Encapsulated Truth.

We are always being told that the simplest way to deal with an inadequate diet is to take a ‘vitamin supplement’ to make up for what we are missing out on by our skipping meals and  through our substituting ‘junk food’ for those more nutritious.vit amins.jpeg

Science fiction tells us that one day all our dietary requirements will come in a condensed and probably rather tasteless form.

The increased pace of our lives demands things to be quick, easy and ready to hand.

Why should we be wasting time cooking and preparing meals when it is far easier to buy something ready prepared and microwaveable, even if not quite as healthy and tastes of cardboard?

It has often been the case that expedients and substitutes have found their way into people’s diets.

The American woodsman who could not always carry supplies and find game, survived on dried meat called ‘jerky’. The Arctic explorer made do with ‘Pemmican’ and the seaman ‘salt pork’ and biscuits, often accompanied by weevils.pemmican

These expedients were necessary at times but could never make up for a balanced and sufficient diet.

In the area of communicating information and points of view, opinions and truths are often conveyed by the passing on of quotes from learned and influential people.

These ‘quotes’ often serve to  illustrate points we may feel they communicate in a superior or more condensed than we ourselves are able to do.

As you see from this blog, I avail myself of quoted sources which in my view ‘encapsulate’ truths I think are important and worthy to be more widely known.

Some people have a great gift for compressing useful and memorable truths into a terse and ‘pungent’ i.e. affecting ways.

These ‘words of wisdom’ and ‘quips’ and ‘quotes’ may supplement our intellectual diet and may be convenient forms to carry  and help preserve things into our memory, but will not wholly replace our own reading, study and contemplation.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was a master at conveying teaching to the masses in the ‘condensed’ forms of Parables and ‘sayings’. These teachings were easily remembered and were heard gladly by the people.

Some were content to marvel at Christ’s wisdom and entertainment value without looking more deeply and  as a consequence received no further benefit, others sought deeply and  found more substantial ‘food’ and reaped eternal benefits.

Taken in isolation, the ‘sayings of Jesus’ can act as a ‘pick me up’ in a given situation and they are valuable for their coming in a more portable and readily memorable form but they must be accompanied by continued feeding and meditation and thorough digestion of what God has to say to us in His Word as well as reading those who have left sound and useful works for us to study.


Due to the decline of ‘Corner stores’ or as we call them here ‘shops’, there are many of them that are now merely people’s homes.old store

They  may still have the overhead ‘verandahs’ and the large display windows but now they are closed and have no access and interaction with the public.

It may be said that many ‘Christians’ are  much like these disused businesses that inasmuch as their only concern is with their own salvation and personal welfare and have no further concerns.

They may make a token effort in supporting the work of missions and some prayer but they have long given up very much in the way of witness and evangelism as  being a ‘lost cause’ in the current atheistic climate.

It is easy to be discouraged as to the state of affairs in Christianity and its progress and witness in the World. We may have all come to the point that we have thrown up our hands and yielded to despair.

We have been infected with the almost universal sense of embarrassment with regards to the gospel .It does seem that many of those who make the most noise in Christianity, proclaim very little of the Scriptural message of Salvation and instead preach a ‘therapeutic’ gospel’ which most find less offensive.

While we may be assured that the cause of Christ will triumph in the end we are still reminded by Christ’s parable of the talents, that we have been each given spiritual ‘capital’ to invest and a heavenly reward awaiting us. Therefore we, each one of us are called by the Saviour to be ‘open for business when it comes to our life and witness for Him in the World.


To me the most poignant thing I have come across in my ‘cemetery’ researches is the  finding of a grave in one of the ‘infant’ sections where a couple  lost twins.

Three rows down I found that three years later this same couple, lost a baby girl.

I can only imagine how these parents suffered and wonder how they survived?

The Christian life is not not one that is free or immune to tragedy and sadness and sometimes we come close to being crushed by them.

But for the Christian faith and the power of Christ’s resurrection, death would remain a hopeless void.

We can only pity those who have no ‘Rock’ to cling to and seek to  lift up Christ as the truest support and stay for people who would otherwise be without hope.




Encapsulated Truth.

Knowledge without Wisdom!


The Bible tells us that in the ‘last days’ knowledge will increase and so it has proved, yet I believe it cannot be truly said that ‘man’s’ wisdom has grown in proportion to his scientific knowledge.

We see the modern push for the young to pursue scientific and technological careers in the hope they will improve themselves and the prospects for the World’s future.face

I would never downplay education but it seems to be case that advanced knowledge can often dwell in the same soul with low morality and depravity and selfishness.

The desire for Wisdom as well as knowledge among men is in itself admirable but for the Christian it is the wisdom ‘from on high’ that is to be sought above all else.

To know the Lord Jesus Christ is the gateway to all true wisdom and is the truest and best path to that knowledge which satisfies our yearnings and aspirations.

Kenneth Graham’s Toad may have sung boastinglyMr-Toad-s-image-from-the-book-mr-toad-38372591-621-768.jpg

“The wise men up at Oxford know all that is to be know’d, but none of them know half as much as intelligent Mr. Toad”.


But all the knowledge and worldly wisdom we might obtain is but a cipher unless Christ is the figure we place before it, (paraphrasing George Swinnock ,Puritan)

A ‘nasal twang’!

J.K. Popham, as I recall, lamented in his day, the fact that the most of the Christianity people heard and sought out invariably came with a ‘nasal twang’ or in plain speech from America and Americans.uncle sam.jpeg

This fascination for American Christianity in other parts of the World has continued to this day.

There is no doubt that the ‘United States’ has long been regarded as a ‘go ahead’ place and a driving force in the modern world.

Even with the rise of China, America still sets the tone and trend for much of the planet.

From its media most of all. We feel its influence on what we wear what we listen to and watch and what is socially and morally acceptable or not.

The American impact on ‘Christianity’ has been phenomenal to such an extent that most if not all of the world’s Christians look to it in expectation for guidance and example.

That the United States has had a positive impact on Christianity is demonstrable, that it has had some negative influence and effect it is also evident.

The only point I would make is that our admiration for what America represents and achieves should not lead us into blind and unthinking emulation.

The Christian Church in the U.S. as it appears in the ‘media’ seems to the rest of us, successful and vibrant.

So in many places it may be.

Sadly, much of what we have seen has savoured more often than not of ‘hype’ and ‘razz a matazz’.

What is truest and best in Christianity is not always what we see conveyed to us on the ‘Christian’ media.

We may be impressed by the numbers attending and the phenomenon displayed, but is the gospel being preached, is the Christianity of the people attending real and constant and of a ‘Biblical’ type?Lakewood-Church.jpg

Napoleon said that ‘God is on the side of the big battalions’.

America may have the ‘big battalions’ in a seemingly Christian sense but it is the reality of the Christianity professed and the reality that the name of Christ is being glorified which counts now and in eternity.

We may well be thankful for the much good ‘American’ Christianity does, while being wary of the false teaching and unreal expectations that originates from some sections of it.

bishop Jewel

Knowledge without Wisdom!

Trouble and Strife!

Many refer to the Christian Church in its earthly form as the ‘Church militant’.

The Church sadly, has often been less engaged in conflict with its greatest enemies of ‘sin, the flesh and the devil’ but more often with different factions and shades of opinion within its self.

It not only has to do with open enemies but also those who are, when measured by Scripture found to be ‘false teachers’. Still further the Church must deal with those who err from aspects of the truth without departing from the faith.

This is leading to a great deal of online discussion, even more so with the passing of Dr. Billy Graham.

Some would be tempted to ignore the controversies of the times and others would sail in ‘sword waving’.

To me it seems that the great need of the times is for us all to seek a well balanced and proportioned Christianity.

It is unlikely that the majority of Christians will harmonize on many things pertaining to theology and practice. So whatever our persuasion or perspective it behooves us all to endeavour to avoid the pitfalls on the one side while keeping clear of the quagmire on the other.

At the very least this involves us in coming to an understanding of Scripture as a whole and not grasping at one teaching of Scripture at the expense of another.

Also it is necessary to place no more weight and emphasis on a portion of Scripture than it can reasonably bear.

It is also dangerous to take many portions of Scripture out of their context and historical setting.

We have seen in the past the tendency to spiritualize scriptures that were meant to be taken literally and contra wise take literally scriptures that were meant to be taken spiritually. How much discernment is required to decide which is which?

So many it seems have their own axe to grind and therefore see the entire of the Word of God in a certain light and live their Christianity accordingly.

Ultimately it is an over confidence in our own wisdom and abilities that prevents us from realizing our own utter inability and instead seeking wisdom from on high to help us to come to a true and proper understanding of what God says to us in His Word and live our Christian lives accordingly.

Our crying need is for true Christ-like living balanced with true Scriptural knowledge tempered by true Christian humility and love.

The ‘Westland Whirlwind’


was a British twin engine fighter built during World War Two.

The prolonged development problems with its Rolls Royce ‘Peregrine’ engines and its tendency for engine power to fade at altitude caused it to be limited to low altitude ground attacks, in this it was very effective.

Likewise, many Christians find it difficult to aspire to the Spiritual heights that others may reach. Yet rather than wait idly for some exalted revelation or experience they must serve Christ to the best of their ability in the more pedestrian and mundane areas of Christian service.

As Christ teaches us in the Parable it is the one who contents Him or herself with the humblest place that receives the call to “Come up higher‘!


jcryle on luke12

The Marble Man!

Someone described Robert E. Lee as the “Marble man” because he was such a fine and noble man that it was hard to find fault with him, despite being blamed by many ‘Northerners’ for lengthening the war even when it was clearly lost by the South.r lee

There are very few if any who can go throughout the entire lives without truly or falsely having criticism laid against them.

Whether it is the fact of mud always sticking or genuine criticism of obvious error, the Christian must be in constant vigilance to be fair and just as well as loving and compassionate in all their judgments and assessments of people and ideas.

We can set people so high in our esteem that we are purblind to their failings and faults while with others we are always on the lookout for any failing and fall.

Naturally we would like to appear as those who are forever seeing the best in people but the truth is we are more prone to look for the worst.

We have in this country something called ‘the tall poppy’ syndrome. It is where we build some one up to the skies and then later  take much pleasure in tearing them down again.

Such a spirit and attitude is very far from a Christian one.

Our Lord Jesus Christ knew, even while on earth what was in men’s hearts, finally and ultimately He alone can judge the depth and reality of our faith and obedience.

We would do far better if we left the Final Judgment to Him alone.



To some of you we say, Go forward rather than pray. Think not that we would, as these words might imply, cast discredit on prayer. But, beloved our hearts are deceitful, and although we should at every moment have an upward eye and a thirsting heart for the guidance and the presence of the living God, still there are times and circumstances when it becomes almost a sin to pray. Sometimes it is unbelief that makes us pray, or rather seem to pray, else what does that word mean, ”Why criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.'”(Ex 14:15) — William C. Burns


Trouble and Strife!

“They being Dead yet speaketh”


Sadly this grave is in ‘off the beaten track’ part of the cemetery, yet I wonder how many who do see it pause and reflect upon it.

We may put the thought of death far from us but this does not lessen its inevitability.

The Day of Salvation is now and any prevarication is dangerous.

As the Lord God has through Christ came and sought us so we are called upon to seek Him while He may be found.

We are not merely called to take up the profession of Christianity but rather to be made anew in ‘being born from above’ and become a new creation.

May all who read this blog who do not know the Saviour ,the Lord Jesus Christ, take heed and act upon this warning from someone so long departed.

thomas brooks


“They being Dead yet speaketh”

The home at Bethany!


The history of Mary, Martha and Lazarus has been written and preached about many times and so familiar to us all.

That Jesus, who loved all, chose some above others as nearest and dearest is a fruitful subject for discourse and imagination.

For those who study the ministry of our Lord and its attendant difficulties and hardships it come as a relief that the Lord Jesus found some refuge, repose and fellowship in this humble home.

There are few Deserts that do have an ‘oasis’, so there are few lives however difficult that do not have their ‘mon repos’ (French for my place of rest).

(As an aside, I often wonder about the logistics of accommodating Jesus and his disciples. Were they farmed out to for accommodation in various locations to minimize the burden of feeding and housing such a large group? Did the disciples forage for themselves at the end of the day? Did Jesus always send notice ahead that He was coming?)

The pencil sketches we have of the occupants of this home in Bethany are descriptive if brief.

How dearly we would love more detail about Jesus’ life. Yet the scriptural portrait of Christ’ ministry and life has enriched His people and will continue to do so to the end of the age.

Of Lazarus we know very little apart from the fact that Jesus loved him. It is a telling fact that after Christ’s raising him from the dead that the Jewish leaders plotting Jesus’ death thought it might be necessary to kill Lazarus as well.

Martha is the well meaning, care ridden and task obsessed house keeper who misses out on the far more essential fellowship with Jesus. While she may well be blamed for this, the fact remains that her desire to minister to Christ puts much of our ‘lackadaisical’ and careless Christian service to shame.

She obviously believes in the eventual resurrection of the dead but baulks somewhat at Christ’s power to raise the dead in the here and now.

Martha has doubts and fears but wisely surrenders them in the knowledge that Jesus is indeed the Messiah and that God will certainly hear Him.

Mary is admired by all as the thoughtful and contemplative one. She will forget all else to come and sit at Jesus feet and rightly so.

We might humourously imagine however that if she had done her fair share of duties before Christ arrived there would have been less likelihood of Martha’s frustration.

Seriously, she sets before us all the example of seeking first and foremost the ‘one thing needful’ in the listening to and communing with Jesus. Like her, we should never let it be taken away from us.

When Jesus speaks we should ignore all else because it is here that blessing and spiritual riches come to us, more importantly to be with Him is to become like Him.

The family of Bethany’s nearness of affection to Jesus did not shield them from trial and sorrow. Indeed for the present it heightened it as Jesus delayed His arrival. To have faith is to have hope and yet hope delayed is itself the source fear and pain.


Christ’s human love for his friends was subordinated to the desire to glorify God and though they suffered a little longer it served a higher purpose and did not lessen the joy they eventually received.

So this often proves in our daily lives. Were we to live lives free from trial and sorrow, Satan would accuse us as he did Job. That God is able to sustain us in the ‘ills’ of life strengthens us and glorifies Him

The believer often appears to fare no better than the unbeliever and at times appears to fare even worse. Yet they would not part from their Saviour, though he seems to hide Himself.

The sister’s sorrow is more than repaid by the Lord’s return of their brother to them from the tomb. Yes Lazarus is raised to die again yet in The Resurrection,  Christ  becomes the door to life.lazarus

Again Mary’s love for the Lord comes to the fore in anointing and washing his feet. Her eyes in faith looked towards the coming sacrifice, when no one else sees it and acts accordingly.

Others may sneer at the cost and seeming impropriety but Our Lord Jesus is worthy of our richest and best love.

As a memorial it will stand to the end of the age because the same devotion is sought for in all of Christ’s people, yet how feeble and cold is our love still.

When we are troubled with many things and worn thin with cares and fears let us return in thought and imagination to this ‘Home in Bethany’ and sit at the feet of our Lord.

Famous Relatives!

Further to my mention of my ‘Ford relations’, the story has filtered down that as well as some of them coming here to Australia, some of them went to America as well.

It was asserted by someone that from this American branch of the Ford family sprang Henry Ford of Model  ‘A’ and ‘T’ fame.1917_Ford_Model_T_Runabout

I searched for a possible connection, but as his family seemed to have come from Ireland, if there is indeed a link it is further back than I am able to find.

For many of us being related to someone famous gives us a boost in our estimation of ourselves.

I think I recounted before,  the encounter Will Rogers snr. had with a ‘society’ woman whose boasted that her ancestors came out on the ‘Mayflower’.

He replied that his ancestors met them on their arrival.

If we do not possess fame ourselves, we would still like to be somehow associated with someone who does.

If we have not yet made our mark in life we would still like to bask in the reflected glory of someone who has.

However this may be for each of us, in the eternal scheme of things it is our relation and union with Christ that counts above all.

We may well live and die in obscurity and without our names meaning anything to anybody as long as Christ is glorified in us and through us.

Far rather bask in the glory of God in Christ than the World’s short lived and tawdry fame.

House Proud?

On one of my cemetery walks I came across the grave of a man who died in the 1930’s and who felt it necessary to have his former address including street number engraved upon his tombstone.

One wonders what interest he thought future generations would show in his former habitation?

The fact that he once lived in one of the better neighborhoods of the City may have been important to him but could it really impress anyone else?

Would it not have been far better if he could have given a ‘forwarding’ address?


The home at Bethany!

Known of God.

The ‘Ford’ branch of my family were ‘tallow chandlers’ in Redruth Cornwall selling candles to the Tin mines.A5 Wheal Peevor group.jpg

The earliest member of the family I know about came from somewhere in England and purchased a partnership in the candle making firm (it became Magor and Ford) in Cornwall and married a Cornish girl.

My great, great, great grandfather lost most of his money through the business and immigrated to Australia on board the ship ‘Red jacket’ in 1858.DT2036

majorca churchThey appeared on the goldfields at Moonambel, Victoria and then moved across to another gold-strike at “Majorca” this was where my great, great, grandmother married my great, great, grandfather in 1868.


My forebear carried on a ‘cartage’ business and is described as a dealer in ‘tea’ in Cemetery records.

There is no marker in the area where my great, great grandparents are buried so I can only approximate within a short distance where they are, which I find rather sad.

We say of those who died in war that have no known grave that their whereabouts is known only unto God.

Whatever happens to us, let us seek to not only to be known of God but to know God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet there is room!

While “Strait is gate and narrow the way that leads to life.” The truth remains that the “Father’s house has many mansions.”images bl

There is no shortage of room in the Father’s house.

The door despite its narrowness is not barred to anyone who is willing to enter.

It is our unwillingness to enter that is the fundamental problem.

Fussy Eaters!

One of my favourite comedy shows has the hero on an economy drive desperately trying to save money.

By sheer misfortune, the only meal he can afford to purchase at a ‘cafeteria’ is one that he detests and will not eat.imageshancock.jpeg

To my mind if I were in his position, I would force myself to eat it rather than go hungry.

It is difficult to get small children to eat vegetables no matter how much we say that they are good for them.

Many only develop an appetite for them much later in life and regret they did not eat more of them earlier.

What makes all this healthy eating harder is the fact that most of us love sweet things and deserts.

It is often the promise of a lovely desert that has been used to encourage our eating of healthier but less tasty foods first.

For some of us there are many things in the Bible that are not easy to swallow and do not appeal to our taste buds. Yet the Scriptures as God’s Word is the wholesome meal set before us.

We may need the promise of the spiritual equivalent of desert to bring us to partake of it, at least at first, but as we grow, we find that our palettes become accustomed to it and it becomes ‘sweet to our mouths’.


Known of God.

Deuteronomy: A Timely Reminder!

The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is the written record of Moses reminding the Children of Israel of what brought them to this point in their history.2016445_univ_lsr_xl.jpg

He reminds them of the Mighty power of God shown on their behalf in bringing them out of Egypt and in sustaining them for Forty years in the Desert. He confronts them with their own unbelief and sin that had so long delayed their entry into the blessings of the Promised Land and warned them of the dangers and curses that would come upon them if they sinned by alliances with the people of the land or relapsed back into unbelief.

This current generation of Israel was too young at the time to be held responsible for their parent’s sin yet the same proneness to disobedience and faithlessness was constantly present in their hearts.

We would have thought that such warnings were unnecessary.

God’s blessings and providential sustenance were ever before them in the daily return of the Manna and also the water that gushed from the rock so miraculously.

They were daily reminded of the Wrath of God because they viewed His Sentence being carried out on the previous generation withering away for their past sin and provoking unbelief.

Added to this, they were forever reminded of the holiness of God by the constant requirement to approach the His indwelt Tabernacle bringing sacrifices for sin and atonement and thanksgiving.

Despite all these helps to remembrance, Moses recognized our human frailty and tendency to forget and take for granted God’s blessings, commandments and past judgments.

If there was ever a time in the history of Christianity when so many vital things have been forgotten that should have been remembered, this is it!

There is hardly any doctrine or commandment found in God’s word that has not been conveniently forgotten or treated as an obsolete relic from less enlightened times.

The fact that the flow of the ‘times’ has gone so much against Scriptural Christianity has only served to accelerate the ‘forgetting ‘ and ignoring of so much Scriptural teaching and Christian belief.

Whatever else we may forget, we should remember that God does not forget and as judgment came on the disobedient in the past it certainly will fall on the disobedient and unbelieving in the future.

A life on Rails??

I recently purchased an educational DVD on ‘the Valley of the Kings’ in Egypt. I am always interested in archaeology and am intrigued by this particular are.valley of the kings

I was no more than one third way through the program when I realized that I had borrowed this exact ‘DVD’ some years ago from the library and had forgotten I had ever seen it.

I am sure most of us have times when we believe that we are breaking ‘new ground’ and varying our routine yet find we are doing something we have actually done some time ago.

It is almost as if we are travelling in a large circle and gravitate back to the same places of interest and fascination.

We pick up books that look interesting and find we have read them long ago.

These and many other things give us the ‘déjà vu’ experience.

The influences that work upon us act largely unperceived and subconsciously. Even when we seem to ourselves that we have ‘gotten out of our rut’, we soon find that we have gotten into another.

According to Sherlock Holmes, his brother Mycroft’s life ran on rails and any deviation from his routine was akin to a planet leaving its orbit.Mycroft_Holmes

The ruts we get into are not always bad things.

In various parts of the U.S. there are still to be seen Wagon trails and wheel ruts from the pioneering wagon trains heading West in search of a new life and room to grow.784774bb41f8212a62bfdef17cdf992f--laramie-wyoming-wyoming-usa

The fact that these ‘trails ‘were successfully used by others encouraged many who would come after to use them as well.

Though this did not make the journey completely free from hazard and danger it at least gave those who followed a sense of direction and a known way to follow.

I guess if we must get into a ‘rut’ maybe we can choose the best of them.

For the Christian it is far wiser to choose the ‘good old way’ of the Scripture and the ‘path of the flock’ than walk in our own ways and hazard a departure from the Truth.

The Titfield Thunderbolt


Was a 1953 British film about the effort to save a branch railway line from being closed down.

It well described the changing of the times and the passing of the old way of doing things.

Once something is lost it can seldom be recovered.

There is always the tension between what we preserve for posterity and continued use and what we replace as obsolete, outmoded or unsafe.

We are often so caught up in the tide of innovation and invention that we discard the tried and true without a thought or consideration and regret it ever afterwards.

At the other extreme we can hold on to something even when it has passed all genuine reason for keeping it.

The Christian especially must be wary of throwing aside truths and principals that appear to the casual observer outdated and outmoded just for the sake of keeping up with the times and trends.

It is these very things that have sustained Christianity when most under attack from its enemies and in danger of being overcome.

To throw aside Scriptural truths and God’s revealed way of Salvation and replace it with Man pleasing doctrines and hype and sensation is the surest way to final ruin and eternal regret.

On the other hand we must not preserve things that we have always done for no better reason than we have always done them and therefore see no reason to change.

The great wisdom is to know what to keep and what to get rid of.

We must cry for God’s help to preserve what He has given to us and grace to cast a way ,when necessary those things that had no business being there in the first place.

fly to christ

Deuteronomy: A Timely Reminder!