The home at Bethany!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Famous Relatives!

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

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

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

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

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

He replied that his ancestors met them on their arrival.

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

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

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

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

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

House Proud?

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

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

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

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


The home at Bethany!

Known of God.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Yet there is room!

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

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

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

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

Fussy Eaters!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Known of God.

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

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 Higher Heights!

There is no doubt but that the apostle Paul scaled to spiritual heights that few others will ever reach and exalted experiences that few ever know.902822

Yet in his letters to the churches, the Apostle never writes as if this type of “spirituality” and “heavenly” living were the exclusive province of the initiated and privileged few.

Rather, he writes as if he were someone nearing the summit of a mountain and happening to look  back down and finds to his surprise and dismay, that they are not there with him but are still struggling on the lower slopes and getting vertigo in the foothills.

The Apostle is up there enjoying the view and the fresh air, while many of his fellow believers are clinging on for dear life by their fingernails weighed down by earthly cares and preoccupations and struggling with sinful desires and cravings.

It is clear that we Christians, often live beneath our privileges as the people of God , it is also clear that we have no one but ourselves to blame for our lack of progress and growth in the Christian life.

We simply do not avail ourselves of the many helps and spiritual resources provided by God for our welfare and progress in the Faith.

There is certainly nothing ‘snobbish” or “elitist’ about the Apostle’s dealings with the various groups of believers and individual Christians he reaches out to.

Rather He “comes across “as someone gracious and loving and wholeheartedly and selflessly seeking their earthly blessing and eternal good.

That he stands on his authority as an “apostle of Christ”  in dealing with many issues in the churches is constantly evinced, but Paul the  “sinner saved by grace” and “fellow soldier of Christ” is exhibited just as surely, if not more so.

It is very difficult to have fellowship with people who display a constant sense of superiority and “holier than thou” attitude.

We may admire those who display or evidence spiritual maturity and eminence but it is human nature to regard them as being somewhat apart from the mainstream and beyond any serious emulation on our part.

So we content ourselves with a sensible mediocrity and blend into the crowd with their humbler aspirations.

We see in many Christian groups the “cult “of personality where one particular leader or group of leaders hold sway over their followers to such an extent  that the “rank and file” hang on  to their every word and make the ”Super-Apostles’” rule their law.

They themselves dwell in “ivory towers” of joy, wealth and peace and promise to show their devotees the way to obtain similar blessings and status in return for a contribution to their cause.

I see none of this self aggrandizement in any of the “Apostles” and certainly none in “The One” who, could have, if he had wished, taken the throne of this world from the hands of the tempter, but instead humbled Himself by coming in the “likeness of sinful flesh”and walking the way of the Cross.

Christ and the Apostles , rather than exalting themselves, chose to deny self and live in humility with the expectation that God would  lift them up, even while living in the World, here and now, to dwell  in  the “heavenly places”  and at the appointed time raise them up, both soul and body to be forever with the Lord.

I may be mistaken but my reading of the apostle Paul is that, in imitation of his Master, he would have been eminently approachable by anyone and everyone

He was to be found day by day “in the trenches” striving and suffering with the all the other “soldiers of Christ”.

Paul would have been the first one to be found at the place of greatest need and also where there was the most likelihood of spiritual threat and danger to the Body of Christ.

He would not have thought it below his dignity to perform the lowest service of love to the humblest saint and follower of Jesus.

There was no self attribution of perfection or of having “arrived’ at the mountain top about the Apostle Paul, but rather the repeated urge and plea for Christians to “soldier on”, “fight the good fight of faith” and join with him as a “fellow pilgrim” and “soldier of Christ, to strive to attain the “full stature of Christ, arrive at the heavenly realm and partake in ultimate victory through Christ Jesus our Lord.

indexrc sproul approval of men.jpeg

“Born of a virgin”

Most professions, Sciences and “disciplines” have developed a terminology and vocabulary that those, without familiarity and intimate knowledge of these areas, have difficulty comprehending.

When the experts in these various fields discuss facets of them the uniformed “layman” has great difficulty in making heads or tails of what they are talking about.

Theology has, over the centuries of history, developed a language very much its own and for the average Christian it has been the temptation to take a great deal of Christian doctrine and belief on trust rather than engage in personal study in order to understand it.

Today, more than ever, it is felt by some that because Christian Theology  is  a source of so much disagreement and contains a great deal that seems  nebulous i.e. hazy, confused, it is better to settle for a blissful ignorance rather than lose ourselves in its vagaries.

They limit themselves to gaining the minimum amount of Christian understanding in order to be saved and leave the rest to the “clever and wise”.

The Roman Catholic Church has always said that ignorance is the mother of devotion but it has rather proved the hatchery and breeding ground of grievous errors and heresies.

A great area of theological discussion and controversy and a constant source of incredulity for the opponents of Christianity is the “Virgin Birth” of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The idea of a human birth occurring outside of the normal means of conception and by miraculous means is outside the “realms of possibility” both for atheistic humanism and “liberal” Christianity alike.

Some have said that the “infancy” narratives were added on later and sourced from “Oral” traditions of dubious veracity.

The skeptics may have a great respect for Christ, his life and teaching but they cannot swallow the more miraculous aspects of the gospel narratives. Some in the church today would throw the “Virgin birth” of Christ overboard entirely and yet keep the Resurrection intact. As if the one were more credible and plausible than the other.

In the main however the scoffers deny the miraculous “lock, stock and barrel” and retain only a “sanitized “and “humanized version of Christianity.

Modern redefining and redacting apologists for Christianity teach that the value of the life and ministry of Christ is not lessened if we consign the “Virgin birth” and miraculous signs surrounding it, to the realms of “pious fiction”.

The later additions made by Roman Catholicism with regards to the “Perpetual Virginity” and “assumption of Mary” etc. only tend to muddy the waters making it hard to separate fact from fiction.

The Bible believing Christian’s acceptance of the Scripture record of Christ’s birth, while an article of faith is does not call for blind credulity.

There is more than enough in the Bible narratives themselves to command their acceptance and belief as to their veracity

They are free from the sensationalizing spirit that accompanied the pagan stories of the “gods” so called and have nothing of the ludicrous elements as found in the “Gnostic” “gospels”.

The accounts themselves bear all the “hallmarks” of veracity and especially in the gospel of Luke’s case, careful research and truthfulness.

Once conceding, the reality of the “miraculous” wrought through the Almighty power of God, we are filled with wonder at the Incarnation and accept its contribution to the understanding of the divine nature and ministry of our Lord and Saviour

That it illuminates the inherent sin-lessness of our Lord  as well as teaching His true nature as “very God“ yet truly man, reinforces to our mind and affections God’s great mercy and our Lord’s great condescension as well as the infinite value and saving power of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.

That the innocent sinless Son of God should come as a babe into a sinful world and that He should “taste death” (Heb.2:9) and bear and atone for sin and gain the redemption and salvation of his people is foundational to our belief as Christians.

To hold to anything less robs the gospel message of its saving efficacy and will never be owned by the Spirit’s accompanying power.maxresdefault birth

Sad to see you go!


For good or ill I was weaned on television, and as a child I can still remember that some scenes and events portrayed on the “small screen” had a great if short lived emotional effect on me.

Whether it was hiding behind the couch when the “M.G.M.” lion roared or shedding tears when the final credits of The “Bugs Bunny “ show and “Lassie” show came on, it triggered an emotional response in me similar to the departure of a dear friend or  the terror of a lion leaping out  on me from  the T.V.

I remember that I felt great sorrow at the thought of my favourite “cartoon” characters going away and that I might not see them again.

Also, the thought of “Lassie” wandering lost and alone with “end title” view of “her with paw raised up waving “goodbye” was poignant in the extreme.aa1e400230334c1b0ce1bdd22f00e5de--tv-themes-television

No doubt as we grow older it becomes more difficult to move us to tears. We are conditioned not to “blub” and appear weak.

That some people are more emotional than others is apparent to all , yet others tend to show little emotion , (thank you ”Mr. Spock”) and others still suppress any and all emotion even to the point of harm.

We may reasonably feel suspicious of any Christian belief that resides wholly and solely in the often transient emotions and depends on the maintenance of holy and spiritual feelings. These emotions and feelings of exist without out being balanced by a true and as far as possible understanding of what and why we believe.

Contra-wise we should feel the some concern about the truth of a belief in Christ and profession of Christianity that reaches only to mere intellectual assent and no further.

If our Christianity resides in one part of our “psyche” to the exclusion of the others, we can reasonably question the balance and utility and may be even the reality of our profession of Christianity.

God’s dealing with us is designed to reach into every corner of our being.

True we may be touched initially in one part of our “being” or the other, yet it must permeate  with the “Spirit’s” aid, our entire “being” to work its wondrous change in our lives and make us effective instruments to convey Christ’s light to the World.



The Higher Heights!

Art for Art’s sake!

It has often been the expressed desire of many aficionados of the “Arts” and “Culture” to seek to engender an appreciation of them in the “ignorant masses” and “common herd”. They hope to raise the moral and intellectual tone of society by giving the “common people” a love of beauty and through this the desire to improve themselves and make the world a better place.1200px-Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_127

Commendable as this aim may be, the fact is that very often it comes from a sense of superiority and condescension.H6pa0aC

While Art may be a source of Beauty and convey powerful influences and emotions it has very often been degraded and debauched by sin besotted people and has often had a deleterious effect on culture and morals.

The artistic community while professing an aim is to raise others from their boorishness and bad taste are very often those who lead in immorality and sinful depravity.

The “Arts” like  other intellectual pursuits and worldly pleasures bear the taint of sin which spoils them and require great discernment on the part of the believer to see through the enemy’s lies masquerading as works of Art .

It is only when our eyes are opened to the beauty of Christ that we  come to understand that so much of what the sinful world regards as beautiful is actually ugly in the extreme and the “spiritual” things that the world sees no beauty at all  in, have beauty that endures for time and eternity.

The Gadarenes.


When the Gadarenes arrived at the place Jesus was and saw the former “demoniac” who had formerly terrorized their country, sitting sober and in his right mind, they were filled with fear and asked Jesus to leave the area. The whole account is found in Mark 5:1-20.

One can only wonder as to the cause of their fear.

Why were they not relieved that they were now free from the terror and threat that this man formerly represented to their community?

They could now sleep safe in their beds and dwell undisturbed by his cries and rantings. The people could go about their business safely without the constant fear of harassment and harm.

Why was there no rejoicing in the miraculous deliverance of someone long held in bondage, no happiness felt in prospect of his re-uniting with family and love ones?

There is not the least evidence seen here of human compassion and tenderness on the part of these people.

It would be terrible to think that the main cause of their fear was due to the loss of the swine herd in the Sea of Galilee.

Perhaps it was the prospect of further financial losses to their lucrative business that prompted them to beg for Jesus’ immediate departure.  They feared loss income if Jesus remained in the area working miracles hither and yon.

The mercy and healing power Christ manifested in this wondrous miracle was, to these “swine keepers”, of less importance than their own prosperity and desire for a quiet life.

For whatever the reason that motivated it, their bidding Jesus depart had the effect of shutting the door, for the time being, upon themselves for the Saviour’s further imparting of saving mercy and grace to them.

In this they showed themselves more foolish than even the Samaritans who welcomed the Lord into their midst, after His conversation with the woman at the well.

How many have shied away from Christ and Christianity because their all absorbing personal interests were threatened? Like the “Rich young ruler” they could not part with all and follow Jesus.

How many have baulked at the mighty and genuine work of God around them because it spoiled and interrupted the order and tranquility of their lives?

How many have been unwilling to put in effort involved in following Christ fully?

It is a terrible thing to ask Christ to depart from us? It will cost us far more in the long run than a herd of “piggish” pleasures and porcine desires.three-3-pigs-feeding-from-trough-ABKP3X

God’s Mercy and Grace .

NPG D29764; Robert Trail published by Robert Wilkinson

Robert Trail in his sermons on the “Throne of Grace” says that many people go there for forgiveness but do not seek God’s grace for conquering sin and holy living. I quote;

“Mercy and grace are joined together by God, and are not to be put asunder by man.


They would be content to obtain mercy; but they care not so much for his grace. But such are only profane ignorant persons, that know neither God nor themselves, nor his mercy, nor his grace.


The Lord will not give mercy without grace, nor grace without mercy. All that receive either, receive both; and all that would have either, must ask both; and none can ask either a right, but he that asks both.”

To me it seems that the Christians of today are all for seeking God’s miraculous power in their lives for somewhat selfish and short-sighted ends.

God has come to be regarded as an over indulgent “father’ happy to spoil His children in any way they ask or desire.

We may desire mercy from God but we have no interest in seeking  His grace to avoid future sin and for help to increase holiness of life.

Or we desire  to obtain grace and blessing without any regard to our need for His mercy with regard to our past sin and present sinfulness.

We may be glad  to benefit from Christ as Saviour yet will disregard his Lordship and the need for His control over our lives.

As Trail says what God has joined let no man put asunder.

Every “jot and tittle”!

The difference between these two:

The master beat the scholar with a strap.

The master beat the scholar, with a strap.

Is in logic nothing; but in rhetoric it is the difference between a “Matter-of-fact ” statement and indignant statement: a strap, we are to understand from the comma, is a barbarous instrument. (quoted from “the King’s English) by H.W. Fowler and F.G Fowler.

Most of us see no difference between these two statements. yet the insertion of a miniscule comma draws our attention away from the action and towards the instrument used to inflict it.
Like spelling, punctuation is not my strong suit at all and may be so for many of us.
To understand the point a writer or for that matter a speaker seeks to convey it is often necessary to pay close attention to even the seemingly insignificant expressions and punctuation.
This is especially so in our understanding of the Scriptures as God’s Word.
Great matters often hang upon small things.
As Christ said of the Law, not the least “iota’ of it will pass away until it is fully fulfilled.
Indeed our clear and correct understanding of it may depend on the smallest “comma” and “full stop”.

imagesmissed your road



Art for Art’s sake!

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