Important Information.

STOP PRESS: My first book (the first in a planned series!) is now available in paperback format. :-)
It is being published by AfJ Publications, Glasgow, and sells for £8.99 (for 230 pages). Initially, copies may only be ordered from me (p&p not included - but they may be collected in person!). Please contact me at
author@minister.com
The book is, of course, still available in its Kindle edition.


You'll find it at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009EG6TJW where you may read some sample chapters!

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

I am also considering producing an audio edition. Any feedback as to how welcome this might be would be appreciated, as it would involve a great deal of time and effort!

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




Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Christmas Scale

One of the regrets that I have is that we did not have a piano in our home, when I was a child.  I would love to be able to sit down at a keyboard, and produce even pretty standard music!  However, as this clip shows, one does not have to be a virtuoso concert pianist to get a very important message across.  It's only a couple of minutes.  Enjoy!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

One week to go!

Yes!  This time, next week, will be Christmas day.   Only six more shopping days - if one uses Sunday!  For some, it is a time of  unwanted pressure and anxiety: frantic last-minute shopping when a gift arrives from a relative who had been forgotten!  For others, it’s sweet sentimentality: a time for the children; Mary, and Joseph, and the infant in a manger.   For yet others, it’s no more than a mid-winter festival that brings an opportunity for an extra party, or two.

Oddly enough, the verse from the Bible that best sums up Christmas – from a Christian perspective – is one of the best-known in the New Testament.  It’s John 3:16 – “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  That verse speaks to me of three simple things.

There’s a fact – “God loved the world ...”  Not just the nice people; the good people; the charming people; but the world – the unlovable and the unlovely; those who are loved by no-one else; those who never give Him a thought; those who rebel against Him, and use His name as nothing other than a profanity.  Love, according to the Christian Gospel, is the very mainspring of the Being of God.  “God is love”, writes the early apostle, John. (I Jn.4:8,16).  And part of the wonder of this is that it’s not a scientific theory to be changed in the light of fresh evidence or experimentation; it’s not a legal speculation to be argued over in a judicial court; it’s not some popular idea to be maintained only while it’s fashionable.  It’s a Biblical fact - “God so loved the world”.   And it’s the basic message behind this Christmas season.        

But the love, even of Almighty God, if it were merely passive and un-communicated, would not be sufficient.  And so, after directing our thoughts towards the fact, this well-known verse goes on to speak of an act.  “God loved the world so much – that He gave His only-begotten Son…”    And here is the love of God being put into action.  God so loved, that He gave.   And He gave sacrificially – even giving Himself in the Person of the only-begotten Son.

Christmas is traditionally the time for giving.  And isn’t it wonderful to remember that, at the very first Christmas, the greatest and best Gift that could ever be, was given?  God gave His own Son; putting His love into action; giving the very best that He had; giving all that He had.

A fact; an act; and a pact.  That’s the third thing of which that well-known verse speaks.  “... that everyone who has faith in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” God’s love; God’s Gift; are not mere handouts.   Free they may be – but the Christian faith teaches that they are only so to those who are willing to enter into a living relationship with that same God through the Son; only to those who have faith in Him; who put their trust in Him; who receive Him with humble and thankful hearts. 

And that’s the true heart of CHRISTmas!

                                                     

                                                       

Monday, 15 December 2014

Santa?

There have been a number of reports, in recent days, telling about the mother who decided to teach  two of her young, and apparently naughty, children a lesson.  She hung a letter - ostensibly from "Santa" - on the fireplace but, when the children opened it, they discovered that it contained the devastating news that it was "certain" that they were on the "naughty list."!

The mother's intention was, of course, that the children might start to behave better in the remaining time until Christmas Day - but she didn't anticipate how seriously the children would take the initial message!

Needless to say, the reports instigated comments from the leftie-liberal-loons.  One person stated, with reference to the mother: "What a nasty bit of goods.  I wouldn't mind putting her on some sort of stop list, but it would harm her kids again (sic)".(emphasis added).  Another wrote, again with reference to the mother: "Pure evil, no wonder kids are manic.(sic)". (emphases added).

Personally, I agreed more with the person who wrote "Absolutely brilliant.  It might, to some of the PC brigade, be cruel but it did have the desired effect.  Well done, Mum!"

However, what about some really radical thinking!   What about thinking right outside the box!   What about explaining to our children (as my wife and I did to ours - with no apparently bad effect) that this person "Santa" is nothing more than an advertising ploy?  That while there was a man named St. Nicholas, who did help some poor people in the area in which he lived, there was no 'magic' sleigh, pulled through the air by 'flying' reindeer, and carrying all of the gifts for all of the children in the world (!) to be delivered in a 24-hour period!  That the real reason why we give gifts to one another at this time of the year is because we are supposed to be celebrating the greatest Gift of all: "God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever places their trust in Him should not perish but have, here and now, eternal life - that is, the very life of God Himself."

You see, I am convinced that, as children grow older, and discover that "Santa" isn't a real person, they decide that the Jesus bit of the celebration (if they hear about that at all, these days!) is probably no more real.  That, I would contend, is doing our children a real dis-service.

Christmas without "Santa" is perfectly possible.  Christmas without the Christ is totally meaningless!
Absolutely brilliant. It might, to some of the PC brigade be cruel, but it did have the desired effect. Well done Mum.
Pure evil, no wonder kids are manic!
What a nasty bit of goods. I wouldn't mind putting her on some sort of stop list, but it would harm her kids again.
What a nasty bit of goods. I wouldn't mind putting her on some sort of stop list, but it would harm her kids again.
What a nasty bit of goods. I wouldn't mind putting her on some sort of stop list, but it would harm her kids again.
What a nasty bit of goods. I wouldn't mind putting her on some sort of stop list, but it would harm her kids again.
 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Twelve days to Christmas!

No, the heading is not an invitation to sing a well-known song about leaping lords, dancing ladies, and a partridge in a pear tree, etc.  It is just a reminder that there are only twelve more days until that special celebration of the birth of the Christ-Child.  By the way, this post is also the first of the second thousand on this blog - yes, it is post 1,001!

It is also a visual post that reminds us that, without the Christ, Christmas is just another consumer-driven, debt-inducing, party-attending, season of the year.  The video is only 45 secs in length - so do take a look!


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

I'm a chef, as well!

Not everyone who accesses this blog would be expected to know that I commenced my adult working life in the catering trade.  I am, in fact, a fully time-served, experienced, chef having risen "through the ranks", from Commis Chef to Head Chef, and even Chef-Manager!

Perhaps that is why I was particularly interested in the furore caused by the comment made by Baroness Anne Jenkin that poor people are going hungry because they “do not know how cook”.  She gave the interesting illustration that: “I had a large bowl of porridge today. It cost 4p. A large bowl of sugary cereal will cost 25p.”

Of course, the loonie lefties were falling over themselves with indignation.  What did this toff know about poverty?  When did she have to go to a Food Bank for supplies?  Alright for her with her daily allowance for attending the House of Lords.  So, as seems to happen all too readily these days, the Noble Lady apologised.  

Why?  Her statement was only slightly inaccurate.  She ought to have said that, in many cases, they are just too bone-idle lazy to do so.  After all, cooking a bowl of porridge isn't exactly Cordon Bleu catering!  Yet it is one of the healthiest breakfasts that is available and, as Baroness Jenkin pointed out, is amazingly inexpensive.  The trouble, for too many (but not, by any means, all) of our Welfare State dependents, is that it requires a wee bit more effort than does opening a packet of breakfast cereal with its high sugar and salt content (of course, one ought never to cook porridge without a pinch of salt!).

It certainly seems to me, from my observations, that a considerable number of those on state benefits are among the more obese in our society.  Perhaps some basic exercise (even walking a couple of bus stops, instead of using a bus pass), and some freshly-cooked food (mince steak, potatoes, and fresh veg) instead of processed, and 'carry-out', meals would make a difference.  Of course, that would require taking responsibility for themselves, and not expecting others to pander to their wants!