Saturday 29 February 2020

Genesis 3 v1/7     Matthew 4
 Our passages this morning come from Genesis and Matthew 4, and centre on the theme of temptations which lead to sin.  In defining sin, it is not just a form of sexual acts, but any thought or activity contrary to the Word of God which he has given us in the Bible.

There are certain passages which are hard to understand, but we must accept as the very Word of God.  The Old Testament is largely ignored and few sermons are now preached from it, but Jesus supported it and quoted it regularly.

It has been widely believed that the first chapters of Genesis were not to be taken seriously, but the Bible here tells where we came from, and how we started to grow and where we are today.   Let us start our study this morning by turning to the start of the Bible.         

God created a world of beauty which was perfect, and pure; no sin, a place of peace and tranquillity, and in the words of one song, ‘what a beautiful world’.   

The Bible states, God made man and then created woman as his helper.  God made two people, man and woman, male and female, Adam and Eve; not Tom/Harry or Sharon/Tracy.  We have two people, equal yet different, no question of superiority or inferiority. Both are equal in all respects, but made differently according to God’s purpose. She would have a more caring and tender nature and would bear children.

In the film ‘my fair lady’ Rex Harrison playing a professor of phonetics asks ‘why can’t a woman be like a man, and gets the answer, ‘because she wasn’t created to be’.  We are a mixture that complements one another.

It is important to notice the word ‘helper’.  This is to mean what it says, a man needs more than a friend, and if we men are honest a woman can be a great ‘help’, someone who can be at man’s side, who will give life more meaning, pleasure and support in a way other men can’t; someone to love and cherish, to be equal with him, near to his heart to be loved’.  There is no deeper and more natural relationship than that of a man and a woman.

The task is, to have children, to build society a part of God’s bigger purpose, about the family as the basic building block of society.

God placed the man and woman in a garden, and gave them instruction on how he expected them to behave.  They
disobeyed God, and paradise was destroyed when man and woman sinned; God as not pleased for his intention went wrong when such purity was changed, opposition to his command was soon found, and never more so than today has God’s plan been challenged.  We have a world which has e no absolutes and little shame, and his Church is plagued by false teaching.

The Bible teaches that because Adam and Eve sinned, that has been a thread running through human nature down the ages.  God laid down a right and a wrong, and from the beginning he has been disobeyed.

The homosexual lobby is a well organised and aggressively active body, exerting its influence in every aspect of life, and denying any alternative to its agenda. I think they have promoted their cause most effectively and wish the Church had have responded with equal zeal for Christianity.

It is claimed in the name of absolute equal rights, for two people of the same sex the right to marry, even the right to have children, but such is biologically impossible.  Although there is no mandate or any support for such in the Bible, irresponsible bishops are campaigning for it

There is an obsession to change God’s order of creation, and in the process, there is confusion and disturbed lives. Our children of tender years are being indoctrinated without parental consent. 

How people live their personal lives is a matter entirely for each man and woman, and should be left to do so, but the Church has a duty, as representative of many people, to say what the Bible states; it is known as tolerance and free speech. 
We were given by God the Ten Commandments, and whilst some view them with the attitude pick any three from ten, they have formed the pattern for nations to frame their law.
People try in so many ways to assuage their conscience. I heard it said; God says adultery is wrong but God wants me to be happy. People need to realise when God gave the Commandments, he required all to be obeyed, and his wrath is incurred when disobeyed.
When we doubt God’s goodness, sin doesn’t seem so sinful.  We can always justify disobedience if we try hard enough. But disturbed emotions lead to wrong decisions and ultimate disaster.
People have continued to offend against God despite him sending prophets to guide and lead them, in order to have a relationship with them, for God wants to love all people and wants them to be saved, but he hates sin, and we cannot be in relationship without sin being cleansed and forgiven.
Ultimately God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so we could obtain righteousness and Jesus was soon made to face the devil in a series of three temptations, but resisted by standing firm quoting God’s Word. Each time he resisted setting an example for followers to adopt.
There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, but through the cross of Christ, even our worst sins can be forgiven.  But that gift has to be taken, it is not forced upon us.  Jesus stands ready to be the friend of all, and stands at the door of your heart. Like any door which is not open, he cannot enter, so it is up to each person, each man or woman to open up to him.
Fifty years ago, the gas system in this country was changed from coal gas to natural gas; no pipes of fittings were changed it was just the gas was warmer, through conversion.  People receive conversion when they realize what Jesus did for them on the Cross, dying a painful death so that they would be made righteous before God. There is no physical change, they just see a new kind of life opening up for them, where the normal cares and worries can be offloaded, for Jesus said come unto me all who are burdened, and I will give you comfort and peace.
Each generation believes theirs was better than the current one, but I believe with some justification, this is now a reasonable claim. We have the opportunity of having such wonderful technological objects, and electrical gadgets and machines, which make life so much more pleasant and comfortable.
Yet we are not satisfied society. We are eager to ignore God and all he taught us, and given us, and our morals and some ways of life have slipped to a new low.
I expect there will be disagreement with what I have said, even upset. I do not wish to offend anyone, but as a Methodist speaking to Methodists, let me refer you to John Wesley’s sermon Romans 1. Its is nonsense to say this is 2020 not 1738, but God is the God all ages and is the same today, yesterday and for ever.
The Bible makes clear that ALL Scripture is God’s Word and we are to ‘preach the Word’, not to preach one’s own opinion.
Jesus told the Church leaders, ’it is written in the Scriptures and you know the Scriptures cannot be altered.’ On another occasion he said, ‘I did not come to abolish the law or writing of the prophets.  I came to accomplish them.’
I say this with respect, but if there is any person here this morning who believes the Church in this country is in its entirety faithful to God’ Word, you are not appreciating the true picture, and are unaware of facts.
The sad and shameful thing of all, much as it hurts to say, and shamefully as it is to be, there are men and women Ministers preaching in our Churches who, rather than preaching for repentance, are telling the opposite of the teachings of the Bible, which they call to ignore in order  to facilitate an alternative form living, so leading people astray. Such is offensive to God, who as the bible warns, will judge accordingly.  Incredibly, they don’t view doing such as wrong, and anyone who thinks differently is of course naturally a bigot with some sort of phobia. We have failed God rather than support him.
There are however, pockets of the Church being truly faithful, especially among the black community, but on a wider scale, and in the highest Offices there are those who would choose to abandon the Bible teaching of marriage, once the bedrock of society.
In recent times, with having a disabled wife, I have had much contact with Carers, almost all being black ladies. Each one who I have met carried with them a Bible, and it was not just an accessory, they read an knew its contents. I commented to one lady that this was not common to white ladies (certainly not white men) and I was told it was because the black people were not always treated well by fellow people, but God cared for them and they were faithful in return. How touching is that?

God’s purpose for the Church is to preach salvation; to proclaim the gospel story to an unbelieving world, and if the Church does not unitedly fulfil that purpose, there will be no Church. Aggressive activists have already infiltrated and are influencing the high places with their agenda, which is in no way that which God has laid down.

The gospel is the power that gives salvation, but is bad news for non-believers for it offers no hope for the future. We receive by faith and all you have to do is to reach out with empty hands and Jesus will welcome you with open arms.

You accept Jesus has paid the price for your sins and is now your Lord and Saviour. God is now ready to receive you.  We place our faith in chemists, doctor, pilots, why leave God out? You must have faith and believe.  This is the first Sunday of Lent, an enviable time of forty days for anyone who wants to yield themselves to Jesus to do so.

Let us pray God will protect his Church and bless his people.   Remember you are Methodists and have been bestowed with a great legacy from the two greatest Christian revivalists this country produced, and created a Church with a sold biblical foundation.  Never let that legacy be betrayed by abandoning the gospel Charles and John Wesley proclaimed.

I close with the words of John Wesley
I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!”

Thursday 20 February 2020

The story of the Transfiguration. Mark 9

This week’s gospel reading is about one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible.  It comes just after Jesus had been asking His Apostles who they thought He was and received Peter’s great confession, and after He had told them He was on the way to the Cross to die and then be raised.

Jesus wanted to be alone on the mountain top and took with Him on the journey three Apostles with whom He appeared to have a special relationship, namely Peter, James and John. these three Apostles were also with Jesus when He raised Jairus’ daughter and in His agony in the garden. The mountain was thought to be Mount Hermon, one so high it could be seen from many miles away.  The climb must have been strenuous for Luke tells us they were feeling sleepy and tired.

Jesus was going up the mountain that He might receive God’s confirmation that it was the intention for Him to go to the Cross.  Jesus, we find always was anxious to consult with God at His every step.  Here is a lesson and good advice for us.

I used to visit Scotland, and up in the Highlands you can go up the Cairngorms on the mountain railway, and whilst there is the obligatory shop and cafĂ©, there is also a balcony.  You can there gaze down on scenery unsurpassed in any other country and see one of God’s most glorious creations.  You can feel close to God on a mountain top, away from the ordinary things of life.

Mountains figure conspicuously in the Bible.  It was on Mount Sinai that Moses received the Commandments; Mount Horeb that God spoke to Elijah.   Jesus we are told was transfigured on His Mountain, meaning His appearance changed.  There He met two of Israel’s great names, Moses who brought the law from God and Elijah the supreme prophet through whom God spoke, and they discussed the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem.  They advised Jesus to go forward being the One foretold of in the Old Testament.

Many people are puzzled as to how God speaks to men and they scoff at such talk.  I believe a lot of what is claimed to be from God is self manipulated.  I once visited a Theological College where ordinands were completing their training and I was surprised to hear how God had told so many to go to the South of England; I am sure God really does care for the North as well.

God speaks to us in several ways.  Sometimes it is through a preacher.  I had a lady who came to Church very infrequently and one time she said I always seemed to be getting at her.  I told her that as I prepared beforehand and never knew when she was coming, it may be that someone higher than me was getting at her.

Many people were converted by one of the posters containing Scriptural messages placed by the London City Mission in the Tube Stations.  Sometime God speaks through our conscience, or when we pray about something and an answer comes into our mind, not always perhaps the answer we want although probably for your ultimate good.

When Peter realised what was happening, he offered to build three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.  He was struck with awe and wanted to prolong the experience, and offered to build three tabernacles. Jesus rebuked him for he was in error in that he was equating Jesus with Moses and Elijah. 

We all like to feel we are on top of the world both figuratively and actually, but most of us live their lives more realistically on the level or down in a valley.

This can happen at worship. When Billy Graham came to England thousands went to hear him and came away on a spiritual mountain.  They had heard the world’s greatest and most successful preacher, massed choirs singing glorious hymns; then the following Sunday went to Church and realised they had come down to earth with a shattering bump.  Instances were quoted of Vicars mocking Billy and wanting their old staid services, some Bishops even wanted to stop him coming.  Even now Church leaders are anxious to change Scripture to meet modern cultural desires.

The lesson of the Transfiguration is that we must always let God speak to us and follow His Word; He has a plan for all our lives.  When we turn to Him, we too can reach a mountain top, but also, we can close our minds to Him and lie in the valley.

As we go into Lent the Cross and the suffering of Jesus is in mind, soon we shall see the glory of the resurrection and the hope we shall share with the |Lord one day.  This passage tells of Moses who had died many years before, as did Elijah, yet there they are alive but in glory.  This should indicate to us that when our last breath is breathed in this life there is another to come, another world beyond the grave.

There is much mysterious about the future, things we cannot understand, but let us be sure God has all planned and Jesus is taking care of those who have gone to be with Him, as He will with us.   

Thursday 13 February 2020

                                   1 Corinthians 3 v 1/9

 This morning our study of 1 Corinthians has reached Chapter 3.

This is the first of Paul’s Letters to Church which Paul had founded situated in the heart of Corinth, a trading and manufacturing centre. The city was a cosmopolitan and sophisticated place, where there was sexual immorality and corruption, which likened it to the Soho of the day.

As seen in earlier Chapters, the Letter was written by Paul because of the worldly views that had crept into the Church at Corinth. It came to his notice that tensions had arisen in the congregation. The worldly view of spirituality and morality did not equate with the Church’s standards, but some members were influenced and were encouraged by false teachers. This was causing disunity and such grieved Paul who disliked Christians disagreeing.

The same sort of controversy is apparent in today’s Churches, where one section is determined to introduce into Church teaching, a morality which is clearly forbidden by Scripture.  The Bible leaves no option for their alternative view, and those who fail to observe that which God laid down, in preference to some wayward apostate bishops, are heading for spiritual disaster.

 Paul refers to their divisions which attributes to not just jealousy and quarrelling, but the defective understanding of the Church. You will note how relevant the Letter has become to us in this and other Western nations, where the Church is not only accepting, but encouraging and even participating in, the  acceptance of society’s moral standards.

 Paul reminds that Christ was not divided and neither should we be. We can still worship in different ways as some like much ceremony, and others a simpler method, but as long as the doctrine of the gospel is the same, we must accept one another.

 Paul’s guidance had been sought about the governing of the Church, whilst the real needs had been concealed.  Paul is now making them face the reality of their sinful lives so that they grow spiritually perfect. Paul tries to show them how they will appear in God’s eyes, and how they must act to be worthy of following in the name of Jesus who died and rose again.
 In verse 1 Paul addresses them as brothers (and sisters) which shows he accepts them as members, but states they are not truly spiritual, but self-indulgent and self-centred, and their faith is childlike like babes in the Christian faith.

 When Paul uses the word ‘spiritual’ he does not mean that they are not Christians, but that they are not living up to their Christian way and they are not acting as mature Christian people, but as baby Christians. When one becomes a Christian, our sinful nature is not erased, but should no longer control us; but it can still influence us and influence our lives.

 I fear Paul would say the same thing to day. He calls on them in the name of Jesus to stop arguing, to create harmony and avoid a divided church. We can only achieve this if we are all one in Christ Jesus. Division only leads to unsettled situations filled with gossip and envy.

In verse 2 he says he had to feed them with milk, not solid food for they would not be able to digest anything stronger, so keeping to milk. Paul gives illustrations from life to indicate his message.  We feed children with milk until they can digest solid food, so they had to learn the rudiments of faith before getting down to the full Word of God.

There must be many who will not move out of the milk strength, for members do not in great numbers read their Bible on a regular basis, and are confined to hearing it read in Church. At one time, not so long ago, every pew or seat had a bible on to enable people to follow the readings and sermon to make certain the preacher is confining him/her self to the text. I notice this still prevails in American churches, where people take God more seriously I think.

 How many Churches have a weekly Bible study group? ; that would make a difference.  
   Children are not being taught the characters and values of the Bible which give such a firm foundation for life, whilst other faiths have no inhibitions. Children are being brought up without any real understanding of true values, but are encouraged to model themselves on pop stars and footballers with the X factor the ultimate achievement in life. Parents spend freely on classes designed to promote such ambitions.

In verse 3 by letting themselves be controlled by their own desires, and being jealous of one another, they are dividing and breaking up into quarrelling groups. He suggests this proves they are still like children wanting their own way, and as if they don’t belong to the Lord at all.

Some enterprising Ministers have found this out clearly. I know of some who have gone to a new appointment with great anticipation, but have found out how true is the verse, ‘as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be’. Any attempt to move from 1611 to 2020 is doomed.

Corinth, like many Churches of today preferred a gospel which impresses rather than the gospel of Christ.  When Billy Graham first came to England many years ago now, bishops were trying to stop him his preaching was too biblically based..

Verse 4 tells of them unnecessarily comparing Paul with Apollos who was a gifted scholar and Scriptural expert, as to who was the greater.  This is another way he points out their inability to grow in the Lord.

Paul, rebukes them for following and favouring particular preachers. It is natural for us to have a favourite preacher, but there is also a danger that we may become attached to one who is not a biblical teacher. Paul was concerned and had occasion to warn that some people, who did not want to hear sound doctrine, were turning to teachers who would say what they wanted to hear rather than what they should hear. It is a sad fact, that there are quite a number of preachers, lay and ordained, male and female, who are ignoring the Bible in order to accommodate both their congregations and themselves.

Verse 5 asks who is Paul and who is Apollos that they should be made the subject of a quarrel, each being a servant of the Lord with different abilities to help them believe God’s people.
There are people in churches now with different gifts, some have technical, technological, academic, secretarial, all of which we are given by God, and we should be ready to offer back to his use.

Paul then gives an analogy in which he plants seeds which Apollos then waters, but it is God that makes them grow in the garden of people’s hearts. Those who do the planting and watering e not all important, it is God who makes growth that is important

This was so vividly told in Acts where the Apostles were sent out by the Lord Jesus to teach his gospel and commands. They did just as he directed and when the people responded by listening and acting upon, God we are told added to their number daily.

 In the final verse of this passage set for today, Paul concludes they are God’s co-workers, the people are God’s garden,

Im order to discourage people from devoting themselves to a man, he uses an horticultural example, describing how he plants and others water, and God makes the seed grow.  They, Paul and Apollos are working as a harmonious team each with a different way but one aim, and both will be rewarded for their Work. 

Then he turn to an architectural example when he quotes our Lord, who said, ‘I will build my Church’.  The Bible clearly shows us how Jesus alone can be the foundation, and when we follow the Apostolic teaching, first given to us in Acts of the Apostles by the men whom our Lord taught and instructed to pass on the teaching, which we have in the New Testament, we will see the harvest of souls in the Church,

We are a body of believers on earth, and when 2/3 gather in Jesus’ name, He will be with us in Spirit.  Paul saw the Church as God’s body and himself as a master builder, and is very clear that the only true Church is based on the gospel of a suffering Messiah dying for His people. A problem to day is that many Church members do not grow out of spiritual childhood and are more concerned with trivial issues.

A lady once came to my Church on a visit with people from her own Church which was much larger than mine at that time. She so enjoyed the time sharing with us that she said that she would propose to her Vicar that we be twinned.  I was later told her Vicar deemed us too small for that, which exampled the superficiality, immaturity and arrogance within the Christian community.

In a mixed-up world, we are constantly tempted to become world centred, importing all the sins and vices of society, and being adept at finding excuses for doing so.  We should never excuse sin; we should always ask God by his grace to help us not to give in to our own sinful nature.

When we give up letting the world set our agenda, the Church can get back to its original purpose of preaching the gospel instead of allowing the rights of sexual freedom to dominate.

The Bishops of the Church of England recently announced they reiterated their official teaching that sex is for married- male and female couples only. Now this may not be the general opinion for people of the 21st century, and indeed will be something to mock and ridicule, but the Church is speaking for God, we are his ambassadors in this earthly Kingdom, and the duty of an ambassador is to represent and proclaim his King’s declarations.

Within hours, liberals in the Church raised such a furore that the Archbishops apologised and said they were very sorry for releasing the statement. (You couldn’t make it up.)

What sort of integrity and character do those Archbishops have. How God must weep when he sees such weak men leading his Church.   Compromising on God’s Word doesn’t work, it only means we drift into confusion, irrelevance and unfaithfulness.

The Bible states, ‘preach the Word’. Not preach your opinion or preference; and the Word is the Bible.  Franklin Graham, the son of the world’s all time greatest preacher Billy Graham, was due to fly over from America to speak at a number of evangelical meetings across the United Kingdom, but due to pressure from activists who objected to him speaking because he doesn’t believe in same sex marriage, all the meetings were cancelled.

These incidents are totally unacceptable to all reasonable people, whether in or out of Church. How people lead their lives is a personal matter for them, God allows free will, and the State allows free speech (unless you are a Christian).  The anomaly is any activist groups can state anything they wish, which is their right to do so, but they object for an alternative view to be stated. This is what was once meant by the word ‘intolerance’, but not any more.

We should all be able to live and believe as our conscience tells us. I have no animosity to individuals, but the action of activists preventing people of different views to express them, is to any intelligent fair-minded person unacceptable.

The Americans are more in relationship with God than many British, and now have a President who has issued an executive Order granting Christians the right to express their beliefs, which are happily his. Our leaders have little faith and even less interest in allowing others to have belief.

Let us pray God will protect his Church and bless his people.   Remember you are Methodists and have been bestowed with a great legacy from the two greatest Christian revivalists this country produced, and created a Church with a sold biblical foundation.  Never let that legacy be betrayed by abandoning the gospel Charles and John Wesley proclaimed.

I close as I now so often do with the words of John Wesley

I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!”

I close as I now so often do with the words of John Wesley

I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!”

Sunday 9 February 2020

Matthew 11, 28
I wonder if there is anyone in this congregation can stand up and say, ‘I have no worries in my life?’  If there is, would you like to stand up so we can all admire you?
     There must be very few Christians or non- Christians who have not experienced some worry, some anxiety.
     There was a man who went to see his doctor and said, ‘doctor I get so confused, sometimes I think I am an igloo and at other times a marquee’ The doctor said the trouble is you are too tense.
(corny I know)
     We need hardly ask whether worry harms,
it causes us to lose sleep, takes the joy out of living,
causes our hair to fall out or turn grey even leads to an early grave.
     There are so many fears in modern life, young people facing life away from home for the first time,
the man in his 40s fearing redundancy, young managers worried at having to achieve ridiculously high targets, the business man working such hours he hardly has little time to see his family, the fear of marriage breakdown, of serious illness, fear of losing someone dear.  These are all perils faced by people every single day.
     As Christians we need to ask, ‘what is life all about’?  So many people, especially the young, have no meaningful purpose.  They have a hard outlook of, ‘live life to excess, get what you can out of it by any means whatever’.
     What is the answer for the growing number of older people frightened to venture out of their homes?  The one parent abandoned by their husband /wife.  Wherever you look you find sadness and heartache and despair.
     The Bible says the answer is that life has no meaning apart from God, but for many God is unreal. 
     The Bible says that God is separated from us by sin.  Sin is not just immorality; it is an attitude of rebellion and independence, saying ‘I go my own way’.  The Prodigal Son went his own way to be free and independent, but failed to find any true purpose in life, and found he was cut off from the only person who really loved him.  Yet this is a common situation.
     God is willing to pour His grace upon you so that you no longer need to fear if you repent of any sin and turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
     You can’t however come to God except through Jesus Christ.  Not by Mohammed, Buddha, or anyone else. Jesus came, sent from God with the sole purpose of bringing us into a living relationship with Himself.
     Christ came to seek and to save the lost, the fearful and the lonely, the worried and the broken hearted.   
     To all who are worried, afraid or anxious, Jesus says, ‘Come to me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light’
     It is said that these are the most wonderful words spoken by our Lord, the very heart of Christianity.  They speak of the failure of men and women to solve the problems of the world.
     Come, just as you are; He is waiting. Jesus has said, ‘Here I am. I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me’. But the door handle is only on the inside, and it has to be opened from within, you are the one who can turn it, in faith. 
     In the East to receive an invitation to eat with someone was considered to be a most generous, honoured and favoured act.   Jesus is ready to be faithful to His Word; we come at His invitation in a spirit of simple trust.  Jesus was brought up in the East, and there the greatest act of friendship is to dine with someone.  Jesus is offering to dine with anyone who invites Him.
     So who can come?   All those who are weary and heavy laden with care.  This is a selective invitation.  There has to be recognised a need and be prepared to admit it.  The problem may not be despair, it may be something quite different.  All who are weighed down, to all these Jesus speaks.
     The Bible says, ‘there is no distinction since all have fallen short of the glory of God’.  It doesn’t matter what the past has been, if you repent and turn to Christ, God is ready to blot out your sins and give you a clean sheet. 
     We have all broken God’s laws but if we are prepared to admit this, then Christ’s invitation is for us.
     What happens if you come?  Jesus said, ‘I will give you rest’.  These are words spoken by someone who fulfils His promises.  So many people make promises they either cannot, or have no intention, of fulfilling.     You can change your job or house, find new friends, but if there is no inner peace, all the changes in the world will make no difference.  On the other hand, if heart and mind are at rest, that is a priceless feeling.  It is constant peace that Jesus is offering.  He says, ‘I can set you free for I am the Way, the truth, and the life. He is able to do all He promises, and is faithful and willing to do what He promises
     The Bible tells of men who went to Him blind, sick and poor.  Jesus gave them sight and riches beyond measure, releasing them from restlessness enabling them to face the future.
      Jesus said, ‘take my yoke upon you and learn from me’.  A yoke was a wooden frame used to put over a pair of animals to enable a load to be shared.  Jesus is saying ‘let me help you carry your burden. Instead of going your own way turn around and come with me’.
     The moment you come to Him is the time a lasting and new relationship begins.  But it is not just mouthing words.  It is truly believing Jesus died on that Cross for your personal sins, and because of that alone, you can be forgiven totally by God and earn your place in heaven.
     It means putting Him as a priority.  If we give preference to some other activity, we are putting God in second place, and in the Commandments, He tells us He is a jealous God and will not be relegated.
     Jesus will welcome all, pardon any failures, cleanse your heart and relieve your anxieties and cares, because of the promise He made in John’s gospel, that whoever comes to Him will never be turned away. 
     The Bible tells us that the love of Christ goes far beyond human understanding, to break every barrier down.  Only pride, fear or doubt can hold us back
     You see it is not just being religious or even coming to Church that brings peace and rest, or indeed makes you a full Christian.  A person can be baptised, confirmed and be regular at Church and not be a true Christian.  Many Church people are really unpleasant, arrogant and very un-Christian.  Coming to Church should be a delight like sons and daughters coming to meet their (heavenly)Father in complete harmony, as children go their earthly parents home  In far too many of our Churches there are dominant personalities who, instead of looking for the good, want to put their own interpretation on matters, such interpretation not always being favourable.  In such cases it is because their own personal life is unhappy, disturbed or there is something lacking.
     It may be someone’s life is in a mess, it may be God seems far away, it may be after long time searching there is still a reluctance to commit.
In the words of that great hymn sung at every Billy Graham Crusade, come just as you are.    

Thursday 6 February 2020

FranlinGraham, evangelist son of the late Billy Graham, has had confirmed venues for his UK tour pull out because he does not agree with same sex marriage. Whether you agree with him is immaterial, he has a right to be heard.  It is called being tolerant. Supreme Court rulings have supported his view.

The decision to cancel a reservation made by such a distinguished man from another country, with a worldwide reputation for his service to the poor and starving people in the deprived countries across the world. Under his leadership, Samaritan's Purse has met the needs of poor, sick, and suffering people in more than 100 countries.
The cancellation is an insult of considerable proportions, and displays gross discourtesy, integrity.
The shameful action was taken at Liverpool ACC, Glasgow Hydro, Arena Birmingham, Sheffield Arena, Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, Utilita Arena in Newcastle and ICC Wales in Cardiff have all cancelled events in the American preacher's eight-city summer 2020 UK tour.
Similarly, the leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore, said Mr Graham’s “discriminatory and repulsive views, could affect the long-established values that we all hold so dear in Sheffield”. The chairman of Sheffield City Trust, David Grey, which operates the Arena, said the event had to be pulled because Mr Graham does not promote “equality and freedom from hatred and abuse”.
The decision followed an open letter from ‘Sheffield’s LGBT+ Communities’ stating that Franklin Graham’s “homophobic beliefs” “far exceed freedom of speech and are direct hate speech and incitement to violence against LGBT+ communities and individuals which should not be welcomed in our city, or anywhere else”.
Leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken said the event could “fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties” and thus break the law.
The comments made are totally ridiculous and show a complete ignorance of Mr Graham’s character and personality. In the years I have listened to him he has never said a cross words about anyone.
I find the statement of the leader of Glasgow City Council the height of hypocrisy when she states it breaches the council’s statutory equalities duties.  Some years ago, whilst I was on holiday in Glasgow, a display was held on Council premises when a Bible was placed on a stand and members of the public were invited to write comments on the book.  Naturally, certain passages were commented upon, and when the Council were asked in the name of equality to place a Koran on an adjoining stand, permission was refused. So, there are different types of equality, where some are more equal than others.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

I have just finished watching what will be an infamous event in American history, the trial for impeachment of their President. Whilst he was charged with abuse of power and obstructing Congress, any person with the smallest amount of intelligence will realize the real grounds for impeachment was he won the 1916 election, and beat the darling of the Democratic Party, Hilary Clinton. 

The Democrats have never been able to accept he won, and from even before he took the Office they have been screaming impeachment. In addition, he has done what few (if any) politicians do, by carrying out all he promised in the election campaign.

Moreover, he has made America great again as the economy shows, taxes down, wages up, employment up, the other side is that the revolting laws introduced by his predecessor abandoned, women will not have to fear using female facilities, and Christians will be free to express their beliefs freely without threat of being penalized.

From the start this was a trial of revenge. Nancy Pelosi was after the President at the earliest opportunity and with her colluders was so keen to rush the case through Congress made a mess of it, meaning they went before Senate where they expected Senate to put them right by calling extra witnesses which they omitted to do.

The impeachment trial was fascinating to watch. It was conducted in a manner that Russia, East Germany or China would have been impressed by. The Chairman was one Adam Schiff, a most arrogant and unpleasant man, who put my television screen in danger, was blatantly biased, with hearings behind closed doors and when a Republican wanted to make a comment was refused permission to speak. Five times one Republican lady asked to speak and five times refused.

I hope all Christians will remember whilst other Presidents have been sympathetically supportive, this President acted practicallyin their interests.

 The American people are sensible and I imagine the antics of Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and Nancy Pelosi will be remembered at the voting boxes.  What sort of House Speaker tears up a copy of the nation’s President's speech at a State of the Union Address? No doubt she will claim he ignored her hand, but the Vice President’s hand was not shaken and he didn’t expect it to be. After the vicious way she pursued him for impeachment, I am surprised she expected a handshake.

God bless America