Yesterday, traveling with my daughter, I was asked the question that seems to be on everyone’s lips. Are you voting in or out? Watching some people on the TV the other night shows how passionate and how angry the issue has become. The politicians haven`t helped with their scare-mongering and portents of doom. How do we respond to this question?
I was reading the “IDEA” magazine and I thought the questions raised were relevant to all Christians. First, Who are we? Are we European or, in my case, a Yorkshireman? Well neither, actually! As a Christian I am no longer defined by where I was born or where I live but where I`m headed! I`m am an exile, “longing for a better country—a heavenly one”, journeying to a better home, as we have been studying in 1 Peter. Being in or out of Europe won`t change that. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week the Thursday group finished our study of Romans. We started it last year so we certainly haven`t rushed. Mind you our effort pales into insignificance compared to Dr. D Martyn Lloyd-Jones who took thirteen years to preach his expository sermons on Romans. I know sometimes we digressed from the passage we were studying but mostly we stuck to what Paul wrote.
When we had completed the study, we decided to read right through the letter the way it would have been received by the Roman believers to whom Paul wrote it. Why do I mention this? Because it is something we so rarely do. We are so busy trying to sort out the detail we miss the wonderful sweep of the message. It was a real blessing for me to listen as we took it in turns to read a chapter each. Romans is the finest treatise of the Christian faith, but listening to it, I heard the heart of a man who loved them even though he never met them. Each of us said how much the reading of the whole letter, had not only cemented what we had learned through the study, but also seen the whole letter from a wider perspective. We are looking forward to the next study! Can I encourage anyone who isn`t in a study group to join one. You will be blessed! Read the rest of this entry »
As we approach the Easter season, let us think about what it was like for Jesus. His friend Lazarus had died and the question of going to a village that was close to Jerusalem filled the disciples with fear. “Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” (John 11:8). But Jesus would not be deterred, so Thomas, thinking of Lazarus having died, responds with, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (11:16). They were thinking of themselves as usual. When Jesus told them, at the Passover meal, that he was going to be betrayed by one of them, they were really upset by it but not enough prevent them from arguing together about which of them was going to be the greatest. Even in the garden as Jesus faced the looming cross and bearing the sin of the world what were his disciples doing? Sleeping! They weren`t really the support He needed. Read the rest of this entry »
Well! It is all over. I have had the treatment at Sheffield and now, God willing, will regain strength gradually over the next weeks. My grateful thanks for your prayers and support over this time. I can`t begin to count the number of messages and people who have been praying for us during this time. Most of all I thank God that although I had some trepidation he gave me peace in my heart. He has never promised we would be free from ailments but He has promised to be with us through them. When we were at the hospital I was able to take my own music to listen to while I was having the treatment and I chose to take the album ‘Year of Grace’ by Robin Mark. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year has been frustrating for me. You know how I love walking, something which has been hampered as the tumour has grown with resulting effects becoming more pronounced. Trying to get in touch with the hospital has not done any good for my patience. Then to cap it all: I’m not sure whether my walking differently has contributed to it, but my back let me down just before Christmas and since then I’ve not been free of discomfort. A ’bear with a sore head’ comes to mind. Ask Hilary! I freely admit I’ve found it difficult at times to praise and thank God. People helpfully saying, ‘There’s always someone worse off than you’ doesn’t seem to help. What do we do when we are facing a situation like this? Read the rest of this entry »
The events in Paris, the shootings and suicide bombers, have really shook people to the core. The language of the politicians tends to add fuel to people`s fear. How should we as Christians react? Do we, ‘pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men’, (2 Thess 3:2). Or act in a different way? Peter wrote, ‘Do not repay evil with evil’ (1 Pet 3:9), but does this only apply to our dealings with Christians? Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matt 5:44), but it is hard to love those who dish out murder and mayhem. Read the rest of this entry »
When we were on holiday in the Lake District we visited the home of John Ruskin (1819 –1900) on the shore of Coniston. Someone who I didn`t know much about except what I`d read. ‘John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist.’ He wrote various books but I was interested to read this quote by him, “Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart.” I know he met with people like Darwin round his table to discuss various theories. We came away with the impression that we may have misjudged him. Read the rest of this entry »
A man met God and asked, “What is a million years to you?” “Like a second,” God answered. “What is ten million dollars to you?” was the next question. “Like a dime,” came the answer. “Well then,” the man continued, “Can I borrow a dime?” God responded, “Just a second.” My Bible study for October is the book of James. Today we were considering chapter 1:9-12 and the way James turns what we perceive as wealth on its head. “The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position,” (vs 9-10a). Read the rest of this entry »
Andy wondered if it would be possible to rent St John Fisher to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and would Celebration Church like to be involved. My first thought was: ‘This is a bit Jewish and what will people think?’ Having spoken to Andy, prayed and looked at what the Bible says, I see no reason why we shouldn`t be involved. In fact, if it teaches us what it meant to them and its relevance to us then, it will be good for us. Here are a few thoughts that I gleaned (no pun intended) from looking at the Feast of Tabernacles.
This feast was held at harvest time, so it was a celebration, but it was far more than Harvest Festivals of today. It not only celebrated how God had provided for his people but the fact that God dwelt among them. “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people”. (Lev 26:11-12). They were a people always going astray and yet their God had covenanted Himself to dwell with them. Amazing!