Thursday 29 November 2012

I want to turn with you to the 21st verse of the 7th Chapter of Matthew’s gospel. Jesus said, ‘not everyone who calls me Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven’.
In every action of life we are confronted with a choice, where we must make a decision to do one thing or another. In this passage, which comes at the end of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is confronting us with a hard or an easy way. Here we find Jesus talking to His disciples and to a great crowd of people gathered on a mountain. He is telling them what it means to be a follower of Him, the way they are to live, and what would be expected of a Christian.

He laid out clearly that we have to make a choice which will mean commitment on our part, which still applies to us in our time. Such commitment will make demands that many people will not be prepared to accept. He leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind what is required.

Jesus taught there are two gates, two roads,two masters, and two destinies, heaven and hell. The choice we make will form us into two classes. There are only two roads, and this is quite definitive, no third way. This is now very unpopular and generally not liked or approved as it is seen as being too restrictive, too bigoted and intolerant.

We have come to a state in this country now where a Christian person may not express a personal view based on sincere religious belief if it might offend someone or even seem to offend someone. This does not apply apparently to other faith speakers.

In the current debate regarding same sex marriage, any person expressing a view against that is deemed to be bigoted and homophobic, even though personal sexuality is not entering into the discussion. Similarly with the question of women bishops, to oppose is to be sexist and misogynist.

But Jesus says we must be prepared to enter through the narrow gate and on to the narrow road. It is like coming to a crossroads with each road going in the opposite direction. On the broad road you enter by a wide gate and there is plenty of room with plenty of people on it. On this road there are no restrictions and you can do your own thing. There will even be men and women on it who were ordinarily nice and decent people; some may have considered themselves to be Christians even if that might have overstated the fact.

Whenever a controversial subject arises regarding the Christian faith, such as in fact women bishops or infant baptism, the press commentators get very emotional and suggest as long as you are honest and sincere you are a full blown Christian with your place in heaven secure.

In all the thousands of funerals I have taken over the years, in every case there has never been any doubt that the deceased is in heaven irrespective of the manner of living. We see the paradox when a relative tells in admiring tones of all the dubious activities the deceased got up to.

Others say if you just follow your conscience you’ll be fine, but consciences become dulled and hardened. Taking the lead from politicians, people can look you in the eye and lie without any qualm of conscience.

We are reminded of the superficiality of commitment in our own time. Less than 10% of people think God worthy of one hour per week to visit a Church. Yet if you were to ask people their religion, the vast majority would reply C of E and seriously consider they were Christians. They would be mortally offended if you suggested otherwise. Yet very few people seem bothered to think of Jesus, even less to do anything about it.

It is easy to say ‘I am a Christian; the popular view is that if you are not an atheist or a member of another faith, you are a fully fledged Christian. So there will be room enough for all who do not wish to make a positive commitment to follow Christ.

Jesus said, ‘no one can come to the Father except through me. I am the only way’. All who enter through the narrow road, which Jesus wants us to take, must be prepared to accept what He says, however much it is deemed as being non correct in many Churches. The road is narrow because it is the way of truth, holiness and righteousness.

God has given us the ability and free will to choose and lets you do so. We have to think of our eternal destiny, remembering one of these roads leads to destruction the other to life with Jesus.

Jesus went to warn of false prophets which have always been a problem, no more so than today. We have sadly a great divide on issues, where people are placing their own ambitions and preferences before the wider interests of the Church, and the people outside the Church are naturally confused. If we in the Church cannot agree with what Scripture says, we cannot expect those outside to believe or be interested in us. The Bible loses all credibility and so do we.

Neither can the narrow road be pursued if we are motivated by a desire to please society. We are allowing some to try and create a secular agenda within thee Church. True disciples of Jesus Christ will not play to the galleries nor form values according to the passing approval of people in general. God’s approval is all that matters.

It can be hard to be a Christian in this country at the present time and many find the going too hard and strenuous and the opposition oppressive. Any open expression of our faith is likely to lead to suspension or dismissal from work. There is so much harassment of Christians which is not reported here and you have to listen to the American news channels to discover what is going on in this country.

Nearly 70 years ago brave young men took to the skies to fight the Battle of Britain against a ruthless foe. Today, as Christians, we need to fight the battle for Britain, against equally ruthless foes who want to drive Christianity out of public life and turn it into a private cult. We are like fighters in enemy occupied territory.

The government has sold out to the liberal lobby and has taken legal powers to prevent Christians from opting out of that which contravenes their beliefs. How Jesus would weep over Britain today as He did over Jerusalem, as He sees the obstacles put in our way.

As Christians we must always seek to glorify the Lord in our ways and speech. Church members can let the Lord down if things don’t please them. We find people walking out of Church if someone says something they disagree with, or proposes something different with which they disagree, or if they are not given the deference they feel due. There is no subject, which should be beyond Christians to resolve amicably.

You may have read of the Vicar and Curate who gave a very literal exposition of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians on the duties of husbands and wives, a little adventurous and imprudent for Sevenoaks perhaps. Rather than enter into a discussion with the Vicar, a number of women walked out taking their direct debits with them. Such action falls from grace and only tends to drag Christianity through the mud.

Jesus warns us that there must be a clear acceptance of His teaching and total obedience to it. Just to recite a creed and attend Church is not enough. We honour Jesus by calling Him Lord and sing hymns expressive of our devotion to Him. The lips that sing His praise should never be the lips that start trouble.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Joshua 24 v 15
(As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord)
Joshua was quite clear, he and his family would serve the Lord. The choice we make will decide our eternal future, so we should think deeply. Joshua’s words have a resonance for us today

We constantly read and hear reports of young people between the ages of 7 and teenage years terrifying whole neighbourhoods. They abuse, assault, vandalise and rob at will, and if anyone should remonstrate with them that person runs the risk of stabbing or serious injury. On several occasions men with families have been killed whilst defending their property. Whole gangs roam the streets seeking confrontation with other gangs and their members, which have cost the lives of substantial number of young men, sometimes innocent victims.

On so many occasions, broken homes have been a cause of such behaviour, with a mother unable to control or showing an utterly irresponsible line. One 12 years old boy terrified an estate and his mother said he was ‘her little satan, but wasn’t really evil’. An unwitting contradiction in terms, but added he just needs understanding. He certainly needs something, but more severe than understanding. Yet again an absent father

‘A nation is only as strong as its homes’, said Abraham Lincoln, and today our homes are reflecting the state of the our nation, which is in the deteriorating state of moral and social decay, which should make us fear for the future of our children and grandchildren.

The home now doesn’t mean as much today as it used to do, and to so many people the idea of two people being married as the ideal is old fashioned and rather stupid. .
Marriage was built on the foundations of the Bible. It has been said that in 100 years from now, marriage will have ceased to exist, and if some members of the government had their way it would be in a lot less time.

There are indeed powerful forces within the government and liberal establishment who are determined to destroy the traditional and biblical image of the home, marriage, and family. One senior Minister is waging a one woman war against it, and is quoted as having said categorically that there is no such thing as the ideal family. She is of course supported by other members.

God has laid down clearly what He expects, and we ignore to our peril
The Bible says ‘when the foundations are destroyed what shall the righteous do’. Homes are the foundation and bedrock of society, and they are being destroyed. If evil forces win the battle for the home there is nothing left worth fighting for. We have to restore the home as the basic unit of society..

There are problems in our homes. What's wrong? So often today couples marry without truly knowing each other and have no reluctance as divorce carries no stigma and is easy to access.

An indication of how our judiciary thinks and views the Christian faith was displayed in the High Court when it was said, ‘marriage is not generally regarded as a sacrament and divorce is a statistical commonplace’.

God never meant that we were to break up. Only death can part us. It is for life, It is for keeps. And God says only one thing can break the marriage vow and that is adultery.

The Bible teaches absolute fidelity on the part of both husband and wife, and the Bible recognizes no lower standards.

The Bible teaches that marriage is holy and sacred in the sight of God. I'm afraid that some enter into it like it's all a big joke. Some go into marriage for spite. Others go into marriage for luck and they break up and there's trouble and there's disappointment.. Marriage should be preceded by the most careful thought.

The Bible says only adultery is a reason for divorce, which only justifies the innocent party. One of the nations’ favourite television programmes has been featuring two people, who are neighbours, conniving at having an affair as a major story line People are so captivated by television stories they think they have to emulate them in real life. I dread seeing weddings or funerals on television as I know some of the ridiculous actions will be asked for in the following weeks.

We have so much unhappiness and trouble in the home today because we've got away from God's laws, rules, and regulations governing marriage, When God performed the first marriage, He laid down the rules, and He said if you want to have a happy home, obey these rules. If you want to have trouble, disobey them.

Having children means more than conceiving and bearing them. Raising children is a vitally responsible and important task. It is more than being a novelty for some celebrity or as a passport to the top of the housing list for a young woman. A whole future life is in the hands of parents, yet we hear of multiple children of a woman from multiple fathers who have no interest in the poor children.

It is reckoned that in the majority of homes no biblical knowledge or teaching is being given to children, probably as much due to the fact the parents have none.

Each generation claims things are worse than in their time, but I can never recall a time when children were allowed to terrorise whole neighbourhoods and cause such fear vandalising, abusing and stealing knowing they are virtually immune from any punishment. They are fully aware of the law which protects them, and little help is offered in most cases by police. It is hard to comprehend how the police allow such behaviour to develop, they certainly wouldn’t when it was known as ‘the Police Force’ rather than what is now little more than a social service. Society must decide what sort of a future we want as far as children are concerned.

We can learn so much from Jewish parenthood. Father’s teaching to his children of the Ten Commandments, one for each of the ten fingers, and the history of the Jewish people from the Old Testament, and the mother controlling behaviour. I have never known nor heard of a Jewish child being involved in violent disorder or crime. When I have sought an answer, I have been told it is because of the Jewish Mama in the home.

Mothers can indeed have a great effect on children. I was often required to be away from the home for long hours, and it is a great tribute to my wife that two of my sons became ordained, and have proved to be very wonderful and successful Ministers.

Far too many children are left to their own devices. How can teenagers roam the streets drunk and threatening people, stabbing other teenagers, and forming life threatening other gangs, without the parents knowing of it. So why don’t they do something about it. Yet again, in the days of an interested and efficient Police Force, action would have been taken under the Children’s Act for failing to control their children.

Some feminist thinkers have said that motherhood will have to go in a new social order and find a new way of raising children. You may have seen women being asked on television what their occupation was, and sometimes you hear the reply, ‘just a housewife’ No apology is needed . A housewife and mother is as great a calling as any in the world. Like God they are a very present help in times of trouble. My sons have all held their mother in the highest esteem and my son who died called Mum as his last word.
Christian standards have gone from many homes, Everywhere, people search for happiness from the wrong things and wrong places. Many criminals have come from homes where there has been no peace, no discipline nor Christian values or teaching. The biggest cause of young criminals is due to marital breakdown and separation

It is a matter of great regret that government is forcing councils, some of which don’t need that much encouragement, to foster and send for adoption children to two people of the same sex. A child needs a father and a mother, both of whom are essential to a child’s moral and social development and welfare. It is therefore irresponsible to make such enactment and reveals contempt for God’s decree.

Is it not ironic that the equality Minister stated two men cannot be trusted to run anything and need a woman, yet she considers two men are capable of bringing up children.

The Bible says we have to have discipline in the home. It is a sign of the times that discipline has become non existent in many homes, schools, and society in general. Children have a natural bias to do wrong; you never have to teach a child to say no.

If Britain is to defend its values successfully, it must rediscover the Christian faith.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Women Bishops

The decision of women being appointed as bishops has been decided and there is much rancour. I hope all can look at the issue in a measured way, looking beyond the simple matter of equality according to the world’s understanding, taking into consideration more profound

The decision of the Church of England not to agree to the appointment of women bishops has naturally been given much space in newspapers and on television. I find it intriguing that so many people can find interest in what the Church does internally, yet fails to find the interest to attend any of its services.

A lot of criticism has been levelled that the Church is treating women as second class citizens and will not give equal status, some of this criticism has been frankly quite improper. I wonder why however there has been no such criticism of Islam, a religion in which women are not allowed any participation at all. Do you not think it odd, especially recognising the fact that Islam is the fastest growing faith, and attracting conversions by women who think it more moral?

I understand how some women priests must be feeling depressed when the media and senior clergy have been building up their hopes. There have been some women whose names have been widely tipped for elevation, and I can imagine some have been getting their measurements ready for the purple robes.

All the criticism of evangelicals who were prominent in opposing the measure cannot be justified, and some of the remarks have been totally unworthy of mature adults; such as the woman who emerging into the rain, said that God was shedding tears; or the man who posed for photographs wearing the words ‘God is an equal opportunity supporter,’ which made him look quite silly.

There has been talk (amazingly) of God being involved, which is quite a reasonable thing for Church people to do. He doesn’t seem to have had a lot of consideration. If we are going to do so, we can do no better than to turn to His Word, given to writers of the Bible. No matter how hard I try, in all sincerity, I cannot find any authority for appointing women bishops, but there are numerous verse to oppose.

But there are other issues involved in the decision making. Much of the debate has been based on sociological reasoning rather than theological. The supporters have been treating men and women totally on equality grounds, in other words in a worldly manner. When God made both men and women He made them perfectly equal, but physically different to fulfil different purposes in the world. Realists have understood each sex has superior abilities in different ways in order to make this world a more comfortable and exciting place.

The whole debate has centred on women having authority for its own sake, just as politicians have struggled (without success) to have women being given promotions in the workplace to fulfil quotas. When women were first ordained priests it was after many claimed God was calling them to ministry and they wanted to serve Him in such a way. Just as with some men, whilst many are happy serving God faithfully in the parishes, others just want to claim the greasy pole.

We should also consider that any such change would mean ignoring 5000 years of theology, 2000 years of church history and 500 years of Anglican tradition. It would also mean affecting unity with the worldwide Church where there is no suggestion of women bishops, such as with Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches of Greece and Russia

It is being widely claimed that this decision will mean the Church will not appeal to the public, which ignores the fact that the Churches in the developing world where is no thought of appointing women bishops,
are attracting thousands of people, and the growing Churches in this country are evangelical ones, or indeed hold traditional services.

Let us acknowledge, a way had been devised where those opposed to women bishops could be accommodated, but that was not enough for some, they wanted a complete surrender of any opposition.

The Archbishop of Canterbury this morning stated the world does not understand the theological objection and the Church was setting itself apart from the trends of society. This is a remarkable statement from the head of the Church; the Church should be setting the agenda not following it. The Lord we follow was not concerned what society thought, and above all showed a sense of humility many in today’s Church should emulate.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Mark 13
The Gospel lesson this Sunday comes from the 13th Chapter of Mark, in the first eight verses.
This Chapter has been described as the most Jewish in the whole Bible as it relates to Jewish history. The words and terms Jesus uses would be familiar to the Jews of His day. The Chapter refers to the Second Coming of the Lord, which many people decline to believe or just simply ignore.

The Jews always believed they were God’s chosen people and as such merited a special and predominant place in the world which they could only achieve by God’s help, and they were confident this would be given. This would be known as the ‘Day of the Lord’, which would be followed by a time of trouble after which God would create a new world and judgement would follow.

The Temple in Jerusalem was considered to be among the most spectacular wonders of the ancient Roman Empire. The original temple constructed by Solomon had been destroyed and when the Jews returned to the homeland 70 years later, they constructed the second temple. King Herod wanted to gain favour with the Jews so offered to rebuild their temple. The work began in 20BC and would eventually take 66 years to complete.

The building stood on top of Mount Moriah and literally dominated the skyline of the ancient city. Between the Temple and the city lay a valley and a bridge spanned that valley which led straight into the Royal porch. It could be seen from many miles away and from anywhere in the city, being 172 feet long and 20 stories high. The stones that made up Herod’s Temple were pure white limestone, and the doors, walls and floors of the Temple were overlaid with pure gold.

Jesus had left the Temple with His Apostles who commented on the beauty of the buildings. Jesus knew that the Temple would by 70AD be destroyed by the Roman Army, and told the Apostles it would one day come down. When He was asked when it would happen, went on to say men would come and lead the Church astray with heresies.

This is done on various ways; by teaching doctrine to meet their own ends, and the same thing is happening in the Church today as men and women are moulding Christian truth to suit themselves. If such truth conflicts with desires, amend the truth is the practice.

Then there is teaching that God is a God of love and forgiveness who is ready to forgive all when asked, without telling that God is a God of justice and can be angered by sin. It is a false teaching that Christianity can be so ordered to look popular and attractive, irrespective as to whether it contradicts Scripture, as we see by the advocates of same sex marriage and loose morality

There is always the attempt to stop people from attending Church. Incredible as it may appear,a Vicar recently told people not to bother worrying about going to Church on Sundays but stay in bed and enjoy yourselves. This adds credibility to people who firmly claim that you don’t have to go to Church to be a Christian. If a person separates from Church there is something wrong with their thinking.

This is the message of the Epistle for the day, which states, ‘let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage on another.’

A Church family is unique in that it consists of different ages, backgrounds, experiences and sexes. It is where God provides for us to be come equipped to carry out His message to the world. We sing praise together, pray for each other and for the world's needs, share bread and wine in Holy Communion, and remember what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

We live in two worlds. We live in the earthly world, but we also live in the world of the Spirit, and there is always the danger we can forget about God and become so involved in earthly activities.

We need to meet with others to have fellowship, to gain and give encouragement. Each of us has to make an effort. Most people believe in God and many have a respect for the Church, but that is as far as it goes. They don’t want God or the Church to intrude into their lives, unless of course they want a baptism or wedding and then both can become useful.

There are many, far too many people in recent times, who have forsaken Church and it can be so very easy to give up, go with the flow and fall away. Once this is done it is often hard to get back into the practice of coming to Church. This is why the Bible urges the need for Christians to be with each other.

There are numerous reasons for people giving up worship. There are the cynical voices pouring scorn, making people feel doubtful. There are forces of secularisation, now given so much attention and credence. There are pressures from within families, where some members are anti-church, notably husbands regarding their wives. The worry about taking a public stand, and indeed, from within the Church itself. So we should not be tempted to separate ourselves from those who are joined to us by a common faith. Meeting and following Christ can be costly but mostly well rewarded.

We must always be aware of the fact that in many parts of the world Churches cannot exist, nor can Christians meet with other Christians for fear of imprisonment or even death. Increasing hostility is being displayed in countries like Egypt, Pakistan, and Nigeria, where Churches are burned down and bombed. Here we still have freedom to worship, but if not cherished and valued and fought for will be lost.

But there is one thing I feel needs to be stressed. We should ensure the Church we attend is one faithful to God’s Word and seeks to build each other up through the Scriptures, and where the true gospel is preached.

We have to acknowledge however sadly this is not always the case, so it serves no purpose going to a Church which fails to do these things. Too many preachers have their own agenda, which is created around a morality not supported by Scripture, and where the teaching is given to subscribe to the culture of the day.

You must find a Bible based Church. Research in America has shown that going to Church and meeting with fellow believers is good for your health. A survey in North America of 4,000 people, found that older people especially who attended Church, were less depressed and far healthier that their non religious counterparts.

Let us therefore draw near to God, holding firmly to your belief. Don’t let unpleasant people, secularists, or anyone else hold you back. Remember too, Jesus said if anyone rejected Him, He will one day reject them. Such a fate is too horrible to consider.

The combined message from these two readings is that Jesus will one day return when He will be the judge of all our lives and to Him we will answer. We are warned there will be signs such as wars, famines, earthquakes; things which have taken place through the ages, although the threat seems more potent now especially when Israel is surrounded by hostile nations who are threatening to unite against Israel with the intention of destroying that nation. Israel will not lie down, but fight fiercely and who can tell the consequences. This should make any intelligent person who does not attend Church and/or worship Christ think seriously.

If you do not believe in Christ, these two readings ought to make you reflect very deeply. The Bible states, ‘God is ready to welcome you, now is your time to receive salvation’. Don’t miss out.

And be at Church on Sunday. God bless you

Wednesday 14 November 2012

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is one you expect to be a man of probity and integrity, not giving to words of intemperance or exaggeration, certainly not to making misleading or false representations, especially if a Conservative Chancellor. Yet George Osborne risibly suggested that if the Tories were to have a hope of winning the next General Election, they would have to legislate for same sex marriage. This is so ridiculous it is hardly credible.

In order to justify such nonsense he quoted the fact that four States in America voted in favour of such action, and this was the cause of Obama’s victory, but failed most noticeably to state that thirty one States rejected such a proposal, and in one case in North Carolina, the opponents of same sex marriage were outspent on a ratio of 4-1.

He then went on to state that the majority of people wanted same sex marriage to be enacted, which again is not borne out by polls. ComRes reported that such legislation would cost the Tories 30 seats at an election losing 1.1 million votes. In addition, 70% of people voted in favour of traditional marriage in another poll, and a petition organised by The Coalition for Marriage attracted over 611,000 supporters, the most ever recorded for a petition.

The Conservative Party Conference held fringe meetings on a variety of topics, but an opportunity of discussing same sex marriage was not held or allowed to be held.

The Prime Minister promised to hold a Consultation period for people to state their views, but has acted in a way which would shame the most totalitarian regime by stating, with Ministerial colleagues, whilst the Consultation was in progress, and before any analysis or consideration has been given, that legislation WOULD be made and it is rather a question of when not if. Such is democracy Cameron style.

The Anglican Church has been described as homophobic for opposing by the Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone, and ‘Stonewall’, the Lesbian and Gay Organisation recently showed its idea of free speech. At a ceremony where awards were given for various activities, one award was named as ‘bigot of the year.

The nominees for this award were a man who likened gay people to Nazis, calling them gaystapo; another who called same sex marriage as deviant behaviour; a man who said a gay man died because he was gay; and a man who supported a call to kill gay people. Despite this list of people with attitudes of extreme views, the man they named as bigot of the year was the Cardinal Archbishop of Glasgow, Keith O’Brien who gave a reasoned theological answer against same sex marriage based of course on Scripture.

The liberal minded people like David Cameron, Nick Clegg, etc and Stonewall do not so much object to others having a different opinion, they just don’t think you should have an opinion, least of all to dare to express it.

Friday 9 November 2012

Sunday is Remembrance Day and services will be held to remember those men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom, and others who were badly wounded and disabled for life.

As the years roll by, the number of those who were alive during the last World war grows ever smaller reducing by the year. The memories however do not fade as we recall how this nation stood alone on the brink when all seemed lost and there was talk of surrender. But God raised up a man (Winston Churchill) who would rally the nation to perform such heroic deeds.

Sadly so many young people do not and will not learn of this glorious chapter of our history, never having to endure the horrors and hardship of war. Such has been the parlous direction of education for so many years in (state) schools under a government which seemed to have no pride in our past, that children have little if any knowledge of what was achieved in order that they have all the privileges they now enjoy.

We think of those shot down over German skies, who perished on the beaches on D-Day, drowned on Atlantic convoys, or were brutally tortured under Japanese prison guards.

Now we have to add those who perished or have been injured, on the streets of Iraq, blown up on dusty Afghan roads. This is the most wasteful loss of life, as young men are being sacrificed for a mission which never had any realistic hope of success. If a nation like Russia with all its might, and without being held to account for its actions, could not win in that country, we certainly cannot when our army is answerable to strict human rights law, with greedy lawyers lurking to launch compensation claims on any grounds.

This should make us reflect of the sacrifices made with the hope that what they died for would be practised and honoured.

We all long for peace, on our streets, in our homes, in the world, but peace is more than political catchphrase, it means peace most of all with God. Blessed are the peacemakers is a beatitude which is saying, ‘blessed are they who make the world a better place’.

The country has largely rejected Christianity, and become secularised, many judging by internet comments, see it as a subject for mockery. In all walks of public life, even to the highest level of government; we have flagrant lying, deceit, corruption and unrestricted immorality, conduct which can only destroy. Anyone who speaks out is branded as being narrow minded. There has to be concern when so many in high public office cannot be relied upon to speak truth, and not make false expenses claims.

This nation was built on a solid Christian foundation; the Commandments were the basis of our legal system. Now, in the midst of the most serious economic and financial crisis a country can face, we have a Prime Minister whose most urgent priority is to oppose God’s law with a ‘passion’ to legalise same sex marriage. This violates God’s law and destroys centuries of tradition. We must look forward to having men and women holding high office who have a set of principles for the good of all rather than their own private ambitions. We need leaders who will accept the standards laid down in God’s Holy Word.

That is what men fought and died for, and what men and women are doing now in our Army, Navy and Air Force. Our prayers must be for them and also reach out to their families in what must be anxious times. We should not subject them to scrutiny by those living in legal ivory towers in their every action, realising the tensions under which they live.

I spoke at a Veterans Day service, after the service I received a letter from a lady who wrote, "I grew up in the 20s and 30s in a free country with principles. We joined the forces because we thought we were fighting to preserve a way of life which other countries envied. We grew up in God fearing families. For a long time I have felt like a lonely voice crying in the wilderness. The only answer I have had is we have moved on. I feel as though I am losing my faith." I don’t believe she is a lone voice crying in the wilderness. I think there are many people in sympathy with her. I am sure there are many who would agree with her and such sentiments

Those who fought for their country, all those veterans knew what counted in life as they fought for a safer world. The men on the fighting lines knew things had to get better. What would they say if they knew what things were going on this country now? Would they wonder if their great sacrifices were worthwhile as they looked at us?

We seem to have forgotten, or even tried to remember, or for those too young, to find out what it must have been like for those who came home blinded; with broken limbs; mentally scarred after years as a prisoner of war. What must they have felt to see grown men and women taking legal action for hurt feelings caused by mere words, and those making compensation claims for minor injuries? How would they feel to hear some jumped up public official refusing to let the flag they fought under be displayed lest it upset people not even born here, people who in fairness would not think of complaining or objecting.

Those men and women had a faith and belief for which they fought, and now we as Christians have to take over that fight. Legislation is being made, and has been made, with laws so distinctly contradictory to Christian teaching, with public officials so ready to try and erase Christianity from public life, and even Church leaders are prepared to compromise Forty five case of discrimination against Christians are being pursued through the Courts. It is therefore intensely important, that we should positively let people know the true message, according to God’s Holy Word.

We have a society which is encouraged to forsake a Christian consensus and live, not by Christian principles, but by substituting other principles. We are submerged in a world that is committed to falsehood, which is why we are called to proclaim the truth.

If ever the Word of God was needed it is never more so than now. It calls for people to turn back to God who is ready and able to meet the needs of everyone who turns to Him. The message we have for the world is centred upon the person of Jesus Christ.

Today, there will be people in all our Churches who would not normally be there, thus revealing a spiritual content in their lives. Indeed, almost all people have some spiritual longing. There are so many of these people who would be of enormous value to the Church, and who in turn could add so much to their lives. Let us pray that those leading services will boldly proclaim the faithful gospel that may lead others to come to know the Lord Jesus.

Many people are like the two British soldiers who found themselves lost in the deserts of Iraq. They eventually came across a two star American General in his jeep. As they approached him they didn’t even bother to salute and simply blurted out ‘excuse me mate, can you tell us where we are?’ The General took umbrage at their casual attitude and sternly replied, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ at which one of the soldiers turned to the other and said, ‘Now we are in real trouble, we don’t know where we are and he doesn’t know who he is!’

We need a daring programme of revival, which God is challenging us to make. We within the Church need to ensure our services are always meaningful and encouraging. However, there is reluctance within some Churches to preach a vibrant Biblical message for fear of being criticised as being offensive to other faiths. Such reluctance is not reciprocated. People, I believe, are longing for and wanting spiritual leadership. All who treasure the Christian faith, and the memory of those who gave their lives to preserve a Christian heritage, must work and pray for a spiritual revival of the Christian Church.

May we, on this special day, well remember the sacrifices others made that we might be here at this hour. We must never ever forget the lives of so many gallant young men and women given that we may have peace in our lives.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

We now know who the new American President is. The election has, to a lot of people’s annoyance here, had massive press coverage, in the United Kingdom, but it is right that we should have had such coverage as America is our closest ally and best friend, and of much more significance than Europe. We speak the same language and share a similar culture, and America influences much of our lives and business.

I personally am sorry the American people chose to support a man who favours same sex marriage, abortion, and use of cannabis, and whose party was reluctant to mention God at their convention. I agree Romney was not the ideal challenger, but at least he held traditional moral values. If Obama’s second term is as bad as his first, not only America will suffer, so will we all. It is said he looked Presidential over the hurricane troubles, but it might be more appropriate to say he acted so. If ever he gives up politics he is a natural for the stage.

Naturally most people in Britain are rejoicing, for the Republican Party is not liked here, it has too close a relationship with God, which is an anathema to journalists and our politicians especially, although in this secular country not surprising. One journalist on Sky the other night was mocking at the intervention of God’s name into an election.

In this morning’s Telegraph one commentator was full of joy at the secular turn of events in the States and could not contain his pleasure that the ‘religious right is dead’, that Obama is not really a Christian, encouraging people to absent themselves from Church on Sundays, and welcoming America to secular Europe. When you bear in mind the Telegraph is considered to be a conservative and Conservative paper, you realise the changing times.

It will be a very sad day if his wishes come true. For many people of Christian faith, the United States was a beacon of hope against a secular and anti Christian Europe.

I hope that in future the Republican Party bears in mind that it is not necessary to consider only men to run for President. There are some outstanding women available to the Party who have proved themselves in Office. I was disappointed that at one time the name of Condoleeza Rice came up as a possible running mate to Romney only to be lost somewhere, what a brilliant lady who would have appealed to women voters. Another name for the future might be Nikki Haley the South Carolina Governor who has made a very favourable impression. We can only hope

Sunday 4 November 2012

This Sunday’s gospel reading is taken from the 12th Chapter in Mark’s gospel.

Jesus was often asked questions and usually it was an attempt to try and trap Him, but this man who came to question Jesus appeared to really want a proper answer. He asked Jesus which of the Ten Commandments was the first of all.

We remember God gave the Commandments as a way to live, the first four in relation to God, and the others with a duty to our fellows’ beings. Some people view them as just to be taken literally, but Jesus extended them to give a wider meaning. For example, as regards murder, we can offend by not only killing the body of someone, but also killing their character by gossip and false words. Similarly we commit adultery by lustful thougths and words, and by stealing, not only from shops and burglaries, but by misappropriating articles from employers.

Jesus answered by telling the man he should love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and secondly loving his neighbour as himself. If we are to love our neighbour we must first love God, so we must consider what is implicated in loving God. Many Christian s become apathetic and lose the enthusiasm they once had causing them to become indifferent and not a good model for a Christian. There is a lack of that passion we see displayed for political causes, or amongst football supporters, or as we are seeing displayed by minority groups for their cause.

We are called to love God with all our heart and when you love someone so they fill your whole life dominating it, not just giving an occasional moment. Devotion comes to mind to describe the feeling. People often come to know the Lord at an evangelistic meeting and there is a feeling of excitement and joy. There is an experience of grace and forgiveness, a sense of freedom of the soul. We need to retain much of that experience.

We love God with our soul, which means all our emotions given to Him.

We love God with our mind, letting Him be at the forefront of all we do in life so that when we face difficult decision and problems we think what would He want us to do, and in return He will give us wisdom and knowledge.

We love God with all our strength, in that we live out that love by our daily lives doing all we think He would want us to do and restricting our actions so that by our behaviour we do all that pleases Him and nothing that would offend. There is a belief that you can think and act as you like privately which cannot be seen by others, but we should remember God sees right into our hearts and recognizes we are not living fully as we should. If our relationship with God is not right it materially affects any other relationship.

Jesus told the scribe he was not far from the Kingdom of God, but that suggested he was not in fact within, and Jesus was indicating it is not enough to say you believe, there must be proof by action. Such a position is reflected in Christian people’s lives today.

True love for God is not shown by just attending Church on Sundays and mouthing words, having your name on the Church roll, there must be consistency displayed living it out from Mondays and Saturdays. This may imply reviewing social habits, such a refraining from heavy drinking of alcohol which leads to ungodly conduct; things we watch on television and movies, books and magazines we read. We cannot be true to our faith if we indulge in drinking bouts or get involved with pornography

We need to be the kind of Christians that are truly dedicated ready to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, strengths and minds so as to be more able and worthy to represent our Lord in the midst of so many non-believers