Friday 25 February 2022


The story of the Transfiguration.

Luke 9 v 28/36; Matthew 17 v 1/8.  Mark 9 v2/8
This is 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 He had told them He was on the way to the Cross to die, and then be raised.

Jesus wanted to be 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.

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 prophecies.

We are told a voice was heard from the cloud saying, this is my beloved Son; listen to him uttered for the benefit of the three disciples.  Jesus with all his claims is endorsed by the Father.  Anyone who does not listen to Jesus the Messiah does not listen to God and so rejects God who sent Jesus. The three disciples see the glory of Jesus and recognise his greatness above Moses and Elijah, and they hear the divine authentication of Jesus as the eternal Son. Suddenly they could only see Jesus.

 Jesus commanded that they tell no one in order to stop a popular movement that would make him into a political freedom fighter, so blocking his path to suffering and dying to save his people. The disciples did not then understand what was meant by the term ‘rising from the dead’, but they expected the resurrection of all mankind at the end of the age, after the coming of Elijah as told in the Old Testament.

The passage ends telling John the Baptist restored all things preparing the  coming of Jesus, the ultimate restorer.  Both Jesus and John the Baptist suffered contempt, for the prophets Isaiah and  Malachi had forecast the coming of Elijah, as preparing the way for Jesus.  Many people thought John was Elijah, but it was not intended Elijah would personally appear. 

Jesus’ transfiguration gives a glimpse into his divine nature, and it is followed by a continual struggle against evil.  We are told of the radiant and divine glory of Jesus as the Son of God.  He is greater than Moses who represented the Jewish Law, and also greater than Elijah who represented the prophets.  Whereas Moses radiance reflects God’s glory, Jesus radiates the light from heaven.  Moses and Elijah are not reincarnations, but come from being in the presence of God.

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.  

 Peter and his companions did not grasp the greatness of the Messiah, and Peter saw Jesus as someone similar to Moses and Elijah, and by wanting to build tents, was wanting to prolong this experience without realising what he is saying, for he was probably overcome. 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.

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 Church in 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.

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. .

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.

The story of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration shows us his divine nature, which is to be followed by the constant struggle against evil, where he has to cure a boy with an unclean spirit. The mountain is Mount Hermon.

The transfiguration offers a glimpse into the radiant and divine glory as God’s Son, and judge of all.  White was a sign of heavenly brightness, and before he became man.   Jesus is greater than  Moses who represents the Jewish Law, and Elijah who represents the Old Testament prophets.

Whilst Moses reflects God’s glory, Jesus radiates light from the inside.  Moses and Elijah are not reincarnations, but rather come from being in the presence of God.

Once more Peter does not grasp the greatness of the Messiah, only seeing Jesus as someone similar to Moses and Elijah, and rushes to build three tents for them, possibly to have them stay there.  Peter was in a state of fear, causing him to say the wrong thing.

A voice from out of the cloud is herd saying, ‘this is my beloved Son, listen to him’, is uttered for the benefit of the three Apostles.  Jesus is here acclaimed by the Father, and anyone wo does not listen to the Messiah of God, rejects God who sent him.

The event described is one of the outstanding ones in our Lord’s earthly ministry.  A veil is lifted which hangs over the world to come.

We are told the fashion of Jesus’ countenance was altered, and his clothes were white and glistening, and the Apostles with him  saw his glory.

They had just been hearing of the Cross and passion, and the self-denial and suffering they had to submit to if they wished to be saved. They had a glimpse of the glory to follow and a specimen of the future power Jesus would have.

Let us take comfort in the hope in the hope of things held in waiting for us, which will make amends for all we suffer now.  The passage show how the safety for all true Christians who have been taken from this world.

Jesus stood in glory with Moses and Elijah standing and speaking with him. Moses had died fifteen hundred years before, Elijah had been taken up by a whirlwind nine hundred years earlier, yet here were these holy men alive.

There is a look given in this passage of a resurrection life to come. All is not lost when our last breath passes here, there is another world beyond the grave.  We must remain faithful to Christ and take comfort that until that day comes and the resurrection begins, the people of God are safe with Jesus.

We must wonder where our lost loved ones are now,  do they have knowledge of us on earth?  These are questions we have no answer to, but I believe they do know about us.  Some people will think I am wandering a bit, but I don’t wish to expand on this personal belief lest I mislead and give false expectations to anyone.

Let us just have faith that if they were believers in Jesus  he is caring for them.  He showed Moses and Elijah on the mountain, and he will show us all who have been with him one day. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are with his safe keeping, not lost, just gone before us.

We are told Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus about the Cross and his journey to Jerusalem.  It is a big mistake by some Ministers who dismiss the Old Testament on the grounds the people know nothing of Jesus Christ. They may not have the clarity we have, but there were prophecies of his coming. All of which were accurate. We have the blessing that we know we can be saved by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, and his rising for our justification.

We finally see the immense difference between Jesus and other teachers who God has given us.  Peter thought all three men, Jesus, Moses and Elijah were of equal honor and was rebuked.

The three Apostles see the glory of Jesus and hiss greatness over Moses and Elijah and hear divine authentication of Jesus as God’ s eternal Son.  This means giving attention to the teaching of Jesus above all else, even above the Law and prophets, for such teaching supersedes, and rightly interprets the Word of God to the new covenant.

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

Strive to hear the voice of Jesus and follow wherever he goes.  Never be satisfied with a Church which does not give the teaching and commands of Jesus and his Apostles.

 May God bless his Holy Word to us, and may his Holy name be praised.

Tuesday 22 February 2022



This is a subject which troubles many people, especially those who are true Christians, for we feel we are betraying God.  I remember reading a well-known and devout Minister stating, the person who can truthfully say he/she had never had any doubts about the faith, is a person who had never given a lot of thought about it.

It is essential to recognised there is doubt, which makes you wonder how something could possibly happen, and unbelief which denies any belief. But a Christian can stop and think at first hearing of an event, and on reflecting accept in good faith. Seek to resolve by fighting any doubt.

The Bible has books in which doubt is raised, the Psalms and Job particularly suggest feelings of doubt. The answer to doubt is fact, which counters where doubt is expressed. Within the Old Testament there were many prophecies, which have all been fulfilled.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word of God at every available opportunity, as there will be false prophets who will be in the Church, and there will be people who will not wish to follow sound doctrine.  Paul went on to describe what is virtually a typical page of our daily newspapers.  Money seekers, people boasting, scoffing God, full of pride,  unloving and betraying friends, disobedient children to parents, nothing Sacred.  Is that not a portrayal of a daily tabloid?

I know that when I preach or when I write, I state what I believe, and when a man stands up to preach, he should preach his faith, not his doubts. People have enough troubles of their own, without me adding to their burden.

I don’t know how a person could be a Christian and not have doubts from time to time. Faith requires doubt in order to be faith. If you ever arrive at a place where all your doubts are gone, you will know that you are in heaven.

This is one of the hidden secrets of the church. We all doubt from time to time. Doubt itself is not sinful or wrong. It often can be the catalyst to new spiritual growth. First, there are intellectual doubts. These are doubts most often raised by those outside the Christian faith. Is the Bible the Word of God?

Second, there are spiritual doubts. These tend to be the doubts of those inside the church.  Even Christians are grieved and devastated when they lose someone in death or abandonment, and the cry often raised is why did this happen to me?  There is nothing like a broken heart, and you  wonder if there is still a God in heaven.   There are a lot of puzzling questions to ask about suffering, to which we will not be able to answer this side of heaven.

Suffering is probably the biggest cause of doubt. We read in the Bible of people who faced health problems, which Jesus healed.  The non-Jewish mother who asked Jesus to heal her daughter, and when Jesus said he had come for the Jews, her reply revealed her faith in him, and the girl was healed. Numerous other cases fill the gospel of Jesus healing purely on the fact that the person seeking his help had faith.  Jesus responded, everything is possible for him who believes”

The most well-known biblical story regarding doubt is of course the Apostle Thomas.  When Jesus first appeared to the Apostles after is resurrection, he was missing and doubted the other Apostles’ account of Jesus appearing. He would always henceforth be known as doubting Thomas.  

Whilst Jesus was on a mission, he received a message that his friend Lazarus had died. He wanted to go to Bethany to see the family, but the Apostles where apprehensive, as they remembered the last time Jesus went there he was almost stoned to death.  Only Thomas at first agreed to go with Jesus, but all went.

He was with Jesus during all the last few days of his life, intensely loyal and deeply committed to Jesus. He was completely honest about his doubts, and wouln’t be satisfied with second-hand answers.

Tell God your doubts, cry out and ask for his help. And don’t fight the battle alone. Go to a Christian friend, a pastor. Ask them to walk with you, but confidence is in God and God alone.”

The Bible tells us stories of brave fighters who fought for God. Abraham had such faith he was ready to sacrifice his son, but knew God would  step in. Moses who endured all manner of hardships, as he led the people of Israel through the wilderness, but knew God would provide a way through.

Daniel who when in captivity, refused to obey Nebuchadnezzar’s order not to pray.  He knew he would be punished and placed in a lions den, but had faith  that God to rescue him. This resulted in God being glorified.

Noah was told by God to build an Ark in the desert, and did as guided. All the people thought he had gone mad, but he carried on.  Iitagine that happening in our time, the desert would be filled with television crews and reporters, and it would be like a great circus.

In our own days, with Billy Graham, we had the greatest preacher of the Bible in Christian history, who could fill stadiums and all manner of places with many thousands of people at every meeting  At one meeting a quarter of a million assembled to hear God’s Word being preached. This was obviously a man specially gifted by God, for there could be no other explanation for such numbers of people brought to know Jesus Christ by one man’s preaching. He stated there were parts of Scripture he did not understand, but accepted all, in faith.

Our lives have a mixture of hills and valleys, twisting roads and roundabouts. The next time you have doubts, think of those brave men, who had so much more than you will have to face. Read the gospels, which are full of heart warming stories of Jesus and his healing, and faith building. Put your faith in his ministry, and make the truth known.

God made a beautiful world, and he keeps it so, despite mankind spoiling it at every opportunity they get.  Think of how the world revolves, with tides being able to be forecast with such accuracy, because of God’s precision.

Remember Christ came to this earth and chose to die on a Cross, so that we could have our sins forgiven, and be made righteous before God; that God raised him from the dead to be the first fruit of all those who can follow him to live in glory for all eternity.  The resurrection is doubted and rejected by such a lot of people, including many within the Church, but eminent lawyers have stated the facts of the resurrection are the best attested evidence of all time, witnessed and recorded by those present.

How likely is it that many brilliant men and women gave up lucrative careers to travel the world, and live in harsh and dangerous conditions for hundreds of years, and the message they took is still alive?  Prophecies made in the Bible have been fulfilled.

The next time you have doubts, remember the opposite of doubt is fact, and have faith in the Word of God.

Saturday 19 February 2022


The Old Testament reading on Sunday is from Genesis 2, v 4-9. 15-25     

I would be surprised to find many sermons this Sunday (or any Sunday) based on this passage. The problem is the main line Churches just don’t believe it has much credibility now, or are too afraid to preach it.

 In the first few verses. the state of the earth was  described as a barren land with nothing growing as God had not watered the ground, nor was there any man to care for it. God attended by causing springs of water, and having created animals, created the first human being, a man.

God next created a garden named Eden, a word meaning a paradise, and told us where it was, so we can place it as being where Armenia is now.  He gave man authority to name and rule over animals, and to tend to the garden.

 He told the man he could eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except from  one tree, and if he did touch that tree he could die. This was a testing to see if man obeyed, and was faithful to God, but he did not, and brought sin into the world. He became subject to toil all his life.

 Loyalty to God was not given, and indeed loyalty is a quality of nature hard to find, and over the years. I have found it hard to find true faithfulness from people who I thought at one time reliable.  

 As Adam was disloyal to God, so are so many people to this passage. I cannot remember anyone I have met who accepts this passage, except a  friend I met from a Church in  Birmingham; a lady truly loyal to the Bible and the God who wrote it. In Deuteronomy 29, are these words; The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable for ever  for all that he has revealed to us.

This is God’s world, and he wants a relationship with us, and he expects to be able to trust and rely on us.

 God took pity on Adam, and said ‘it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him’. Anyone who has led a solitary life will know how it can become depressing. All my life in two professions, I have been fully involved in public life, and have witnessed and tended to people completely left alone in their lives. Students alone for the fist time and totally lost in the big city; men/women forced to live away from home due to business; divorced people, men/women lost a life’s partner, a close friend (you thought) who wandered off. All are victims of loneliness, and in desperation find themselves doing and taking things they never would have contemplated doing.

 But it is an experience all people pass through in their lives, and feel a need for human companionship. God made us that way, and did not want us to suffer what can be extremely testing.  I often wonder how a man/woman who has been in a divorce has felt when the one they once loved, is now disliked or even hated. Or against their wishes divorced, and their ex who they still love, is with someone else. I cannot imagine the pain there must be

 God knew man would be lonely, and a failure on his own. He decided to provide a helper.  The LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. Whilst the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs.  The LORD God made a woman from the rib, and brought her to the man.  This was the most precious gift for the man, who now had a perfect companion.

 Matthew Henry wrote, ‘woman was made not out of man’s head to rule over him, not out of his foot to be trampled on, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, near to his heart to be loved’

 We must accept that God knows best, it is his world, he created all within, and when he wanted man to have a companion, He made a woman as the perfect answer, men and women with different made bodies for a purpose; someone who could complement man in every way, physically and mentally in a way other men could not, and men throughout the ages have appreciated and recognised this. God wanted to supply what was lacking in man’s life, and together they could have children and create the ideal family.

 Some people do not want to attach themselves to one person, others do not want children so see no need for marriage; others still, want to devote themselves to a career, where a partner would be a hindrance they feel.

 I think a partnership of a man/woman need not be limited to marriage, but in general life, bearing in mind men and women have different characters and emotions, by those differences, a mixed couple can be of enormous good for them as they give two approaches, and the tasks they are required to do are more fully dealt with.  This has been true from the very beginning of human existence: men and women designed to work together.

 God made men and women to have a natural attraction, opposites attracting. God planned the human heart to love, marry and have children. Most men if honest would concede how their wife has been of much help. Woman has been the greatest gift I have had, a wife thoroughly reliable and loyal to the extreme, always ready to support or comfort

.The Bible states a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife.  Cleave means glued together, so the two should grow in love through the years in an exclusive commitment. As they do so they share likes and dislikes, and whilst they will have different strengths and weaknesses, each will help the other. They will find they can know the other’s feelings and often anticipate what the other is thinking. They need to trust each other and have no secrets. The wife is now the one in the man’s life who takes precedence over all others.    

So we have two people, equal yet different, no question of superiority or inferiority. They were not meant to be identical, men are generally stronger physically, more aggressive, women softer and sensitive and caring, specially equipped to be mothers, and usually live longer. We are a mixture that complements one another. The wife is now the one in the man’s life who takes precedence over all others.  

Marriage was the first institution created, before all else and through the years since the beginning of time, it has been practiced in every nation, and is the greatest stability for society. It is essential for the culture in which we live. One man, one woman, (no plurals) joined to share life together, raise families. This is God’s ordinance it is not something someone thought up.

Notice God said a man and a woman shall marry, and what God says God means. Jesus endorsed the teaching of God by performing his first miracle at a wedding ceremony.

 Marriage is under fierce attack from all sides to-day. And the deplorable and sad situation is the Church supports those challenging.  The man who led the greatest and only revival in this country, John Wesley, and founded and built the Methodist Church, preached strongly for marriage and laid out in the Methodist Church the marriage service, was betrayed by its present leaders who sought society’s cheap favor, by agreeing to perform same sex marriages above God’s Holy Word, without consulting members as they did two years ago, when it was decidedly rejected. Probably why members were not asked this time.

 Similarly in the Church of England we have more than one bishop calling for traditional marriage to be abandoned to avoid offending others. See how God, the creator is left out again.  Now we have the claim that two people of the same sex can also marry, because God is love. There is no justification for that, but if two people want to live together, that is a matter for them to decide. Such is freedom and tolerance we are supposed to have in this country, something opponents of marriage do not believe in.

 But the Church cannot support, as God has taught against, saying a man shall not lie with another male as he would with a woman. This was quoted in guidance by Paul in his Letter to the Romans, when same sex was condemned. What others do is a personal matter, but it is blatantly wrong for any Christian to support or endorse.

Men and women are meant to be together in societies, and that the most basic unit of society is the married family of one man and one women together in a sexual relationship for life. Not a man and a man (nor a woman and a woman) in a sexual relationship, but a man and a woman. Not Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve.

Another difficulty is, we can’t agree as to what is a man, and what is a woman; it is a very confused society  which cannot make its mind up.

Christians have to follow that which God said, men and women cannot be followers of Jesus Christ if they defy God’s teaching, he gives no leeway.

 Turning to the practical application to daily living, when two people marry they should make every effort to start a new life together in a home of their own. I heard one wise Minister saying, even get a caravan than live with parents, which in many cases means a parent will support their own child, which doesn’t help a life of peace. A cynic might say two women cannot share a kitchen as another reason.

God made woman to share with him, a mutual concern and responsibility in the home. Some women are left to run the home, because that it is thought is what women are for. Well gone are the days when fathers were seen as having a direct responsibility for discipline and behaviour, and children knew that.

There appears to be far more attractions, so to leave a wife as housekeeper, whilst the husband is off to football or whatever else. Sometimes the pet dog is given equal, if not more attention. In the current age, specially when women are engaged in careers, the husband if he cares for his wife, should help domestically.

There is a conception in Catholic Churches that a primary function of women is to be a producer of children, and sex should be restricted for that purpose.  I don’t see any support for that in the Bible, but there again the Bible has less influence in most denominations these days.

The Bible states a man shall be united with his wife and they become one flesh.    Genesis tells us that sex is good. The gift of sex or human sexuality is there right at the heart of God's good creation, after God had created male and female - he 'blessed them' and they were part of all that he had made.

It is essential for a successful marriage to exist, the two must be one at heart and mind. When Adam first saw his wife Eve, he said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she is one being with me. No longer should they be totally independent, that leads to disaster. They are one, and must learn to strive to agree, or rarely amicably disagree for there are some issues which would be unresolved. The consequences for arguments is hurt and much unpleasantness, and most will probably be trivial.

Constant bickering inevitably leads to divorce, and involves other people. Parents, family members, definitely children, the greatest losers. Children who love their mother and father become broken hearted, and feel abandoned, as they will be if the parents break up. Repeated social studies confirm that children of divorced parents fall behind in schools, less involved and at risk of falling into bad habits.

It is for this reason that divorce is such a terrible thing, especially after years of marriage.  Statistics suggest men are more likely to get involved with another woman, leaving the wife having to bring up children on her own. In recent times women also have strayed with another man when working closely.  I have thought about this lately, and wonder how can two people,  who must have thought a lot of each other at one time, possibly become estranged and know their partner is alive, but living another life without them. I find it so hard to imagine; I am finding it hard being on my own, but I recognise the cause of my separation was death, something beyond my wife or my own control.

 Men today have given up the role of leadership in the home. The Bible calls on men to exercise leadership, which in those terms means accepting responsibility of caring for the needs of the family, and not leaving it to the woman.  The Bible states leadership, not dictatorship, or bullying. The ideal couple will learn to discuss all matters and come to a shared decision, each preparing to accept one giving way in turns.  Believe me as time goes on, if you live in harmony, you will be able to know what your partner is thinking.

In Verse 25, "And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." This speaks clearly of openness between man and wife, literally, nothing to hide. A married couple must, most certainly not have any secrets, for to have secrets has an ulterior motive, leading to a lack of trust and showing contempt for your partner.  If a subject needs secrets, give it up. No secrets, nothing that they do not share with each other, a complete openness. There is to be a complete freedom of communication, one with the other.

We have looked fully, and hopefully helpfully.  I have tried to remain faithful to Scripture, which no doubt will arouse criticism, but I trust no one will be offended, I have not intended to offend, just to tell it as it is written.

I wish all married couples, and proposed couples every happiness. If you have a marriage as happy as mine was, you will be truly blessed.


Eternal God, maker of harmony and happiness, we thank you for the gift of marriage in which men and women find fulfilment and the blessing of family life. Give patience to those looking forward to marriage; give courage to those who face difficulties within their marriage; give comfort to those whose marriage is broken; give gratitude to those whose marriages  are successful and fruitful. And let their lives reflect your glory and your love.  In Jesus name we pray

Wednesday 16 February 2022



The 8th and 9th Chapter of Matthew, are full of the miracles of healing, and there are indeed other passages of Scripture in which we are told of acts

performed by our Lord, and prove he was the Son of God.  A leper was healed by a touch from Jesus; a child of a Roman soldier whom Jesus praised for his faith, was healed by Jesus without him being seen; a woman healed of fever; a man dispossessed of a demon; a paralyzed man made whole;  blind man’s sight was restored; a daughter brought back from death, and many more were healed.

Such healings show the power of Jesus. Leprosy is a fearful and transmitting disease which affects the entire body, regarded as uncurable yet by a simple word healed. Healing from a distance is truly miraculous, a word used too freely these days.

We are told in the gospels to come to Jesus and live in his faith, and lean on him in his everlasting arms with all our cares.  He is Almighty, and a strong rock, with who nothing is impossible.

We have to see the compassion and mercifulness of Jesus.  All his healings were different, and in each case the heart of Jesus had pity with the victim.

Learn how precious is the grace of faith.  The Roman centurion who believed Jesus had only to say a word; the woman who was bleeding and felt all she needed to do was touch his gown; the mother who accepted Jesus came for the Jews, but still believed he could heal her daughter.  In all cases Jesus rejoiced at their faith.

In Mark 16 Jesus told his Apostles to go out, preach the gospel, make disciples and heal the sick, laying hands on when necessary.  The early Church obeyed Jesus, and we find instances in Acts Chapters 3 and 5.

There are  many other examples of God healing.

In 1 Kings 13, God restored a man’s hand; 2 Kings Elisha healed a woman’s desperately ill son; 2 King’s 5 Naaman was healed of his leprosy by bathing in the river Jordan; how much more can we now expect with Jesus in the New Testament?

An early bishop Irenaeus, told disciples that receiving grace from the Lord would  help many.  In those days, devoid of any of the means of medication we now have, records reveal many serious ills were healed.

Edward Gibbon, who wrote the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, was a primary cause of the spread of Christianity so widely in the first century. He was inspired by the Apostles, who claimed a whole succession of power, vision, prophecy, expelling of demons and general healing.  

To believe in the power and willingness of Jesus to help is essential, be thankful if you have it.  Such faith is of higher value than some other gifts. Jesus will sit in heaven with a poor people’s problem, whilst many learned scholars who debate and challenge Scripture, will be rejected.  Your learning may be small, but the question is, do you believe?  

Two years ago some of my readers will remember I asked for prayer for my wife, who had two vital organs not operating. I had a dear friend in Birmingham, who asked numerous pastors to assist in praying for my wife, for if the organs were not restored she would have died. In addition, some of you my ‘friends’ also answered and said you were kindly going to pray for her. Three days later she was fully made well. When proudly and gladly I told two clergymen how God had responded and healed in answer to the prayers, they smiled benevolently at me. There was no other way she could have been healed for no treatment was given. We were given another two years together before God called her home.

Faith in Christ may appear too simple for some people, but such is most precious in God’s sight; without faith no one can be saved.  Most people will not preach, nor write, but the important thing is to believe and act on your belief. 

I had a lady in my Church who became a lay preacher, and was a Church Secretary.  She was active in all spiritual and social activities, but what stood out was her care for fellow Christians. When a member of the Church fell ill and was restricted in activity, she would be the first to offer help in any domestic way, and do shopping.  There was a lady who really was a practicing Christian who God will really bless.

So how should we go about healing?  With simplicity, there is no technique. When we pray God will hear, and he is the One who will heal. There is no need for shouting in dramatic tones, just speak to God in simple words.

 I knew a Minister who stated he could not pray without a prayer book, but we speak to a loving (heavenly) Father, as a child pleads with its faither. No funny voice or leaping up and down, we just tell God and leave him to answer. But we do it with love and care.

The whole ministry of Jesus was full of compassion as he prayed for people, and they were healed.  We may not have the success of Jesus, but God will hear.  A simple pattern is to ask people what is troubling them, and how it affects them.  It may be helpful to ask if there is a reason for the problem, it may be very obvious, for a person may have chest problems and you find the answer is to stop smoking perhaps.

Many years ago I first became involved in services of healing, when of a mid-week evening service we would have a time of prayer for healing, and would lay hands on those who wanted to be prayed for individually.  I never knew if  healing was granted to .anyone, as we all move on and God can answer in his own time. But we did bear in mind the words of James (CH.1)who said, ’ask your generous God and he will give to you, but when you ask, be sure your faith is with God’. In fact, if your faith is not present, there is no point in asking.

At that time there was a well-known American evangelist (now deceased) visiting this country who many people disliked, as much because he was an American more than any other reason, but as I am an admirer of the American religious scene, I was prepared to listen to and about him.

He was holding a healing service at a main London Church, and during the service he told the congregation there were people present who had named health problems, and asked them to stand up, and in a variety of symptoms mentioned there was a response every time.  It was reported that all were subsequently healed. Some people do have God given gifts of healing, see(1 Corinthians 12 v9 and 27). There are those who are just make believers without any credibility.

We have to accept that not everybody is healed, and I have met quite a number of people who were suffering badly. Non-believers seize on such cases, and ask why God allowed them to suffer.  If we are honest, we should say we just don’t know, but we do know it will be answered one day.

 Healing is a subject which interests most people, living as we do now in the midst of a constant atmosphere of viruses. We also have the concern that the Health Service is far from satisfactory in the case of attending to people.  There are literally thousands of people in need of attention and operations, which it is estimated will take at least three 

years to clear. Medical experts consider that a very optimistic period.

The National Health Service is a treasured body, and it is almost a crime to suggest there any faults, but that is just failing to face reality. The Nursing side is beyond praise, so hard and committed are doctors and nurses. There is however another administrative side.

Gone are the days of a hospital where there were dreaded but wonderfully efficient Matrons, who ruled their property with dedication. With doctors who were committed to patients, rather than advancing their financial position. 

Now we are overcrowded by managers, and assistant mangers, all with secretaries and reams of paper, full of statistics which no one pays serious

attention to, although it can point to how badly things are, and how money is spent as if going out of fashion, as the Health service never has enough.  The Service is a haven for some people to earn vast sums of money. We have this myth perpetuated that bigger is better, when usually, the opposite is proved the better.

The National Health Service is also a political issue, as political Parties argue as to which Party is more capable of being in charge. Whilst everyone should acknowledge with total agreement that the dedication of doctors and nurses in the hospitals merited unlimited praise during the time of pandemic, putting their own selves at risk without holding back.  The fact remains those lions and lionesses are being led by donkeys.                                                                                         

There is the appalling case of a hospital advertising for a diversity and

  inclusive post, which will be based in an office, talking about race and gender, and will pay a rate of between £47, 126 and £52,219per year, and contribute nothing to make the patient well, yet the poor nurses who work tirelessly doing messy and hard lifting of patients, for just £33,000, and aid people to recover.  This is stating it is more important in some odd world, to have someone performing woke work ideas than a qualified nurse.

Such is the bias and bigotry by politicians of one Party, the expertise and service of the private sector could be used to assist.  Anyone who has been a patient in public and private hospitals, will surely state there is a notable difference.  I found there was little comparison.

A central theme of the teaching of Jesus was the Kingdom of God, of which he spoke 82 times in the Gospels.  Jesus meant God’s rule and reign on earth.

The Jews believed the time would come when the world would end and they were looking for a golden age with healing and all the promises of the Old Testament would be fulfilled with the end of history.

We live in the period between the first and second coming of Jesus, and the Kingdom of God is here now, but not yet fully. When the end comes there will be judgement, and those who have rejected Jesus will be rejected by him. The Apostle Paul stated, we will have new imperishable bodies and be totally healed. John, the writer of Revelation book of the Bible stated, there will be no more pain or suffering, it will be a time of happiness and rejoicing. Every person who puts their rust and faith in Jesus, will be in that Kingdom when he reigns.

We must also recognize that Jesus also heals us of sin, of which we all are guilty of. Sin is by far too many people as relating to sex alone, but it also includes malice, hate, lying, greed, envy, jealousy. Higher classes of society are wounded when it is suggested they can be called sinners, but their Bible will tell that we all fall short of the glory of God. Some of us know that and repent, and by virtue of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross, God forgives us.

There also needs healing when preachers ignore the teaching of the Bible, where God laid down how he directed how we should live, and how he expected us to obey. Now in this country the main line Churches are flagrantly disobeying God’s teaching on marriage, a most stabling part of society, in order to carry out same sex marriage. There is also teaching that alternative forms of sexuality are permissible to those laid down by God, which is a total misinterpretation of Scripture.

The Bible tells us to pray for healing from God and we will be blessed with health and strength to overcome whatever pain we face. May we seek comfort from God whenever sick or depressed and know that He will console our mind, body, and spirit. Learn more about how we can pray for the cleansing of physical, mental, and spiritual ailments.


Almighty God, you are the only source of health and healing. In you there is calm, and the only true peace in the universe. Grant to each one of us your children an awareness of your presence, and give us perfect confidence in you. In all pain and weariness teach us to yield ourselves to your never-failing care, knowing that your love and power surround us, trusting in your wisdom and providence to give us health and strength and peace when your time is best; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Saturday 12 February 2022


MATTHEW 5 V 1-12

A lot of people consider the Beatitudes which form this passage, are a major part of the Sermon on the Mount, and that sermon is looked upon as a description of the Christian faith. Perhaps to so believe that is over reacting, but it is a central part of Christianity.

We see Jesus was being followed by a crowd as he reached Capernaum from Galilee, and seeing the crowd, Jesus went up the mountain, and sat down to allow his disciples to join him. He sat down, which was the custom of a Rabbi to teach the crowd, religious leaders, and give instructions to his disciples concerning life in the Kingdom of God.

The Beatitudes, are recorded in the Bible by Matthew and Luke, to mark the beginning of Jesus' public teaching ministry. I have chosen to follow Matthew’s account, and whilst it varies slightly from Luke’s version, that is attributable to personal way of telling, and is in no way casting a doubt of the event.

Just as Moses spoke to people after receiving the Commandments on Mount Sinai, so was Jesus following in like manner.  Followers of Billy Graham will remember how he so often spoke of the heart as the centre of life, holding our emotions, directing our thoughts, and our hearts, will guide us in the Beatitudes.

The eight actions begin with the word blessed, which in some modern versions of the bible has become happy. I think that was unfortunate for it is misguiding to a person reading for the first time to read, happy are those who are poor. A person can be blessed and be happy at being so, but a happy person may not suitably be blessed. To be blessed   is to be in a state of well-being in relationship with God, and that belongs to those who responded to the ministry of Jesus. Each beatitude has three parts; a term of blessedness==a description to whom this is applied== a reason for having this blessing.

The disciples were those who had made  commitment to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  They were joined by the curious who had heard of Jesus, for news of Jesus had spread.  Somewhere uncommitted, others were astounded by his teaching.

V3 Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven

There are few people who would consider being poor as a matter for congratulation.  We are looking to the man who works hard for a living, has little if any extra cash, and whose life was consequently hard going, and might be called as poverty stricken.

They were looked upon, as those who had no earthly resources, would put their trust in God. Such a man can put all his helplessness in God’s hands, and will know that God cand bring help.

There is nothing good in poverty, Jesus would never have blessed people whose lives were in destitute homes, and there be short of food and necessities. Abraham Lincoln stated that God must have loved the poor because he made so many of them, and the gospel message was there to help them remove any misfortune.

The Kingdom of God is a society in which God’s, will is done on earth as it is in heaven, and the place for the poor, who will have realized their own dependence on God, and will trust and obey.

The poor in spirit are those who recognize they are in need of God’s help.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who confess to spiritual bankruptcy.

The people listening to Jesus must have been spellbound, for he was saying things which seemed to be the opposite of life as they knew it. He was saying the rich and  Important people were not the well-off, it was the poor, the mournful, persecuted , hungry and thirsty who,were.  Here was a reversal of all human valuations.


V4 blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

A person who is detached from things, but not from people. Who is conscious of unworthiness. A broken spirit.  One who is in bitter sorrow, and is mourning the dead. Someone who has care for  another who is in sorrow and suffering. 

The blessedness is on one whose heart is suffering for his own sins, for out of his own sorrow he will find the joy of God.


V5 blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

Willing to put up with much without resentment, and doesn’t take offence easily.  Ready to wait for goodness. Those who do not try to make themselves as better than others to further their own agenda, and will inherit the earth because trust in God to direct events, and is in control of own emotions. Who has the humility to realize his own weakness.


V6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

To have a desire to be entirely confirmed to the mind of God, and long above all else, to be holy.  They recognized God is the source of all righteousness, so they long for God’s righteous character to be alive to people on earth. They shall be satisfied by responding to his invitation to be in worship with him.


V7 Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.

Have full compassion for others. Have pity for all suffering and want to do good for people, and they will get rich reward.  The kindness and mercy shown to them they will share with others.


V8 Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall se God.

Those who seek purity and display rightness in all aspects of life.  They aim not for outward correctness, but inner holiness. Don’t seek external show and try not to give offence, and will serve God with spirit, and have God at heart.


V9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Those who pursue God’s peace will gain reward of being called sons of God.  They strive for peace, and to produce charity,  they want people to love and care for each other, by teaching the gospel that love is the fulfilling of the law.


V10 Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Those who are laughed at, scorned  and threatened. Persecuted and wrongly accused because of their faith.  God is pleased when his people show they value him above all others in this world, and this happens when we courageously remain faithful  amidst opposition for righteousness sake.


V 11/12 Blessed are you when others revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account.  Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you

Those who were reviled, just as Jesus who experienced opposition and persecution, his disciples can expect the same reward . This reward may not come on earth, but it will surely be theirs. Throughout history beginning with Cain’s slaughter of Abel, they persecuted the prophets.

 Matthew’s phrases show how essential to the teaching of Jesus, which is to follow. It should however, be realized the Beatitudes were given to Jesus disciples, to describe a way of life which is addressed to, and only possible for the committed Christian.

How many times I wonder, have I heard it said if people only followed the sermon on the mount the Church would find a world of love and peace.  This is sometimes said by people who want to bypass other parts of Scripture, which makes them uncomfortable, especially to their consciences. Do all those people actually live the teaching of the sermon?  Two thousand years have past since this sermon was delivered, but hasn’t lived it out.

When all people claiming to be Christians accept, practice and fully live, sound doctrine, then we will have true committal to Jesus Christ.


May God bless his Holy Word to us, and may his name be praised.


Monday 7 February 2022



In the likeness of the medical profession, Ministers of religion have the task of meeting, and have the task of trying to help and care for those people suffering with depression.  Whilst this in comparison with other illnesses is not in the same serious category, it is debilitating and distressing.  Modern day living has caused feelings and lives widespread across age, gender, race and class to be victims.   A part is due to the pace of life, and the effects of the pandemic which has destroyed or devastated millions of lives in every country.

Lockdowns in many countries caused people, especially the older ones, to spend hours, days, even weeks alone, and life to-day has moved families which once lived close to each other, to be literally across the world.  The separation and loneliness has preyed on minds, and the medical profession has recognized a distinct rise in mental health problems.

But in addition, business people have had their places closed, and workers have had their jobs either lost or in abeyance.  Students have been reduced to teaching through a computer, and in England I read that only one University has face to face to teaching.

We all get depressed at some time and we shake it off.  In other cases we cannot do so.  Indeed, some people love begin depressed, for it brings what they crave, sympathy and attention.  But anyone who has had to care for a close relative suffering from dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, and has love for that person cannot but be depressed.

I have ministered to people with heart trouble, cancer, and serious injuries, but say with full conviction, no illness at all compares with dementia.  I have met with strong men, clever people who have cried many tears at seeing a mother asking them, ‘who are you’; not recognizing members of their own family. Bright women and men, once full of life becoming what one person called ‘living corpse’. Such may sound like a cruel term, but I appreciate what was felt, a person alive but not fully realizing it, as they cannot understand  what is going on.  This can last for a long time, and depression is unavoidable at seeing such suffering.

But of course there are other less serious motivations for depression.  Worry, anxiety, fear, all lead to it.   People worry over their health, future, will they get that promotion they have waited so long for, will they be able to afford a holiday, all the small facets of life which have such a bug influence in life.

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.

Martin Luther, the German monk who created the Protestant Reformation which changed the Church situation across the world, breaking a way to a faith based Church from a corrupt one. He was constantly depressed fearing God would not forgive him for any sins he had committed, until he read a verse in Romans which told him that everyone who believes in Christ will be forgiven and the righteous shall live by faith.  He went out and preached this which started the great revival of 1517.  Now we in Evangelical Churches remember the anniversary each October 504 years later.

His namesake Martin Luther King, an American black Pastor was depressed by the treatment of his fellow black country people, and by his devotion eventually caused the United States Government to introduce laws giving them freedom.  Whilst there is still some resistance, it is so far better than could have been.  What a blessing black people have been to the Christian Church. I have enjoyed preaching where they have been present, they are so committed.

Paul, the major Apostle was often depressed, but in his Letter to the Philippians stated, ‘in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God’. He further stated, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’

The Bible is full of people who were depressed, but were lifted out by faith.  Hannah who suffered as she was unable to have a child, which for a Jewish woman was looked down on, but she was answered. Elijah and Jeremiah. Two major prophets of the Old Testament, David the greatest Jewish King, all were depressed, but were helped to recovery.

I hope I am considered by the Lord to be faithful in my faith, but I am also one who likes integrity. I hear fellow Christians giving grieving people full assurances, that simple prayer will resolve all their problems. I cannot do that, for I have seen consequences when that does not happen, so to be so positive is not always helpful.

 Yes, I do encourage prayer, but the Bible also tells us that God has a plan for everyone of his people.  Like an earthly father, God looks after his children, and as the earthly father may not answer his child to their wish, it is because he has other ideas for them to fulfil.  I accept that God may not answer as we might have hoped, but out of care for us in a different way.

Some people may be thinking I have given all causes for depression, yet missed one out, and that of curse is undoubtedly the major cause.  Grief after death of a loved one.

Last week I did refer briefly to this, but it is so all embracing every aspect of our life when we lose a dear wife, mother, father, brother or sister, or lesser close relative or even friend. Anyone I believe who looses a wife without being depressed, has not loved them deeply.  I say that respectfully, but when years have been spent in the closest possible way, and suddenly it is over, everything you have lived for has gone, and you know you will never see them again in your life.

 I have seen so many many times, men unable to move at a funeral with grief, and as I stated last week, men take it worse in my experience, although I fully agree women are also deeply hurt.

I have heard it said many times things will get easier as time goes on, but have never been assured. In fact, I don’t believe it, I think it will increase if true love existed.

 Paul’s First to Letter to Corinthians in Chapter 15 tells of new life with Christ after death on earth, and that of course is the Christian teaching.  I look forward with Christian hope,to meeting the many friends I have known during ministry and have gone ahead.

 Before closing I want to give helpful advice to anyone put in the position of meeting a grieving friend.  Pastor Robert Jeffress, the distinguished teacher of First Baptist Church in Dallas, was preaching recently about death and stated wisely, if you feel like crying do so, that is what Jesus did at the death of his friend Lazarus.  If you don’t know what to say to someone grieving, don’t say anything, and love by Jesus doesn’t except you from grieving.

 Finally, the words of Jesus in Matthew 11 . Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.