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.


The term building implosion can be misleading to laymen: The technique is not a true implosion phenomenon. A true implosion usually involves a difference between internal (lower) and external (higher) pressure, or inward and outward forces, that is so large that the structure collapses inward into itself.implosion

In contrast, building implosion techniques do not rely on the difference between internal and external pressure to collapse a structure. Instead, the goal is to induce a progressive collapse by weakening or removing critical supports, therefore the building can no longer withstand gravity loads and will fail under its own weight. (quoted from wiki)

It seems to me, that there are spiritual and emotional equivalents of an “implosion”.

People are often referred to as ‘going to pieces’ in times of overwhelming sorrow and emotional stress.

The old joke is that some people “go to pieces so fast that others get hit by the shrapnel”.

Emotionally volatile people, in trying times, tend to strike out at those in the vicinity; which may provoke family, friends and colleagues to ‘steer clear’ of them for a while.

Others, when under stress and feelings of despair become withdrawn. Their emotions contract and behavior implodes into introversion and they free-fall in on themselves.

A hedgehog may find this a good defense mechanism: but for everyone else it does more harm than good.

It has the effect of cutting off or hindering the comfort and help others may bring.

I have often been called an introvert.

I often wonder if anything I say to people makes any sense to them and if I connect with them at any level.

The people, I more easily converse with and who seem to understand me most are certainly few and far between.

If people do not react to me in the way I expect, my tendency is to resort introspection and wonder what is wrong with me.

We sometimes feel that it is better limit interaction with others and just speak when you are spoken to.

Some of us only need a little push to turn us into ‘hermits’.

In trying times, the Christian is not impervious to the temptation to close the shutters and doors on everyone and everything and fly away to a place of quiet and solitude in the hope of finding tranquility.

King David understood this feeling more than most.

The danger comes when we turn away from God and thus shun the only true source of aid and comfort.

Phillip Yancey wrote a book called “Disappointed with God”.

We may arrive at a point where we feel that God is letting us down or even spiritually ‘short-changing’ us. We feel as if God is far away and uncaring.

We may, in a fit of spiritual pique give God the silent treatment or go off in a “huff”; “cursing the day of our birth”?

People in high emotion, dudgeon or resentment, are often said to be “seeing red”.

Being this condition affects the way they perceive and handle things.

In like manner, our view of God is often coloured and clouded by the way we are feeling at the time.

The state of a Christian’s relationship with God influences for ‘good or ill’ all other relationships.

If we are open and honest with God we are more likely to be so with our fellow believers.

Focusing on Christ, takes our mind off ourselves and our own problems and makes our focus the pleasing of our heavenly Father and doing good to those around us.

A spiritually healthy relationship with Christ promotes better relations with other Christians and makes us more desirous to seek the welfare and salvation of those who do not know the Saviour.

One fruit of opening ourselves to Jesus Christ is that we find more peace and are less liable to fall to pieces in a crisis.

True this may not always be the case.

The Christian is still a work in progress.

However the closer we cling to Christ, who knows well how to still storms, the less likely we will be to implode spiritually.

Even if we do collapse in some degree, He is willing and able to rebuild and renew us.

building reconstruction


Jeremiah and Baruch.

To be a faithful servant of God and our Lord Jesus Christ is not always an easy or flesh pleasing task.

Jeremiah, in his day, was given the task of delivering God’s message of impending judgment to the Jewish nation.

The people’s heinous sins and blatant disobedience of God’s law made punishment inevitable.

Jeremiah’s warnings of future judgment, call for repentance and a return to obedience provoked a hostile and sometimes violent response from the leaders of the people.

This took a toll on his sensitive nature.images jerem

He suffered greatly due to the emotional stress and strain involved in preaching an unpopular message to a self righteous and self satisfied people.

The prophet’s obedience and faithfulness to God brought upon him, among other things accusations of treason and sedition against his own nation.

He ‘fell foul’ of the religious leaders and own countryman and like Elijah before him was regarded as a “troubler of Israel”.

Jeremiah suffered reviling, persecution and physical abuse and this made his life almost unbearable.

The book of Jeremiah wrote reveals him to be a person of tender nature and highly developed sensibility.

His profound love for God and his people were constantly in conflict within him: despite this, he remained unswervingly faithful to God and His Word.

No doubt, this man of God would have preferred preaching a message comprising only good news, with promises of unending blessing and a rosy future for all. This was not what he was called to do.

Jeremiah, in faithfulness to his call from God did not shrink from delivering the message given to him regardless of the consequences.

It was a message of imminent judgment that resembled a swift approaching and potentially devastating storm.judgement

The “door” of God’s long suffering was revealed as nearly shut: tragically, it was the people who were fast closing it upon themselves. This was due to their willful obstinacy and disobedience to God’s revealed will.

The prophet instinctively sought the welfare and salvation of his people and to be compelled to deliver a message of impending slaughter and a humiliating exile for the few survivors, grieved him sorely.

Jeremiah doubtless, fervently hoped that the nation would turn in repentance and walk again in the path of godly obedience: this surely would have forestalled the judgment to come.

God would have come to them instead with forgiveness, mercy and love.

Sadly, the leaders, priests and people persisted in their idolatry and sin.

The nation careered out of control, going from bad to worse thus making God’s judgment inevitable.

In the depths of his sorrows, Jeremiah tried to bottle up and restrain the word of God within him.

 It was getting all too much for him.

Perhaps if he could remain silent, at least for a time, he could have enjoyed a brief respite and found a little peace.

But nothing could stifle the message of God within him; it burned in his soul, like an active volcano seeking to vent itself and erupt.index vol

The prophet records some of the struggle in his soul.

He felt that God had somehow tricked him, and was giving this message of judgment to the wrong and completely unsuitable man.

Perhaps the prophet, in common with the rest of the people, had grown so accustomed to think of God solely, in the terms of love and mercy.

To the typical Jew, God’s judgment was reserved for the Gentile nations that did not know Him. They thought God would only act for the salvation and deliverance of His people. To think otherwise was a considerable wrench for someone like Jeremiah

The prophet’s message tore away the façade of superficial worship and “lip service” paid to God by the people and held to the “light” the kingdom’s idolatry, corruption and spiritual bankruptcy

God’s imminent coming instead of an expected source of blessing and hope was instead a visitation as Judge and executioner.

The only remedy for the back-slidden people was repentance and reformation: of which there was, as yet no evidence.

One could imagine Jeremiah thinking, “Surely God could have raised up some one like Elijah to deliver this message of judgment. He would have stood like an “oak tree” against this storm of reproach: Why did he choose someone like me? I feel like a plant in the desert, withering from the heat of the sun”!

Jeremiah no doubt, sorely felt every hurtful barb and took to heart every sarcastic sneer.

He bewailed his appointed lot and resented every aspersion made against his character and patriotism.

Yet it was to this “sensitive soul” that the Word of the Lord came and no plea of inadequacy on Jeremiah’s part was sufficient to dissuade God from His choice.

Regardless of his own feelings and despite all of the consequences, this man of God fulfilled his divinely appointed task and faithfully proclaimed the Word of the Lord.

Jeremiah was not the only one who suffered during this pivotal period in Judah’s history.

Baruch the son of Neriah, Jeremiah’s secretary and amanuensis, took some of the “flack” from the affronted and disgruntled leaders of the nation.jer and bar.jpeg

The role he played in the proclamation of God’s sobering message cost him dearly.

Baruch appears to have been a relatively young man with perfectly natural hopes and aspirations for the future. These were to be greatly curtailed by soon occurring, prophesied events.

Baruch’s intimacy and collaboration with Jeremiah in his ministry, made his life difficult and perilous. Added to this, the prospect of impending conquest and foreign exile quashed many of his hopes for the future.

So profoundly did this effect him that God in his mercy, addressed his sorrowful state.

45 When Baruch son of Neriah wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’ But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’”Jeremiah 45: 1-5

Faithfulness to God’s Word often involves heartache and suffering.

Sadly, many today shirk their duty and studiously avoid the unpleasant truths that God calls them proclaim and the holy life they are commanded to lead.

We all have hopes and aspirations in this world but we also know that this “world is passing away and the lust of it” 1 John 2:17.

We have an uncertain lease on our earthly life with no guarantee of health and prosperity.

The Christian’s call requires the setting aside of our own interests, hopes and desires and our seeking to faithfully fulfill our duty in serving God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah’s message was not all death and despair. Beyond the gloom the light of hope shone.

Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:



Let us be faithful and obedient to His Word and service even when the consequence for our obedience is to be hated and persecuted!

The Lord knows those who are His and will reward their faithfulness to His Truth.

indexsibbe times






Swinging the Compass!

Marine vessels and aircraft, (even in the era of satellite navigation), still rely, to some extent on the use of the magnetic compass.52be46a234d0d4d6ffeb3b4136925753

A vessel or aircraft’s compass can develop a deviation error and give an inaccurate directional heading if not accounted for and corrected.

For ship at seas; “Deviation is the problem of compass error due to structure of the vessel, proximity of metal objects, magnetic fields or electrical equipment. It may be influenced by loading cargo (e.g. canned fruit) or having repair work done (new metal parts or electronics). Deviation also varies with the ship’s head (way it is pointing) as this changes the position of the magnetic fields in the boat relative to the earth’s magnetic field as well as it’s relationship with interfering objects onboard.

Individual vessels have individual deviation cards that show the adjustment required for changes in position of the vessel’s head. The process used to produce a deviation card is called ‘swinging the compass’.”; Quoted from “Coastal boating .net”grid

As with a ship at sea, because of the presence of a sinful nature within as well as the incessant pressure of worldly’ temptations and trials without,   the Christian is in constant of peril of taking a false bearing and sailing in the wrong direction.

Every ‘false heading’ we take in our spiritual voyage will lead us further away from the heavenly harbor and result in shame, sorrow and loss.

We retard our progress and growth in the Christian life and experience the loss of peace and joy in Christ.

We are often unaware of how much we are affected by things that seem in themselves harmless, such as “worldly” pleasures and pursuits.

We find ourselves “all at sea” because we have lost our bearings in the storm of life and forget our ultimate destination as Christians. We ignore the “map” and “compass” God has provided and no wonder we end up perilously close to the “breakers”.

Our own innate self reliance is also an ever present danger because most of us have an inflated opinion of our abilities, instincts and intuitions.

Affected as they are by sin and human frailty our opinions and assessments of the right course of action to take in a given situation are not always one hundred percent reliable.

When we do lose our sense of direction in life our natural tendency is that we may just follow the crowd in the hope that they are heading the right way, yet they may themselves be happily drifting with wind and tide.

It is only when we take a “sextant” reading of God through His Word ,assisted by prayer and “swing the compass” of our hearts and minds that we can reset the course of our lives.images sextant

Aided by the Spirit’s power, working in our hearts and minds, we can counter balance and overcome the sinful influences and temptations that cause us to go veer “off course”.

Out of the Depths.

Continuing a nautical theme.

It is not wholly or solely due to our own lack of consideration and naivety that we can find ourselves in spiritual peril and “all at sea”.

The prophet Jonah, having refused the heading set for him by God instead charted an “inverse” course towards Tarshish, far away from the path of duty.

Through the means of a typhoon at sea and a terrified ship-master and crew , the prophet is confronted by and convicted of  his own disobedience and reminded of the inescapable power of the One whom he worshipped and served.

In the hope of appeasing the  “Hebrew” God “who made the sea and dry land” and thus  quiet the sea, save the ship and those on board, the wayward prophet is , reluctantly , thrown over the side by the terrified crew.ed37ea12da72eee16916f2d5e0248323

Sinking into the bottomless depths, instead of drowning miserably, the prophet is swallowed by a “divinely” prepared “great fish” and finds himself alive and whole ,if only in exceedingly unpleasant and uncomfortable circumstances.

It was indeed a reprieve, but it must have certainly seemed to Jonah that it was not the end of the life-threatening danger facing him.

The Scriptural account reveals to us many things about Jonah that are not admirable or worthy of imitation yet underlying all there is shown, implanted in the core of his being ,true faith in God and the certain knowledge of his power and willingness to save, despite all indications and appearances to the contrary.

That the prophet “prayed” in such circumstances may not have been remarkable: many lesser men and women have done the same in less perilous occurrences.

That he prayed in such an environment says a great deal about Jonah’s understanding of the omniscience and omnipresence of God, in this he puts many of us to shame.

The remarkable thing is that, despite the recollection of his disobedience and overwhelming sense of guilt and sinfulness in fleeing from God, he still felt able to cry out in prayer to the One who had prepared this chastisement and hurled this judgment upon him.

Even in this awful place and circumstance Jonah still owned Him as “Lord and My God”.

Regardless of what happened to Jonah from now on, the fundamental truth of God’s merciful and forgiving nature combined with His unfailing love for his people, (the prophet among them) was the rock that kept his head above water. It did not matter how much the storm raged around him and how far the folly of his own nature led him astray, He was not beyond the love and power of God.

The  same God who had prepared the storm and delivered the prophet from drowning in the “sea” of his own disobedience ,through the unlikely means of a “great fish” , was the same  Almighty Saviour who would restore Jonah to the world of men and  set him  once again upon the path of obedience.

And so to the glory of God and the admiration of his grace it proved when the “great fish”, in obedience to divine command, vomited the prophet up on a foreign shore.13. Jonah BV button_crop.jpg

In the same way when we have fled away from God and the way of righteousness and obedience, we can still call upon Him in the knowledge that even when we are faithless, He is faithful.  He will hear the prayer of faith and speed to our deliverance.

It is always dangerous to sin willfully and presumptuously, even so, we are not, in this life beyond the mercy and grace of Christ, if only we will in faith cry out unto Him “out of the depths”.

I confess my debt to Joseph S. Excell and his work on Jonah for setting the theme of the preceding.

“The Condiments of the Season”

imageschief weasel.jpeg

Even the felonious “Chief Weasel” in the “Thames television” animation of “Wind in the Willows” felt the need to call a truce, in their mutual ill-feeling with Badger, Mole and Ratty and wish them the “condiments” of the “festered season” and a “preposterous ” New Year.

In a more serious vein, with the “Christmas” season here, we can only sorrow at the prevailing ignorance and culpable misrepresentation that attends the “Worlds” celebration of Christ’s birth.indexjoseph and mary

The same sinful “mankind” that bids God depart, flouts His law and neither seeks or desires knowledge of His ways, still plays lip service to the “incarnation” of His Son.
Let us all pray that despite themselves and through the secret working of the Spirit of Truth , the testimony of believers and the preaching of the Word, many will see past the “tinsel” of falsehood and come to a true and saving knowledge and faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.


Swinging the Compass!

Assaulting the Almighty

During the Second World War blitz on England, falling bombs were not the only danger to the population.


The anti aircraft artillery barrage, while not very effective against German aircraft, did make the bombers fly higher and spoil their accuracy.

However what goes up must come down and shrapnel from the explosive shells rained back to earth posing a danger to those on the ground.

So when sinful man launches his attacks on the Almighty, the arrows he fires redound upon and injure himself.

The same goes for those who rejoice in contradicting God’s holy and wise laws and cast beneath their feet the message of Salvation.

Sadder still are those who pose as Christians yet do all they can to water down and relegate those parts of Scripture that do not conform to their own conceptions.

True, their impending judgment may be slow in coming but it is sure and certain none the less unless repentance and mercy intervenes.

Communication Breakdown!

Apparently one of the symptoms of mental illness is the fact that the afflicted cannot seem to make themselves understood by those around them and have difficulty comprehending what others are trying to convey to them.

In the same way sinful man has lost the ability to understand the things of God in fact they are hateful to him.

Man by nature is dead in sin and cut off from God and, unless aided by the Holy Spirit in conversion is unwilling and indeed  unable to obtain a fatherly hearing from God because his speech is drowned out by his willfulness in rebellion and sin.

As the blind man told the inquisitive Pharisees ” God does not listen to sinners. John 9:31″.

“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”

While most today make man the first mover in salvation, the scriptures lay the salvation of man first to last, in the will of God and power of His Spirit working in the sinner’s heart moving him to repentance and seeking to God through faith.

Sin is the great communication barrier between God and us and it is only when it is repented of and dealt with by the blood of Christ that the channels are opened and the way of fellowship cleared.

The mock turtle.

cary grant mock turtle


Believe it or not, this costumed character from the 1933 “live action” version of “Alice in Wonderland” is Hollywood heart-throb Cary Grant .

True it was early on in his career but it does display a willingness on his part to put aside his trademark debonair good looks to perform a role to entertain the young.

Many of the actors who played Lewis Carroll’s characters in this film were popular actors and comedians at the time, with well known faces and mannerisms and yet under some of their costumes they were almost unrecognizable unless you listened carefully and knew where to look for them.

Generally famous people are known for their self promotion and greedy seeking after publicity to further their career.

So for well known personalities to efface and disguise themselves in order to perform roles in which they may or may not be recognized is remarkable.

Self promotion is not something that sits well in the sphere of Christianity.

When the ministry has more to do with the charisma of the “personality” in the spotlight and his obvious talents and less to do with the glory of God and the salvation of sinners, spiritual failure is sure to be the ultimate result, regardless of the hype and hysteria.

We have no shortage of “show ponies’‘ in our churches today.

People who are the Christian equivalent of exhibitionists. Their overarching desire is to be seen as special or talented and be admired.

We are all prone to fall into this trap to some degree and we all have need to humble ourselves and do as John the Baptist did in like circumstance.” He must increase while I must decrease”.

While it is true someone must be out the front, they should not be there seeking fame or reputation for themselves.

Human nature being what it is, some notoriety is unavoidable for many in prominent positions in the church but we have no business seeking it as an end in itself: rather it is all about proclaiming the gospel message and bringing glory to Christ and He alone.

We ourselves are incidental in the service of Christ and all the reward we seek is his well done and all the glory belongs to Him.



Was in many ways an admirable figure. He was the sort of  “out- doorsy, self reliant man that is admired and envied by most.

He reveled in the wide open spaces and pushed himself to his limits in manly pursuits, especially hunting.esau.jpeg

Unfortunately while he spent much time abroad in nature, like many of our famous naturalists today, he never sought to know and obey the God of creation.

He had a very two dimensional and short sighted view of existence and could see no further than his next meal and   immediate carnal pleasure.

When cheated out of His birthright and blessing all he could think about was getting revenge on his devious brother rather than blaming his own short sightedness and foolishness and seeking repentance and trying to amend his life.

We do feel that during the years of separation from his brother, Esau may have mellowed somewhat.

We see this in the kindly way he received his estranged brother upon his return home.

Perhaps rather it was more to do with the restraining hand of God upon him than anything else

Yet the behavior of his descendants toward their kinsman in latter days betrays the continuance of a long held grudge and resentment towards the  Jacob’s descendants, the Children of Israel  because of God’s favour  abundantly lavished upon them ,contrasting with the passing over of Esau and his descendants.

While it is a great deep and beyond our comprehension, God’s sovereignty in election and choosing one over another is repeatedly taught in scripture. Yet it never diminishes the fact that we are responsible for the wrong we do and for our turning away from God and living in disobedience to Him and his Word.

Let us be diligent in our seeking the Lord while he may be found!




Assaulting the Almighty

A spark of life!


During a recent frost my Cinerarias were slaughtered.

It took three days for the leaves to drop and shrivel but I knew I would have to pull the plants out and try something else.

When I came to pull them out there was a tiny speck of green in the centre of the remains of the plant: somewhere in the midst of that devastation there was life.

There is no doubt that natural life is tenacious, the Bible itself in the book of Job refers to the seemingly dead tree springing back to life.

7, For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
8Though its root grow old in the earth,
and its stump die in the soil,
9yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put out branches like a young plant. Job 14:7-9

When we see many falling away from Christianity and Christian doctrine we wonder whether any hope of life or regeneration is possible. The fact remains that many who wither and die in their Christian lives never had the genuine seed of faith in their hearts.

Yet we can comfort and reassure ourselves that there are many who have fallen have not fallen finally and  that God is not finished with them.

It is in this spirit we should fervently pray for those who are astray.obc-ambizu-hot-one-bag-cineraria-seeds-30-pcs-cineraria-flowers-seeds-mixed-colors-purple-stamens_17863021

At a loss!

1Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, “Why are you staring at one another?” 2He said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die.”… Genesis 42:1genesis-42-01-00-jacob-send-his-sons-to-bring-food-from-egypt

We all come to the point when the way ahead and the answer to our problems are not clear to us. The trap is that the longer this impasse lasts the longer and the less able we are to recognize and respond to a solution to our difficulty.

These sons of Jacob were clueless as to the solving the difficulties facing them and their families.

There was a dire famine in the land and many of their relied on resources and staples were exhausted.

The combined acumen of their eleven brains could not see an answer to the prospect of starvation, If left to themselves they may well have withered away with hunger.

It was only when Jacob heard that there was food a-plenty for sale in Egypt that he called his sons to stir themselves out of the reverie they had slumped into.

Egypt was indeed a long way to go to get supplies but this journey was eminently preferable to watch their wives and little ones starve.

This is only taking this situation from a human viewpoint: it was a matter of common sense to go where the answer is and find what we need to solve our problem.

Over and above the human difficulty and need for a solution, we can see in hindsight what this family group seems to have forgotten, that God is in control and overruling all.

We see nothing here of Jacob or his sons seeking God’s guidance or supply, in fact it all seems to revolve on the chance hearing of a piece of gossip about the abundance of food in Egypt while the rest of the nations starved.

We see later on that there is nothing of chance or coincidence in the providence of God.

Even the heinous sin of these “rough and ready” brothers was being overruled by God to save the chosen people from extinction and form them into a nation.


God’s purposes are being carried to fruition all around us: the question is are we the unconscious tools in this work or are we the willing instruments in the service of God and the glorifying of His name?

We must use the common sense that God has given us ever seeking His Wisdom from on high ,we can always and ever throw ourselves upon God and seek to Him for deliverance.

The saddest thing we see today is that so few understand and are willing to do this.

imagesprovidence flavel




A spark of life!

Revised Christianity??


A story is told of an archaeologist returning to his work inside a pyramid and finding a man chiseling away at the pyramid to bring its internal measurement into line with his interpretation of prophecy.57f9645272048e19f1e6c60fb164f2d2--chisel-set-tool-steel

So the tendency today is to look back at history and reshape it into line with our current ideas and prejudices. This is being seen today in the push to rename schools and streets and remove statues. Also the trend to write revisionist history among our academics is part of this attempt to “remove the landmarks”.

Christianity itself is not immune from this desire to re-mould it into forms more acceptable and less offensive to so-called modern man.

It has always been the case that some people would take a part of the Christian message and run with it while conveniently avoiding those things that are of no interest to him and to affronting to his own self worth.

The modernist takes the ethics and values of Christianity and attempts to conform society to his imagined portrayal of Christ as merely a social reformer.

The ritualist takes the scriptures and distorts them into a series of religious acts and ceremonies which sinful man must perform to obtain access and acceptance with God and superimposes a hierarchy he must implicitly believe and obey.

Others, to whom I have often referred, make the gospel message a source of earthly health, wealth and personal fulfillment and remove the self denial and bearing of the Cross.

While we all read the Bibles through the glasses of our own point of view we must put ourselves to one side and hear what the Word of God actually says.

The Reformers for all their shortcomings reminded those willing to hear that the Scriptures alone are the source of God’s truth. We are to believe nothing that is not revealed or is able to be reasonably deduced from scripture. In this we are to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to remove the veil and open our eyes to God’s truth revealed therein.

While there is still room to differ in some interpretations of Scripture the fundamental doctrines of Christianity must remain inviolate and implicitly believed.


A mixed bag!

We all know people whose Christianity stands out and are an adornment to the church they attend.

We also know some whose Christianity although genuine is still being formed and having the rough edges smoothed.

Then there are those who profess Christianity but are really a hindrance to the work of Christ’s church and a constant blot on the spiritual landscape.

We read that when the Children of Israel left Egypt there travelled with them a” mixed multitude” who use the opportunity to get out of slavery and get the great material benefits offered in the promised land.imagesmixed multitude

Unfortunately when the way became hard and material comforts did not come up to their expectations they became the ringleaders in the murmuring and complaining which plagued Moses thus bringing God’s judgment and plagues upon the people as a whole.

Lest we be found finger pointing we must examine ourselves to make sure we are not modern day examples of these “whingers”.

Standing up for God’s revealed truth is the duty of all His faithful people but it is to be done with love and the use of reason. Zeal and passion are to play their part but governed by the love of Christ for the erring from the way.

To be found a “troublers’ of Israel” and a false professor of Christ in the Church and in the world is something we must pray we never be.



Arthur Lowe (22 September 1915 – 15 April 1982) was one of the iconic figures of British film and television. Most of those who worked with him said that his best known character of “Dad’s Army” “Captain Mainwaring” pronounced Mannering, was very like himself especially in pomposity.Dads35Statue of Captain Mainwaring, Arthur Lowe’s Dad’s Army character in Thetford.

It does make it easier when we “be ourselves” and not pretend to be something we are not and not likely to be.

The wonder of true Christianity it that it makes us into new creations without robbing us of what is intrinsically “ourselves”.

Like the work of art that needs the centuries of dirt and grime removed before it re-appears in the true and living colours with which it was painted, we need the power of God to remove the grime of sin and shame and to impart His grace to our lives, to bring us at last to our eternal state of Christ’ like perfection.

Revised Christianity??

Haters of the Human Race?

Was how many Gentiles describe the Jewish nation in ancient times. The Jews were notorious for their contempt and lack of dealings with Non-Jews except for strictly commercial and financial reasons.

We have an instance of this attitude in Acts 22: 17-23

17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,”

Hitherto the Jewish crowd had listened to Paul’s defense in silence. When the Apostle mentioned his appointed mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles the mob went wild.

It seems that although the Jewish religious leaders had no use or desire for the salvation of Jesus Christ themselves they still resented the idea that it should be freely proclaimed to the Gentile World at large.

They would not partake of the food set before them and yet would not spare a crumb for the Heathen nations dwelling in darkness.

Lest we unsparingly condemn these people, we must beware that there is nothing of this attitude in ourselves. We must guard ourselves from looking at some people as so far “beyond the pale” that they are not worth preaching the gospel of salvation to.

Jesus, when He saw the multitudes coming to Him had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. In such a way we should look at the sin be-nighted people we meet each day.

The Saint’s Refuge!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

We have here the description of the person seeking protection and the identity of the One who protects. These are very concrete terms for something very intangible.

We can see and feel bricks, concrete or solid rock. We can vividly imagine mountain strongholds and other means of halting approaching enemies.

I fear we may all have a harder time in expressing like faith in our God as our fortress and defender.

Even when in the past, we have found God to be “a very present help in time of trouble” and a refuge from the assailing storm, we still doubt His ability and willingness to do so again in the present crisis.

Maybe it not actually the reality of God’s protection that is at stake but rather the fact of our abiding that is in question.

If we are seeking and putting our trust in other means of protection it is no wonder we are feeling exposed and vulnerable.

The non Christian indeed has hiding places he or she resorts to: unfortunately they will find at last that they are unavailing and futile.

If they do by chance resort to God it is coming to someone they know nothing of and have no relationship with.

It is only by believing in Christ and His saving work and taking God at His Word in the protection of His people that we can come into the hope and faith seen here in the Psalmist’s words.

“3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his opinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” Psalm 91:3-6

The attacks we face are of various kinds, they are not always frontal assaults.

It could be the snare of a crafty enemy cunningly laid for us to fall into. It could be the virulent disease of false doctrine or moral laxity and compromise. The attack could come from any direction and at any time. Whether in the daytime of prosperity or the mid-night of moral, spiritual or doctrinal decline, God is as the mother hens protecting wings and sturdy shield.

No darkness, no stealth or cunning can prevail to thwart God’s perpetual keeping of His people at all times of peril.

‘7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.” Psalm 91:7-8

What a contrast is the fate and experience of the wicked?

No shift or dodge, No mere carnal defense will prevent their fall and avoid the just consequence of their rejection of God. They will be a visible object lesson of the results of rejecting freely offered mercy through Jesus Christ.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge —
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

Our choices in life have inevitable consequences even as Christians. By imitating the world’s attitudes and values we can fall into the habit of trusting in deceitful riches and carnal means of security.

God’s promises are truer than any insurance policy and our casting ourselves upon Him and His faithfulness are sure means of protection.

Despite the trials, tribulations and diseases that befall the Christian in common with others, the promise of verse 10 is still an absolute one, inasmuch as not only are we spared many of these ills by God’s grace, we also find the evil that happens to us transformed into lasting good and the plague that touches us is turned into Spiritual health.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

We have here the great mystery of the Angelic protection of the believer.

Satan used this verse to tempt Jesus into a presumptuous action to demonstrate His divine son ship which He totally rejected but it does not detract from the truth that the angels are ministering to and protecting God’s people in ways we know little of.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91 E.S.V.

These wondrous Old Testament promises hold true for the New Testament believer.

God had promised Moses and the children of Israel that He would send an Angel ahead of them to pave their way into the Promised Land. Yet Moses realized that no angelic being could substitute for the presence of God Himself.

Verses 14 to 16 show us that our security and protection is directly in the hands of God our Father.

While we are not promised freedom from ill we are promised ultimate deliverance and triumph.

Though we may indeed appear to be in peril and suffer in common with others, the difference is we will never fail or fall finally or fully through our being “kept by the power of God unto Salvation”.

The Day of our deliverance is at hand and our Saviour is ever near.

“Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:18




Faith finds its luster in action — and not just in notion. It enters our hearts — and not just our heads. (Samuel Ward)1577-1640.Samuel_Ward_(1577–1640)


Haters of the Human Race?