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!

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 one thing Needful!


According to Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes’s “ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge”.

The ‘fictional’ detective only sought and retained knowledge that was necessary to his crime detection and mystery solving: anything else was discarded and forgotten as a matter of course

To Holmes, anything perceived as irrelevant was superfluous and useless.

Watson discovered to his astonishment that his friend was unaware that the earth circled around the Sun and that he knew next to nothing about literature, politics and philosophy.

How could someone so brilliant be ignorant of things that were common knowledge to all?

The Apostle Paul exercised like disciplined when he came among the Corinthians; “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” 1Cor: 2-2

At this time and in this place, Paul preached what the Corinthians needed most to hear, the simple and unadorned gospel of Jesus Christ.

There are many things that Christian Church has to say to the sinful World around us, but the Message of the Cross of Christ is what is most desperately needed and should be our primary and all consuming theme.

Where’s a Genius when you need one?

A theme that is often recurs in many dramas on television, is that of people who are geniuses and have far above average intelligence and skill.Scorpion

These people sometimes have difficulty interacting with ordinary and less intelligent people because they think in ways and at such an advanced level that others cannot comprehend them.

As a result these prodigies are often societal misfits and develop humorous quirks and display bizarre habits and behaviours.

The multiplication of such programs may be symptomatic of the loss of hope and disillusionment with our current crop of thinkers and leaders.

I say this is because it appears that many of the problems we face now and in the future are quite beyond most of us to comprehend much less solve.

We are confronted in many areas by a seeming impasse before us that our current ways of thinking cannot get around and overcome.

We face problems that our present ways of thinking and dealing with are totally inadequate to handle.

Problems such as the breakdown of Society and the family institution compounded by the increase in poverty, unrest, violence, crime and the drug culture, perplex us all and drive us to despair.

Things like pollution and the fast depletion of resources and many other problems appear to most of us insoluble and rob us of any hope for the future of mankind.

We perhaps hope that ‘somewhere out there’, there are geniuses and prodigies who will address and solve these problems for the rest of us and guide us into a better future.

We hope that they will solve the mathematical problems that give the rest of us ‘brain-freeze’ or perform the scientific experiments that will lead to the saving of the world from the consequences of its own actions.

For all I know, there may be such people out there.

The problem is that human minds, no matter how well developed are finite.

The wisest and cleverest among us soon discover that they have limitations and that there are some problems that can never be solved by our unaided human intelligence.

You cannot cure all the ills of the world with a calculator or computer and some answers cannot be found through a micro or telescope.

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Cor 1:21

The unaided genius and wisdom of the World was completely inadequate when it came to understanding God and the problem of human sin.

Thanks be to God, He condescended to come into this World and reveal to us the wondrous gospel of Christ in such as way that even the most simple could understand and come to believe by faith in His Name.

God’s wisdom and knowledge are far above any human genius and save to the ‘uttermost’ those who trust in Him.

Asked of God!

Samuel was the last judge of Israel and stood as bridge between two eras in Israel’s history.

He may not spring immediately to mind when we think of the Old Testament heroes of the faith.

There are others that far more readily spring to mind such as Moses, David or Elijah.

True we all learned  about him in Sunday school (of course we have moved on from calling it that now); we were taught how Samuel was born as a result of  the fervent prayer of his mother and  that he was dedicated to the Lord from infancy.

hannah and eli

We also remember the story of how God called to the young boy and despite an initial misunderstanding with Eli the priest, was called to serve the Lord and the children of Israel as judge and of samuel

Lest we lose interest in him, we also find that he plays a central role in setting up of kingship, firstly in the ill fated choice of Saul and later the far more enduring choice and anointing of David and his line which culminated in the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

anointing of David


There was that  somewhat ‘spooky’ business with the Witch of Endor and the accompanying ghost story (which many scholars tie themselves into knots over)  but then we  quickly move on to the life of David and all those beautiful Psalms he wrote.

Who are we to say that Samuel is a ‘lesser light’ or less worthy of study compared to some others we could mention?

As an example of early piety Samuel is second to none.

As an example of faithfulness and obedience to God and love for his people he is also worthy of admiration and imitation.

Just because his own sons failed to follow his example does not excuse us from humbly seeking a similar faithfulness and love to God, His cause and people.

In a dire time in the history of the children of Israel, Samuel was the man of God’s choosing to fulfill His purpose and reveal His will.

The prophet Samuel rightly takes his place in the glorious roll of the heroes of the Faith.

If only there were more among us who like him would cry out “Speak Lord Thy servant heareth.” 1 Samuel 3:10



The one thing Needful!

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.

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”

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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!