Encapsulated Truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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




Encapsulated Truth.

Trouble and Strife!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ‘Westland Whirlwind’


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

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

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

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


jcryle on luke12

The Marble Man!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


Trouble and Strife!



Identification, friend or foe (IFF) is an identification system designed for command and control. It enables military and civilian air traffic control interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator. IFF may be used by both military and civilian aircraft. IFF was first developed during the Second World War, with the arrival of radar, and several infamous friendly fire incidents.

Despite the name, IFF can only positively identify friendly targets, not hostile ones. If an IFF interrogation receives no reply or an invalid reply, the object cannot be identified as friendly, but is not positively identified as foe. (From Wikipaedia)


Is there a spiritual equivalent of I.F.F.?

All believers have a standard or rule by which they assess the reality and degree of another person’s Christianity or indeed whether they are Christians at all.

It may depend on the length of time that we know them or how open and above board they are about themselves. Also we make judgments based on what we see of their behavior outside of Christian circles.

We are more likely to give the professing Christians we encounter, ‘higher marks’ because of their likeability and generosity.

We may find that because their theology or preference of worship somewhat conforms to ours, we are entitled to assume that they are at least on the right track with their Christianity.

On the other hand, we may look at the company they keep or their shortcomings in theology as mitigating factors when accepting them as a friend and fellow believer.

Again, we may see their lingering sinful propensities or perceived laxity in some areas as reasons for caution and even separation.

Unfortunately we are fallible, and therefore likely to draw false and hasty conclusions in our judgment of others.

We can ‘write off’ some people as if they were a car, not worth the effort or money to repair.

There are in ‘today’s’ Christianity, many ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ and it makes the discerning of friend from enemy vital. Yet in like manner, as the disciples when they called upon Jesus to rebuke the man discovered casting out demons in His Name, we may find the response to our efforts to be a similar rebuke.

The need for discernment in the Christian’s life is necessary, today more than ever. The danger comes when it is pursued in the wrong spirit and zeal.

Wish as we may, we are not the judge, jury and executioner of those we encounter day by day.

God alone is the ultimate judge of men and women.

It is not our ‘place’ to consign people to “the uncovenanted mercies of God’.

It is conceivable that some of our present enemies will become our future friends and sadly, the vice versa.

While we may find much to criticize and deplore about some people’s practice and beliefs, we are nevertheless, to seek their eternal welfare and holding fast to the truth of God.

There is a time and place for us to imitate  ‘metaphorically ‘John Knox and his two – handed sword but for the most part all that is required is a well considered and kindly word spoken in Christian love.

In short, like the original I.F.F. system, our ability to evaluate others is not infallible. Only God truly knows the hearts of men and women.

It is His mercy and truth we seek for others and for ourselves.

Let us pray for not only the serpent’s wisdom but also the dove’s harmlessness.

Let us aim most of all, for the manifestation within ourselves of a Christ-like spirit.


Our New Relationship!

george 5 ascot

King George the fifth was a stickler for dress and punctuality, but so enchanted was he with his new ‘daughter in law’ that one morning when she came down to breakfast and apologized for her lateness, the king replied that He and the remainder of the company must have sat down too early.503dc7ab4f3d7751b3877a9a4d01d0cf--bowes-lyon-george-vi

Infinitely more so, our new relationship as believers with God ,as our heavenly Father, through union with Christ removes the penal displeasure that is our due as sinners.

The Christian is brought to  see,  as never before, God’s loving countenance and tender compassion for our weakness and frailties.

Even our sins and straying from the right path draws out His loving-kindness and Shepherd – like care and reveals His willingness to forgive and the call for our return, attended with the promise of mercy and restoration.

All of these mercies and blessings come to us through our union and oneness with Christ Jesus our Lord.



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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have often been called an introvert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

King David understood this feeling more than most.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True this may not always be the case.

The Christian is still a work in progress.

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

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

building reconstruction


Jeremiah and Baruch.

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

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

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

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

This took a toll on his sensitive nature.images jerem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 It was getting all too much for him.

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

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

The prophet records some of the struggle in his soul.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

indexsibbe times






Swinging the Compass!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of the Depths.

Continuing a nautical theme.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Condiments of the Season”

imageschief weasel.jpeg

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

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

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


Swinging the Compass!

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!