“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 Roaring Forties.

“The Roaring Forties are strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere, generally between the latitudes of 40and 50 degrees. The strong west-to-east air currents are caused by the combination of air being displaced from the Equator towards the South Pole, the Earth’s rotation, and the scarcity of landmasses to serve as windbreaks.

The Roaring Forties were a major aid to ships sailing the Brouwer Route from Europe to the East Indies or Australasia during the Age of Sail, and in modern usage are favoured by yachtsmen on round-the-world voyages and competitions. The boundaries of the Roaring Forties are not consistent, and shift north or south depending on the season. Similar but stronger conditions occurring in more southerly latitudes are referred to as the Furious Fifties and the Shrieking or Screaming Sixties.” (Wikipedia)

1roaring forties.JPG

The sailing ship ‘Champion of the Seas’ took 83 days to bring my ‘Gilbert’ ancestors from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1855.


The vessel no doubt took advantage of the southern route and these strong prevailing winds even though it risked encounters with storms and even ice bergs.

Comfort on board ship depended on the class of passage and wind and weather conditions. Poor food, shortages of fresh water, disease and Sea sickness and plain boredom also made so long a voyage difficult at times.

Yet the hope of a striking gold as well as a new and better life prompted these hardy souls to venture all.

It was not till the advent of steam and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 that voyage times decreased.

Only steam ships could use the canal but the early ships still used sails to save on coal when possible and in places where coaling stations were few and far between.

Seldom in the history of Christianity have the prevailing winds and tides of the world favoured it.

Indeed it has been that every man’s hand was against the growth of Christ’s kingdom. The individual believer invariably finds the winds blowing contrary to him or her and has to struggle just to make headway.

Those times when conditions appear to be most favourable to progress and the furtherance of the Church there are those who overladen it with excess cargo or kick planks out of it.

Rather than expect the fitful winds of this present world to speed us on our way we must seek rather to that same (authentic) rushing wind of the Holy Spirit  that came on the day of Pentecost to bring us to the heavenly harbor


Farewell Flintstones!

jackie gleason

The actor Jackie Gleason wanted to sue cartoon animators Hanna Barbera for using himself and the character he played on the popular series “The Honeymooners” as a basis to pattern “Fred Flintstone” on without clearing it with him first.honeymooners

Gleason’s lawyer told him that he would no doubt win any legal case but did he really want to be the one who took such a popular show as the “Flintstones “off the air”?

The large sum of money Gleason might have made by winning the lawsuit could not make up for the possible resentment and ill feeling caused by forcing the program off the air and depriving the show’s viewers of so much laughter and enjoyment.the-flintstones-fred-flintstone-wilma-flintstone-barney-rubble-betty-K3J3M9

The point I would make here is that just because we can do something does not mean we should do it.

Too much of our behaviour, even as Christians seems to be largely matter of ‘point scoring’ and striving for ascendancy.

Even worldly wisdom tells us to ‘pick our battles’ because the cost of winning is sometimes too high and the victory  often does more long term harm than good.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, [h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:38-41

It is the way of the World to take without asking and to be forever looking for the advantage. Its people return blow for blow and insult for insult. By contrast the follower of Christ exercises like meekness and forbearance and thus wins others to Him.

The short term gain and temporal advantage we might seek in this World bears no comparison to the higher and eternal riches that are at God’s right hand and are there for all who trust in Christ.

Cup and Saucer.


I still think that despite being the most civilized way to drink tea, a cup and saucer is also the most awkward.

For someone as inherently unstable as I am, moving around from one place to another without some spillage is nearly impossible.

Far better to appear to be ‘uncultured’ and ‘unsophisticated’ than spill scalding hot liquid over ‘all and sundry’.

Were we depending on ourselves and our unaided efforts to achieve the heavenly goal set before us as believers we would have good cause for fearing that we would spill all and fail at last.

While some in the Church cry up man’s inherent goodness and ability the fact is it is completely insufficient for the task in hand.

The need for power from ‘on high’ is not just needed for the great and important tasks and trials of the Christian life but also for those small things that we think require no divine help at all.

Lost for words?

It is sad to think that many ‘Christians’ of today patterns his religion more after the political correctness of the ‘New Age’ and eastern mysticism than they do the Scriptures.

As a result they spend more time trying to reach a consensus than proclaiming the truth of God’s Word.

We see very little of the boldness such as characterized the ministry of the Apostle Paul when surrounded by the rampant paganism of the ancient world. Nor do we see very much of the faithfulness which the apostle Peter displayed in convicting the Jewish multitude on the Day of Pentecost.

We may say these men of God had a far greater measure of the Spirit’s power than we do. This is true, yet the greater part of the early growth of the Church came from ordinary people who scattered in all directions as a result of persecution and other things.

How then can we explain our corporate embarrassment and timidity when it comes to standing boldly for the veracity and relevance of the Bible as the Word of God and the gospel of Christ and Him crucified?

Maybe we should ask each other whether the ‘cat has got our tongue’?

Do we believe that the gospel is the sinful World’s only hope of Salvation or we do not? Is the Bible truly the Word of God with the need to be heard or it is a matter of no great importance whether we proclaim it or not.

God forgive me and us all for prevaricating with the gospel message so desperately needed a lost and sinful world.




“Many a good and righteous cause on earth has been lost by the death of its advocate. But our Advocate, as He is without beginning of days, is without end of years. As the tinkling bells of the High Priest’s vestments were heard by the crowd in the outer court, while he himself was ministering within the veil – the sound conveying to them the assurance that he was still engaged in the solemn act of intercession – so the ear of faith can still catch up the music of these sacred chimes – these silver bells in heaven – “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!” (J.R. Macduff- “Clefts on the Rock – The Believer’s Ground of Confidence in Christ, 1874”) An Author I heartily recommend.

Footnote : One measure I would extend to the usefulness of this blog is not merely the numbers of people who read it,but rather the readers willingness to recommend it to others.
The Roaring Forties.

The Sunny side of the Brae!

I was under the misconception that a ‘brae’ was the ‘Scots’ word for ‘brook or stream’ rather it refers to the brow of a hill, though it can refer to ‘the high ground adjoining a river bank’.


“God hath called you to Christ’s side,” wrote the saintly Rutherford, “and the wind is now in Christ’s face in this land; and seeing ye are with Him, ye cannot expect the lee-side or the sunny side of the brae.” (Quoted by A.W. Tozer)

This is Rutherford’s picturesque way of saying that the follower of Christ cannot expect to go to Heaven on ‘the flowery beds of ease’.

Christ endured hardship and suffering during his earthly ministry and the faithful Christian must expect some of the same and “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ” 2 Timothy 2:3.

Our present age is one that  abounds in luxuries and cries out for pleasure and ease. Most people would rather win money than earn it and be served rather than serve.

This ‘spirit’ has crept into the Church when we ‘out for what we can get’ rather than seeking for the opportunity to give.

We indeed share in the day to day toil and strife that is common to mankind and like them we crave comfort, ease and pleasure.

Yet the believer is also a worker in the cause of Christ and His soldier in the battle against sin, Satan and the godless world.

For Christians to expect an easy time of it in the world and to forever  walk a ‘primrose path’ all the time is self delusion.

The pleasures of this world, while enjoyable at the time, are transitory and only reach to the fleshly part of our beings; they seldom deliver all their promised satisfaction and over indulgence in them rob them of any real benefit.

God indeed sweetens and blesses the ‘stony’ road the Christian walks but this is to help speed us on our way not divert us into idleness.

Therefore ‘Let us go on’, ‘come wind come weather’.

‘Gang aft a-gley’

From reading old books such as ‘the letters of Samuel Rutherford’ over the years, I have become familiar with many words from the old Scottish dialect as well as sayings in use in Scotland from the sixteen hundreds into the 19 century.

Rather than always referring to the ‘glossary’ of Scottish words at the end of the book,  in the past I often lazily attributed to them a meaning that I felt they carried in the context of the passage or simply moved on to the following words that were more understandable in meaning.

It was only when I referred to the  glossary or the index that I came to understand  the writers actual meaning and to what he was referring.

Yet even after this, when these words ‘cropped up’ in a sentence they stood in the way like an old fashioned ‘Style’ was used to climb over a fence, not so much an obstacle but a reason for more thought , concentration and effort.style

Does this sort of thing occurs when we read the Bible or Christian books?

Does it occur when we hear the preaching of the Word?

We assume a working knowledge of Christianity and yet because of our failure to grow in understanding and seek ‘wisdom from high’ we labour under misconceptions and fall short of an accurate and complete grasp of God’s truth.

We come to a passage or word in the Scriptures and by failing to study its meaning and not looking at their historical context or by failing to compare Scripture with Scripture we remain none the wiser and without a genuine understanding of God’s message for us.

None of us perhaps will be completely free from misconceptions and mistakes in spiritual matters or the teaching of the Scripture but the more we study the word of God and the more we seek to Him for wisdom and understanding  the less likely we are to fall into doctrinal error or stray from the path of holy and godly living.

“The gate of heaven is the sunny side of the brae, and the very garden of the world.” – Samuel Rutherford

Samuel Rutherford has been long regarded as one of the most saintly men who lived in seventeenth century Scotland and his letters have been highly esteemed, even by those who disagreed with him in other areas.

Some in later times have accused Rutherford of being excessive in his language and lacking in propriety when speaking of the beauty of Christ and His love.
To some in who lived in later ‘ Victorian’ times such overflowing devotion was unseemly and indelicate.

In our day we are so much affected by the World’s ideas of romantic love. Also we are being inundated in the Church with a sickly sentimental idea of Christ.

Few today have plunged themselves into the beauties of Christ by the searching and feeding on the Word or communing with Him through prayer to the extent that the great Believers of the past did.

The result being we have substituted in our devotion for God the same sort of worldly emotion and carnal love we are swamped with in our daily lives.

It is only when we make God, Father Son and Holy Spirit the centre and soul of our existence that we will be enabled to  truly soar in spirit to the heavenlies even now and will when we come to the end, indeed ‘ change our place but not our company’.







The Sunny side of the Brae!

It is all ‘Greek’ to me!


If I were able to choose an ability to be gifted with it would be a gift for languages.

It would be wonderful to be able to pick up a previously unknown language simply by hearing a few words of it spoken.

Imagine being able to see a written word and be able to give the English equivalent with a minimum of study.

Sadly this ability is given to very few, for the most it takes many years of hard study.

My efforts to translate Latin phrases have fallen down because while a dictionary may give me the meaning of the word, unless can understand the declension i.e. grammatical variation of form, you cannot completely understand the writer’s meaning.indexlatin.jpeg

Additionally, you need a greater understanding of grammar than I currently possess.

Recently it has been made clear to me that the Greek of the New Testament has in its words greater shades of meaning and richness than can be adequately conveyed in English translations.

To give you an idea of this I would suggest you peruse a copy of the ‘Amplified ‘Bible.


It does make for rather cumbrous reading but does reveal the depth of thought of the New Testament writers under the Spirit’s guidance.

One teacher’s educational course for biblical ‘Greek’ was called appropriately ‘Greek’ for the rest of us’.greek alph

While I would not expect us all to try for a working knowledge of the languages of Scripture it is still imperative that we grow and get deeper in our understanding of the Word.

A Basic knowledge of the imperatives of Christianity is fine at the outset of the Christian life but can hardly sustain the growth necessary to the believer.

True, we cannot content ourselves with a mere ‘academic’ knowledge of the Word.

It must be applied daily to our experience and thinking in dependence of the one who ‘breathed’ it to the writers of Scripture in the first place.

The modern trend of relegating and trivializing Scripture makes our efforts to grasp its truths all the more imperative.


The best that modern medical science and ‘New Age’ philosophy can offer is ‘Euthanasia’, a (supposedly) ‘good’ death. Only God in Christ can give ‘Athanasia’, eternal life.

A ‘rust bucket’


An author writing about the last days of service of Australia’s last Aircraft Carrier; the H.M.A.S. Melbourne, states that the crew no longer engaged in ‘scraping’ the ships paintwork, to remove the rust underneath. Apparently finding, it had developed to such a stage that it was only the rust that held sections of the ship together.

He writes that the ‘gangways’ were so rusty that members of the crew fell through them.

He adds that this state of affairs was understandable because this warship was only built to last for the duration of the emergency of the Second World War.

As it was, it the ‘Melbourne’ served the Royal Australian Navy for over thirty years.

Historically, there have always been those who regard the Bible in much the same way as this grand old ship.

They think the Scriptures are ‘past their used by date’ and of no more than historical or sentimental interest.

These people are forever finding ‘rust’ where it is not there and imaginary ‘barnacles’ which they would gladly remove. If they could but throw overboard those things in the Scriptures they see as superfluous, obsolete and offensive they would be well pleased.

Yet in the end they discover that they only sink themselves while the Bible keeps afloat all those who trust in God and remain aboard it.

An author writing about the last days of service of Australia’s last Aircraft Carrier; the H.M.A.S. Melbourne, states that the crew no longer engaged in ‘scraping’ the ships paintwork, to remove the rust underneath. Apparently finding, it had developed to such a stage that it was only the rust that held sections of the ship together.

He writes that the ‘gangways’ were so rusty that members of the crew fell through them.

He adds that this state of affairs was understandable because this warship was only built to last for the duration of the emergency of the Second World War.

As it was, it the ‘Melbourne’ served the Royal Australian Navy for over thirty years.

Historically, there have always been those who regard the Bible in much the same way as this grand old ship.

They think the Scriptures are ‘past their used by date’ and of no more than historical or sentimental interest.

These people are forever finding ‘rust’ where it is not there and imaginary ‘barnacles’ which they would gladly remove. If they could but throw overboard those things in the Scriptures they see as superfluous, obsolete and offensive they would be well pleased.

Yet in the end they discover that they only sink themselves while the Bible keeps afloat all those who trust in God and remain aboard it.


It is all ‘Greek’ to me!

The Bigsworth’ Board.

The ‘Bigsworth’ board’ was issued to aircraft navigators and observers so that they had a convenient way to plot their aircraft’s course in flight.indexbigsworth board

(Captain W.E. Johns named his famous character “Biggles” after the man himself as he had worked with him at the British Air ministry.)

Bigsworth served with distinction during the First World War and was awarded a D.S.O. and bar for daring attacks against a German Zeppelin and an enemy submarine.)

In the often cramped confines of an aircraft, especially in the old “open cockpit” days, the Bigsworth’ board was a useful help to airman.

In an infinitely higher sense the Bible is a vital tool to help us navigate through life.

Like an aircraft pilot it is easy to go off our appointed course. We also need to be able to check our progress and be forewarned of dangers that loom before us, like jagged mountain ranges.

The Word of God charts the landmarks which confirm that we are heading on the right bearing and flying at the right altitude.bigsworth board

The Bigsworth’ board also prevented the airman’s chart from blowing away in the slipstream.

Similarly, the Bible despite the efforts some to “blow” it away, remains firm, intact and a reliable revelation of God’s holy will.

indexopen bible.jpeg

Gee & Oboe!

Gee, sometimes written GEE, was a radio navigation system used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. It measured the time delay between two radio signals to produce a fix, with accuracy on the order of a few hundred metres at ranges up to about 350 miles (560 km). It was the first hyperbolic navigation system to be used operationally, entering service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942. (Its basic system was later developed into the far more effective Gee H system.)LORAN_AN-APN-4_receiver_set.jpg

Oboe was a British aerial blind bombing targeting system in World War II, based on radio transponder technology. The system consisted of a pair of radio transmitters on the ground, which sent signals which were received and retransmitted by a transponder in the aircraft. By comparing the time each signal took to reach the aircraft, the distance between the aircraft and the station could be determined. The Oboe operators then sent radio signals to the aircraft to bring them onto their target and properly time the release of their bombs. (quotes from Wikipaedia)Oboe_control_room

The German defenders furiously tried to jam or at least fool these systems and thus limit their success.

They also sought to use them as a means of locating and intercepting British bombers.

God has provided the believer with “navigational “aids and protective equipment to guide and guard them on their journey through the world.

The enemy of the saints by cunning ploys, temptations and persecution tries to jam the signal God has sent and tries to misdirect the Christian by employing false beacons to put them off course.

Therefore we have to take every possible care to differentiate the true Word of God from false distortions of the gospel and Worldly cares and desires that are attempting to drown it out.

We must remain alert and on our guard against the “night fighters” and anti aircraft artillery which Satan daily sends to intercept and destroy the follower of Christ.

A “Split Infinitive”

“In the English language, a split infinitive or cleft infinitive is a grammatical construction in which a word or phrase comes between the to and the bare infinitive of the to form of the infinitive verb. Usually an adverb or adverbial phrase comes between them.

A well-known example occurs in the opening sequence of the Star Trek television series: “to boldly go where no man has gone before“; the adverb boldly is said to split the infinitive to go. Sometimes more than one word splits the infinitive, as in: “The population is expected to more than double in the next ten years”.

In the 19th century, some grammatical authorities sought to introduce a prescriptive rule against the split infinitive. The construction is still the subject of disagreement, though modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to it.

(Quoted from Wiki.)

The reading of this definition did not help me at all!

No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers since the split infinitive was declared to be a solecism (error, inconsistency or impropriety ), in the 19th century : raise the subject of English usage in any conversation today and it is sure to be mentioned.

— Henry Watson FowlerPocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage 

Henry Alford, (7 October 1810 – 12 January 1871) was an English Churchman best known for his 8 volume edition of the New Testament in Greek. (From Wikipedia)Henry_Alford.jpg

In his work “A plea for the Queen’s English” (published in 1866,) Alford professes a profound distaste for the use of the “split infinitive” in grammar but gives no real evidence to support his dislike.

I doubt whether many non-grammarians would concern themselves today with the rights and wrongs involved here.

We all have our ‘pet’ peeves when it comes to a variety of subjects.

My current dislike, in the field of grammar and pronunciation is the practice of people saying “everythink” when they should say “everything”.

Also, the new and common practice of describing a person’s behaviour as ‘precious’ is an innovation that I find irritating.I have no real idea what they mean when they say this.

How do these adjectives apply to a person’s particular behavior in a given circumstance?

Over the progress of the ages, manners of speech and common expressions  change in meaning and may fall out of use altogether.

To some extent, for good or ill, this also occurs in the way we understand and speak about Christianity.

Some find the expressions used in Scripture distasteful,  so they seek to tone them down or replace them with what they perceive as ‘unoffensive’ phrases and use words which are less likely to polarize and divide.

The usual result is a message that bears little or no resemblance to the gospel ,”once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 1:3

It is God’s Message we seek to proclaim and we cannot play fast and loose with it.

Rather we must express ourselves in ways that accurately and faithfully convey this “gospel” to a sinful and desperately needful world.




The Bigsworth’ Board.

A “Nine days wonder”!

When one looks back at the trends that promised to take the Church and Christianity by storm and start a World –changing revival, we can only marvels how many of them departed as quickly as they came.

Those who seek to debunk and de-construct the Gospel and thereby the Church, find at last that they have nothing real and substantial to offer in its place.

Others who seek to embellish Christianity with devices that amount to gimmicks and lures, discover that the crowds which throng their meetings come only for a cheap thrill and leave when they are bored , seeking fresh excitement elsewhere.

Genuine Christianity is not appealing to the unconverted sinner and the self satisfied man of the World, it never was. The things of God are above and beyond their understanding and do not appeal to their predilections and desires.

Yes, they would like to think that they will go to some nice place when they die they find the way of Salvation too humbling and the cost of following Christ to expensive in self denial and sacrifice.

The gospel promises great things to come for those who believe and persevere in the faith but the fact remains that despite the promises of “prosperity” gospel-lers, to be a follower of Christ is not easy and often galling to flesh and blood.

It is only when a person is “born again” that they can begin to find the strength and peace in Christ necessary to counter ,endure  and  yes even rejoice in the midst of the trials and tribulation which beset the people of God for Christ’s sake.

Anyone can put up their hand or sign a card or go up the front.

This may be enough for many of our local churches and denominations because it swells their membership books and adds to their offerings but only those who show in themselves the work of the Spirit by newness of life are those whom God counts as being His people.

When we have sifted through all the googols , gimmicks and gimcracks of past and all the “nine day wonders” and finding them barren .wanting  and false, we are left solely with the proclamation of the old gospel  of “Christ and Him crucified “ as the power of God unto salvation Romans 1:16.

Spurgeon First Words

Amiability, no proof of Christianity

We often meet people who, in the old parlance would be referred to as “nature’s gentleman” or generally as the “salt of the earth”.

Diamond in the rough

These people by their speech and behavior engender all that is best and admirable in human nature. Like the rich young ruler they are loveable, greatly admired and sought after as friends.

I myself have many numerous people who would fall readily into this category.

These “paragons” of virtue often have many of the characteristics’ of Christians yet do not regard themselves as such or at least do not associate themselves with the visible body of Christ.

Others do indeed pass current in the local church and are universally accepted as Christians of legal tender.

In our tender heartedness we tell ourselves that God Himself must have a soft spot for these upright and humanitarian people. At least we can hope that if not actual Christians yet they are not far away from the “kingdom of heaven”.

These “rough diamonds” in the church may be accepted by all as genuine believers and born again Christians. It is not our place to judge anyone’s heart and the complete knowledge of anyone’s spiritual state is only truly known to God.

However we often find with these wonderful people that come to our churches and sit in our pews come to a point in their profession of faith that is a spiritual “bridge too far”.

They are taught what the Bible says about renouncing our own righteousness and clothing ourselves in the righteousness of Christ and seeing ourselves as God sees us as lost sinners, clothed in rags and it “ sticks in their craw”.

Whatever the trigger may be they find that the reality of Christian teaching and practice are more than mere “flesh and blood “can take.

In many ways the “good” person is further away from belief in the gospel than the unpretentious sinner. Jesus said himself said that He came not too called the “righteous” or rather those who viewed themselves as such but sinners to repentance.

However never let it be said anyone is beyond the reach of the power of God in Salvation.

The “rich young ruler” found, in himself something lacking spiritually, but when Jesus put his finger on the problem he was unwilling to receive the cure.

Others under the invisible work of the convicting Spirit,  would humble themselves and take it.

The world may be a better place for lives of the great public benefactors and “good sorts” but the true Christian is one who has been lifted up to a higher and heavenly plane.

True, he may not always be what he or she should be and many times the amiable and worthy “non Christian” may exceed them in good works , generosity and kindness, but if they are grounded on the foundation of Christ and indwelled by Him, they will grow in righteousness and holiness, for they are truly the “salt of the earth”.

Advice Gratis

No one likes being told how to order and run their life.

Especially so in this “anything-arian” age when most lifestyles and indulgences are tolerated and even applauded.

(Of course this is only up to a certain and ever receding point where peoples scruples and sensibilities are offended.)

History teaches us that people veer from listening to nobody, to listening to anybody, no matter how wrong.

There are always those who never ask for or take advice and follow guidance. Indeed this is often seen as a mark of strength and independence.

These people follow their own whims and desires and “woe betides: anyone who gets in their way.

Contra- wise at the other extreme, there are many people who are suggestible and pliable and will jump on someone’s bandwagon, and in their blind adulation take onboard everything they do and say.

In proof of this we can only ask why so many seemingly reasonable and decent people followed Adolph Hitler to their destruction and caused a holocaust of unspeakable suffering.

Our sinful and self sufficient tendency is not to listen or even welcome advice from those who are wiser than ourselves, sometimes we even resent it.

When we do seek guidance we turn to those whose advice will forward our own carnal ,sinful desires and ends even if it means using dubious and “dodgy “ means.

Fundamentally we look to our own ideas and instincts to lead us forward and are slow to admit that we are not always sufficient of ourselves to cope with the problems and perplexities of life…

It is blatantly obvious from our own experience and our observations of the ungodly people around us, that the last place we, without Divine help, will seek for guidance and wisdom is the Word of God and by prayer.

When we finally come to the end of ourselves and look for fulfillment and the meaning of it all, there are a great many “Worldly –wise men” who will volunteer to show us the way to happiness and to the achievement of all we desire.

They may have a great deal of seeming wisdom and  common human experience on their side but the motives they act from and the guaranteed results they promise prove false and delusions.

When we are finally led to the scriptures and read them with an open heart and mind we find truth that speaks to and answers our fundamental problem and shows us the means to cure our spiritual bankruptcy.

We find the solution to the questions of “why we are here” and “what has gone wrong”. We also discover that Christ has paid our debt and blazed a trail for us that leads us to eternal joy and peace. It is only for us to believe and obediently follow Him.

While the “scales” of sin are upon our eyes, we remain blind to this answer to all our needs and questions. It is only by the power of God in giving sight to the spiritually blind that we can see the gate of salvation opened before us.

Even on the more mundane level of day to day existence, the Bible gives guidance and simple common sense advice for all our dealings with people, money and those in authority over us.

In the Wisdom writings of the Old Testament as reinforced by the New, we find out that how we treat others often dictates how they react to us and treat us.

We discover that while money may seem to “answer all things” it is not to be an end in itself.

Rather, it is to be saved and used in ways that benefit the welfare of others as well as us.

Indeed we are given a sense of urgency for the generous use of our money and riches for good purposes because our wealth is only lent to us by the Lord and of themselves have wings to fly away.

Our family relations are not neglected by the Word and were the guidance given more widely followed many marriages and families would have stay intact and not splinter apart.

All this is laid upon the foundation of our restored relationship to God.

Our reconciliation with Him is the spur and impetus to seek reconciliation with others and they, in turn to find peace with God.

The Scripture are full of great advice and wisdom freely offered and we should gladly receive it because it comes from the ever wise and loving God.



One of the great advantages that the Germans had in World War 2 was the high quality optical equipment they produced.

It meant they could see and engage targets at great distance and with great accuracy.

In spiritual matters to it is vital necessary to see things clearly and as they are.

It is our inherent blindness and lack of perception which causes us to see things different from the way they actually are and  often leads us into Spiritual danger.

We all need to pray that God will gives us eyes to see the truth that he shows us in His Word and to differentiate it from the “ miasma” of lies and distortions which surround us.


The Puritans often refer to the ancient anecdote about a philosopher called Bias.

As I recall it he was shipboard during a violent storm at sea.

While observing the panic and frantic prayers to the “gods” by his otherwise profligate and pagan-istic fellow passengers, he bade them cease their prayers.

He told them that prayers in the ears of the “gods”, coming from such people would only remind the “deities” of their (i.e. the passengers and crew) many sins and wicked deeds and provoke their hoped for saviours to increase their affliction and peril and possibly destroy them.

So when we feel the need to pray, it is often the reminder of past and present sins that makes us reluctant to come before our holy God.

This is the reason why we need to keep short account of our sins and be ever seeking their forgiveness , our cleansing from all unrighteousness and grace for a ever holier life.

This should also make us ever thankful to Jesus Christ who is our great intercessor with the Father and an ever present help in time of trouble.

thomas hooker








A “Nine days wonder”!

Pamper yourself because its all about you!

The marketers and sellers in today’s world, in order to make us part with our cash, are telling us to enjoy, indulge, pamper and put ourselves first.girl-lying-on-the-tropical-beach-H3FY5W

We are constantly being fed the line that sometimes it is a good thing to put ourselves first and forget the others. As if we sinful people needed any encouragement to indulge in love of self and egocentric behavior.

If we look to the scriptures we see that this has ever been the line of attack that Satan invariably uses.

He flattered our first parents with the idea that they were being deprived of opportunities and experiences and pleasures by God by denying them the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

In the parable the younger son feels that he is being repressed and denied good things by his father and seeks through gaining his inheritance to find freedom and “the good life” but instead finds that many of life’s so called pleasure are fleeting and in the end not worth the having.

Sad to say that the Church is not devoid of those who would tell us that we can have it all and be free of many of life’s problems by professing Christ and jumping on their particular bandwagon of philosophy.

The devotees of this sort of teaching find too late that even the “Christian” must take “the rough with the smooth” and often a great deal more of the former.

We are told by the scriptures again and again that self denial and tribulation are part and parcel of the Christian life. They are unavoidable but in the overall scheme of God’s purposes they are a gateway to true and lasting blessing; if encountered in the same manner as Christ, the apostles and their successors did, by faith, prayer and patience.

How ironic it is that for every one person who teaches the scriptural truth about self denial and the certainty of earthly suffering, we have so many others who will seek to pursue the same line as the enemy of the Saviour and his saints.

Emperor Pedro the second.


The 58 year reign of Brazilian Emperor Pedro the second was one of the high periods of Brazilian history. It marked thanks to his influence a period of political stability, respect for freedom of speech, vibrant economic growth and a parliamentary system which worked well.

Against staunch opposition he pushed through the abolition of slavery and was a sponsor of culture, learning and the sciences. (Quoted from Wiki)

Despite all this Pedro was overthrown and exiled by a military coup devoid of any popular support.

In view of Brazil’s subsequent history many have looked back at that period and regarded the removal Pedro and all he stood for as a false and retrograde step with long term consequences for the well being of the nation.

We to can look back at our history and lament the false steps we have taken which have resulted in failure and disappointment and long term consequences. Yet we can no more change the past than change the colour of the sky.

We seldom know when we are well off; we are ever looking away to things that seem bigger and better.

Contentment with all the blessings and good things that God bestows is a blessing in itself and something we should all seek for.

The story of Ruth.

While there are many profound and deep things found in Scripture there are also many simple and plain histories recounted with morals, lessons and spiritual importance, among these is the book of Ruth.

Placed as it is in the time of the Judges, this story stands in incongruity to the idolatry and national disobedience that characterized this time in Israel’s history.

It may be speculated that this story occurred during one of the “revivals” of true religion and obedience to God that punctuated the apostasy and anarchy which characterized succeeding generations throughout this period but we do not know for sure.

The Book of Ruth stands as an oasis in a spiritual wasteland and a fruitful tropical island in an angry sea.

We Christians of today may only give a passing look at this simple story and think of it as only a romantic tale but we thereby miss a great deal of spiritual truth.

Upon a closer examination we might learn a great deal more than we expect.

Philip Mauro entitled his work on the book “Ruth the satisfied stranger”.

There is no doubt that this devoted Moabitess, as well as being a progenitor of King David and thereby according to the flesh through the Davidic line an ancestor our Lord Jesus Christ, was also a first fruit of the Gentile believers who would be grafted into spiritual vine and Church of the firstborn.

After losing and leaving so much she found even greater and truer blessings among the chosen people of God by coming to dwell in the land of promise.

She by simple faith and devotion entered into the hope of the future Messiah and Saviour and became an example of what those of like faith would also find who would likewise come.

ruth's wise choice

Even if isolated from the rest of the scripture, the lessons of the book are useful and helpful.

However when placed in its Biblical setting and context, in knowledge of future events, this little book takes on a new importance in understanding the manner and means of God’s working in history and through the lives of believers.

God not only works in the large scale but also works in the small and mundane.

He works in the long term and not contingently meeting things as they arise.

Also I would point out that while we moderns are revolted by the sacrificial system attendant on the Old Testament worship of Israel’s God yet when compared to the vain and debauched worship of the heathen who “knew not God” it was not without attraction.

Ruth being a Moabite was probably familiar with the Moabite worship of Chemosh and the vile rites associated with it: this added to the character and witness of Naomi made Israel’s God and His worship attractive and compelling.

Would that we all by our life and witness made Christianity attractive to those outside.

In Christ we find all that is eternally satisfying, yet we still have the old desires for fast satisfaction and worldly pleasure, so it is a constant battle to be forever seeking the better things of God and His kingdom.ruth


Ruth’s marriage to Boaz and subsequent bringing Obed the grandfather of David into the world is not merely a “Happy ever after” ending as a fairy tale would have it.

It shows forth the overruling providence of God in the deliverance and eternal well being of those who place their trust in Him coupled with the unfolding of His eternal plan and providence in the election and Salvation of a people for Himself through the saving work of His Son Jesus Christ.

a maclaren




Pamper yourself because its all about you!