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.




Monday, 29 September 2014

Back again!

Well, it's been a while.  I have discovered that PCs are like cars - great while they are working!  Sadly, just before my last trip to France, I lost my wi-fi connection and, as my ethernet cables are all safely packed away (!), I was depending on borrowed cables, and my wife's laptop.  On my return, I took it to PC World (under an extended warranty) but, when I got it back, I discovered that they had replaced the Hard Drive.  No problem re data - all backed up.  However, it has taken me forever (almost!) to reinstall software - and to re-upgrade to Win.8.1!

Okay, that's my reason (excuse) for not having posted for so long - but I'm back on track as of now!

Of course, my difficulty, now, is in deciding a topic on which to post!  So much has been in the news since my last offering.  The ongoing advance of the so-called "Islamic State" in Iraq; the move of another Conservative MP to the UK Independence Party; the revelation that police failed to check valuable CCTV evidence in their investigation into the disappearance of teenager, Alice Gross.

So I am simply going to comment on something that I certainly haven't noticed in the national newspapers - or any other news medium, for that matter!

In the Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus, we find these amazing words: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (13:8).  In a world that seems to be forever in a state of flux, those are words that must surely appeal to our innate desire for constancy.  The fancy, theological, word is 'immutability', and what it assures us is that the Lord Jesus is unchangeable.  He is One on Whom we may depend, regardless of our situation, or our circumstances.  He is not one thing today; and something totally different tomorrow.  He is not fickle, or vacillating, abandoning, today, the plan that He made yesterday.

That, then, means that the salvation that He offers to all who place their trust in Him - confessing their sinfulness and sins, and claiming His blood and righteousness as the already-paid penalty - is not just for a time, but is for all of eternity!  (To learn more about eternity, may I recommend my book, "Great Words of the Faith" - see the top of the page).

So much of the news that we read in the newspapers, or see and hear on TV and radio, is bad news.  But the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News - indeed, it is the best news that any mortal can hear!  It is the news of sin forgiven, and a new life that is possible in, and through, that same Lord Jesus.

If you want to know more, please check out the "Do you need God?" link on the right-hand-side of the page, near the bottom.  Then go to the link above it (New Christian UK).  Alternatively, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top.  I will be delighted to offer what help I can. :-)

Saturday, 20 September 2014

After the event.

It's all over, bar the shouting - and, regretfully, there appears to have been quite a bit of that! However, the result of the referendum is fixed, and no amount of conspiracy theories; alleged ballot-box, or count, fraud; or even of different questions on ballot papers in different polling stations, is going to change it.  If Mr Salmond is willing to accept the result, I fail to see why others appear to be unable to do so!

I also trust that friends, who were on opposite 'sides' of the pre-referendum debate, will discover that their friendship is real, and above politics of any sort.  A true friend is one who sticks with a person through thick and thin.  Such a friend does whatever is possible to encourage, and support, and even bless.  A true friend is neither triumphalist (as some 'No' supporters have shown themselves to be), nor sullen (as some 'Yes' supporters have shown themselves to be).  

This is even more important within families and, while I have not yet heard of any familial discord based on the result of the referendum, there were certainly families with members supporting opposite sides.

In my archives, I came across a story that may, or may not, be true.  Either way, it does make an important point.  It reads: "It was the interval between final two rounds in a boxing match.  In one corner, a severely bruised and battered fighter sat on his stool, while his helpers worked furiously at his bleeding face.  His manager leaned in.  'I think he's got you whipped.' he said.  'Yes', agreed the pugilist, gazing dizzily through nearly-closed eyes.  'I should have got him earlier, when he was by himself.' "

The manager may not have realised it, but his comment was as damaging as the physical cuts and bruises that the boxer had already suffered.  It's bad enough to have to bear the stinging blows; the buffeting; the battering; of an enemy. However, the criticism, and discouraging words of someone close can be much worse.

I trust that the good relationship that I had with many who supported the 'Yes' campaign will continue now that the decision has been made - at least for the foreseeable future.  I would contend that it is certainly the responsibility of those of us who claim to be disciples of the Jesus Who said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matt.5:9) to do all that we can to bring about peace and reconciliation in our land. 

May all of us go forward, united in our love for our nation, and determined to see it flourish, as Glasgow's original motto states: "by the preaching of His Word, and the praising of His Name"!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

God - and the Archbishop!

The headline immediately attracted my attention.  

"Archbishop Welby: Sometimes I wonder if God really exists."

Thinking that it was one of those deliberately misleading headlines, designed to encourage me to read the full article, I did just that!  The headline, it would appear, is absolutely accurate!  In what was offered as a direct quotation, we are informed: "The other day I was praying over something as I was running and I ended up saying to God ‘Look this is all very well but isn’t it about time you did something, if you’re there’ – probably not what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say." (emphasis added). That final comment must surely be viewed as something of an understatement!  

So, if the spiritual leader of Anglican Church has occasion to doubt the very existence of the Creator God, is it any wonder that so much appears to be wrong within that particular communion - at least in the 'western' world?

Of course, the existence of God is on of those hoary old chestnuts that is pulled out, time and time again, by the sceptical, secular, humanists of the world.   And it must be admitted that, in the sense of laboratory experiments, that existence is something that we cannot prove!  Nor, indeed, should we expect to be able to do so!  If I was able to reduce God to the confines of a test-tube, then I would be greater than God.  In that case, the God Whose existence I had now 'proved' would not be God at all, as one definition of God is "the creator and ruler of the universe and the source of all moral authority: the supreme being." (Oxford Dictionary).  If I have reduced this being to something the existence of which I can 'prove', that I am certainly superior to that Being - and it, whatever else it may be, is not God! 

This is not to say that there is no evidence for the existence of God - but note my use of the word 'evidence'.  Evidence is not scientific proof.  In a criminal investigation, for example, the detectives who are involved in the case will gather evidence from the crime scene and elsewhere.  They will put together a case, and present it to the Office of the Procurator Fiscal (in Scotland), or to the Crown Prosecution Service (in the rest of the UK).  It will then be up to the legal experts to decide whether, or not, the case as presented is likely to persuade a jury that the accused is guilty of the crime as charged!  There is no 'proof''.  It has all to do with the burden of evidence - "beyond reasonable doubt"!

The topic is too large for me to deal with in just one post on this blog.  Anyway, I deal with it, to some extent, in the second volume of my book series (Foundations of the Faith) that I hope to have published by the end of the year, or early next year.  However, permit me to share a few thoughts.

1. Creation  I would contend that any unbiased, impartial, observer would accept that this amazing universe in which we live out our mortal lives is not the result of a long series of random accidents. To use an unoriginal example, if I see a Boeing 747 sitting on an airport runway, I do not conclude that it resulted from an explosion in a junk-yard!  (We won't go into the origin of the junk-yard, or the cause of the explosion!).  Design demands a Designer, and the creation demands a Creator to Whom, in the English language, we give the nomenclature "God".

2. DNA  Okay, I suppose that after Creation, everything else is merely a sub-section!  Having said that, DNA is amazing!  What is it?  Well, I am no micro-biologist, but I know that it is a code - a code made up of four chemicals identified by scientists as A, T,G, and C.  These are arranged in the well-known double helix.  Every human cell has no less than three billion of these 'letters' in its code. They are, effectively, the instruction manual for the cell.  An instruction manual, basic logic tells us, requires a writer who deliberately, and intentionally, prepares it.  We call that writer, God!

3. The human 'heart'  No, not the organ that is pumping blood around your body as you read this post - although it is a remarkable piece of engineering in its own right!  I'm referring more to the human psyche - the inner person that makes me different from you, and you different from everyone else. Suppress it as we may, there is something inside us that 'knows' that there is a superior Being.  I read an article just a few months ago that claimed that this "sense of God" is innate to humanity.  Our 'default' position is, apparently, that we accept the existence of God.  It is a secular society, that does not want to be answerable and accountable, that then 'teaches' us that the whole idea is nonsense. However, even then, there is truth in the words of Augustine that "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee"; or, in a more contemporary form: "There's a God-shaped blank in every heart that only God can fill".

I doubt that the Archbishop of Canterbury reads this blog, but I trust that someone will advise him that he need not doubt.  Almighty God has not left Himself without witness. Our God is totally dependable; totally trustworthy; totally believable.  

Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn.20:29). 




  


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Yes, or No?

With only one full day before the polls open for the Scotland referendum, this is my final post on the subject.  I have made on secret of my personal conviction that the best future for Scotland is within a continuing United Kingdom.  This is not, as Mr Salmond was suggesting in a clip on the BBC programme, Reporting Scotland, earlier this evening, that I do not believe that Scotland could 'go it alone' - I merely happen to be one of those who believes that there is strength in unity that is lost in isolation.

Mr Salmond's interview by Jackie Bird was, to say the least, interesting.  Time and time again, he 'ducked' the direct question that she had put to him.  This, I have noticed, has been a feature of the 'Yes' campaign which, however much he denies it, has been very much the campaign of Mr Salmond, supported by the SNP.  I have been told, ad nauseum, that the 'No' campaign has been negative and false.  However, I have also noticed that Mr Salmond has fought for his side with just one word - 'scaremongering'.  Everything that the 'Yes' campaign has put forward - from currency to cost of living - has been tarred with that single word.  No suggestion that it might actually be reality!  Even in this evening's interview, he was insisting that the rest of the current UK would go into a currency union, and that a separate Scotland would keep the pound sterling!  I believe that the correct psychiatric term is 'denial'!  Even if the leaders of the two main Westminster political parties (I totally discount the LibDums as a major force in British politics, and fully expect them to all but disappear at next year's General Election!) were to realise the error of their ways, and go along with Mr Salmond's conviction (which may well be correct!) that a formal union would be in the best interest of both a separate Scotland and the remainder of the UK as we still know it, the electorate outwith Scotland have made clear their disapproval of any such accommodation!  And Mr Salmond talked, this evening, about the 'mandate' of the Scottish people for such a union!  I honestly cannot see any of the Westminster politicians putting their own positions in jeopardy just to please "oor Alex"!

The ultimate choice, it seems to me, is the uncertainty that would continue within the UK - because the future is always uncertain; or the uncertainty of following the 'Braveheart' rhetoric of Mr Salmond.  I know which option I find less worrying!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am no fan of David Cameron.  I have seen more backbone in a jellyfish, and his kowtowing to minority groups - from homosexuals to Muslims - is, I believe, an affront to most of the British population. However, I did agree with one of his most recent statements.  I have constantly insisted that this referendum is not about 'independence', but separation.  However, I have come to realise that I have been wrong!  Separation allows for re-union. This vote, if it is a 'Yes', will be a divorce.  It will be a divorce that is full, final, and irrevocable.  If Scotland votes, on Thursday, to leave the United Kingdom, then it will never - and that means 'not ever' - be able to return to the fold.

It is my prayer that the period following the declaration of the result which, regardless of the outcome, is going to disappoint a great many people, will be a time of peace and reconciliation.  As a disciple of Jesus, I am convinced of the sovereignty of Father God and I believe that He is still in control.  I don't know what the future holds - but I know Who holds the future!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Of dogs and men.

Let me make it perfectly clear - I am a dog-lover.  Let me also make it perfectly clear that I abhor the, apparently deliberate, fire that caused the deaths of so many of our canine friends in the Manchester Dogs' Home.

However (you were expecting that, weren't you?!), along with many others, I am at  a loss to understand how it is that such an event should spawn so many fund-raising ventures - from a sponsored dog walk, to simple appeals for cash - and raise more than £1million in a matter of days. That, of course, excludes the value of the tons of dog food that have been donated.

So what is the problem?  Let me mention only two, of many, causes that are not as well supported. The first concerns soldiers.  "Help for Heroes" has done a tremendous job in providing assistance for members of the military who have received serious injuries (some, extremely serious!) in the line of duty.  I am, of course, open to correction, but I don't believe that donations have ever flooded in at the sort of rate we have seen in Manchester!  The other cause I will mention is the "Pro-life" one.  If you read the series that I posted, last month, on abortion, you must surely realise that that procedure is nothing other than murder.  What has been conceived, and is growing (the ultimate sign of life!), is a human being, albeit at an early stage in its development.  The deliberate extinguishing of that life, for whatever reason, and at whatever stage, is murder - plainly and simply.

It would appear that many people consider the life of a dog to be of more importance than the life and well-being of a human being!  Yet it was only man that the Creator made in His own image.  It was only into man that He breathed His own spirit.  It was for sinful men, and women, and children, that the Lord Jesus, the second Persona (see my book: details at top) of the Godhead hung on a Roman cross, and shed His precious blood.  It is only man who is aware of sin, and to whom salvation is offered - fully, and freely.

By all means, let us care for our animal friends.  But let us also remember that, in spite of the lies spun by secular humanists, we are not animals.  We are a distinct and special creation.  Let us show even more support for human life, than we do for dogs.  "A dog is not just for Christmas", the car sticker proclaims.  Human life, we might add, is not just for time.  We have an eternity awaiting us - and only those who have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made, on their behalf, and who are trusting in Him for this life and all that it may hold, are assured that they will spend that eternal day in His presence.  Please be sure that you are among that number.

If I may be of any assistance, please use the e-mail address at the top to contact me - or go to the link "Do you need God" near to the bottom of the page.  The one above it may also be useful.