Important Information.

STOP PRESS: My second book - Foundations of the Faith - is now available as a Kindle e-book at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XTAE98C?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
My apologies! I have just discovered that, in fact, this book is NOT yet available as a paperback! I will have it ready for sale as quickly as possible!


The first volume - Great Words of the Faith - is still available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009EG6TJW
Paperback to come!

If you haven't got a Kindle (I haven't!), there is a FREE app at
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000423913

30% of the profits go to support the persecuted church.




Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How God answers prayer.

I confess to getting annoyed when someone informs me that: "God answered/didn't answer my/our prayer!"  You see, Father God always, without exception, answers every prayer that is brought to Him in the strong Name of the Lord Jesus.  The illustration that I learned, many years ago, is of UK-style traffic lights. When the light is green, the message is that one may move forward safely.  However, there are times when the light is red - and that means "Stop"!  In that case, one goes forward at one's own risk - and will be held responsible for any accident that may occur as a result of having disobeyed the clear signal.  Then again, the red and amber lights may be displayed together.  This means "Wait" until the green light shows.  "Yes", "No", and "Wait".  And these are the three answers to prayer.

Allow me to illustrate further.  When my children were very young, I can imagine (just!) one of them coming to me and asking me if I would provide her with a sports car.  Now, regardless of the financial aspect of such a request, my answer would have been "Not just now.  Perhaps when you are older".  I would not have been refusing her request; merely telling her that the time was not right.  Then again, she might have come to me and asked if I would provide her with some dangerous, addictive, mind-transforming, illegal drug.  As a loving and, I trust, responsible father, my answer would, of course, have been "No!"  This would not have been a temporary delay, but a final and definite decision. There were, quite naturally, many times when my answer was, "Of course", and the request was granted as quickly as possible.  However, on no occasion was there no answer!

The apostle Peter prayed, and Dorcas was raised from death (Acts 9:36ff).  Yet, three times Paul asked the Lord to remove a physical affliction, but He didn't do so (II Cor.12:7ff).   Just these two incidents are a Biblical reminder to us that the Lord doesn't always give us what we would like to receive; other times He seems to make us wait a long time before He responds.

I have listened to amazing testimonies of the way in which Father God has positively answered prayer.  I have many such testimonies from my own experience.  However, very often, I have not received the answer that I wanted, and expected.   In many such cases, I have later realised exactly why my heavenly Father denied me my request; or made me wait.

Contrary to the apparent belief of so many, prayer is not some kind of 'magic wand' by which we may always secure healing, or success, or a new relationship, or whatever.  The little printed and laminated 'plaque' that is on my study wall, reminds me on a daily basis that: "Sincere prayer is not an attempt to influence the Will of God; but a genuine desire to bring my will into line with His."

When you pray, acknowledge that God's will is best.  If you are discouraged because He doesn't seem to be answering, tell Him about it.  Never despair; never doubt. He will either give you the desires of your heart (Ps.37:4[b] - but be sure to read in context!!), or He will uphold you with His supernatural power so that, with Paul, you will be able to experience the truth of His promise: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor 12:9).

Friday, 22 April 2016

FOR SALE!

Due to having had to move closer to Bergerac, we are able to offer our residential, static, caravan (38’x13’; 12mx4m) to a discerning buyer.  The ‘van is already sited in a quiet, family-owned, and run, site in the Gironde Départment (33) in SW France.  The nearest large town is Coutras; while Bordeaux, with its airport, is only some 40 kms (25 miles) away.  Bergerac, with its own small airport, is a little over 50 miles away.




If you are looking for a Club, a large swimming complex, two Bars, and a Disco, then Camping Le Chêne du Lac is definitely not for you.  However, if you seek a peaceful site, with friendly, helpful, English-speaking, owners who live on the site themselves, and who are constantly upgrading it (for example, since the top photograph was taken, the roadway has been fully surfaced), then you will love this beautiful corner of France.    Although there is no pool, we do have a private lake, with a sand beach.  There is also free access to pedalos, rubber tubes, kayaks, etc.  How many pools can boast such an array of water activities? Of course, one may swim in the lake as well!

The ‘van, which was privately built to our specifications, is still less than three years old, and has not been host to either smokers or pets.  There are two bedrooms with double beds; one bedroom with bunk beds; and the lounge area has seating that may be made into a full double bed.  This provides sleeping for up to six adults and two children.

The lounge area has the above-mentioned seating, plus a coffee-table, and a TV table — complete with a TV!  We are leaving a clock on the wall, and a Monet print on the opposite wall!  There is an outside aerial that allows the reception of French TV programmes on a number of channels.  By the way, the master bedroom also has TV reception through a wall-mounted aerial socket, with a power socket beside it.     Luxury!
The kitchen area is well fitted with a stainless steel sink; a gas hob, and oven; an electric cooker hood; and oodles of cupboard space.  We are even leaving a microwave!      Safety is of paramount importance, so there is both a smoke alarm, and a fire extinguisher.  A dining-table and four chairs  are also provided.

There is a full bathroom, with wash-hand basin, toilet, and a proper bath with over-bath shower and a glass screen.   Other fitments are in place as shown in the photographs.  There is also an additional, separate toilet — a boon when up to eight people are in residence (or when someone is relaxing in a hot bath!) — complete with wash-hand basin. 

The ‘van boasts full double-glazing, and full, gas-fired, central heating.  The lounge area also has an electric fire, complete with remote control (luxury!!). There are curtains, or venetian blinds, at every  window.  This includes the patio doors that lead from the lounge area to the  verandah which, at this point, also has a roof. 

All of this allows for all-year-round living and, indeed, we have lived in the ‘van as late as November, and as early as January!  The site, of course, is open all year round.  Free Wi-fi is available, and we could usually connect from the ‘van!

The verandah stretches all the way along that end of the ’van, and beyond the front door.  Inset  steps  lead  to ground  level.    At the end of the verandah, but on the ground, is a wooden shed for storage purposes.  The verandah has a full balustrade which provides a level of privacy.   The pitch is clearly marked by shrubs at one end, a low fence at the back, trees at the other end and, of course, the verandah at the front.  There is also room to park a car beside the shed.  The ‘van has a Gas Safety Certificate that is valid until April, 2017, and it is insured until the end of August 2016.  There will be a full bottle of gas left, together with whatever is in the second gas bottle (currently almost full!).  The site rental is currently a mere 160 (app. £125) per calendar month.   Having the ‘van already sited provides a saving of some €1200!  This is not simply a “holiday chalet”, but a fully-fitted residential ‘van.

The price for all of this is only £28,495 sterling (or €36,550) - ovno. 
Viewing may be arranged, or questions asked, by contacting me by e-mail at

author@minister.com        

Additional photographs (and enlargements of those provided!) are also available, on request.

This is a wonderful opportunity to own your personal spot in the sun, in one of the most beautiful areas of a beautiful country.   Lots to see, and do, in the area, e.g. St. Emilion, Bordeaux, Bergerac, the Atlantic coast, weekly markets, wine-tasting, walking, horse-riding, cycling, fishing, golfing, and other attractions. There is also the potential of hiring the ‘van  -  especially during the summer months, and over the Easter period.    If one were to do so, even for those periods alone, the anticipated income should more than cover the site rental for the whole year.

Don’t delay - contact me today! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Contentment.

It was the apostle Paul who wrote "... I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content." (Phil 4:11).  But what is contentment?  Paul was not writing from some sun-drenched beach, with the waves breaking gently on the sand, and with a cool drink in his hand.  He was writing from a position of 'house arrest' - in rented accommodation, but with chains holding him to a Roman soldier.  He knew that his 'case' might soon be heard.  He knew that he might be acquitted.  He also knew that he could be beheaded - and that, in fact, is what happened.  Yet he can testify to being "content"!

The secret of that contentment was, of course, that he had found his total satisfaction in God. Regardless of the circumstances in which he found himself, his deep inner peace, and his assurance of the Lord's presence, were unshaken.   He knew, from personal experience, the truth of the words that he later wrote to the young pastor, Timothy, his 'son in the faith' (see I Tim.1:18; II Tim.2:1) - "There is great gain in godliness with contentment;" (I Tim 6:6) or, as another version translates the original Greek language: "... godliness accompanied with contentment - that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency - is great and abundant gain." (The Amplified Bible).  That inward sufficiency; that soul-sufficiency; is found only in the Lord Jesus, the Christ.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that that they will be able to find contentment in material things, and in financial riches.  The story is told of a wealthy employer who once heard one of his employees exclaim: "Oh, if only I had £100 I would be perfectly content!"  Knowing that his own great wealth had not given him this inner peace, he told her: "Since I would like to see someone who is perfectly contented, I am going to fulfil your desire."  He gave her the £100 and left but, even before he was out of earshot, he heard her remark, with more than a shade of bitterness, "Why on earth didn't I say £200?"!  The employer smiled.  He had made his point that money doesn't make a person "perfectly contented"!

In the past year or so, there seem to have been an inordinate number of 'celebrity' deaths - quite a few in just the past couple of months.  Some, like Victoria Wood, have died of cancer and, if reports are accurate, with dignity.  But others have died in more suspicious circumstances and, in a number of cases, narcotics of one sort or another have been involved.  These were people who appeared to have "had it made".  But neither fame nor fortune bring real satisfaction.  Decades ago, indeed, that was the 'complaint' sung by the group The Rolling Stones - with the 'rubbery-lipped' Mick Jagger - "I can't find no satisfaction".  I'll ignore the double negative - I know what they were singing.  

Of course, one doesn't have to be a 'celebrity' to be wealthy, and wealth is not the only method of measurement.  There are many highly-cultured, well-educated, people who are far from happy! there many who are wealthy, and even enjoy good health (something that cannot be purchased!) who are, nevertheless, dissatisfied. On the other hand, there are many who enjoy few (if any!) luxuries, and who may even suffer from debilitating health issues yet who, almost physically, radiate joy!  

How can this be?  I would contend that true happiness is not something that the world can give - although it tries to fob us off with imitations.  Soul-sufficiency; true contentment; deep joy; that is not dependant upon our situation or circumstances, is found only in the Lord Jesus, Who said, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11).

True contentment will never be yours until you give Him first place in your life.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Taking offence!

My standard "joke" on the topic is that I never take offence unless I can find a matching gate (you may have to read that aloud to get it!)!  However, I really am amazed at the number of people who take offence at the slightest thing.  A recent newspaper report informed of one woman who was offended by the colour that was named on a can of paint in either Lidl or Aldi.  The name was "Rape Yellow"! Having passed fields of flowering rape on our way to a Praise Evening, earlier this evening. I can quite understand the name.  A veritable sea of waving yellow flowers that will, in due course, be harvested for their seeds in order that the pin might be extracted to produce - yes, you got it: "rape-seed oil"!  I wondered if that particular woman refuses to use such a product in her kitchen.  Now, it is true that she claims to have been the victim of a sexual assault when she was younger and, if that claim is true, then I have a great deal of sympathy for her.  But to be 'offended' by the word on a can of paint!  She presumably never reads a newspaper, or listens to the radio, or watches television.  In all three, the word recurs with saddening regularity!

In the realm of the religious world, it is no better.  Sometimes, indeed, it is often the case that officials decide that a particular group will take offence, and decide that their will be no reference to, e.g., CHRISTmas, but that Winterfest will be celebrated instead!   Even among those who claim to be disciples of Jesus, there are those who are very quick to take offence, whether such offence was intended, or not.

Of course, those of us who "offend" others are in very good company.  Matthew records that, when Jesus had preached in His "home" synagogue, those who had known Him as a boy and young man were astonished at His wisdom. "'Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all this?'  And they took offense at Him." (Matt 13:54-57; emphasis added).

David Robertson, the current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, is a personal friend.   Those who think that I am a "plain speaker" had better not read any of what he says! He is regularly castigated for what he publishes in his blog: "The wee flea".  (That name, I should explain, is a play on the name of his particular denomination, popularly referred to, in Scotland, as "the Wee Frees". Think of the school boy 'jokes' about "flied lice", and you begin to get the picture.  A real flea, of course, also bites - and David's publications certainly do that!). However, all that he actually does is to tell the truth - and that is all that I seek to do myself!  When I post on the controversial topic of abortion, I don't "make things up".  I simply tell it as it is - the deliberate destruction of a human being who just happens to be at a very early stage of its development,but that is undeniably alive, and undeniably human.  That, I will continue to maintain, is murder.  However, that statement offends some who prefer to think of the unborn child as nothing more than a lump of tissue in the maternal womb!

Even the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, didn't see any need to 'pull punches'.  Read Galatians 2:11ff. Paul publicly rebukes his fellow apostle, Peter, and then relates the incident in a letter that was sent to all of the Christian fellowships in Galatia! However, we don't read of Peter making a fuss about it. You see, Paul's record was accurate.

Perhaps this is yet another area in which the world has been allowed to infiltrate the church - when it is the church that is called to infiltrate the world!   Yet God's Word provides clear guidelines for those occasions on which we are 'offended' by the words, or actions, of another.  Matthew 18:15ff is the relevant passage.

Of course, the greatest offence is the rejection of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, as the one and only Way to Father God.  For, as Peter pointed out, "... there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).  That offends many who prefer to think that they may, by their own good works, earn/purchase/deserve entry to the Kingdom of God.  However, much more seriously, it offends Father God Himself.  He loves you, and me, so much that, in the Persona (not a typo!) of the Son, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a Cross, becoming sin (see II Cor.5:21) that we might become righteous in His sight.

Have you availed yourself of that great offer of salvation?  It is so close to you, right now, as you read these words.  As always, if I may be of any personal assistance, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the page.  I don't check that account on the most regular of bases but, as soon as I find your message, I will happily respond.   By the way, for some reason unknown to me, I have not been able to access any comments for more than a year.  However, if any wishes to comment, they are welcome to use the same e-mail address.   I should also add that this post is not intended to offend anyone but, if it does, please look in the mirror before complaining!  Nothing in it is untrue!

Whatever you do, please be aware that it is your own eternal destiny that is at risk. Please do not let some perceived "offense" be the cause of you spending eternity cut off from Almighty God.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

As up-to-date as tomorrow's newspapers!

Those who read the Bible with any level of understanding will appreciate what used to be often claimed that, in its basic teachings, it is not a bundle of irrelevant ancient documents, but is, as the title of this post says, as up-to-date as tomorrow's newspapers!

This was, once again, brought home to me during my personal devotions this morning.  Having completed my time in Paul's letter to the disciples of Jesus in Galatia, I decided that I should return to the books of the Minor Prophets, in the Old Testament.  These are the closing books of the OT, starting at Hosea and going through to Malachi.  I should perhaps point out that they are referred to as the "minor" prophets, not because they are less important than the 'major' prophets, but merely because their writings are shorter!

It is always useful, I would contend, to familiarise oneself with the background to any Biblical text before attempting to read it, and learn from it.  Accordingly, I picked up a commentary by Warren Wiersbe - in my opinion, one of the finest Biblical commentators of this generation.  In his introduction to Hosea, I read the following: "Israel was enjoying great prosperity, but Hosea could see that the nation was rotten to the core; for honest government, pure religion, godly homes, and personal integrity had vanished from the land.  Judgment was inevitable."

The book was published in 1996.  Twenty years later, those words are, surely, even more true of most of the so-called "western" countries, than they were back then.  I read my daily (online) newspaper; I receive additional information through e-mails; I am inundated by Facebook messages that also inform me as to the state of the world in which we live.  Sadly, I see that "... honest government, pure religion, godly homes, and personal integrity ..." are in as short supply today as they were in Israel [the northern kingdom; the southern kingdom, at that time, was referred to as Judah] at the time of Hosea.   In the UK there is a Prime Minister who appears, to many, to be an inveterate, almost pathological, liar.  The major, traditional, Christian denominations are almost indistinguishable from the world to which they should be an example, and a prophetic voice (like Hosea!).  Godly homes are almost as rare as hen's teeth.  Personal integrity seems to have become little more than a phrase from antiquity.

Is it too much to suggest that judgement is inevitable?  Indeed, is it possible that we are, in the 'western' world, already tasting that judgement?   When child sacrifice, under the name of "abortion", is practiced on a scale that would horrify even those who practised it millennia ago in an attempt to appease the 'deities' they worshipped, but merely because a pregnancy, and the responsibility of a child, would be "inconvenient", what right have we to claim that we are the civilised ones? When deviant sexual relationships are accepted as being perfectly normal, even although they are incapable of producing children, what allows us to call our selves "progressive"?  When people are murdered, under the label of "euthanasia", because they have reached a certain age, and are no longer 'productive' members of society, how on earth may we call ourselves loving, caring, and compassionate?

All of the above - and there is so much more - is in total contradiction of the teachings of the Bible, and the will of the Creator God Who, through His servants, authored it (see II Tim.3:16).  However, Paul, writing to those Galatian believers in the letter that I have just finished reading again, warned them: "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Gal 6:7-8).  As a society, I fear that we are beginning to reap what we have sown - and it is not pleasant!

A mighty man of God named Moses, spoke to the Children of Israel shortly before his own physical death.  Listen to these words, spoken towards the end of that discourse: "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life , that you and your descendants may live, loving YHWH your God, obeying His voice, and cleaving to Him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which YHWH swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." (Deut 30:19-20).

Have you chosen life?  It's readily available to you, and in a measure greater than was offered to those people all of those millennia ago.  Because the life that is offered to you is the very life of Almighty God - eternal life, here and now.  It is something that you can never deserve; never purchase; never earn.  It is offered, as a free gift, to those who are willing to confront, and confess, their sins - and their total inability to do anything about them - but who come to the foot of the cross of Calvary, and accept, by faith, that God has done it all, in Jesus the Christ.  He has paid the penalty that you and I ought to pay, that we might know salvation, full and free.  When you take that step, you become His child, adopted into His family: "How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own through what Christ would do for us; He decided then to make us holy in His eyes, without a single fault - we who stand before Him covered with his love.  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And He did this because He wanted to!" (Eph 1:3-5; TLB; emphasis added).

Like me, you may live in a world that appears to be "going to the dogs".  Like me, you may enter a new relationship; a new family; and have a new future.  The choice, always, is yours.  Make the right one!