We have just welcomed our 5th great grandchild! What a joy! A perfect, pretty baby girl! She is surrounded by the love of her parents, grandparents, aunts, great aunts, aunts and uncles and many adoring friends. She already knows what love is!
Not everyone is born into such a family but sooner or later everyone experiences love. I first fell in love when I was three. Sitting under the bushes that separated our house from theirs, I promised to marry the little boy next door. When I was a bit older and had more sense, I was so embarrassed that I avoided him for some years and was thrilled when his family moved to start a chain of liquor outlets.
What is love? It’s hard to define. During the interview with Princess Diana, when asked Prince Charles famously replied, “What is love.” Of course, he knew. He had already found his life- long love, Camilla. Here are a few quotes about love that I found. It is strange that none of the many quotes could actually define love. The Beatles, “All you need is love.” Hermann Hesse, “If I know what love is, it is because I know you.” Robert Frost, “We love the things we love for what they are.”
The Bible has a lot to say about love and its consequences. ”The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Tim 6:10). King David loved Bathsheba, committed adultery, had her husband killed in war and he wrote the great Psalm of penitence, “Against you, you only have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight.” 1 Kings Ps 51:4. King Solomon, despite his wives and huge harem of concubines, loved heathen women and in the end, though the wisest man, he followed their idolatrous, heathen customs and “ did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely.” I Kings 11:4,5.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church says, “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Cor 13:4 . Later he says, “faith, hope and love, but the greatest of the three is love.” 1 Cor: 13:13. The apostle John expounds the extent of love in John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
All Scripture references are from NIV
I have just finished watching Beautiful Gong Shim on Netflix. The plot is interesting in that one soon finds out who the baddies are, and what the result will be. In between are often hilarious episodes where the characters misunderstand each other. They are not Christians, but the theme is about forgiveness. Such is God’s grace that even non-Christians can forgive.
However, even Christians, as I know from myself, find it hard to forgive. But we must do it if we expect God to forgive us. In the Lord’s prayer we read, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” God’s forgiveness is real: he says they will be remembered no more. Unfortunately, we can’t wipe the slate clean, much as we try! We keep on remembering the hurts and damage others have inflicted on us. We wonder if God has truly forgiven us if we still harbour these thoughts. But at least we can show God that we are trying if we decide not to talk about them to others, pleasant that it might sometimes be! Forget when somebody maligned you at work and stole your promotion, when your mother-in-law was nasty to you, when old friends turned their backs on you because of political differences. Don’t talk! Keep your burden to yourself and God will know.
Easter will be here soon, a time for chocolate bunnies, Easter egg hunts and perhaps going to church as some do on Christmas. But for Christians it is a time of remembrance: remembrance of God’s grace and sadness when he sent his dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us and he carried it through, even when his Father turned his back on him to give humanity a second chance.
“What is man, that you are mindful of him?”(Ps 8:4)
A blessed Easter
Christ is risen!
See www.christian-life-poetry.com Go to EASTER for music and materials to use. There are links to Musescore.com where scores may be heard. There are now many more scores in the SET than are listed here.
The desire to communicate and record, in different forms, has been around for as long as man has walked this earth. It is an urge embedded within us from our first frantic bellow at birth, to our last gasp at death.
Long ago it started with Pre-Historic art, featuring humans, animals and abstract drawings. Probably the best-known site is Lascaux in south-western France. It consists of a network of caves which were discovered when a teenager’s dog fell in a hole. He returned with 3 friends and they entered through a deep shaft. The cave walls were filled with nearly 6000 paintings of humans, animals, and abstract drawings. The caves are now closed to the public to prevent further deterioration. It was proclaimed a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 1979.
Ancient Egypt began using hieroglyphs about 32 centuries BC to write their language using 1,000 characters. These were finally deciphered in the 1820s. Hieroglyphs were written on papyrus, a tough paper-like material made from a river plant of the same name and carved in stone on temple or tomb walls. It was a very decorative, pictorial depiction of scenes and people and activities. Because it was so time-consuming, they invented Hieratic writing which was a cursive form of hieroglyphs and was used alongside of it.
Cuneiform writing, used by about 15 languages in the Ancient Near East including Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite, was created around 3,200 BC and written on clay tablets using distinctive wedge-shaped marks.
As this is a mere blog and not a history of communication, I am going to mention a few points in the process that I find interesting. The first is that charismatic, tall, handsome and in many ways notorious, King Henry V111 of England, 1491-1547. He married 6 wives and changed from a slim athletic young man to one addicted to food and grossly overweight. Henry wanted to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She was lucky, two later wives were beheaded. Unfortunately, Pope Clement V11 objected. Henry simply formed the Church of England and made himself its Supreme Head, separating it from papal authority thus beginning the English Reformation. He asked Miles Coverdale to oversee the translation of THE GREAT BIBLE. It used William Tyndale’s work. Henry ordered that a copy be placed in every church in England so that everybody could read it and it was no longer the preserve of the Catholic priesthood.
The Old Testament is written in Biblical Hebrew which flourished about the 6th c BC during the Babylonian captivity. Greek has been written using the Greek alphabet since the 10th c BC. The New Testament was written in Greek, but an Aramaic source was used for portions off it, especially the Gospels. Every night I read a passage from J.B Phillips’ THE NEW TESTAMENT IN MODERN ENGLISH REVISED EDITION. It is simply amazing how alive, vibrant, and outspoken Jesus was. He gets to the heart of the issue. No wonder the Jewish leaders crucified him out of, as Pilate said, “sheer malice.” It is estimated that there are 7,000 languages in the world. The Bible Society says the Bible is now available in languages spoken by 80% of the world’s population – over 5.7 billion people. This is a very interesting fact in view of what Jesus said when asked by his disciples when the end times would begin, and he replied, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14 KJV).
I have always loved stained glass in churches. The church in which I grew up had some stained glass: a huge circular face of Christ and a cross was at the end of the choir stalls, another that I loved was Christ as a Sower of Seeds. The people who built the Gothic cathedrals in Europe used stained glass in huge windows in the nave and in the apse. There were also circular, rose windows. These told Bible stories from Creation to Christ’s return in glory. The masses were unable to read, and this was the way of communicating to them what the Bible said. Two great examples are Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle on an island in the River Seine in central Paris. I have visited both. If you are in Paris, Saint Chapelle is not to be missed. When I was there, there were huge queues in front of Notre Dame. It was free but people were hurried through. Saint Chapelle, on the other hand has an entrance fee and the stained glass windows are spectacular.
Notre Dame, begun in 1153 and completed in 1250, has stained glass windows covering 2,600 square metres and divided into 172 bays depicting Biblical scenes, the lives of saints and some trade guilds. They are noted for their brilliant colours, especially cobalt blue. The bays 49-51 are devoted to Christ’s life from the Old Testament to his life, passion, sacrifice, and redemption for those who believe I him. They culminate in the west Rose window showing the Last Judgement. The devastating fire of 2019 that destroyed the roof did not destroy the stained glass windows because the fire fighters knew they would explode if they got wet so they did not spray them. Restoration of them is underway.
Saint Chappelle is a royal chapel begun around 1238 and completed in 7 years. It has one of the most extensive stained glass collections in the world. It has been secularized and, unlike Notre Dame, is no longer a church but a National Monument. It has two levels of equal size: the lower one for courtiers, servants and soldiers of the Palace, and the upper level reserved for the royal family and their guests. To get to it one climbs up a narrow, spiral staircase to come out into a blaze of magnificent colour covering all the walls except the back where one sits and gasps at its splendour. There are 15 windows, each 15 metres high. They contain 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments as well as some showing how the holy relics reached Paris.
Mass communication began with the printing press, developed in Germany in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith, and the world has never been the same since! Printing has never looked back. Today, with all its mind-boggling technology we have to be wide-awake. One can be assailed by evil on every side. Of the billions of blogs etc pouring out, we do not know anything about some writers. I have a friend, who while a student and unmarried had three popular blogs: in one she said she was a married woman…
Believe it or not, God himself, in whose image humans are created, also communicates with us. He did it through the Old and New Testaments, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They tell of his wish to give fallen humanity a second chance of life eternal, starting from the Fall to the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth. Of course, we are not given all the details, much as we would like to know, but we are given enough to choose whether we will accept or refuse God’s offer of salvation.
Then, too, God communicated with us in a concrete way. He sent his only, beloved Son to walk this earth, to be despised, misunderstood, and rejected. Truly, a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief,” to be crucified and cut off from his Father for us- but to rise victorious having conquered Satan and death.
Houses and apartments have always fascinated me. Years ago, I bought imported magazines, and when I was studying French, not too successfully, I bought French ones and dreamt over cottages that we could perhaps afford one day. I read and still do, of people restoring properties in France and Scotland. Of course, we are now too old for that and rely on Netflix and BritBox for glimpses into often spectacular properties in strange locations.
The first house I remember was my grandmother’s home in Johannesburg where we stayed with her and my aunt during World War Two when my father and uncle were fighting in North Africa. Coming home from nursery school with my nanny, I’d find family and friends gathered in front of the wireless. ”Be quiet!,” they said, “ we’re listening to Churchill!” When I was two, I remember singing the well-known prohibition song, Little brown jug, accompanied by much laughter and applause. It went “Me and my wife live all alone/ In a little log hut we’ve all our own/She loves gin and I love rum/ And don’t we have a lot of fun/ Ha! Ha! Ha! You and me/Little brown jug don’t I love thee!” I remember walking past a house and seeing a woman running round and round her garden, screaming. Her husband had been killed in battle. I remember my mother sewing blackout curtains, and the lovely new dresses she made for my sister and I to welcome my father home.
When my father was working in London for ten years, my parents lived in a small, leafy town outside London, and we stayed with them on two occasions. The first time we left our three young children with them while we travelled in America and Europe. My mother had found the shopkeepers unfriendly but after our three had been running around buying comics and sweets, they became very chatty! They lived in a large ground floor apartment at the top of a hill. On leaving, they could have bought it but my father was retiring and they decided not to buy. Today it is worth a fortune because the hill has been taken over by pop stars and “the beautiful” people.
We have lived in houses and apartments all over South Africa. Our first home was in Welkom, a newly established town, built when gold was discovered in the Free State, a province of South Africa. All the farmlands were gone, and the wind swept up sand which crept under doors and on to windowsills. The house I loved the most was in Westville, a town outside Durban. It was the first property we owned. Set on sloping land with a large garden, it had high beamed ceilings, odd corners, and beautiful views to the forested hills beyond. We fell in love with it, built additions and then moved to another dusty town in the Eastern Cape where we lived in two houses for about ten years each, the first ancient but with character, and the second modern with a large and beautiful garden.
Our next destination was Cape Town where we bought an apartment, and lived for some years, on the slopes of Devils Peak in one of the three blocks ridiculed as the Pepper Pots. They can be seen on all photos of Cape Town. Behind the blocks was the mountain, and one year a fire started at the top and due to strong winds swept down the mountain. We had to evacuate and move our cars out of the garage. Our large windows were blackened with soot, and it was a horrible job to clean them! We then bought a lovely apartment in a block on Bantry Bay with a beautiful garden where we lived for nine years before moving to our present apartment in a retirement block some distance from the city.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you.” So, I won’t be able to write about our final home, but one thing is certain: it will be completely different from anything we can image. It will be glorious- built for us by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
NEW YEAR THOUGHTS
2022- another New Year, another strain, Omicron! We fear political upheavals, wars, atomic bombs, crime running amok. Do we need to look ahead with trepidation, or should we shrug and sing, “whatever will be, will be?”
When I look at the world today, I can’t help thinking we are approaching the end times. It’s not just a feeling, it’s based on facts -that is, if we read our Bible, and believe what we read. This is a decision we must make for ourselves and not rely on the pronouncements of some churches and theologians who obviously do not believe it. That’s why churches, which are not evangelical, are losing members to such an extent that church buildings are being sold and turned into everything from small shopping malls to private homes.
Jesus Christ told his disciples many pertinent things about the end times just prior to his crucifixion. My grandmother, who had been a missionary nurse, spent much time studying books by Benjamin Will Newton,1807-1800, an evangelist but also a fellow of Exeter College, Cambridge. My father spent his last years studying the subject. When he retired, he took over a failing church in Durban, built it up and became a Church of England lay preacher. He supported a movement in England that published magazines on the end times called WATCHING AND WAITING. (Google Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony). Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony has recently published some of B.W. Newton’s major works which are all out of print.
Now, what did Jesus Christ himself have to say about the end times before he comes again in glory? For this, we turn to Matthew chapter 24:1-39 KJV.
24:3 The disciples asked Jesus for a sign of his coming and of the end of the world.
24:4 Jesus said, “Many will come saying, I am the Christ.” We have seen some already!
24:6 We are not to be worried about wars and rumours of wars for the end is not yet.
24:7,8 The beginning of “sorrows” would be marked by “famines, pestilences and earthquakes.” Watch the press for daily reports of these!
24:9,10 Jesus warned that Christians would be persecuted and hated by all nations, false prophets would deceive many and there would be a huge increase in evil. Every day we read about rampant lawlessness and vile atrocities perpetrated on the innocent, drug abuse, human trafficking.
24:12,13. Because of all this, many Christians will give up their faith, but those who remain steadfast will be saved.
24: 14. Most importantly, when the whole world has heard the gospel of the Kingdom of God, the end shall come.
24:15-21. This passage tells of Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament when the “abomination of desolation” stands in the “holy place.” Those in Judea are warned to flee immediately for there will be great tribulation more than has ever been seen before.
24:24-27. Don’t believe false Christs and false prophets who can perform “great signs and wonders,” for, when Christ returns, it will be an unbelievable happening seen all over the world.
24:29. However, immediately after the Tribulation, the sun shall become dark, the moon wont shine, and stars shall fall.
24:30-31. All nations will see Christ, the Son of man, coming in “the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory.” There will be a tremendous trumpet blast and Christ will send his angels to “gather his elect.” Incidentally, we read elsewhere that when Christ comes, the dead in Christ shall rise with their new, eternal bodies to meet him in the air and be forever with him. What a glorious prospect! Worth dying for- as millions have and will.
24:36. No one knows when this will happen except “my Father.”
24:37-39. Life will carry on as in “Noah’s day” – eating, drinking, and marrying.” We are warned to watch.
24:40-41. Two men are in a field, “one is taken, one is left.” Two women are busy grinding, “one is taken, one is left.” This passage has been taken out of context by people who believe the “Rapture” theory which states that Christians will not go through the Tribulation. In this passage, it refers to the people on earth when Christ comes: the saved and unsaved.
What happens after this is another story which, God willing, I may be able to tell this year! But before I close, let’s consider one of the many references in the OLD Testament to the return of Jesus Christ. It is Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon besieged the Jewish city of Jerusalem and conquered it. He took some of the finest young men of noble birth to be trained to serve him. Among them was Daniel and his three best friends.
Now the King had a dream which perplexed and agitated him - so he called all his wise men, magicians, sorcerers and astrologers and demanded that they explain it to him. However, he refused to tell them the dream. ”No man on earth could do it!” they exclaimed. Nebuchadnezzar was so furious that he decreed all wise men and others should be executed. This started and they came to Daniel. Daniel went to the King and asked for time to pray to his God in heaven.
The four Jewish friends prayed and in a night vision, God told Daniel what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamt. Daniel burst into prayer, beginning “Blessed is the name of God forever and ever!” Then he went to the King and said, “there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets and has told you, O King, what shall happen in the last days!” He said the King saw an intensely bright, huge image standing in front of him. His head was made of fine gold, his breasts and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron and his feet partly iron and partly clay. In other words, the image was built from metals inferior to gold from his head down.
Then the King saw a stone, “cut without hands,” which hit the image on his feet of iron and clay and smashed all the fallen pieces into smithereens which the wind then blew away. The stone became a great mountain which filled the whole earth. (Dan 2:31-35).
Daniel then interpreted the King’s dream. It was about 4 kingdoms, starting with his own, the head of gold, and the 3 succeeding ones which, in turn, became inferior to the preceding ones. (Dan 2:36-45). History has shown these to be Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece, and Rome. The Roman Empire in Christ’s time is very interesting. Google Map of Roman Empire in Jesus’ time. This shows the extent of it from Europe to all around the Mediterranean Sea. The last kingdom, the mixture of iron (Roman Empire) and clay sees a return to the map of the Roman Empire in Jesus’ time. This will be the seat of the Antichrist. It is from here that he will rule the world with terror such as it has never seen. It will be the great Tribulation.
I believe we are approaching that time. Read the news, watch and pray, hold the faith. Jesus Christ is coming again!
God be with you in 2022
I always thought December was Christmas month. But no, shops are filled with Christmas goodies at the beginning of October and by the time December arrives, no one will want to hear The Holly and the Ivy again. Then, of course, there are different types of Christmas: Christians remembering the birth of our Lord with nativity plays and carol services, others decking their houses with Christmas wreaths, entertaining and being entertained, and thinking about their yearly attendance at church, and yet others having a whale of a time with no thought at all of what lies behind all the celebration.
We are all used to a comfortable and happy Christmas, but some of us have lost loved ones during the year. Many years ago, my Mum died on Christmas day, and this year my dearly loved son passed into the presence of his Lord just weeks after Christmas. There are many Christians grieving and I think of them all, Covid has been cruel and unexpected this year. And then, my thoughts go to the millions who live below the breadline: there will be no Christmas stockings or sweets in those homes. How about the persecuted church? The end times are rapidly approaching, we read of Christians in hiding, being flogged, martyred for their faith. I wonder if I could bear it, and I pray for them.
But as I think of Christmas and the coming of our Lord as an infant, to be despised and rejected, to be followed by vast crowds who flocked to hear his stories which they couldn’t understand, to see him perform miracles and to bring their sick and dying to be healed, to accomplish his mission of giving humanity another chance of being accepted as children of God, of bearing the excruciating pain of crucifixion and then a pain I cannot begin to imagine, our Lord’s suffering when his Father turned his back on him, I am overwhelmed by the plan of Almighty God, and can only ask, What is man, that you are mindful of him?
As I plan for Christmas which we will spend in our apartment with one of our daughters and son-in-law, and our carer, I think of the rapid increase in evil in the last days that Jesus told us about when he said, “iniquity shall abound.” He also said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you… and I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Yes, our Lord came once as suffering servant. He is coming again with all the hosts of Heaven, radiant with the glory he had with the Father before the world was, when the dead in Christ shall rise to meet him in the air, and every eye shall see him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Day of the Lord is coming. What a wonderful day for us, Christians!
Wishing you a blessed Christmas
PS: See Menu > CHRISTMAS, for music, children’s play (Praise Him: see menu > music) and poems. I have added more carols to the SET.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is an old English proverb which originated in 1659. It could be applied to today’s workaholics. Human nature has been the same from time immemorial.
I am a workaholic. One of the last things I do at night is to write a TO DO list for the following day. I never complete it – it is rather like a wish list – and things like order Christmas cards online to be delivered on 1 December get put off until 1 December… I have an excuse: I’m 84 and things I used to do in a flash, now take much longer and aren’t improved by arthritic fingers. I understand an elderly relative of 90 saying “this year I won’t be sending Christmas cards.”
What do I do in the day? I get up at 6, have yoghurt and orange juice, answer mail, and read some news. Then I say my prayers, have a shower and get started. We are blessed in having a live-in carer who does everything for us. In the afternoon I usually sleep for an hour because, if I don’t, I cant work and have some recreation until midnight when I sign off and shut down after reading some theology, presently John Stott, 2 passages from the Old testament and one from the New.
What do I do for recreation? Ten minutes everyday learning German on Duolingo, I always have a book to read in the odd half hours, my preference being stories written by foreigners who have settled in France or Italy and converted tumbled-down properties into delightful homes. I look at BritBox with John over supper – BBC and ITV – and have just finished Jane Austen’s EMMA which was lovely. We also have Netflix with which I found it increasingly difficult to find programmes that I approved of and wanted to watch. Now that we have been vaccinated against COVID, we plan to walk in the lovely gardens in our retirement complex. We have just come out of complete isolation except for family visits. For a year and a half we only left our apartment once.
So am I a dull old girl? No, time has simply flown and I have so much to do, writing music, blogs, revising John’s writings for his website-to-be, an enormous job. But the days are the same 24/7. Even on the Sabbath I find myself pulling the donkey out of the ditch. But no more. The Lord God created the world and on the 7th day he rested. The Sabbath was holy. Jesus, when the crowds were pressing on him and his disciples, “took them apart for a while.” Sundays are going to be different. Things I normally do on Sunday, like filling daily doses into medicine boxes and ordering online a long list of household and food products will be done on Saturday. And I shall keep the Sabbath as nearly as I can. If you are a Christian workaholic, try this too. God’s commands are for our benefit.
Pandemic blues seem to have hit millions of people over the last couple of years. We read of couples who were in love falling out of it and being locked in with their former partners, of children not being able to go to school, and mothers home schooling while working online, of an increase in suicides and drug addiction, abuse and other things. It is not a pretty picture. Yet some people have taken the time, saved by working online, to be positive. One woman lost half of herself through dieting and healthy eating - no more snacking on fast foods lounging in front of the TV. Millions of others have started learning a musical instrument, piano, singing, guitar and drums are apparently the most popular. There are many online sites where you can do it without paying a cent. And of course, there are any number of world languages that you can learn in a fun way on Duolingo for free. Years ago, I completed the French course, and being very rusty now, considered doing it again. However, having German speaking members of my family am probably signing up for the German course. Too much of my spare time is spent on world politics, so a change to learning German will be good. The world is becoming increasingly evil: constraints are disappearing. and things never thought or spoken of before, are now written about. The Bible foretold the increase in evil at the end times which, I believe, we are witnessing now. The pandemic has also brought our mortality to mind: we fear Covid. So many we know, or love, have died. A strange and fearful disease. I know an old man who has cancer and diabetes and survived Covid and another healthy, young doctor, who died. Christians are blest indeed. We know where we are going. We are going to Heaven where God dwells in glory, and where some of our loved ones already are. If you are not a Christian, please use this time to buy a Bible and John Stotts famous book, BASIC CHRISTIANITY to help you understand it. It is your investment for eternity.
Don’t try and find this quote from Larry King! There are so many! But I remember watching him on TV and hearing him say, ”I love interviewing children under four because they tell the truth, and people over 80 because they no longer care what they say.”
We are often tempted to tell a white lie because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, we feel that the end justifies the means.
My Dad was not like that! When I was sixteen, I bought a dress. It had a black bodice and a full skirt with huge red cabbage roses on it. It spun out when I twirled around. I thought I looked dazzling! My Dad looked at me and said, “A good-looking girl looks better in something simple.”
People don’t trust car salesmen, estates agents, politicians or the media, and for good reason because many of them have given their jobs a very bad name. The phrase, buyer beware, must not be forgotten! Truth is daily becoming a rare commodity.
Jesus Christ told the truth and it made him a controversial figure. The elite of his day hated him so much that in the end they crucified him.
The Pharisees, Sadducees and lawyers of the time did not understand Jesus Christ at all. They peppered him with questions. Of this group, let’s consider the Pharisees. They criticized Jesus, but he, in turn, criticized them even more! They had no inkling that they were speaking to God Incarnate. The Pharisees based their lives on two things: Scripture and Tradition. Scripture was the LAW which Moses had received from God. Tradition was oral and had been handed down from their elders. It enabled them to circumvent Scripture and the Law. In other words, in the Pharisees’ minds, these were co-equal. Christ said Scripture was the standard, nothing else. The Pharisees, with the notable exceptions of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, grew increasingly furious, and planned Christ’s death. forcing Pilate’s hand to execute our Lord.
John, in his gospel writes:”… we beheld his glory….full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). Jesus Christ was the epitome of truth.
God bless you
Ps A book I can recommend is John Stott’s acclaimed BUT I SAY TO YOU…CHRIST THE CONTROVERSIALIST
When God created people in his image, he did not create puppets. He gave us the wonderful gift of freewill. Throughout our lives, we are faced with choices, choices that will affect our daily lives and our eternal destiny
Everyone wants a happy life. They want enough money to live comfortably. Some people want to become very rich, and some are prepared to do anything to achieve this- we just have to look at corrupt politicians and see how the citizens of their countries live in abject poverty while they wallow in their ill-gotten gains.
In order to achieve the kind of life one desires, one has to think carefully about a choice of career. My great love was ballet, and I was doing very well until my mother felt my sister and I had had enough, and stopped our classes. When I was 14, I persuaded my mother to let me start ballet again. Just before my first class with a well-known teacher, I started doing bar exercises holding on to my bedroom cupboard. Next thing I was screaming on the floor with a damaged knee. I would never be able to dance again. You see, God had a plan for me - and it wasn’t ballet. I turned my attention to my second love, the piano. I was doing very well on the eisteddford circuit and saw myself as a concert pianist… But in my final year at school, a young theological student came to preach. He went to the wrong vestry and when I arrived to put the books out for the choir, he was sitting in a corner reading. I was most embarrassed. However, after the service I said to my mother, I am going to marry him! So, I became a minister’s wife, played organs and trained choirs. I also taught piano because we were poor in our two pastorates.
As the old saying says, we are known by the company we keep! After leaving school, there is the possibility of trying all kinds of things and meeting different people. Not everyone has the blessing of a Christian upbringing, but everyone has a God-given moral sense and should stay away from things they feel are dubious and people they know are no good. It is our own choice and we reap the results of it. I had my school friends, 2 Jewish girls, one of whom I last saw at my wedding wearing a stunning brilliant red dress and large matching hat! I lost touch with her until she left a comment on my website many years later. She had led a very wealthy but tragic life and we corresponded for many years until she lost her final battle to cancer. She knew the Christian way, I think she was a secret disciple, and I look forward to meeting her again one day. Then I had my church friends, most of whom I saw for the last time at my wedding. But throughout my life my best friends have always been my family, and I thank the Lord for them all. I have been truly blessed in my friendships. I leave the final word on a choice of friends to the great leader, Joshua, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14,15 NIV).
Marriage is a supremely important choice in our lives. The best place to find a spouse is in the church. Marriage is God-ordained. Do not think if you are considering the man of your dreams he will become a Christian. Unfortunately, this does not happen very often and causes problems in the marriage and with the children. Christians should remember that God has given us the gift of sound minds - and use them!
Circling back to the beginning, I think of my life now I am 84. Much of it has been spent helping John in his pastorates, academia and, finally, business. But I have also had what I consider as my career and am amazed at the way God has led me. I started writing poetry after our 4th baby was stillborn, and later was given the gift of composing Christian music. This has brought me unimaginable joy and satisfaction – much more than I could ever have attained if my earlier dreams had come true!