Thursday 6th August 2020
These articles are not in any order but are just things that the Lord has been showing and teaching me through various situations. I hope they will be an encouragement to you.
Letter 14: Living within the walls 02/07/2020
When Nehemiah made his initial survey of the city walls (Nehemiah 2v17-18) the task to rebuild must have seemed huge. The destruction, the rubble that lay in the way, the ruined materials and the need to build new gates would in themselves all seem massive tasks at any time, but add to this that the people were few in number and had families to support and at the same time needed to build and stand watch while enemies looked on; the job co... (read more)
Letter 13: Rebuilding the walls Part 3 21/06/2020
This week we will continue look at some of the issues around rebuilding of the spiritual walls of our lives and in turn the church, but before we look at some of the problems that can arise, we need to take a close look at ourselves as although problems always arise when walls are built up, some of these problems can be averted by us having the right heart attitude. Sadly walls have been built in many churches and many C... (read more)
Letter 12: Rebuilding the walls Part 2 14/06/2020
Last week we started to look at the idea of building walls and their purpose of keeping the enemy out of the city, figuratively our lives and our churches. We saw how Jerusalem was seen to be in great trouble and distress (Nehemiah 1v3) because these boundaries had been removed and as such their enemies could come in and exert influence any time they wanted with no ability to control their access in any way. This week we will continue on this th... (read more)
Letter 11: Rebuilding the walls Part 1 07/06/2020
Last week we looked at the return of the Israelites from captivity and how they started at the altar of sacrifice and then around that altar built the temple of God .
It would be nice to think that that was the end of the story and everyone lived happily ever after in the presence of the Lord, but sadly that is far from the truth; for even as the temple was being built, the influence of the world was having an effe... (read more)
Letter 10: A return to the altar 31/05/2020
As we have skimmed through Ezekiel Chapter 16 over the last few weeks we have seen the charges the Lord laid against His people and sadly we have seen that the same things that Israel did all those years ago, the same heart attitudes, are seen in His people and in the church today. As we look back a few weeks, let us remember that in Letter 4 we looked at the fact that the church has effectively been in exil... (read more)
Letter 9: Faith in a foreign god 24/05/2020
Over the last few weeks we have been looking through Ezekiel Chapter 16 and the warnings and lessons that need to be heeded from this passage in our lives today.
As we read through the chapter we see a constant prostitution to other gods, the gods of this world, the peoples that surrounded Israel, and a desire to have the perceived blessing that those people had as a way of fulfilling the needs of the flesh within.
Th... (read more)
Adding and taking away 16/05/2020
Last week we started to look at Ezekiel Chapter 16 and some of the charges God made against His people. Let us just be reminded again, "His people". We are not looking to judge the world for we cannot change the lives of others. The only life we can change is our own and through that change, God through His Holy Spirit is then able to minister unto others. As we saw in Letter 6: The Blame game, we have a tendency to want to deflect from o... (read more)
Letter 7: Do I have your attention now? 10/05/2020
Last week we looked at the "Blame Game", the tendency we have to blame others for our own failings. However at the same time we do the same thing when it comes to the misfortune of the world or those around us. Again it can't be their fault, it must be some outside power, so let's find someone or something we don't like and blame them. We see this today with the Coronavirus, politicians love to play the blame game. Fl... (read more)
Letter 6: The Blame Game 03/05/2020
Over the last couple of weeks we have looked at the idea of the church being in penitentiary. A place of restriction and limitations put on us to bring us to our senses and get us moving back in the right direction; let us remember that's God's discipline is not about Him venting His anger on His children but about making them Christ like and guiding them into the true blessings that come through godly living (Hebrews 12v... (read more)
Letter 5: The Church in Penitentiary Part 2 26/04/2020
The book of Jeremiah can be a tough read; Jeremiah virtually alone, speaking the word of God, but being rejected by the people who claimed to be God's people. Despite his constant warnings of the coming exile, he spoke in vain to a people who had become so convinced that all was well, that it was almost impossible for them to hear what the Lord was saying. For the sin of pride is the root of just about every other sin, ... (read more)
Letter 4: The Church in Penitentiary 19/04/2020
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7v10
Another word for prison is "penitentiary", a word that comes from the Latin Paenitentia that means repentance. The idea was that individuals would spend time in a place to think about the crimes they had committed and come to a place of repentance.
As a youngster my Mother would use the same technique, aft... (read more)
Letter 3: Stir Crazy 15/04/2020
1 Peter 4v1-11
As I was growing up one of my favourite TV series was Porridge with Ronnie Barker set in the fictional Slade prison. Fletcher who was played by Ronnie Barker often used to refer to being in prison as being in "Stir". The word comes from a Romany background (Stardo), that was used when someone was held in one place or imprisoned. For a travelling people such as the Romany's it meant that they could not get on with their ... (read more)
Letter 2: What is God doing in prison? 15/04/2020
Last week we looked at the question of what we are doing in prison. This week we will look a similar question. What is God doing in prison? Not the thought of God being locked up or restricted by the situation, but what is the Lord doing in our lives while we are in prison.
Genesis 37v1-11 introduces us to the character of Joseph, who even at a young age was hearing from the Lord in dreams (Genesis 37v5). It's a great thing to h... (read more)
Letters From Prison: What am I doing in prison? 15/04/2020
Despite the trend towards compulsory closures of churches being inevitable, it was not until the Prime Minister gave his address that for me, a sudden reality came about. I'm now a pastor that cannot minister, a teacher that cannot teach, it wasn't so much a loss of faith, but a loss of ability as to how to share the gospel message when confined to home.
However, the Lord is good and as I escaped for my hours exercise, He was there to comfort... (read more)
Blocking the Cross 28/02/2019
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scoring it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The cross is not an easy thing to look at, a symbol of torture, an item that took the life in the cruellest of ways. When I look at the cross I see the grace and mercy of God towards me. I look at the free gift of salvation I have re... (read more)
Killing God 30/10/2018
The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
Luke 15v12- 13
In the parable of the lost son, Jesus sums up in a simple example the depths of rejection we show towards God by our actions and desires.
In this parable we have... (read more)
The Dangers of Processed Foods 27/09/2018
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Some time ago my wife was diagnosed with Coeliacs, a condition that makes her intolerant to wheat. Suddenly shopping became very different, instead of rushing round the shelves putting what I wanted in the shopping trolley, I now had to stop and r... (read more)
No one inquired of the Lord! 12/06/2018
The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.
Joshua chapter 9 tells us the account of the Gibeonite deception. These people that God had told the Israelites to destroy came of with a simple deception that led Israel to make an alliance with them. They arrived at the Israelite camp claiming to have come a long way because they had heard of the fame of the Lord (Joshua 9v9). For the Israelites, ... (read more)
True Unity 23/05/2018
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
Unity among Christian believers is a subject that is often misunderstood and through its misuse can often do more damage than good. Unity is something that the Lord desires between His people yet so often it is the very t... (read more)
Education, the media and government 15/09/2017
As a pastor I am regularly hear complaints from Christians that the government or education is against them or that the television is full of immorality and that we should complain or write to our MP's. In fact as I write this, an article has been sent to me where the solution is that Christians start taking people to court because a school is not doing what the Christians believe is right.
As a church we deliver monthly evangelistic leaflets ... (read more)
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Repentance is a word that seems to be out of fashion in the church today or at least misused. Today it is something that we often like to ignore, a part of the gospel that might put people off coming into a relationship with God, instead we should just focus on Gods love for us.
Well Gods love for... (read more)
Changing Heroes 25/04/2017
As a young Christian I grew up reading about different missionaries who all seemed to have left everything for the sake of the gospel. The book would usually tell of incredible struggles and how the Lord had met needs in various ways. My faith was challenged as I looked at these men and women who had forsaken all for the sake of the gospel, with the book often ending in a final challenge, as the person so often laid down their life for the Lord. ... (read more)
Lessons from a hospital bed 27/09/2016
It's strange how the Lord often has to take us to places or through situations we don't like to be able to teach us some simple truths. So often we miss what God is saying as we look for the major miracle, but if we will keep our ears open to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit, there are great spiritual truths to be revealed about the Lord and truths about ourselves that the Lord lays bare before us.
As I write this I am recovering afte... (read more)
Racism in the Church? 14/07/2016
Racism: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
As I write this, the UK has just gone through a referendum that has led to the decision to l... (read more)
Removing the Cross 14/06/2016
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"
Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do n... (read more)
Want to be or Called to be? 18/05/2016
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest pla... (read more)
The death of the prayer meeting! 19/02/2016
As I think back over my Christian life and the churches I've been part of, I think the two most unpopular items have to be the cleaning rota and the prayer meeting. They are two items that seem never ending and at times feel like you are going round in circles. Suggest a fellowship lunch, men's breakfast or a new worship group and volunteers seem endless, but the prayer meeting and the cleaning rota just don't seem to be fashionable.
Years ag... (read more)
Removing Gods Revelation 18/02/2016
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Today I finally managed to get the late... (read more)
No Provision? 28/01/2016
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed to Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
As a pastor hardly a week goes by without someone coming to me ... (read more)
New Years Resolution? 30/12/2015
So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. Genesis 6v14
At this time of year people like to make New Years resolutions, even in churches there is often a desire to seek new vision for the coming year. Now there is nothing wrong with seeking a fresh vision, but so often we can be like a child at the dinner table that wants their pudding before they have finished their main course. It'... (read more)
Immigrants, Terrorism, Politics and Christ. 11/12/2015
I remember driving through Eastern Germany just after the Berlin wall had fallen. Unification of Germany was starting and I remember at the time looking at the infrastructure changes that would need to take place just to link up basic utilities. In my mind I was trying to work out how many miles of copper power cables and pylons would be needed just to replace the power grid. How would it all be paid for? How will this separated people with years... (read more)
Keeping Christ in Christmas 30/11/2015
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate it. Genesis 3v6
There is no greater picture of the spiritual battle we face in Western countries than the battle of Christmas. Christmas, a time when we remember Jesus, the greatest gift ever given to man, but that the worl... (read more)
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Christ Jesus. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire,... (read more)
Dirty Fuel 03/11/2015
For many years I have had a problem with my motorbike in that occasionally it misfires. Mechanics looked at the bike and the manufacturers replaced one part after another trying to solve the problem. I tried everything, but still the bike would misfire under certain circumstances and I remained baffled.
Finally after a couple of years a specialist from the makers came and took a look. It only took him about 10 minutes to find the problem; it ... (read more)
Is it valuable enough to search for? 03/11/2015
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
It is amazing how often I lose something, but whether I find it comes down to a number of things. The first of which is can I be bothered to look for it, and when I say look, I mean to search, to put some effort in and move things out of the way, to really look.
So often in our Christian life we want God to move in a greater way, but we are not willing... (read more)
Recycling or Revelation? 15/09/2015
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1v11-12
Paul was a great man of God, a man of prayer and through his time spent with the Lord a man to whom the Lord had revealed a lot, so much that the Lord had to give him a thorn in the flesh to stop him becoming conceited ... (read more)
Scattering the Flock 11/09/2015
"Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done," declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23v1-2
Over the last year I have lost count of the number of ... (read more)
Choosing a church? 20/08/2015
...I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
It is easy to forget who the church belongs to, the true church is made up of those who have "given" their lives to Christ in thankfulness for the salvation they have received by grace, through faith, through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The church is a body of believers that God is building into an example of Christ on earth.
When we ... (read more)
Lessons from a doughnut 28/04/2015
If we will listen the Lord can teach us spiritual lessons from the simplest of things. One of the things the Lord has really been challenging and teaching me about the last couple of months is the difference between walking according to the flesh and walking according to the spirit, which one do I allow to control me. Which one is affecting my mood and outlook?
This last week has not been an easy one so like a good Christian I have committed t... (read more)
A view from the mountain top 23/03/2015
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. Revelation 21:10
So often we wonder why something has happened in our life or the lives of loved ones or friends. We start to question what God was doing, did he have a day off? Did he not love that person? Did he not hear our prayers?
Many times the reason we don't understand what is going on... (read more)
Unity at any cost? 05/03/2015
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17v20-21
We live in an age where "unity" has become the new battle cry of the church. If all the denominations are working together, all will be well, no matter what compromises we... (read more)
Fruit or leaves? 26/02/2015
"I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in men, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine, you are the bran... (read more)
Lessons from loss 06/01/2015
Sometimes the hardest times in life are when we learn the greatest things and as I write this it is only a few days since my daughter passed away. It's times like this that we can look to God and ask what is going on? It is so easy to slip into the ways of the flesh and get angry with God, treating him as if He had been asleep on the job and had not been listening to our prayers, and yet as I look at what the Lord has done over the last few days... (read more)
Subtle distractions 30/12/2014
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12v1-2
As a Christian, a follower o... (read more)
Formation Flying 06/11/2014
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the RAF Red Arrows display team. It was an amazing display watching nine aircraft flying in close formation, sometimes flying alongside each other, sometimes flying in opposite directions as well as over and around each other. It was an incredible display that left me in awe of the pilots and I was curious to find out just how the display was put together. Later in the year I was fortun... (read more)
What is going on in your temple? 19/09/2014
Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a 'den of robbers.'" Luke 19v45-46
If a visitor spent a week in our church, would they see a 'house of prayer'? They may see worship, they may hear preaching of the word, there may be many other activities, but at the end of the week, would they say that our church ... (read more)
Who are you calling an old man? 05/09/2014
"Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive forty five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me the hill this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and... (read more)
The supplier of my needs 13/08/2014
One of the first things we need to do if we want to have our needs supplied is to know what our needs are as what we think our needs are, and what God says our needs are, can be two very different things.
The best way to describe the Bibles version of needs would be those things that are daily necessities, things that if we did not have them would mean we cannot live and serve the Lord. We need to be very careful to define what a "need" is and... (read more)
Who are we bowing down to? 04/08/2014
"But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."
For those who don't know the about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego its worth reading Chapters 1 and 3 of the book of Daniel. These three Israelites had been taken into captivity by Nebucha... (read more)
How has your doctrine changed in the last year? 31/07/2014
How has your doctrine changed in the last year?
As I was out on one of my prayer walks, this was a question that I felt the Holy Spirit was asking me. At first it would seemed the answer was obvious; "my doctrine has not changed, I know what I believe." However, as I prayed over the question I began to see where the Lord was leading and I was humbled as to how stubbornness and pride could so easily prevent me knowing God in a greater way, but ... (read more)
Lessons from fruit salad 14/07/2014
At a recent fellowship lunch a young man brought along a very nice fruit salad. It wasn't like the tinned fruit variety; it was made of 14 different fruits mixed in a combination as he thought would taste best. Thought had been put into more than just the flavour, the colours of the fruits had been chosen with care to make sure that the fruit salad didn't just taste nice, but looked great as well. For me it was a real highlight of the meal and ta... (read more)
What am I building on? 23/05/2014
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me." Exodus 17v4
I'm sure there are many church leaders who have felt this way, that point of almost despair about what decision needs to be made to sort a situation out. What should I do?
There was a lesson to be learned here by the Israelites, but also by Moses, a lesson in trusting the Lord and the direction he is leading us in.... (read more)
Working with the Father 10/05/2014
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." John4v34
As I was out on evangelism today I saw a young girl being put into the front of her Dad's van, you could see the excitement on her face as the seat belt was put on. She was in the Dad's van, not the car, the car is for family things, social events; the van is for work; and she was in dad's van, she was entering into his work environment. Now... (read more)
Do I want to know Christ? 30/04/2014
As Christians this can sound a strange question, the answer is that of course we want to know Christ! However it really depends on what we mean by "knowing Christ". In this age of multi media it's very easy to quickly find out a lot of information about a film star or famous musician, type their name into a search engine and we quickly find out their life story, pictures and statements they have made. We build up a picture of that person in our m... (read more)
Putting God in a box 15/04/2014
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heaven ward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such... (read more)
Lifting up the Lord 15/03/2014
The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore the Lord struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
Then David was angry because the Lord's wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day the place is called Perez Uzzah. 2 Samuel 6v7-8
David had brought together the chosen men of Israel to move the ark to the city of David so that he could be near the presence of God, now we know that ... (read more)
The cost of running from God 26/02/2014
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." Jonah 1v1
Jonah was a man who had experienced God in his life, he was a prophet (2 Kings 14v25), so would be used to listening to God and to acting on his instruction. However like so many of us, Jonah wanted to serve God, but only when God was doing what he wanted God to do. When God ... (read more)
Am I a friend of God? 13/02/2014
Before we can even start to think about this we need to understand what a friend is, the reason for this is like so many other words in our language we have changed the meaning, usually degrading it. An example of this would be modern social media such as Facebook where we accept a "friend request" from people we hardly know but they are now listed as our "friend".
So what does the Bible tell us about friends? The book of Proverbs is always a ... (read more)
What are you praying for? 21/01/2014
"For out of the overflow of his heart the mouth speaks." Luke 6v45b
As we listen to people talk we very quickly become aware of what is important in their lives, some talk of family, some of cars or houses, money or jobs. We hear their viewpoint on the world and their attitudes towards life. How we need to guard our tongues that they bring glory to God. The same can so often be seen in our prayer life, the things we are praying for very... (read more)
Busy making bricks 18/01/2014
Exodus 5v9 "Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."
The Israelites had prospered in Egypt, their numbers had grown and they had been fruitful (Exodus 1v6). Egypt in the Bible is used to represent the world and worldliness. Egypt at this time was powerful and rich and for the Israelites it had provided all they needed to prosper but as always where Gods people start to thrive, the enemy c... (read more)
Letter 14: Living within the walls
When Nehemiah made his initial survey of the city walls (Nehemiah 2v17-18) the task to rebuild must have seemed huge. The destruction, the rubble that lay in the way, the ruined materials and the need to build new gates would in themselves all... (read more)
Letter 13: Rebuilding the walls Part 3
This week we will continue look at some of the issues around rebuilding of the spiritual walls of our lives and in turn the church, but before we look at some of the problems that can arise, we need to take a close look at o... (read more)
Letter 12: Rebuilding the walls Part 2
Last week we started to look at the idea of building walls and their purpose of keeping the enemy out of the city, figuratively our lives and our churches. We saw how Jerusalem was seen to be in great trouble and distress (Nehemiah 1v3) because thes... (read more)
Letter 11: Rebuilding the walls Part 1
Last week we looked at the return of the Israelites from captivity and how they started at the altar of sacrifice and then around that altar built the temple of God .
It would be nice to think that that was the end of ... (read more)