaped by magic. Houdini himself revealed how he escaped from such straitjackets in his 1910 book called Handcuff Escapes. The secret was creating plenty of slack in the jacket as it was strapped on. As the jacket was brought around the back, Houdini moved his arms outwards to loosen material around his chest. Houdini then held on to this slackened material, and as the jacket was buckled at the back, Houdini took a huge breath to expand his chest. Once the jacket was in place, Houdini had plenty of wiggle room. He trained and trained at this trick until he became so proficient that he reduced his escape time from half an hour to three minutes. 

All his other tricks had similar explanations, even the one where he appeared to move through a solid brick wall. What he himself called ‘the best escape that I have ever invented’ was getting out of a padlocked milk churn filled with water. Of course the churn was tampered with on the inside, so that he could easily escape! Read more at

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

#StormGertrude and Safety

The current trend of naming storms really amuses me. So far this winter we’ve been hit by Storms Abigail, Barney, Desmond, Eva and Frank. Now Gertrude is here. Storm Desmond landed in the UK in early December and will likely go down as one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the North West, with its effects still being felt long after the winds had subsided. Now it is the turn of Storm Gertrude, bringing - at the time of writing - at least one red weather warning and leaving thousands without power across Scotland and Ireland.

In 2015 the Met Office and its Irish counterpart Met Eireann launched a project to name severe winter storms, much in the same way that hurricanes are named. The official statement said “Working together it is hoped that naming winter storms will help raise public awareness of severe weather and ensure greater public safety”. Storms are never good news! They devastate and damage: you never expect to come out the other side of a storm in better condition than you entered it. 

The bible uses the imagery of a storm to explain various ideas. In Job 21:17,18 the picture of a storm is used to explain how severely God views wickedness and evil. It says ‘God distributes sorrows in his anger. They (the wicked) are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carries away’. Wickedness in the bible covers a spectrum of behaviour all of which actively disagrees with what God, in his Word, says is right.

Most of us face storms in life from time to time. These are hard and tough experiences. God, is keenly interested and indeed involved in the storms we face even if we are not aware of his presence. Once when Jesus’ disciples faced a weather storm they discovered Jesus sleeping in the boat - he was not frightened as he faced the trauma’s of life! They shouted at Jesus  - do you not care that we perish? Little did they realise he how deeply he was interested! That day he rose from sleep and did what the impossible - he calmed the storm. Jesus still does that in individual lives today. That is if we ask!

As I close let me point you to two beautiful passages of scripture. In Isaiah 25:4 God states, among other things, that he is ‘a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat’. Again in the same book, Isaiah 32:2 we are told ‘a man shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest’.The truth is that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ and on this basis he is the one who can protect us in the storms of this life and from the storm of God’s judgement in the next life. 

The question is will we take advantage of his protection?

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