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.




Thursday, 16 April 2015

Can you spare 30 minutes?

Continuing with the political theme, and nailing my anti-EU (although very pro-Europe!) credentials to the proverbial mast, I offer this video.  Introduced by none other than the late Patrick Moore, it may open the eyes of some!  



If you have another hour to spare, then there is an excellent six-part series that may be accessed at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSQiPY3VVyA&index=1&list=PL7E2243A0D0C90B4B

This series is narrated by the admirable Peter Hitchens - in my opinion, one of the most honest, and trustworthy, journalists around.

If you live in the UK, and are in agreement with the sentiments expressed in these videos, then you will know that there is only one political party to support on May 7th - (and it is NOT the Green Party!).

Monday, 13 April 2015

Hypocrisy is alive and well on Planet British Politics!

The heading to this blog does state that it sometimes strays into the area of politics.  With only a couple of weeks, or so, until the next UK General Election, it would seem appropriate to add one just now.

In other places, I have made no secret of my current support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and its leader, Mr Nigel Farage.  I am aware that one ought not to judge a book by its cover, but even the fact that Mr Farage almost invariably is seen in public wearing a tie, warms me to the man!  However, any political Party is only a s good as its policies, so I have taken the trouble to look at what UKIP claim to be their policies, and not simply what the MSM (main-stream media) - and especially the left-wing-biased, partly EU-funded, BBC - claim are UKIP's policies.

Indeed, I am unaware of a greater campaign against a single Party, by all in opposition to it, than what is currently going on with regard to UKIP.  Let's take one or two of the slurs that are cast at UKIP, and see if there is any truth in them.

"It's a one-issue Party.  Get out of Europe!"  That used to be said about the SNP.  However, while their stated aim - through their current leader - is still to break up the United Kingdom, no-one would claim that that was all that they have to offer!  Similarly with UKIP.  Of course they want to take us out of the unaccountable, dishonest, corrupt EU - and every poll seems to suggest that the majority of the British public agree with them on that.  However, a quick look at their own website (http://www.ukip.org) will quickly dispel that false rumour.  Go to "Learn about UKIP" and, on the drop-down menu, click on "Policies for People".  There you will find a list of well-planned, sensible, policies covering everything from Agriculture and Fishing, through Democracy and the Constitution, to The National Health Service.  I counted a total of seventeen different areas, each one well "fleshed out".  So much for a "one-issue Party"!

Another slur that is constantly made by those who oppose the rise in the popularity of UKIP is that it is a "rascist" Party!  Of course, the term 'rascist' is misleading.  To the best of my knowledge, there is only one human race - I am a part of it, and so is an Australian Aborigine!   UKIP cannot even be accused, justly, of being nationalist.  It has supporters, and candidates, in both Scotland and Wales:
two separate nations - as both the SNP and Plaid Cymru are fond of telling us.  What UKIP is is, as the name suggests, a United Kingdom Party.  It stands for the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland.  However, if one wishes to look at the 'ethnic' make-up of UKIP, then one discovers that, in percentage figures, it has one of the highest number of 'non-Caucasian' candidates standing at the forthcoming election!  

Closely allied to the 'racist' slur, is the misinformation supplied by opponents with regard to UKIP's policy on immigration.   Please read the section on "Controlling and Managing our Borders" in the list of Policies to which I have already directed you.  You will quickly realise that, if you believe that UKIP will repatriate hard-working, settled, immigrants who are paying their own way, and who have integrated with their local community, then you have been lied to, deceived, and conned by the MSM.

One final comment.  It is a well-known adage that "Imitation is the highest form of flattery".  Look at some of the Policy announcements made, in recent weeks, by the traditional Parties.  Then check back in newspaper accounts of statements made by UKIP.  You will discover, perhaps to your surprise, that many of those policies and ideas, have been 'stolen' from UKIP!  The most recent one concerns the televised "Leaders' Debate".  During that debate, Nigel Farage raised the issue of "health tourism", and pointed out that foreign nationals with HIV were coming to the UK for treatment on the NHS, at no cost to themselves, having never paid a penny into the system, and at a cost of some £25,000 per year for antiretroviral drugs.  Interestingly, in a statement made today, we discover that “From April 2015, the Secretary of State for Health is for the first time exercising the power under the National Health Service Act 2006 to calculate charges for overseas visitors on a commercial basis, which may include a reasonable profit element.”   It is surely pertinent to ask why, if this power has been available since 2006, it is only now being exercised - weeks before a General Election, and days after the Leader of UKIP raised the issue!

I could go on - and will probably publish another post on the issue.  My only request is that, if you are entitled to vote in the UK General Election to be held on May 7th, 2015, you look at what the Parties themselves say about themselves, and not what the opposition says about them; remembering that the traditional Parties have a track record of making multiple promises before an election - and promptly forgetting them afterwards!  UKIP are the 'new kid on the block'.  They may not, in the event, do any better than any of the others.  I believe that it is still worth giving them the opportunity to show the nation what they can do.  After all, we can vote them out again in five years time!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

He knows - and that's enough!

It is no secret that 2014 was a difficult year for my family and me.  My younger daughter's having been diagnosed with the most aggressive type of cancer in one of her breasts was, of course, the major issue, and we are so grateful to God that she has completely recovered; and to many praying, and well-wishing, friends who supported her (and us!) through so many months.

The other issue of some importance has been our search for a suitable property in S.W. France, in order that we might fulfil the tasks to which we believe the Lord is calling us in that area.  It was only a couple of weeks ago that we were led to an appropriate house, at a price we could afford, and in the very commune (village) that we had, long ago, decided would be the place in which we would like to live if we were ever to make a more permanent move to France!  Hallelujah!

At the moment, my Bible reading for my personal devotions (aka "Quiet Time) is in John's account of the Gospel story.  It contains a well-known record of an event - one that is also recorded by each of the other evangelists.  Up on a mountain-side, Jesus looked at the thousands who had come to see, and hear, Him.  Then aware that they must be hungry, He turned to Philip (one of the Twelve) and asked, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" (John.6:5).   The somewhat pessimistic response was that, even if they had the full wages of a manual worker for about seven months, it wouldn't be enough to provide even a mouthful for each of the crowd!  By the way, if we take the current UK 'living wage' as £8.00/hour (a little above the recommended amount for those living outwith London), and base it on a 40-hour week, that comes to a staggering £67,200!  We can well understand why the only practical solution, as far as the disciples were concerned, was to send the people away to the surrounding villages in order to purchase provisions for themselves! (see Mark 6:36).

By the time John was writing his account of that well-known episode in the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, he had realised that Jesus had asked the question only in order to test Philip for, "He Himself know what He would do." (John 6:6).  He planned to perform a miracle, and feed the entire company of some 5,000 men, plus women and children, until each was fully satisfied - and have a basketful of fragments, left over from the meagre rations with which He had started, for each of the Twelve!

Last year, I read one of the biographies of George Müller.  Here was a man who often rested in the comfort of those words that John wrote about Jesus.  During the middle part of the 19th century, he cared for literally thousands of orphans in the city of Bristol.  He had no regular means of support, and he never once was know to make an appeal for funds, yet all of the needs of the orphans - and the cost of building specially-designed houses - were constantly met.  The staff in the homes often faced desperate situations but, as they began to pray about the particular difficulty, their leader would always say: "The Lord is testing us.  I don't know what we'll do, but He knows - and that's enough!"   On every occasion, the need was met - often in quite amazing ways.

Sometimes, you and I face situations that seem to be impossible - whether an aggressive cancer, or a much lower budget than had been anticipated for the purchase of a house.  The challenges seem so great, and we are unable to see any resolution of the problem.  We can do no better than to continue to place the matter before the Lord.  He Who fed a hungry multitude with so little can also meet our every need.  You and I may often be perplexed, but He knows - and that's enough!  The poverty of my resources is more than matched by the provision of His grace.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

It's Sunday - Friday is over!

Apologies to Tony Campolo who, as far as I am aware, coined the phrase "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming."  He was referring, of course to the fact that what we have named "Good Friday" was not the end of a story.  Sunday; the day after the Jewish Shabbat; the first day of the week; the day on which the Creator said "Let there be light"; the day that millions are celebrating; the day when the tomb in which the body of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth had been laid; brought the amazing news - that the tomb was empty!

The traditional greeting used by disciples of Jesus - and still used, albeit to a lesser extent, today - was "The Lord is risen!", with the response "He is risen indeed!".  What an amazing message!  What an amazing truth!  Some have tried to deny it - but that is only to be expected.  However, any honest, unbiased, investigation of the available evidence will surely lead to the conviction that it is true.  None of the proposed 'explanations' stand up to any scrutiny at all.  I deal with the topic, more fully, in my second book in the "Getting to know you ..." series - The Apostles' Creed - which is due to be published shortly! (watch this blog for further news!).

But why is the resurrection of Jesus of such apparently great importance?  Paul tells us in I Cor 15:17-19 that: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied."   Basically, the resurrection of Jesus is the claim on which the whole Gospel message stands, or falls.  It was the resurrection that marked Jesus out as the true Messiah - the Anointed One of God.  Oh, others had been restored from death - not only by Jesus Himself, but also by Elijah; Elisha; Peter; and Paul.  However, each of these had eventually died again.  Only Jesus "... is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7:25; emphasis added).  It is His glorious resurrection that assure me that, at the Last Day I also shall receive a new resurrection body as He "... will change [my] lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power which enables Him even to subject all things to Himself." (Phil 3:21).

Because of the pagan association of the word "Easter", many (including me) now refer to this day as "Resurrection Day".  However, there is a very real sense that every day is Resurrection Day.  This is because we may celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at any time, and in any place.  Today is a day of great hope - and, in Jesus, every day can be a day of great hope. 

Is your hope in Him?  It's that same hope that enabled 21 young Egyptian believers to die on a Libyan beach, at the hands of evil men, with the very Name of Jesus on their lips.  When students at the Garissa university in Kenya were being murdered, some are reported as having cried out "Lord Jesus, help me."  The scoffers - including their murderers - have asked "Where was He?"  I will tell them - He was there with them.  He was administering martyr's grace, for a martyr's death.  He was reassuring them that this mortal life is not everything and, if they were true disciples, they are now with Him in a way that they could never have been while in their mortal, decaying, bodies.

It's Sunday - Friday has gone.  The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed!  Hallelujah!




Friday, 3 April 2015

GOOD Friday?

It is, at first sight, a strange way by which to refer to the day that commemorates someone dying the particularly cruel death by crucifixion.  Why would anyone refer to such a day as "Good"?

The answer to that question is, of course, to be found in the identity of the One Who hung on that particular cross, on that specific day.  This was no common criminal - even 'though He died a criminal's death.  This One was Jesus of Nazareth - not only, as the inscription proclaiming His 'crime' proclaimed, "King of the Jews" but, in fact, the Saviour of mankind.  

Of course apart from using it as a piece of fashion jewellery, the world (i.e. those who live as if God does not exist) despises the cross, and the One Who hung on the cross.  As the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, wrote - centuries before the crucifixion of Jesus - "He was despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." (53:3).
 

Why did He die?  It was not because He had no choice in the matter.  As God the Son, He was able to ask: "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. 26:53).   No, the reason for His death was, quite simply, your sin - and mine!  His death substituted for ours. He was the sacrificial “... Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This Lamb is none other than God the Son Who, as Paul was later to write, willingly “... emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And, being found in human form, ... humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:7-8).
 
Remarkably, even God the Father “despised” Him as He hung on the cross, for God is holy and sinless and, for our sakes had “ ... made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.(II Cor 5:21).  It is not so many years since I first noticed that 'be' that I have emboldened, and the reality of it suddenly became clear.  Jesus not only ... bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (I Peter 2:24).  He actually became sin - sin in all of its blackness, and vileness, and heinousness, and accursedness.  When I did realise that, I also realised that it was at that moment, in time, that the Father, in His sinless holiness, turned away from the Son.  It was at that moment, in time, that Jesus uttered what is referred to as the cry of dereliction: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt.27:46).

The chorus of one of the old Christian hymns - with better theology than some of its modern counterparts! - goes like this:
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross, 'til my trophies at last I lay down.  Yes, I'll cherish the old rugged cross; and exchange it, one day, for a crown.”

On this Good Friday, do you cherish the cross, and the One Who hung on it?  Do you?!