Unless one happens to be the Queen of England or a person of great eminence or fame, when we die our lives reflect what the Psalmist said: “We spend our years as a tale that is told.” (Ps 90:9 KJV).
No matter how moral one thinks one is, everybody has sinned and broken God’s Laws. I wonder how many murderers have got away with their crimes? And then there are corrupt politicians rewriting history to suit their political party, banning books, burning Bibles. The Ten Commandments state God’s Laws, written on the conscience of humanity from the savage to the sophisticated. And never forget the little sins that we justify as not sins.
Christians live in faith and hope believing Jesus Christ is God’s Son who bore God’s punishment for us when he died at Calvary. Our confessed sins are forgiven and we will be raised to eternal life when Christ returns in great power and majesty.
My physiotherapist’s secretary, a young and healthy woman, was struck down with Coronavirus and spent 3 weeks in ICU on a ventilator. She said all night she heard people screaming, “I don’t want to die! “ Death is a truly fearsome thing without Jesus Christ.
What about really wicked people? Is there any hope for their redemption? Take Manasseh, King of Judah. He followed his father King Hezekiah who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord by doing everything that was wrong. (2 Chron 33:1-17).
He destroyed his father’s places of worship, he set up altars to all the host of heaven, dealt in witchcraft, had a personal medium, sacrificed his own children by “passing them through the fire,” and set up and worshipped a carved idol in the house of the Lord. Tragically the people of Judah followed him. Neither king nor people would listen to the Lord. As a result, the Lord sent the King of Assyria to attack Judah and he was taken away in chains.
In his affliction, he remembered the Lord and humbled himself in prayer. The Lord restored him to Jerusalem where he destroyed all the evil places he had set up, worshipped the Lord God and commanded his people to do the same.
Manasseh’s “tale that was told” is one of great wickedness forgiven by the Lord God when he repented. He will not stand condemned before God on Judgement Day, but will rise with those dead in Christ “to meet the Lord in the air” and live to serve the Lord eternally when he comes again.
Christ is risen! A blessed Easter
My little book, A CHRISTIAN IN LONDON AND PARIS, is in the USA Library of Congress because all books printed in the USA are there. Because of it, I had much to do with booksellers, libraries, Christian universities and theological colleges. John and I were also privileged to visit many leading Christian universities on two occasions.
Thus began my interest in all things American! The other day I was listening to a commentator who had been a top advocate and a Congressman, and he posed the question: “What will your legacy be? What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?” He then had this advice: “You had better start building your legacy now!” Sage words!
At our son’s Memorial, despite his many note-worthy achievements, his legacy was his Christian life and service. Despite being intensely busy, he always found time to help those in need and to speak about his Lord.
And what was Jesus Christ’s legacy? On his cross, defeating the Devil and death, he achieved the eternal salvation for everyone who believes in him. May our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, be the focus of my legacy and yours!
God bless you
To say we live in uncertain and dangerous times, is a cliché and something the whole world knows. What makes this different is that it is worldwide. As a Christian, I think this is the beginning of the end times before Christ returns. How must we face this threat when we never know who or when we and our loved ones may die?
A couple of years ago when I had a hip replacement, I wrote some texts in my Bible about trusting God. They were a great comfort to me then and they are now. I read them every night before I go to sleep – and I sleep peacefully. Our great God is in control of the world and our lives! Perhaps you would care to read them too.
Trust in the Lord with your whole heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Psalm 46:1,2
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and he knows those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leads me in green pastures, beside still waters. He restores my soul. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Your rod and staff comfort me… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23
I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
God bless and keep you all
Ps: See Menu for EASTER which has music (with links to Musescore where they made be heard) and some of my poems.
2020 and now 2021 have forced many of us to think of death. It has touched millions of homes. It has touched ours. Our dearest only son has died, not from Covid, but from a brain bleed. And so the family mourns as Christians. Christians are blessed. We have an answer to our mortality and are not lost in a hopeless and helpless view. We also have comfort. God himself knows our pain. He gave his only son so that we may have eternal life. (JOHN 3:16).
God created humanity as a special creation. Created in his image, he gave us liberty – free will. He wanted companionship, so in the evening he walked in Eden and talked to Adam and Eve. There was just one prohibition. And we can’t blame Adam and Eve – we would have done the same! And so our sad saga began.
Christians believe that God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world. That includes you and me, providing we accept him as our Lord and live changed and forgiven lives to prove it. Christians are far from perfect, but “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 JOHN 1:9). If we accept Jesus Christ, we are promised eternal life.
How do we go from this life to the next? Well, it’s a very exciting journey! We read that “when the beggar (Lazarus) died, the angels carried him to Abraham’s side.” (Luke 16:22). So God sends an escort of angels to take his children to Heaven! Another question: do people, who are now spirits awaiting Christ’s triumphal return to Earth when they will receive their new spiritual bodies, know what is going on in Earth? Jesus, when the Pharisees were trying to trick him, said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56). By the way, God forbids us from trying to communicate with the dead.
Our son was a neurosurgeon who in his thirties left surgery and became a very successful businessman. He was loved and admired by all his staff. They said he always had time to help us when we needed it, and the lowest employees received the same attention as the highest. He walked the talk, living a Godly Christian life that all could see.
He had plans for an early retirement. He would use his life and wealth for God and was very excited about what he could do using technology, helping missions, helping the needy. His scope and excitement at the prospect was beyond anything I could have imagined. He used to say, “I long to meet Jesus.”
But God had other plans for our son. He took him to Heaven to serve in a special place he had reserved for him. And our son is rejoicing: he has met his Lord.
Ps See the menu for EASTER. There are items you might find useful.
“Don’t talk to me about evolution!” I exclaimed. I had just been watching MY OCTOPUS TEACHER. Now I am not a fan of watching sea creatures and neither was the person who recommended it as “the best documentary she had seen.”
For those who like me have never heard of it, here is a brief summary. It was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, not far from where I live and have often driven past. It depicts the year-long friendship between a middle-aged man and an octopus. It took months before a rapport was established, and the process was documented meticulously day by day. It shows the astounding intellect of a small octopus when confronted by danger and the extraordinary steps she took to evade it. As we would say, ”thinking on our feet!” She, like her kind, died after a year. Through this year-long experience, the narrator found peace. A very touching, memorable film.
In some ways it reminded me of this poem which I wrote after a visit to Paris in 2006 and is found in my book of poetry A CHRISTIAN IN LONDON AND PARIS.
JARDIN DES PLANTES
it was hot
an old garden
Jardin des Plantes
avenues of trees
they were all there
intent or talking
light of foot
or panting slow
with their teachers
near the swings
round the zoo
maps in hand
trudging to the
Grande Galerie de l’Evolution
dirty at their
digging flower beds
in the sun
and she was there
a nun at prayer
book in hand
against the ancient
for 270 summers
it had stood
in sun and snow
that embrace the sky
I saw myriad leaves
dark green and delicate
in such a pattern
I have never seen
and after that
I did not dream
God bless and keep you this new year
Christians worldwide will be singing “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” on Christmas day. Others will be celebrating the “Festive Season” with parties and saying “Eat, drink and be merry!”
But this year will be different in many ways. A woman I knew years ago said to me, “When I go to a funeral, I look around and wonder who will be next.” And this year, that is something very real. It’s not only 83 year-olds like me who think that this year.
Christians live in hope. We know where we are going and Christmas is a joyous time! And many on the Festive Season side are going to be surprised by joy as the Holy Spirit gathers them into the sheepfold. Pray for them as they join us in singing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”
Tidying up piles of paper that I seem to accumulate, I came across this poem.
I go to church
bells are ringing
Joy to the world
the Lord has come!
Kingdom of God
with the birth
of our Saviour
sent by his Father
to proclaim the Kingdom
sent by our Lord
we proclaim it too
when Jesus trod
the dusty trails
from town to town
he cast out devils
ruled the sea
healed the sick
gave his life
for you, for me
are six years old
living on the street
staring into windows
other people eat
are very old
your family far away
no one to cheer you
on this blessed
imagine you are
standing on the corner
as you drive
Jesus called us
to do something
in his glorious name
Please see my new page CHRISTMAS!
Wishing you a blessed Christmas
I have been amazed, bored, whatever, while watching some TV shows –especially those dealing with the renovation of people’s homes, or restaurants – to hear the shrieks of “Oh! My God!” repeated like a drum beat throughout. Have they never heard of Wonderful! Beautiful! I’m so excited! Thank you! Unfortunately “Oh my God” is an infectious virus and if you are not careful you catch it! I speak from experience. (See Ex 20:7). But on another note, who is their god? Not mine or fellow Christians! Therefore, I can look and enjoy. But the line is drawn when the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is used. That’s the end of that programme. PERIOD.
For those of us who read fiction – and I am not talking about Christian fiction – I find a real problem. Many of the authors I used to enjoy, now use our Lord’s name in vain or describe things Christians should not read. The world is getting more evil and we are taught “to be holy, for I am holy”. How many pastors and church members have fallen through what they have read or seen? Porn is an addiction with dreadful consequences. The Bible says “the devil, like a roaring lion, walks around seeking whom he may devour.” No one is exempt- not me, not you. The Bible has the answer. ”Put on the whole armour of God” to resist the devil.
I probably sound like an old Mrs Grundy, but I have another issue: films. Again, I’m not talking about Christian films or good family films but about films which portray violence, seamy sex and even Satanism. It’s frightening what some producers will do for money.
We Christians would do well to remember the THREE MONKEYS: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
God help us
It was only many years after the event that I asked, “Why me?” I was seven, sitting in Sunday School next to Barbara. There was a guest speaker- a missionary who ran childrens’ missions in school holidays. They were great fun, games, singing, eating and interesting Bible stories. That Sunday the missionary asked us if we loved Jesus, and wanted to follow him and become a Christian, to stay behind and pray with our Sunday School teacher. “Come, Barbara" I said, “Let’s go.” “No!” she replied,” I won’t”. And she never came back to Sunday School. We are not robots. God has given us free wills.
So often, when sadness, trouble, old age or pandemic depression hits us when life was smoothly gliding along, we ask, Why me? If we are Christians, the answer will come in God’s good time.
It’s interesting to see how prominent people in the Bible responded to difficult situations.
Abraham was about to sacrifice his precious son at God’s request. He could have asked “Why me?” But he didn’t. He trusted God and it was “credited to him for righteousness”, and his son was spared. But what a test!
Joseph, thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery, never deviated from his faith in God through grave situations, adversity and imprisonment, until he rose to become second only to the Pharoah of Egypt, saving his family and Jews from starvation.
Then there was Moses, who in reply to God’s request that he return to Egypt and lead his people from bondage, questioned God and said “I am not an eloquent man, I am slow of tongue -whom am I that I should go to Pharoah?” So he asked, “Why me? As a result God sent Moses’ brother, Aaron, to be his spokesperson. Then Moses obeyed God and brought the Jews out of Egypt and was with them in the desert for 40 years.
Queen Esther, as a young Jewish girl, concealed her nationality and family on the instruction of her uncle Mordecai when she was taken by King Xerxes’ servants to the palace. They were searching for all the most beautiful girls in the land to take the place of Queen Vashti whom the king had banished. When as Queen, Esther heard that Mordecai was sitting at the gate in sackcloth and ashes, she sent a servant to enquire why he was there. Mordecai replied that the Jews were to be exterminated. He sent her this message: “Do not think that because you are in the King’s house, you alone of all the Jews will escape. Who knows but you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Queen Esther replied, “I will go to the King and if I perish, I perish.” Her bravery saved the Jews.
Ruth, did not ask “Why me” but left her people and went back with her mother-in-law from the pagan land in which they lived to the land of the Jews.. Both were widows. She said to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God”. Ruth had to follow the reapers in Boaz’s fields to glean what they left in order to survive. It was a story book romance and she married Boaz, becoming the great-grandmother of King David.
The worldview of Christians is diametrically opposed to that of non-believers. This world is not our home. Our view is eternal. We live in hope. The world’s view is temporal - eat, drink and be merry and, just in case, do some good.
From an early age Jesus Christ knew the answer to Why me? As God’s Son he had been sent to lead a life of great suffering, where even his closest companions did not understand his mission until after his death on the cross for the sins of the world -and the agonizing hours when his Father forsook him for our sakes, for yours, for mine, for Barbara’s - if we will accept him.
Charles Dickens published his best seller, HARD TIMES, in 1854. It is a short novel and unlike the others, is not set in London but in a fictitious north England industrial town. It deals with the terrible working conditions of the poor, contrasted with the morally corrupt wealthy. There are hard times in every era!
This morning a friend said to me, “My son never reads or listens to any news. He spends his time watching comedies!” Another friend spends her time reading bad news and sanitising everything for most of the day! A young man I know, enrolled in a Harvard university course in the subject he intends to pursue. Another family, who had to cancel a holiday in France, moved in together for a few weeks. We read that sales of Bibles have increased dramatically which is very good news. COVID has woken people up to their mortality.
Fanny Jane Crosby (1850-1915) was a famous American hymn writer, who was blind but rose to great heights, became the friend of presidents, and was the first woman to address Congress. She, too, knew hard times. She wrote a hymn: ALL THE WAY MY SAVIOUR LEADS ME. I composed a new tune for it. Click here to listen and Click here to download.
But what did our Lord do when facing the ultimate hard time, his death for the salvation of the world? He went to a garden and prayed (John 17). First, he prayed, “Father, the hour has come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify you….that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Then he prayed for his disciples, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom those hast given me”.
Finally, he prayed for “them also which shall believe on me through their word”. That is, he prayed for succeeding generations in hard times: for you, and me.
God bless and keep you
Christians are truly blessed. There is so much in the Bible to show how God encourages us. We are in the hands of a loving God and our perspective is not of this world. We live in faith and hope no matter what we may have to endure.
I have chosen some of my scores that you might find helpful at this time. Click on Music to find the links so that you can listen to them, or download them, on Musescore.com (free).
Do not fear
Give me strength, O Lord, I pray
THE LORD’S ENCOURAGEMENT - link here to the collection in Musescore
God bless and guide you