Tuesday 31 January 2023

Writing letters ...


I have been writing letters to various TV stations or companies:

Dear TV Station,

Why is it that you normally broadcast programs in low volume and then when the adverts are on they are broadcast very loud? I know you hope to attract the viewers' attention but this is counter-productive and unprofessional. When I was on the radio the station manager would reprimand us if we played music louder than our talk in-between records. Maybe he should teach you a thing or two about broadcasting.

Dear XYZ TV,

I just watched your program by accident. I don't usually watch it because this is my time to pick up the dog's droppings from the garden, which I must admit is a much more profitable endeavour. On this occasion you had an Agony Aunt type woman on TV taking viewers' calls and giving so-called helpful advice. A lady phoned in distress because she was going through a painful divorce. Your fathead suggested that divorce should not be painful. "It is after all a new beginning," she said, "a new chapter in your life and you should look forward with anticipation with the joy that might lie ahead!"

What a load of fathead manure this woman dispensed. To many, divorce is, and should be, a very painful period in life which often scars people for a long time thereafter. Not only those getting divorced, but also children if there are any in the marriage, as well as other family members and friends. Often, divorces are acrimonious involving bitterness and broken relationships well beyond the married couples. Divorce is not an adventure to be entered into lightly as a means of moving on from the old to a new life. No wonder so many marriages end up in breakdown. 

Note that I have not even mentioned what God said about divorce. Look it up in the Bible if you have one in your TV station.

Dear TV Program Manager,

Thank you. I have enjoyed yet another great episode of Star Trek The Next Generation. I am confused however. How come in the future they have invented so many machines and Starships, and food replicators, and translating machines that can speak so many alien languages, and advanced medical equipment, and Androids as good as Mr Data, and electronic visors for Geordi La Forge to be able to see again, and so many others marvellous inventions, and yet Captain Jean-Luc Picard is still bald? Does that mean that we will never find the cure to baldness and I am wasting my time rubbing chicken poo on my head?

Dear Cookery Program,

I enjoyed the show you just broadcast. My problem is that I do not have, nor know of, some of the ingredients mentioned. One of the chefs used saffron and said it was very expensive. I can't afford that. It looked like tobacco; can I use some tobacco from my pipe pouch instead? 

Another recipe involved lobster thermidor. I do not have a thermidor; would a frying pan do instead?

I always like watching your programs whilst having my beans on toast, or pizza and beer. 

Dear TV Station,

I really like all the films you show on TV. Cheaper than going to the cinema. I am confused, however, about something that occurs in all dystopian type films. You know the ones ... the world has blown itself to bits and only a few people survive in a state of total despair in some sort of wilderness bereft of hope and reason and justice. A bit like when the mother-in-law visits here.

In all such films, the men wear tatty, torn clothes and have long beards and long hair, yet the women have shaved their under arms and legs and look very sexy having used the latest shampoo and toothpaste. How is that possible? Is it because the women of the future will not share their razor blades, shampoo and toothpaste with men? Should I start a stash of such luxuries just in case?

Monday 30 January 2023

Security Lights and Surnames


Security Lights? Surnames? What is the connection? What am I going to write about this time?

Well, on the face of it there is no connection. Until you think again. 

From the back of our house, from the third floor window of the spare room, if you look out at night, over the top of the trees in our back garden, you will see a security light always on about 2 miles away as the crow flies. 

How do I know it is 2 miles away? Because the crow flies in a straight line, whereas a bat flies in zig-zag direction all over the place, and flies like bananas. Stop interrupting me with your questions. Often, as I am writing these posts I get emails asking questions, even before I have published the article.

Is the security light always on in another house?

Just wait and you'll find out ... (See what I mean?)

As I was saying, in a straight line from our upper spare room to the always lit security light is 1.9 miles to be precise. I know because I looked on a map and measured from my house to where I thought, or knew, or guessed, where the light was. I discovered that as a straight line the house must be at a certain street in that direction. Then at night, I drove to the place I thought the light was emanating from. Sure enough, about three miles away, (because you cannot drive there in a straight line but you have to follow the various roads), I found the house with the lights on. Then I drove back home.

From our house to the house in question there is a wood, or small forest, between us; with houses and streets on the edge of the forest. The next day, I got up early and drove there before the trees got in the forest. This made the distance a little shorter. I found the house in question and knocked at the door. There was no one there. I asked a neighbour and they told me that "Mr Ivor Lowbottom" is away and would be home that evening.

That evening I drove there again. He was at home and quickly corrected me that "Lowbottom" was not his name. He used to be called "Lowbottom" but did not like his surname so he changed it by deed-poll to ... ... ...  Ivor Potato-Salad.

He said he preferred a double-barrelled name because it made him sound more distinguished and upper-class. Which is very posh I suppose.

Have you considered what your surname means? Have you ever wished to change it? 

Let's shed some light on this subject. Have you got a security light?

Saturday 28 January 2023

Spirit in the Sky

I have a sneaky suspicion that many people don't know ... don't realise even ... that they are a spirit. Like a ghost perhaps, or like an Angel; but an invisible spirit inhabiting a body.

When we wake up in the morning the first thing we see in the mirror is a face. We see a body. Our body, and that of others. We recognise each other by our bodies. Big ones, small ones, thin ones and rotund ones as well as sexy ones and so on. When a baby is born the first thing we see is a body. A big or small baby, with blue eyes and dark hair, a boy or a girl. We grow accustomed as we grow up to focus on the body in everything that we do.

Over the years, it is the body that makes us feel who we are. It hurts when we are ill or sick, or when we are injured, or as we grow old. It is always the body that is in the forefront of our minds, who we are, and how we live.

Often, it is only when someone dies that we consider that there is more than just a body. We say that person is in "Heaven"; whatever we consider Heaven to be.

How can a person be in Heaven when we see them here lying in a coffin?

It is only then that perhaps we consider the possibility of there being a soul, a spirit. And even then, there are those who believe there is no soul and when someone dies this is the end. Nothing more. No afterlife. No eternity.

This perhaps explains why so many people are so focussed on the here and now. Today. This life. Get what you can from it because when you're gone you're long time dead. 

They don't believe in eternity. They don't believe in spirits either.

Do you?

Wedding Anniversary Blues


It was our first Wedding Anniversary. And I forgot it was our first Wedding Anniversary ... ... ...

MEN: If you want to always remember your Wedding Anniversary try forgetting it once; from then on your wife will make sure you remember it.

So I forgot our Anniversary. After work my work mates and I went to the pub. I was told most real business is carried out in the pub around the pool table or the dart board. So we discussed various works contracts, then we talked politics, and football, and we put the world to right, and tried various beers and then liquors and at about 11:00 o'clock my mates put me in a taxi and pointed in the right direction home.

I did not know that my wife had planned a surprise First Wedding Anniversary Party. I mean ... how was I to know there was a surprise party if she had not told me there would be one? What's more, she had invited her parents who had driven over 60 miles to be with us that evening. Now, that's a surprise ... who ever invites the in-laws to a surprise Wedding Anniversary Party? 

I arrived home in the taxi to find out that they had the Anniversary Party without me. That's hardly conducive to a nice evening ahead is it?

All I remember after so many drinks is that I put the cat out and went up to bed.

The next morning I realised that we do not have a cat.

I had put the mother-in-law out who at the time was wearing a fur coat. I don't even remember seeing father-in-law. As usual he was like a wet lettuce all hen-pecked and ordered about by his monster of a wife.

Not like me ... I am the master of my house ... if my wife lets me!

Friday 27 January 2023

Dogs in my life


Before I was born my parents had a little dog. I've been told that when I was born my parents were happy because I was almost as cute as the dog. They named me after him because I shook myself left and right like a dog does to dry himself. 

My parents were prepared for my arrival because they brought with them in hospital one of those small carrier cages people use to carry pets. The doctor and nurses were concerned. They asked, "have you got a dog at home?" When my parents said YES, they said, "make sure you don't neglect the dog now you have a baby!"

At home the dog and I enjoyed many meals together. I preferred the tinned dog food to those dry pellets. We often went to the park and my dad used to throw a stick and see who would get it first.

One day whilst out in the park my dad lost the dog. He was broken-hearted. I suggested he puts an advert in the newspaper, also posters all over the area which he could stick on trees, notice boards and such like. A few days later and he still did not find his dog. I asked him what he had written on the advert and posters. He replied, "Here boy!"

We eventually found our dog two days later. He was OK. Our neighbour, an old man, was so envious of us that he must have got a dog too.  He chose a silly name for his dog, I thought. He called him "Help!"

I remember soon afterwards I could hear the old man calling "Help! Help!" in his garden. Eventually, he must have found him because he stopped calling. The next morning, whilst I was out buying a newspaper, I saw an ambulance outside the old man's house. I wondered why but never found out.

As I grew up my love for dogs continued. I worked for a charity for homeless dogs. I volunteered to do a parachute jump to raise funds for the charity. People sponsored me.

On the day itself TV and the Press were there to see us take off. We took an Alsatian dog in the plane with us. The intention was that I would parachute with an expert parachutist strapped behind me, (or I in front of him). He would do all the guidance and open the parachute at the right time. As I was getting ready to jump the dog ran at me and pushed me out of the plane. We both fell with the dog hanging on my back. I pulled the cord but nothing happened. I was pulling the dog's lead. Eventually I pulled the right cord and landed safely on my stomach on the ground below. The dog ran away off my back to the nearest tree to relieve himself. I did not wait to find a tree.

When we lived in London a friend of ours asked if we could look after their dog whilst they go away for the weekend. It’s a white Labradoodle; a cross between a Labrador and a poodle. It looks like a big sheep with fluffy white fur. It’s called “Koocheekoo”.

As soon as we got out for a walk he started bouncing and galloping as if he was fitted with springs on its legs. We walked up our street and then we stopped on the edge of the side-walk to cross the road. He stood on his back legs and tried to lick my face. I gently got him down again and waited for a gap in the traffic so we could cross. As I looked left and right for enough space in the traffic to cross the road the stupid creature lifted his back leg and did his business on my leg.

I lifted my right leg, almost as a reflex action to see the damage done to my trousers when, at that very instant, the dog noticed a cat some distance away and made a run for it. He caught me off-guard and off-balance … I dropped flat sideways like a felled tree. I held on tight to the lead whilst the dog was pulling hard, standing on its hind legs, and barking its head off to attract the attention of every passer-by. It was at that point, whilst lying flat on the ground, that I noticed that my nose was only inches away from another solid deposit left there by another dog.

Yes, thinking back, dogs have always been part of my life. I love them so. 

This morning at work I found my secretary crying because her small dog had died. It broke my heart seeing her so miserable so I went out and bought her an identical dog. Now she has two dead dogs.
NOTE: Humour only. No dogs, doctors, nurses, old neighbours or anyone or anything else have been harmed in the writing of this story. All characters and situations are fictitious and any similarities to persons, animals or situations are purely coincidental.

Thursday 26 January 2023

Forgiveness ... HA !!!


There was a "religious" program on TV the other day and they were talking about forgiveness. They were explaining that we should forgive other people who have hurt us or done wrong because it is for our own good. Forgiving others will make us feel good.


I'll admit that forgiving someone can be cathartic and will help us move on in life; but that is not the reason to forgive others. Christ did not teach us to forgive others in order to feel good or better. Forgiveness is not an exercise of one-upmanship. I am better than you because I forgave you. When God forgives our sins He does not do so in order to feel better and happy. That is not why Jesus died. God forgives us because He is merciful and desires a one-to-one personal relationship with Him in Heaven for eternity. 

In the Lord's Prayer Jesus said "forgive us as we forgive others"; meaning being compassionate, loving, merciful and caring. Not for an ulterior motive of being or feeling good and warm and cosy inside.

It seems to me there is a new trend to teach a modern Christianity which interprets the Word of God to suit our own selfish needs.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Gone With The Wind


It was a lovely summer’s afternoon that Sunday when we sat as a family and enjoyed a sumptuous Sunday lunch. We had roast beef as well as fried chicken which had been marinated in all sorts of flavoursome spices and herbs; accompanied by an assortment of vegetables including of course the dreaded Brussels sprouts.

I have never understood why God created this particular vegetable; but create it He did. No doubts He has His reasons and one day we’ll discover how beneficial it is for us and how silly and uneducated we have been to dislike it so. However, for now at least, most people I know don’t seem to like it.

I don’t count myself amongst them, of course. I’m neutral in this respect. I would eat Brussels sprouts if offered to me but I would not go out of my way to ask for them in a gourmet restaurant.

But that Sunday, Brussels sprouts were on the menu. I believe they were mixed with walnut pieces and fried onions, if memory serves me right.

We have had Auntie Gertrude from Australia staying with us for a few days so we also invited Father Frederic to Sunday lunch. The two had never met each other so we sat them next to each other around the large dinner table.

It was a lovely meal with pleasant conversation on no particular subject and all subjects that came to mind.

After lunch, we all moved to the living room to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and continue our discussion.

Father Frederic sat on the sofa leaving a little room for someone else to sit beside him and a few minutes later, as we all made ourselves comfortable, Auntie Gertrude came in and sat beside the priest.

Sadly, and embarrassingly for her, as she lowered herself in the well upholstered settee she accidentally broke wind with a thunderous loud noise.

I should mention at this stage that Father Frederic is somewhat hard of hearing; and he therefore did not notice nor pay attention to what had just happened.

I immediately tried to cover Auntie’s embarrassment by asking him loudly some Ecumenical question that came to mind.

As I leaned towards him speaking a little louder than usual I noticed his face going a little pale as the tell-tale strong smell reached my olfactory senses.

He looked at me accusingly as Auntie got out of the room saying “By dingo cobber! I forgot the biscuits in the kitchen … they're special I brought from Adelaide ... I’ll go and get them!”

As she got out of the room, followed by the rest of the family, she added somewhat undiplomatically "they are not as bland as those English biscuits!"

I was left alone with the kind old heavenly priest and the smell from hell.

Suddenly, the Ecumenical question became totally irrelevant as my mind went blank and my hurt pride and wounded honour urged me to shout at the top of my voice “It was not me!!! It was her!!! She did it and went out leaving me sharing her stench.”

But being the stupid gentleman who I am, I said nothing. I kept quiet and protected a lady’s pride and honour by my silence.

“Would you like a biscuit?” I asked Father picking up the large serving dish which was there all the time.

“That’s a lovely piano …” replied Father Frederic getting up from his seat and moving towards the open window. “Our church organ needs mending … it doesn’t pump so much wind in the pipes as it used to.”

Somehow, the uneasy conversation which followed and the fresh air from the open window, diluted the heavy atmosphere in the room as eventually the rest of the family re-joined us accompanied by an innocent looking Auntie Gertrude.

Since that day, Father Frederic keeps his distance from me whenever we meet.

Excerpt from the book


Paperback & KINDLE


Tuesday 24 January 2023

Christianity in retreat


It grieves me to note that Christianity is in retreat, and there's very little our churches and their leaders are doing about it. Very often we see the Bible misinterpreted, behaviour that is un-Christian, and challenges and mocking at the very notion of the existence of God; and nothing is said by our elders for fear of upsetting people.

There are those who believe that the Old Testament is no longer relevant to today's modern society; and what was said then is no longer appropriate in a modern world.

Some believe that Jesus did not really mean it when He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." It was all imagery, they say. God loves everybody. He even loves and forgives the devil.

Such interpretation of an "all loving" God is wrong and dangerous. Of course, God loves everybody. But this does not entitle those very same people whom God loves to turn their back on Him and not love Him back. They can't say, "I can do what I want because God will always love me anyway!" They can't interpret God's love to suit them and invent their own alternative gods, be they materialistic or spiritually un-Biblical.

Some voices, in some cases within the Church itself, do not believe in the virgin birth. Christ was not born through the Holy Spirit; they say. It was all a story by the Gospel writers to explain that He was blessed by God. 

Some Christians do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of God; begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, as we recite in the Credo. He is now considered by some as a teacher, a wise man, a blessed man; and not the Son of God. And some Churches allow this false belief and teaching.

Others, also within the Church, have hinted that the Resurrection is also imagery to explain that "we are all born again". It did not actually happen, but it is a story to explain that we are all put right with God as long as we are good in our life and the way we live.

The many teachings of Christ about Heaven, hell, marriage, divorce, sin and so on are being re-interpreted by a modern society to suit its selfish needs.

Slowly, but surely, such watered-down Christian teaching is permeating through society and the apparent silence from prominent Church leaders becomes yet another step in the march of retreat.

At a recent funeral I attended, someone at the lectern prayed, "I thank the Universe for the life of (the deceased)".

The priest left this un-challenged. He did not, (gently), explain that "the Universe" (whatever that is) had nothing to do with the life this individual led.

Humanity has always searched for a supreme power to explain its existence and its inadequacies. From earliest time people have worshipped the sun, fire, volcanoes and other man-made gods as they progressed in their quest for the one living Creator God we have come to know and worship.

Today, it seems we have gone full circle and some prefer to revert back to idolising nature, the Universe, Mother Earth, celebrities like musicians, sports personalities and the like, or even materialistic things not too dissimilar to the golden calf in the Old Testament.

They prefer to worship anything apart from the true living God Who created us all.

NOTE: If you agree with this article please invite others to read it here. Thank you.

Monday 23 January 2023

Monkey Survey


Hi, my name is Bonzo Bookshelf Jr. a.k.a. Times New Roman. Victor's editor and Blog Agent. My job is to administer and promote his Blog and to seek improvements where needed. And this is where you come in; his loyal and faithful readers. I should be grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing this short survey either here in the Comments box, or by writing to enquiries@holyvisions.co.uk

1    Do you visit this Blog regularly and if so why?  

2    Which "type" of articles do you like reading? Christian, Humour, Music, Spoken Recordings, Others (specify).

3    Which kind of articles would you like less of?

4    And more of?

5    Or new style of articles not included here, like recipes, travel, solo synchronised swimming lessons.

6    On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=low - 10 = high) what would you score this Blog?

7    What would you suggest to improve it?

8    Would you recommend this Blog to other people?

9    Do you think it is fair that Victor pays me in peanuts?

10  Do you like peanuts and do you want a job?

Sunday 22 January 2023


First Corinthians 1:10-13, 17

Brothers, I urge you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, not to have factions among yourselves but all to be in agreement in what you profess; so that you are perfectly united in your beliefs and judgements.

From what Chloe's people have been telling me about you, brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you.

What I mean is this: every one of you is declaring, 'I belong to Paul,' or 'I belong to Apollos,' or 'I belong to Cephas,' or 'I belong to Christ.'

Has Christ been split up? Was it Paul that was crucified for you, or was it in Paul's name that you were baptised?

After all, Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel; and not by means of wisdom of language, wise words which would make the cross of Christ pointless.

These are Paul's words in his first letter to the Corinthians. It seems that even then there were arguments and factions and divisions as to what, or whom, to believe and to follow.

Paul makes it clear. "Don't follow me or anyone else. Follow Christ."

And now, 2000 years later we are still arguing as to which Church is the true and genuine one. The Catholics believe that they are the true Church because it was established by Christ through Peter. As a Catholic, I raise my eyebrows at some (many) of the Church's teachings, dogmas and beliefs. I once wrote to a priest that the Catholic Church portrays itself as superior and aloof from other Churches. He proved the point by ignoring me.

At a time when  the world is becoming more secular and materialistic; at a time when people seem to have stopped believing in eternity and are only focused on the here and now; is it not time that we "Christians" present a united front and behave as Christ would want us to.

We Christians sometimes/often sully His name by our behaviour.

Saturday 21 January 2023

Reflex Reaction


There are times in life when bad things happen, very bad things. It could be news about health, ours or a loved one's, or a tragic accident, or a financial or marital situation. All sorts of things unexpectedly come our way and our first reaction is to panic, to get in shock, disbelief, fear and worries take over our mind and our very being. 

This is only natural. It is our human nature to behave so. Fight or flight reflex goes back to early man. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 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.” Matthew 11:28-30

Some have interpreted this saying of Jesus as meaning that God does not want us to be weighed down. He wants us to give us rest in life; and His purpose for us is not an onerous one or an unbearable burden. He wants us to enjoy this life and not endure it as a punishment or a trial. And when  things go wrong we don't have to carry the load alone because we are yoked to Jesus. God will not give us a load that is too much for us to carry.

But there is more to it than just that. What Jesus is saying here is that when things go wrong we should turn to Him and share our troubles. Our first reflex reaction should be to turn to Him instinctively. 

Of course, often this is not the case, but once the original shock has subsided a little, we should immediately turn to Christ and hand the whole situation to Him. This act of faith, blind faith perhaps, born out of desperation, connects us to God in a way we cannot even imagine. 

The pressure of the moment may compel us to react in a human way; but at the very least, for a split second perhaps, we should instinctively put the situation in God's hands in the sure knowledge that He will handle it according to His will. He has brought us to this moment in life and He will see us through it.

This simple act of handing the situation over to God opens a channel of Divine activity. We are in fact acknowledging His omnipotence and acquiescing that in all things His will be done.

Our first move should be to hand over the distressing event to God, and then patiently wait and watch His power and intervention in action.

If God wants us to act in any way, He will show us what to do or say and how to do it. Our role is to hand over the situation and patiently wait in all the trust and faith we can muster that He is in control.

Friday 20 January 2023

Sayings and Truisms


There are so many sayings and truisms, (or semi-truisms), which people often quote to make an obvious point. Like, "Take one day at a time", as if it is possible to take all the days together.

I have prepared a list of such sayings which you might find useful to add to your conversation at your next party or gathering.

You are unique and one of a kind in inducing boredom

Your life can be what you want it to be as long as you leave me alone

Stop, Listen and then Act the fool

Within you are so many answers, all wrong

Make Timely Decisions some other time

Do not compare yourself with others; they are better than you

Life is full of choices; one of them is to keep your distance from me

What you don't like, others may also not like; I don't like you

Your thoughts are things; so keep them to yourself

Remember that a little everyday will get you nowhere

Rome was not built in a day; because I was not the building contractor

To thine own self be true; boring as you are

That which does not kill us makes us stronger; except diarrhoea

Be the change you wish to see in the world; like clean underwear

Breathe in courage, breathe out wind, break wind often

This too shall pass, with a good laxative

Hold your head up ... ... ...

Thursday 19 January 2023

I read it in the papers


They’re introducing facial recognition in smart phones. I’m guessing many women will have serious problems calling anyone in the mornings.

A Life Insurance representative asked a client if he did any dangerous sports. The client replied that sometimes he talks back at his wife.

Heard in the Divorce Court: A wife told her husband to go and get something that would make her look sexy. So he got drunk. They'd been happily married for 2 years ... 1995 and 2009. He writes songs about sewing machines. He's a Singer songwriter. They have twin daughters. One named Kate and the other Duplikate. They then had another daughter. The wife didn’t think he'd give this daughter a silly name. But he called her Bluff. 

Scientists are telling people the brain is an App so that they will start using it.

A worker at the local coffee factory drowned in a vat of coffee. It was a terrible way to go, but it was instant.

Albert Einstein was a genius and worthy of praise and study. His brother Frank was an absolute monster.

Police are investigating the disappearance of a huge amount of Christmas cakes from a large bakery. A spokesman for the police said that “it was Stollen”.

Latest news is that the Vatican is starting a cheque cashing and money transfer operation. They're going to name it Papal.


A chap jumped in the river in Cairo. Local police say he was in de Nile.


A local dentist, I Pullem, won Dentist of the Year, and all he got was a little plaque.


The fact that there is a Highway to Hell and only a Stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

A New Vacuum

Amazing the power of new vacuum cleaners. We just bought a new one. It's so strong it can suck in all the stars in the universe if you point it to the sky.

Whilst the children were out in the garden I decided to clean the hamster's hutch/cage. I always end up doing the dirty jobs around here, but the new vacuum made it all so easy. For some reason, the hamster bedding and food have remained undisturbed for a week now. Maybe he doesn't like a clean cage.

The vacuum cleaner also sucks in water if you have a spill or a leak. I used it to clean the goldfish tank. When I emptied it the water was orange.

I don't know why. I'll ask my wife when I next see her. I wonder where she's got to; I need my lunch! 

Tuesday 17 January 2023



Funny thing the imagination isn't it? You just sit there, or lie down, and you are imagining things. You're imagining what could have been, or what will be if ... You know ... you think back to different times or situations in your life, people you've met and places you've been to ... and you imagine.

Are you following where I'm going with this train of thoughts?

I'm told I've always had a vivid imagination. I can't imagine why. But somehow it's true ... I have always had various scenarios playing out in my head.

Some people, when young, had imaginary friends. Some people imagine a Teddy Bear or some other animal like a pink unicorn as an imaginary friend. And their parents go along with the fantasy by having an extra place at the table for the imaginary friend. They say, or claim, it helps develop the child's brain activity. 

Some people have "real" imaginary friends. A doll for example, or an action man toy, or a Teddy bear, or other cuddly animal; they suddenly take real life in their minds and becomes an imaginary friend. Children have their toy sitting next to them at table, or tucked in bed with them. And they get so distressed if ever the toy is lost.

I was always aware of the distress a lost toy would cause a child; so I never bought any for my children. Saved me a lot of money too.

Have you any imaginary friends? 

Monday 16 January 2023

I am the way ...


Imagine you met a man today and he said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to God except through Me." (John 14:6)

What would your reaction be? Would you just ignore him? Mock him? Or challenge him? Come on; be honest in your thoughts and answer.

Not so many years ago, a man said just that. But He was no ordinary man. This one had history. He had a reputation. He'd been around for a while and was often seen with a crowd teaching them His style of living. 

And He had a different outlook on life. Remember that at His time His land was occupied by a foreign Roman army. Instead of decrying this He preached about universal love and even loving one's enemies. This confused many people at the time ... and ever since.

He also seemed to have some supernatural powers. He healed many people who had been afflicted by many incurable diseases for years. Through His healings the blind could see, the deaf could hear, the dumb could talk and the lame could walk. He could even calm the storm at sea and walk on water. And, more spectacular than all that, He could also raise the dead. The people at the time were in awe at His power, even though perhaps they could not understand His teachings and what He was saying.

He often told people that there sins were forgiven. Now this enraged the established religious leaders who saw Him as a threat to their position. How dare He say that sins are forgiven? Only God can forgive sins.

But Jesus took things a step further. He claimed He was the Son of God. And on many occasions He went on to say:

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11)

"Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:35)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

"I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved." (John 10:9)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you." (John 16:23)

"Trust [Believe] in God, and trust [believe] in me" (John 14:1)

And of course the most important and memorable of His sayings, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to God except through Me." (John 14:6)


Sunday 15 January 2023

Listen Carefully - This is for you


Sometimes in history someone says something so important, a politician maybe or other eminent person, that what is said becomes imprinted and quoted over the years by many future generations.

How much more important, do you think, and how much more relevant to us here today, is something that Jesus said all those years ago?

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22

"When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for." Mark 11:24

"And I will do whatever you ask for in My name, so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in My name, I will do it." John 14:13-14

Let us read these words again and meditate on them. They are not just throw-away lines, slogans or newspaper headlines from a politician or other celebrities.

These are the words of our Lord Jesus. They were spoken solemnly and are recorded here by three different writers.

They were not just spoken to His disciples at the time. They are not the only privileged people to hear these promises. If it were so, Jesus would have said them in secret and they would not have been recorded in the gospels. 

These words, these promises, are meant for everyone - yes, you and me. Jesus was serious when He made them. He would not have said them otherwise. Let us reflects for a moment on the immensity of His words.

When we pray, do we really believe that we will receive what we ask for? 

When we ask God for something, do we ever say, "In the name of Jesus, I ask you God please ... ... ..."?

Or do we rattle a long list of demands in the hope that God is listening and He will respond straight-away?

Unless we truly believe what Jesus has promised us, there is no point in praying at all.

Saturday 14 January 2023

A Fishes Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a farmer called Ivor Pollock who lived in a cottage by the edge of his farm. One day, as he was clearing his cupboard in the kitchen he found a small bottle containing dry yeast; the sort of little dry pellets which you dissolve in water to make yeast for bread. He thought it was a bottle of fish food which had been placed in the cupboard by his wife by mistake. He went out to the pond in his garden and emptied the bottle in the pond.

As he was standing there by the edge of the pond he noticed something moving fast in the water through the reeds and general vegetation. It was a small fish swimming frantically to and fro, having eaten some of the yeast.

A moment later, there it was again. A quick flicker of the tail, but this time much bigger. Was it the same fish, thought Ivor.

And yet again, but this time even bigger still. So much so that he could see a fish the size of his arm.

And yet again ... but this time the fish seemed to be standing upright and trying to get out of the pond. It was now half the size of Ivor.

Ivor pushed it back in the pond. It flickered its tail once or twice and stood up again, now it was as tall as Ivor. He held its slithery smooth wet skin and tried to push the fish back again in the pond. But to no avail. The fish was now twice as tall and as big and strong as the hapless man; and, standing upright, with a flick of its tail it sent Ivor Pollock flying through the air to land in a heap of manure nearby.

The fish, still standing upright, started moving forwards out of the pond. With each flicker of its tail it dug a furrow in the ground as it moved forwards. It walked upright, taller than a man, past Ivor lying dazed in manure, and it went through the wooden fence, sending splinters of wood flying through the air, as it made its way into the fields beyond.

Ivor could not believe what he had just witnessed. As he dug himself out of the pile of manure, out of the pond came another fish as big as the first one, if not bigger. Standing very upright and following his leader's tail steps as they flickered to and fro.

Then yet another fish came out of its natural home. And then another. And yet another. All standing tall like soldiers and following each other in a single file into the fields beyond. An army of fish all leaving the pond and marching through the fields into the distance.

Seeing all these fishes filing by gave Ivor quite a haddock. He realised this was no plaice for him to be. Not only cod he not believe his eyes, but he was the sole witness to what he thought was a bream.

Suddenly, he remembered an old English tuna sang by Vera Lynn in WWII - "Whale meat again ... Don't know where, don't know when ... But I know whale meat again some sunny day!"

He salmoned enough courage to get up from the pile of manure and run into the house. He was certainly not koi to tell others what had just happened. Something eel never forget!

Ivor Pollock phoned Sergeant Salmon at the police station to warn him of what he had just seen. The police would not believe him.

"Is this an April Fool's joke?" asked Sergeant Salmon.

"A fishy story indeed," said Police Constable Crab.

"Do you know it is an offence to waste police time?" retorted Angus Mackerel.

"Do you expect us to swallow your tale, hook, line and sinker?" shouted Sergeant Salmon as he put the phone down.

Ivor could not convince the police that he was telling the truth. Even when he told them that Halibut, his pet cat, had witnessed the whole event and was now sitting up the curtains trembling with fear, thinking it was the revenge of all the fish he had eaten in the past.

And Kipper, the dog, was hiding in the oven behind the remains of an old fish pie.

Ivor Pollock then rang his friend Walter Trout who was a manager at a fish cannery in the next town. Walter said he would order larger cans so that he could can these fishes once he caught them. But first he needed a bigger fishing rod and hook, line and sinker.

In total despair, Ivor Pollock, followed by Walter Trout, and Sergeant Salmon from the police went out again to check he wasn't dreaming ... or is it breaming?

The fishes had all gone from the pond. But the tell-tale path of destruction witnessed to their existence all right!

The furrow in the ground, getting deeper as more and more fish followed where it led.

The broken wooden fence at the edge of his garden. The washing line torn and lying on the ground together with Ivor's washing all muddy and dirty on the wet grass. The stalks of wheat trampled and broken right through the field as far as one could see. Trees broken and tossed aside like match sticks. All these proved that the fishes had grown in stature and left the pond for a place there yonder.

Pollock, Trout and Salmon followed the trail of destruction as they walked on the furrow and it got deeper and deeper until at one point it became higher than all three of them standing on each other’s shoulders.

That's when they decided to get out of the furrow and walk beside it instead. They followed the fishy smell as far as it would go.

“Where is it leading to?” asked Pollock.

“Are these fishes going to town?” asked Sergeant Salmon.

“To protest to the Authorities perhaps about the price of fish and chips?” wondered Trout.

“No, perhaps not,” reasoned Pollock, “that's a different kettle of fish!”

They continued beside the furrow until eventually it led them to the fishes' final destination.

The fishes had reached the sea where they jumped in and swam away happily.

They had now outgrown their little pond and went out searching for adventure in the big wide world!

How about you? Are you still a small fish in a small pond? Or do you need a boost of yeast to get you going to reach your full potential?

Remember, sardines never get bigger if they remain in their tin with the key on the outside.