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1          Welcome to my Blog. Spend a little while reading and visit again often as I add to it from time to time. God bless you.

 2          I was reading the parable of the lost coin the other day (Luke 15:8) and my thoughts wandered … what is the greatest loss one can experience in this world? Is it the loss of a worthless trinket with great emotional value to the owner; or an expensive item of jewelry or such like; or great sums of money? Is it the loss of a loved one? Or what?

I concluded that for a Christian the greatest loss is the loss of one’s Faith.

I am often saddened by the number of people who say they are losing their faith or belief in God. Why is that I wonder. Is it because we live in a technologically advanced age and people find it difficult to relate to a super-natural omnipotent God whose love they have never actually experienced in their lives?

Or is it perhaps a shortage of good Christian role models? People who set us a good example of how to be Christ-like.

I then realized that we are all role models for others; whether we are parents, teachers, preachers or whatever. We are all unwittingly setting an example for others to emulate.

The magnitude of that realization frightened me. Being a Christian is quite a responsibility you know!     

3          A young man I know has been mugged by a fox. Yes, a fox.

He bought a McDonald meal and sat on the park bench to enjoy it. Having finished his fries he placed the empty container on the bench. To stop it blowing away he then placed his cell phone and car keys into the container.

A fox came out of the bushes, no doubt attracted by the smell, he quickly grabbed the fries container and ran away followed by the young man.

Eventually, the man found his car keys – but not the cell phone.

So if a fox happens to phone you …

4          At times of adversity barriers are usually broken between people as they get closer together. They share their feelings, fears and worries and encourage each other.

Could it be that God allows adversity to happen to give us an opportunity to get closer to Him? To share our fears and worries, and to seek His help?

5          With modern technology more and more people are now able to work from home. They use their laptops or PCs and they can easily upload or download their work and communicate with colleagues.

At work today I overheard the doorkeeper complain because he couldn’t work from home. Come to think of it … neither can the office cleaners, the restaurant staff at work, and many others in our block of offices who have to turn up everyday !!!

6          When things go wrong, no matter how wrong, it is important to remember that God is still in control. For reasons best known to Himself, He has allowed something wrong in our lives.

Instead of rebelling and blaming Him for what’s gone wrong; let us instead thank Him that He is in control of the situation. Let us trust Him that He will help us through it.

7          Does God have a sense of humour? We are created in His image and we have a sense of humour - so does He? I hope so, or else we're all doomed !!!.

8          Remember the story about Jesus healing the ten lepers and only one came back to thank Him? (Luke 17:11). I was reading it the other day and I thought how often in our busy lives these days we too forget to thank those who have been kind to us.

Just think for a moment or two … I bet there are people around you right now who have been kind to you and you took them for granted. A spouse perhaps, a relative, friend or neighbor … You may even have done something nice for someone yourself and they forgot to thank you.

We don’t mean to be ungrateful of course. We’re just too busy … you know how it is!

Perhaps we should have a National Thank You day when we send each other cards for all those times we forgot to say thank you! Just a thought …

9          I read in an old magazine that men will become extinct in some thousand years’ time because there is something wrong with their Y chromosome. I don’t claim to have understood the argument but the fact is men will become extinct.

This is terrible news. If men became extinct then who will catch the spiders when they fall in the bath?

10        What exactly are angels? Are they spirits? Or the souls of good people who died before us?

Angels are often mentioned in the Bible. They were used by God to announce the birth of Christ. The Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and Angels appeared to shepherds to tell them that Christ was born in Bethlehem. There are many other references to them in the Bible.

Some people believe that we all have a Guardian Angel, appointed by God to look after us and protect us.

If this is true – then mine must be very busy indeed.

11        Archaeologists make the best marriage partners. The older you get the more interested they are in you.

12        When God gave us the Ten Commandments He meant just that: ten rules or instructions for us to follow in our lives.

He did not mean ten suggestions for us to debate and alter to suit our modern lifestyles.

Why do we humans succeed in ruining everything?  


13        When Jesus taught us to pray – forgiveness is the only request to God to which He attached a condition.

He said: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us.

I hope He finds us forgiving when the time comes for us to meet Him.

14        Today I took the car for its annual maintenance service. As it was a beautiful, warm sunny day, I decided to leave the car at the service garage and walk the couple of miles or so home. They’d phone me later when the car is ready for collection.

As I walked slowly down the hill I took time to gaze at the many houses in the street on my way home. Some were big and modern, others more compact and a few years older. I stopped every so often and looked pensively at the gardens and mentally gave each garden points on how it was maintained and looked after. There was a garden full of lavender which attracted several bees – it smelled wonderful. In another garden I saw a bird with a small twig in its beak – no doubt building a nest somewhere. I really enjoyed myself on my way back home.

I realized that although I had driven up and down this hill for years I never noticed the beautiful houses and their gardens. You miss so much when you’re in a hurry and concentrating on something else.

Just like life really. We’re so busy these days just to keep up with living that perhaps we forget to live. There’s so much that God has placed on this earth for us to enjoy and we just ignore them in pursuit of our individual lifestyles.

15        Today was another beautiful, warm and sunny day. I spent sometime in the garden pruning the bushes.

Half an hour later a friend came to visit. I must explain that I’ve left a corner of the garden to grow freely. My friend looked at it and said: “these are all weeds … they must come out …”

I pointed at the little yellow and blue flowers and said they looked pretty; and they attracted butterflies and other insects.

My friend said: “They’re weeds. You’ve dandelions there, and nettles and …” naming a variety of plants I hadn’t even heard of.

What is a weed I thought, isn’t it a plant that you don’t want? There are people who make nettle tea – you can buy it at the health shop. I suppose to them a nettle is not a weed but a livelihood. I also read somewhere that dandelions are used in medicine.

Then I thought … I hope God is more selective when He comes to choose whom from His creations are worthy to enter Heaven. Will He say disparagingly: “You’re a weed” – or will He welcome us in His kingdom?  

16        Nothing teaches us patience like waiting.

Remember when you were young and lacked patience? In those days a week was like a year. Especially if you’d been promised something by your parents and you had to wait and wait …

I suspect the same applies to us when we relate to God. We pray for something and wait … but God does not work to our timescales. He has His own plans and maybe what we’re asking for is not good for us … just yet.

Which reminds me of another story which I remember very distinctly from my youth.

The reading in church was from 2 Peter 3:8 where he says: “There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to Him the two are the same”.

I remember thinking as a child: it must be difficult to have an appointment with God. Imagine God saying to Moses to go to Mount Sinai “tomorrow”; and Moses asking “Is that in 24 hours or in a thousand years time? Because I’d be dead by then!”

I hope God forgave the impertinent mind of a young child.

17        There is nothing more frustrating than when you finish a jigsaw puzzle and find a piece missing. Today I finally finished a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle – and guess what. There’s a piece extra in the box.  

So if any of you out there have a jigsaw piece missing from your puzzle, maybe it’s the one I’ve got!

Which reminds of something I read somewhere … life can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. Full of doubts, fears, frustrations and confusions … as well as good times too. If we were to put God right in the middle of our life our jigsaw puzzle would be complete. And what a wonderful picture it would make!

18        I suppose it is easy being a Christian when all is well. Life is wonderful, good job, happy family and great health.

But what happens when health starts to fail. I had the misfortune to visit a hospital the other day and saw many people in various states of bad health. I’ll leave the vivid descriptions to your imagination ….

I then recalled the many people I see in church on Sunday who are obviously very unwell. People in wheelchairs, blind people, the old and infirm … there’s even a man who has to carry with him a small machine to help him breathe (I think)!

How can these people who are obviously in failing health still turn up to church and pray? What inner strength do they possess to keep and maintain their Faith in God?

I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer. But let me at least pray to God to give them the courage to continue to be an example to others, and also to make their lives more comfortable.

Please join me in praying for all who are sick right now.

19        This man kept praying to God to make him win the lottery. Every day he prayed and prayed but never won a dime.

When he died and went to Heaven he asked God: Why did you not let me win the lottery? Just the once … I prayed to you daily, but you never listened.

God replied with a smile: At least give me half a chance … you never actually played the lottery did you?

I suppose that’s the same with us. We pray to God and ask all sorts of favors … good job, promotion, more money and so on. But do we actually do enough for ourselves instead of relying on Him and blaming Him when it all goes wrong?

20        Today I learnt a salutary lesson.

I visited an old lady of 80 years of age. She has been very ill recently and age has had its toll … she walks very slowly with the aid of a stick. She can hardly move because of the pain … and just getting out of a chair is a Herculean task for her.

As she was shuffling from one room to another slowly I offered to help. She declined gently and said defiantly: I will not be trapped in my own body.

Those words are still ringing in my ears. Her brain is as sharp as ever but she is hindered by her body.

I remember reading somewhere that scientists can’t find a good reason why we age – i.e. why not just shut down and die. What is the purpose of a continuous and painful aging process?

I suppose God allows aging so that the rest of us can help those less able than ourselves. What do you think?

21        Someone asked the other day – I have forgiven but cannot forget the pain and hurt caused to me. Does that mean I’ve not really forgiven?

Let’s examine un-forgiveness. Un-forgiveness is when we harbor thoughts of revenge, retribution and punishment … when we are angry, and full of hate, ill-will, hostility and ill-feelings towards those who hurt us.

If none of these feelings are within us – then we have truly forgiven.

The mind forgets but the heart forgives.

22        I visited some friends the other day. It was a warm evening so we sat in the garden chatting. Moments later they both went into the house to prepare some refreshments and left me in the garden alone.

I sat admiring the view when suddenly out of the bushes came a fox. He moved around for a few seconds then hid again.

When my friend came out I told him about the fox. “Can’t be a fox” he said, “we live too far into town for a fox to come here …”

I said nothing and continued our conversation. Minutes later out came the fox again for a short while.

My friend shouted to his wife still in the house “We’ve got a fox in the back garden!”

Her exact reply was “Can’t be a fox, we live too far into town for a fox to come here!”

He called her a doubting Thomas and laughed it off.

Later that evening I thought about Thomas the disciple. What a service he did for Christianity without realizing it. By doubting Christ’s resurrection Jesus appeared again, and this time Thomas saw Him. The whole event was witnessed by the other disciples and recorded for us to read years later.

Had Thomas not doubted, we would have lost a valuable piece of evidence of Christ’s resurrection.

23        The sermon in church today was all about attending church. We were asked why do we go to church. Is it out of habit?

We were asked why we chose that particular church. Was it because we like the singing? Was it because the time is convenient with our busy lifestyles? Or was it because we like to meet the other people afterwards and have a chat and a cup of coffee?

I could see some of the congregation getting uncomfortable and wondering where all this was leading to.

The preacher made his point by saying that when we come to church to pray and thank God, we should also have another aim in mind. We should come to change … to make ourselves better people!

24        At a Christian seminar the lecturer was talking about our contributions to this world and he asked his audience: “Imagine you are lying dead in your coffin and your friends and relatives are passing by to pay their respects. What do you want them to say about you?”

The first volunteer said: “I hope they say I was a good family man and that I helped people less well off than myself.”

A second participant said: “I hope they say I used my skills as a doctor to help others.”

The third man said: “I hope they say - I’ve just seen him move !!! ”

What will they say when you’re gone?

25        Although Heaven is mentioned often in the Bible there’s only one instance where we have a glimpse of a description. In John 14:2 Jesus says: In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

I suppose Jesus used this description because He wanted an example that his listeners could relate to. They were used to seeing palaces and mansions so He described Heaven as a building.

Some time ago, I came across another description of Heaven. This priest said in a sermon that when we die and meet God, He will sit us on his lap like a little child and He will show us our life all over again. Just like a movie. There, we will see all the good and the bad we have done, all the opportunities we missed when we could have helped others less fortunate than ourselves, all the hurt we have caused by what we have done or said, whether intentionally or not. And there, on His lap, will be our own Heaven or Hell.

Imagine seeing your whole life as a movie … Imagine you are now a Film Director … what an opportunity you have to make sure your movie will have a happy ending !!!

26        Repentance in this world is very rarely unconditional. There’s often a price to pay – whether it’s saying sorry to a loved one, buying her chocolates and flowers, (Lord knows the fortune I’ve spent on chocolates and flowers !!!), or for more serious offences the Law punishes us with fines and even prison.

Many years ago I led a team of volunteers who visited patients in hospital. We often met people in various states of sickness; from those needing minor operations or recuperating from car/motorcycle accidents to the more serious terminal illnesses and old age. We sat with the patients for a while, chatted with them, cheered them up if possible or made them more comfortable. I must admit, it was sometimes heart breaking meeting people nearing the end of their lives; and sometimes returning the next day to find an empty bed or a new patient replacing the one who has passed on.

Anyway … forgive me for rambling on …

To get back to the point. There are many people in our society who right now are spending time in prison. Some will be there for short periods whilst others will be there for much much longer.

Like those patients in hospital, they too need someone to visit them. They may not say or show it, but I’m sure they’d benefit from contact from people just like my hospital team all those years ago. Thankfully, there are prison chaplains, pastors and priests as well as lay people who do just that. I imagine their task is much more difficult than what I used to do when visiting in hospital.

I respect them for it and ask you to pray for them, as well as for the prisoners they visit.

27        I have often wondered: how did Noah ensure that the woodpeckers didn’t drill holes in his boat and sink it?

28        I got lost the other day … yes lost !

I was out driving in the countryside showing off to some friends from abroad the beauty of my part of the world. I turned left and right and left again not paying attention to road signs (not many in the countryside) and before I knew it I really didn’t know where I was. Some of the signs pointed to towns and villages I’d never heard off and I really didn’t know whether I was heading North or South. I pretended I knew what I was doing of course. You won’t find me admitting to a mistake … no, never !!!

Eventually we found our way home … and without asking for directions either !!!

You know, life’s like that sometimes. We find ourselves at a cross-road and don’t really know where to turn. Should we change career? Move to another place? Do this or do that? Do we do it now or later? How much later?

I think at times like these it is more important to focus on Him rather than focus on what we’re to do and when. After all, He allowed us to be where we are at this point in time and surely, if we hold His hand, He will see us through it.

29        It is said that Moses took 40 years to travel from Egypt through the desert to the Promised Land. Considering the distance involved this must be in-efficiency to the highest degree … he must have been going round in circles.

I reckon that unbeknown to him, Mrs Moses must have been asking for directions secretly and, when appropriate, she pointed him in the right direction.

Being a woman, she allowed him to take all the credit for getting there at last.

30        A man is very sick in hospital having undergone several operations and getting weaker all the time. The doctor approaches him looking very solemn. The patient asks in between deep labored breathing: “How am I doing doc?”

Without raising his eyes from his notes the doctor replies: “Do you believe in God?”

“No … never; I’ve never believed in Him or anything like that,” replies the sick man.

“Well … you’d better start believing … just in case” says the doctor as he walks away.

Now here’s a thought …

Who is God? Is He our Creator, a loving Father, who gave us so much that we could never repay Him back?

Or is He just an insurance policy … just in case.

31        We were in the park the other day. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and the children were playing on the swings, the slide, the roundabout and the seesaw.

I decided to replenish my failing reserves of energy by sitting on a bench and soaking the warm sun. As I sat watching the mothers and (some) fathers pushing their young ones on the swings, or helping the roundabout go round and round,.another man sat next to me and sniggered: “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little old for all this energetic work!” I smiled back and said nothing.

As I looked at the seesaw going up and down with a child at either end a thought occurred to me.

Life is a bit like that sometimes. You have at one end of the seesaw Worry and Doubt; and at the other end Peace and Certainty.

Sometimes Worry and Doubt are in the ascendant and together what powerful adversaries they make for my poor mind! I start questioning my faith. What if I got it all wrong? What if there is no God at all! I worry about my family, my friends, myself and my worldly goods. I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like.

But at other times, especially after prayers or Bible readings, Peace and Certainty are up in the air. I remember the many times God was there for me and the many situations He saved me from and helped me through. It’s at these times that I know for certain that He exists alright, despite what others might lead us to believe.

I suppose we can’t control the up and down movement of the seesaw. That’s what it was designed to do. But with constant prayers we can ensure that Peace and Certainty are there high up for all to see in our lives for as long as possible.

32        It was a warm and clear night. I sat in the garden for a while just listening to the quiet around me and thinking about nothing in particular. Just thoughts wondering in and out of my mind as they sometimes do. Every so often I could hear the cry of an owl in the distance – perhaps calling for its mate.

I looked up and gazed at the stars. There were hundreds and hundreds of them. The more I looked the more of them I saw as my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness. They made me feel so small.

Here am I in my garden looking up – and there they were shining in the night miles and miles away.

As sometimes happens in these occasions I wondered whether I was alone here; looking up. Is there someone else on one of these stars sitting in his garden looking at my planet shining like a tiny dot in his dark sky?

And if so, then surely that being looking at me was also created by God; just like me. Did God send His only Son to that being’s world too; to die for him, as He did for me?

The sound from the owl brought me back to earth with a bump.

I guess we’ll never know the answers to my questions. Perhaps we’re not meant to know.

We humans think we’re so clever because we’ve advanced so much in such a short period of time. We thirst for knowledge and the more we learn the more proud we become of our achievements.

Maybe, for our own benefit, there are things that He will not allow us to know. No matter how much we try to find the answers.

33        The Lord’s Prayer contains the words: Thy will be done.

What do these words really mean to us? Do they mean: “May God’s will be done and I will accept it.”

Or do they mean: “Thy will be done as long as it is what I want?”

Why is it that we are sometimes hesitant when we say: “Thy will be done.”

Let’s be honest now, all of us, (including me); is it because deep down, in our heart of hearts, we harbor that little doubt that perhaps if His will were to be done it might not be that comfortable for us, it would interfere with our plans, our lifestyles, and with what we really want to do?

Oh ye of little Faith!

34        True story.

A father and son had a terrible quarrel. They have not seen or spoken to each other for years.

The father is now dying of cancer. His son has not visited him, nor has he phoned him. The father does not wish to see his son, nor does he want to have contact with him.

What chance does God have to spread love on this planet when human stubbornness surpasses all understanding?

35        Many years ago when I was young I had to drive from my office to a town some miles away for a meeting. I took a colleague with me.

He was gregarious, always joking and telling stories and was fun to be with.

Our journey took us through narrow winding country lanes, up and down steep hills, and at one point near the sea with beautiful mountains in the background. It was a warm and sunny day and I enjoyed the drive ahead.

My passenger was unusually silent and I surmised that he was rehearsing in his head the important speech he was about to make at the meeting.

When we arrived at our destination he got out of the car and said in a loud voice: “I will never, ever, get in a car with you!” then he stormed into the building.

That evening he took the train back home and I drove alone.

I was to learn later from other colleagues that my driving was too fast – “almost reckless” he had described it. Yet he was too polite (or frightened?) to say anything during the journey.

I apologized to him of course. But the problem was that I had totally mis-read the situation and took his silence for what it wasn’t.

How often do we fail to consider the feelings of those close to us as we rush speedily through our busy lives?

36        After twenty five years of marriage a man goes to Court seeking a divorce because his wife keeps throwing things at him when angry: plates, cups, saucers, whatever is at hand she throws.

The judge asks: What took you so long to decide on divorce?

He replied: Her aim is getting better!

Isn’t it funny that after so many years of Christianity we are still not reaching those we should. Is it because our “aim” is not on target? Or is it because we have diluted the message so much that when it is received people are confused and don’t know what we stand for?

37        A man rings a local church for information. The telephone answering system replies:

Press 1 if you wish to speak to the pastor.

Press 2 for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Press 3 to check the times of our services.

Press 4 if …..

He put the phone down and thought: Just pray if you wish to contact God direct.

Ironically, in a modern society we sometimes make access to God really difficult.

38        A story in the local papers: some people were held hostage in their own apartment. The police were called and thankfully the situation was resolved peacefully.

How many people I wonder are held hostage in their homes by illness or old age?

Or people held hostage because they are confined to a wheelchair?

Or even held hostage within their own mind because of mental illness?

Let us pray for hostages everywhere – whatever kind. May God be with them.

39        Anxiety …. You’re a destroyer of souls!

Anxiety is a human emotion. We can’t help feeling anxious, sometimes unnecessarily, and in so doing we give way to doubts and worry. It’s like meeting three evil witches intent on destroying you: Anxiety, Doubt and Worry.

Whenever we look away from God for a moment that’s when we allow anxiety to enter our life and implant the seeds of doubt and worry. Perhaps it’s because at that very instant when we look away from God, the devil is ready to pounce and lead us astray.

The remedy is to re-focus on God in the sure knowledge that He will not let us down.

“Look at the birds flying around … your Father in Heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds?” Matthew 6:26

40        I asked a Christian doctor friend of mine about his religion and his profession. He explained that being a doctor is very much like being a car mechanic. He learnt about different parts of the body and how to fix them when they go wrong.

However, unlike a car mechanic, he does not have the complete blueprint plan of how the body was made and how it functions. He explained that, thankfully, the Creator decided to keep some parts of the blueprint secret in case we humans ruin the final product completely.

41        Graffiti seen on church notice board:

Jesus saves!

Someone wrote underneath it:

He’s lucky – I can’t save a penny on my wages.

Someone else added:

I saved too. Lost it all in the stock exchange crash.

Finally another added:

Save your treasure in Heaven. It will not lose its value and earns good interest.

42        Doubts are necessary to strengthen our Faith.

When God asked us to love Him, He didn’t want to force us in anyway. He wanted us to choose freely whether to love Him or not.

That’s why He allows doubts to creep in our minds from time to time. They help us to get to know Him better. We ask questions, we learn from the answers we find, we get closer to Him. Just like any other relationship; the more you know about the other person the closer you get to him or her.

Of course, too much doubt can make us lose our Faith altogether. The devil would be glad of that. That’s why he plays with our doubts and adds more to them; in order to confuse us and lead us astray.

We must learn to control our doubts, and use them to our benefit not the devil’s. When we have doubts about our Faith, we should not fear them but we should pray for guidance from our Lord.

43        The devil appeared at the local supermarket one Saturday morning. He stood there by the main entrance looking menacingly and threatening. All the shoppers panicked. They escaped through every available emergency exits, jumped into their cars and drove off at speed.

All except for one shopper. A small, short man, standing there by his shopping trolley holding a long shopping list in his hand.

The devil advanced towards the small man and said angrily: “Do you know who I am?”

“Yes … I do” replied the shopper.

“Aren’t you afraid of me like all the others?” asked the devil.

“No … I’ve been married to your sister for 25 years!”

OK … joke over. Now for the serious stuff.

Isn’t it a shame that we waste so much time afraid of one thing or another instead of sitting down comfortably and confronting our fears? More often than not, when we analyze what is really “bugging us”, what is making us so hesitant and cautious we find that our problem is not so insurmountable after all.

Do not be afraid – I will save you. I have called you by name – you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

44        A woman gives her husband two beautiful silk ties for his birthday. In order to please her, he decides to wear one of the ties as they go out to a restaurant to celebrate his birthday.

As soon as she sees him wearing the tie she said: “What’s wrong with the other one?”

Choices …

I was at the supermarket the other day looking for some basics: toothpaste and soap. It’s surprising how many different types and brands of toothpaste there are. The same applies to soap, or any other product for that matter. In a consumer society we seem to be spoilt for choice. Choice can be a good thing, or a bad thing – it all depends on your perspective and way of thinking.

Now let’s consider this:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6.

The choice here is simple.

45        I learnt a lesson from a five year old today. We were out in the countryside and she gave a few flowers she had just picked to her mother. It was a selection of dandelions, daisies, buttercups and a few other weeds.

Life is all about making a bouquet of whatever flowers are available.

46        Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.

Non, rien de rien. Non. Je ne regrette rien.

To have no regrets could be a sign of arrogance. We all have some regrets of things we have done, or not done. The wise thing to do is to learn from one’s regrets.

47        If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans.

Years ago, I was talking to my boss about career plans in a large organization. He smiled at me and said that in three years time he’d achieve a great ambition. I was puzzled; but he explained, showing me a small organization sketch he had drawn up, that within three years several senior managers would have left the organization. He said “X retires next year, they’ll promote Y to take his job, this leaves a vacancy which will be filled by Z” and so on and on. He had planned who would leave when creating a potential vacancy which he was best placed to fill.

How sad, I thought. He was so keen to progress up the organization that he had plotted a potential path to help achieve his ambitions.

How often do we too, plan so far ahead, that we forget to take into consideration what God wants for us, or what He might wish us to do on His behalf.

“Not my will, however, but your will be done.” Luke 22:42.

48        Insecurity, shyness, loneliness, not quite fitting in.

All too often one meets people who, for one reason or another, feel that they are left out from what this world has to offer. They may well be part of a group of friends at work, or at school, college or university, but yet they feel that they don’t quite fit in somehow. They are not the center of attention – the funny one that everyone admires, the intelligent one, or the artistic or athletic one.

They are part of the group alright, but they are on the sidelines. The one who never quite gets noticed!

Such inner loneliness and insecurity can be crushing and can so easily suffocate one’s soul.

Look around you today – is there such a person you recognize? Do the kind thing and include them in your personal world.

True Happiness consists not in the multitude of friends; but in their worth and choice.

49        A young teenager was helping me plant some wooden fencing posts. I held the post upright tightly with both hands and said: “When I nod my head hit it hard.”

I nodded and he hit my head with the hammer !!!

Now for the serious bit: is God trying to communicate with you but you’re not listening? Don’t wait for Him to take drastic action before you pay attention.

50        I was at a large supermarket today – suddenly the fire alarm rang. The customers left their trolleys laden with goods just where they were standing and walked outside the building, followed by the supermarket’s staff. The customers were led to one corner of the car park whilst the staff gathered at another corner and a roll call was taken. We waited for about half an hour until the all clear was given. The staff entered the building first in single file; I counted about 200 or so.

At that point a thought occurred to me; I don’t know why – perhaps it was prompted by the staff’s red uniforms. I thought: do they have fire alarm drills in hell? Do the devils gather at one corner outside hell whilst the inmates gather somewhere else? Can the inmates seize an opportunity to escape? 

On second thoughts: hell and the devil are no laughing matter. They exist all right and we should be on our guard when the devil tries to lead us astray.

“ … and lead us not into temptation, ”

51        In every situation of Trust there is always the risk of betrayal. Whether it is a friendship, a business partnership, a marriage or whatever; in every circumstance where two or more people trust each other there is always the risk that someone will betray that trust.

We all know about the greatest betrayal ever – Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss.

So what are we to do? Not trust anyone ever and go through life suspecting everyone. This would be impossible and would jeopardize our every relationship. We have to accept that with trust we become a little more vulnerable and susceptible to abuse of that trust. It’s a risk we take as we journey through life.

With one important exception:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1 NIV.

52        We often strive to control our life’s events. We want to be in charge. We want to do it our way because we believe our way is best. We want to be able to say: “I did it my way.”

And in this pursuit of self-will we inadvertently (or perhaps deliberately) put God aside. Momentarily, He does not feature in our plans.

When God is sidelined, as we sometimes do, He doesn’t stop loving us. Instead, we block an opportunity for Him to influence our efforts for our own and others’ good.

“Thy will be done …”

53        I visited an elderly lady today.

She said: “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be … when I was young we used to think back about holidays by the sea, walks in the countryside, and all the simple clean fun we had when we were kids. Now it’s all computer games, DVDs, and confounded gadgets which people don’t really need. Pretty soon they’ll need a satellite navigation system to find the toilet in their own homes!”

54        Just because you have Christian ethics don’t expect everyone else to be the same.        

55        There are times in this modern lifestyle of ours when, quite honestly, we are totally mentally and physically exhausted. There are so many things to do and to fit-in in this 24/7 treadmill we are on that we dare not stop for one second lest we fall.

And it gets worse – money is tight, prices are going up, demands put upon us increase daily, and, to cap it all, we are getting older every day and we cannot cope as well as we used to, especially when our health fails us.

It’s at times like these that we feel like giving up.

What is the answer dear Lord?

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

56        Ah … summer!

Why is it that at barbecues it is always the man who stands by the fire?

Women are always busy preparing everything else. Getting the table ready and the children in place. Serving everyone. Being hospitable. Multi-tasking and doing a million other things.

Yet … everyone is impressed by the man’s burnt offerings !!!

57        A little child of six was taught by his parents that Jesus is always with him. Helping him, protecting him and guiding him as he goes through life.

One day the child was out riding his tricycle. He was pedaling as hard as he could up a hill followed by his parents on their cycles. No matter how hard his little legs went round and round, the tricycle hardly moved up the steep hill.

Eventually the child got off the tricycle and said: “It’s no use Jesus, you’ll have to get off and help me push it up the hill!”

There are times in life when we are really down. Maybe it’s because we’re over-tired. Or it is because things have been going badly for us lately. Things out of our personal control perhaps, like the illness of someone we love, or loss of a job, failure in exams and so on.

That’s the time when, like a child, we should stop and ask Jesus to help.

58        Many of us go through life carrying the pain and hurt caused to us in the past. This pain slows us down. It makes us stumble from time to time. It hinders our progress in our journey towards God.

It isn’t always easy to forgive. But that shouldn’t stop us trying. We can do so with God’s help.

We can ask Him to take away the pain caused to us. He can do that; after all He did take a lot of pain on our behalf when nailed to the Cross.

We can ask Him to heal the hurt. He can do that too; He did heal many people when He walked amongst us.

We can ask Him to teach us to forgive. He did just that as He was dying.

As for forgetting; that isn’t so easy. The memories of our hurt will always be with us.

Jesus has not forgotten what we did to Him. He has the scars in His hands, feet and side to remind Him everyday.

And every time He looks at the scars, He forgives us once again.

So every time we remember our hurts, we too should forgive again and again.

59        There are times in life when others hurt. And they turn to you as the cause of their hurt. Maybe it’s something you did or said – but they believe you are the cause of their hurt.

You don’t really know what you did or said. You can’t remember intentionally or un-intentionally hurting them. But they blame you and keep their distance. You can’t discuss it with them or even attempt to understand and to apologise – if indeed it is your fault.

So what do you do?

Pray to God to forgive you if indeed you caused their pain. Ask Him to remind you how and when you caused their hurt. So that you may make amends. Or if you didn’t cause their hurt; ask Him to open their heart to listen to Him so that they may realize their mistake.

Wait for the Lord to restore Peace in your heart and theirs.

60      Once upon a time an elderly man was making his way home through the park after a long day at work. Some youths set upon him. They were carrying knives. They mugged him, injured him badly and left him lying in a pool of blood.

A while later a city gent happened to pass by. He looked at the bleeding man on the ground and thought: This may be a trap. If I stop to help him someone might come out from the bushes and attack me. I'd better hurry home.

And so he did.

A while more later another man happened to come along. He saw the elderly man on the ground and thought: I'd better pretend not to have seen him. If I stop and call the police and ambulance they will ask me a lot of questions. They will want a lot of information. I'll be a witness and I'll probably have to go to court eventually to say what I saw. I really can't be bothered with all this. I'd better rush home.

And so he did.

A bit more later a learned man came by. He had studied sociology, philosophy, and many other important subjects. He looked at the injured man on the ground and thought: Whoever did this needs help. They must be from an under-priviledged background and up-bringing. Poor souls!

And he hurried home thinking about society.

Moral of the story: What a mess we made of this world in the 21st Century.

61        Fear can be good for you.

Fear can make people careful and not take unnecessary risks. A bit of caution and thinking before acting is a good thing.

Too much fear however is harmful especially if it is irrational and unfounded. I know of so many people afraid to go out at night because of crime. Or deadly afraid of every pain they get in case it is serious. Yet, so afraid that they dare not go to a doctor in case he confirms their worst fears.

I’m not going to say that I’m immune to fear and anxiety. Yes, there are times when certain thoughts come to mind … However, I also realize that to give way to fear is to doubt God. To doubt His love, His protection and His caring for us.

Do not be afraid – I will save you. I have called you by name – you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

62        Is your life exciting or is it mundane?

Not many of us spend our lives mixing with celebrities and enjoying the material luxuries that this world offers. For most of us life is a simple routine of work, bringing up the family, and a little leisure when we can fit that in. Some people can’t even afford this routine lifestyle, especially if money is short; they have no job or are in poor health.

Compare that to our spiritual life.

Is it barren and completely distant from our Creator? Or do we walk daily hand in hand with Jesus by our side?

How many times during the day do we pray silently, and thank our Lord for all He has done for us?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20.

63        The sermon in church today was from Matthew 16:21-27 where Jesus says to his disciples: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me”.
When I got home I thought I’d do something nice. I gave my wife a big hug and a kiss, and carried her indoors.

Startled she snapped "What’s wrong with you, have you gone crazy?"

"No my dear,” I replied. "Didn’t you hear the sermon? Jesus said pick up your cross and follow Me".

I got a slap in the face and severe backache.
No Sunday lunch either!

64        Sometimes events in life and circumstances seem so difficult to reconcile with the Words of Jesus. He talked about God’s love for us, yet we see around us hurt, pain and despair. And we wonder. What is Truth and what is fantasy. We ask ourselves why He allows certain things to happen. Is He still in control of events or has He given up on us. Does He really exist.

It’s at times like these, when we’re confused and anxious we’d do well to stop and take a deep breath. We’d do well to remember that Jesus told us that He is the Truth. He said He’d be with us always, to the end of time. And that we should believe in Him, even though we have not seen Him with our eyes, and touched the wounds in His hands and side. His Words will endure forever.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my Words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35.

65        Time for a Reality Check.

When you look at the mirror, what do you see? Do you like what you see?

Write down on a piece of paper five adjectives that describe you: honest, hard-working, loyal … what else can you think of? Be honest and write down more than five adjectives if you wish.

When you’ve finished, read each one slowly in turn. How many of these adjectives would be chosen by your friends or family to describe you?

Do you see yourself as others see you?

More important, do you see yourself as God sees you?

And … that’s what frightens me.

66        Ever felt disheartened, sad and really low down? Most of us have. We look around us and see things going wrong, and perhaps we can’t cope any more. What’s worse, we see good things happen to bad people. People who don’t even believe in God. At least that’s how it looks from where we’re standing.

This is what Jesus had to say to His disciples: “The Father Himself loves you. He loves you because you love me and have believed that I came from God. I did come from the Father, and I came into the world; and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father … I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” John 16:27-33.

67        It happens to all of us I suppose at one time or another. We’re so tired of trying to achieve something, and we fail time and again, that we feel like giving up.

On His way to Calvary Jesus fell to the ground three times. He was exhausted. He had been beaten, mocked, spat upon and tortured. His disciples had run away in fear, one of whom even denied Him three times.

That's enough to make anybody give up. Jesus could have stayed there on the ground and died on the spot.

But He got up. Three times, He got up and continued His journey to a cruel and very painful death.

He did it for us. He did it because His Father asked Him to.

Let that be our inspiration to try once again when we feel like giving up.

68    Two elderly couples are having a pleasant evening meal together. When they finish the ladies go to the kitchen whilst the men stay at the table enjoying a brandy and a cigar.

The host says to the guest: Jolly nice restaurant we went to last night. I can really recommend it.

The guest replies: Really? What’s it called?

The host mumbles: Ehmmm let me think … what’s the name of that flower you give when you’re in love … you know … usually red with thorns …

The guest says: A rose.

The host replies: That’s right …

Then looking towards the kitchen he says: Rose … what’s the name of that restaurant we went to yesterday?

We all have lapses in memory from time to time. Let’s hope we don’t forget to thank God for what He has done for us.

69  Someone asked me whether God wants everyone to come to Him, and, since He knows everything, if anyone refuses to follow God’s Word, then did this man really have a choice, or was it pre-determined that he would not follow God.

Pre-determination and free will have been debated by Christians and non-Christians for years.

Here’s my view on it.

God's invitation is to everyone - without exception.

When He invites us to love Him, He wants us to choose freely - without any pressure on His part to influence our decision. We choose to love Him and come to God through Jesus Christ: "I
am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6.

Of course, some choose not to accept the invitation. They decide to walk away from God. Not to believe in Him and in Jesus as His only Son. That is their free choice.

God in His infinite wisdom knows our decision before we even make it - but He does not influence it in any way. He knows that some people will not believe in Him. In certain cases He allows this to happen.

It's like you being in a helicopter watching two cars coming at an intersection. You know they will hit each other. Yet you do not influence or change the outcome.

There are times however when God does try to influence our decision. Give us a nudge in the right direction, you might say. Note that I say “influence” and not force our decision. Why He does that only in some cases we really don’t know.

A well known example of His influence is the way He “encouraged” Paul on the way to Damascus. I suppose Paul could still have walked away and not follow God’s Word; although I doubt many would have done so under the circumstances! Paul chose to accept God and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today God does nudge some of us in the right direction. Perhaps through chance meetings with someone who might talk to us about God and encourage us to accept His Word and take up His invitation to love Him. Maybe He talks to us through other ways. But the fact is that He does talk to us. He does encourage us to come to Him through Jesus Christ. Perhaps some of us just aren't listening.

But here’s the important distinction. God tries to influence us to accept His Word. He encourages us. But He never forces us. We are free to choose to love Him, or not.


70  What you are is a gift from God.
      What you become is your gift to God.


71 Proverbs 19:3.

Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the Lord.

72  Difficult as it might be; living one day at a time is a wholesome self-control mechanism which teaches us patience and genuine reliance on our Lord.

Of course, we all like to plan ahead, to be in control of our future, and to prepare for all eventualities. There’s nothing wrong in that, and it would be foolhardy to leave all to chance and do nothing.

Yet, at the same time, we should balance our every plan with the reality of what is now. We should live each day in gratitude for what God has given us rather than look ahead to what is yet to come.

They say “You never know what’s round the next corner”. How true. All it takes is a sudden event, an illness, an accident, something out of our control, to put all our plans into disarray.

Thank you Lord for another today.


73 What is Faith?

In Hebrews Chapter 11 we read: To have Faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.

In other words: To have Faith is to believe when your common sense tells you not to.

There are a lot of people who believe in God. They have Faith in Him and they have proved, to themselves at least, that He exists. These people’s beliefs grow stronger all the time, even when they face great difficulties and tribulations in life. I’ve know people who are very ill, or have endured enormous problems, yet their Faith in God remains forever strong.

How do they do it? What makes their Faith so unyielding even through the most difficult of times? Is it a special gift from God? Or is it of their own doing?

Other people, however, although they have Faith in God, yet, when faced with a problem or a difficulty they doubt whether He will hear their cries for help. They pray that God may help them out of their particular difficulty; or that He might heal them, but still, somehow, they feel frightened. Scared that He may not answer. That somehow their illness will not be healed or their problem will not be resolved. Their doubts get the better of them.

Do these people feature less positively in God’s sight? Is He disappointed that their Faith is weak? Does He forgive their wavering and doubting?

I understand that people aren’t all the same. Some are stronger than others. Some have more Faith than weaker ones who waver. These people have not necessarily denied God. They believe in Him, yet they are not so sure whether He will help them right now or not. They are, after all, human. With human frailties, fears and doubts. I can forgive their wavering.

I believe God does too. Whether He answers their prayers or not, He understands why they waver and He does forgive them.

In Mark 9:24: The father of the sick boy was honest enough to say to Jesus: I do have Faith, but not enough. Help me to have more.

Jesus took pity on him and healed his son.

So too will He have pity on those amongst us whose Faith wavers from time to time.


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