Wednesday 29 March 2023

Happy Anniversary Father Francis


Father Francis Maple is a Franciscan monk who celebrates his 60th Anniversary as a priest on 30 March 2023.

Thank you for hearing the call and for your many years serving Our Lord.
May God bless you and protect you always.

Being told at school that he had a pleasant voice was the encouragement which led Fr. Francis Maple OFM Cap to play the guitar and, eventually, earn the title of "The Singing Friar" with concerts at the Liverpool Philharmonic, Preston Guildhall, Derby Assembly Rooms and London's Drury Lane, and the recording of 42 albums and a Gold Disc for his album the “Old Rugged Cross”.  This success helped Father Francis raise over one million pounds for charities supporting the poor - for which he was awarded the MBE in the Queen's 1997 Honours List.

He has also sung in public over the years in malls, shopping centres, bus stations and at his own concerts to raise money for charity. He has also written several books, (sermons, cooking recipes, jokes), and has contributed to many newspaper columns and Catholic newspapers and magazines. He spends a lot of time travelling throughout the UK leading Missions in various Catholic churches. 

Here I Am, Lord

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.

I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people's pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

Isaiah 6
Dan Schutte

Sunday 26 March 2023

Was He human?


John said to Father Ignatius, "I really don't understand Jesus ..."

"What is it that you do not understand?" asked the kind old priest gently.

"Well, I believe in God," replied the teenager, "but I don't understand how Jesus could be His Son. God wasn't married."

Father Ignatius knew that he had to tread carefully. Obviously, a lot had not been taught clearly during Catechism classes.

"How would you describe God?" he asked in a kind voice, smiling a little.

"Well ... He's a Spirit, isn't He?" said the young man, "a bit like a ghost. No one has truly seen Him. He is painted in old paintings like an old man with a beard, but Sister Anne said that this is to help us visualise Him."

"Sister Anne is right," continued the priest, "God is a living Spirit, inhabiting a spiritual world all around us. The angels are spirits. Devils too. Also the Holy Spirit and Jesus too."

The boy nodded as Father Ignatius continued.

"When we recite the Credo we say: I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. God of God, light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made.

"Note the words born of the Father, meaning He was born, not made or created just like God created us. Jesus is consubstantial to the Father, which means of one substance as God. That is Jesus is also a Spirit, the same as God. Jesus has always existed as a Spirit just like God has been.

"Now these words were not just invented by the writers of the Credo. The people who met at the first ecumenical council of churches in Nicea in the year 325 wrote them down after much prayers and debate. 

"These are also the words of Jesus Himself. Often He said that He was and is the Son of God. 

"You will also remember that during the Baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit appeared like a dove and a voice from Heaven said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!' "

The boy nodded again.

"The same happened at the Transfiguration," continued the priest, "a voice was heard from the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!' 

"God, and Jesus, confirmed several times that Jesus is the Son of God. He was born as a human, through the Holy Spirit, so that we might get to see Him and recognise Him. 

"As you said, John ... God is an invisible Spirit, and so is Jesus, as He has always been. But He was born as a human baby so that He might grow amongst us and we get to know Him better. He was made flesh for our eyes to see, and our ears to hear Him and His message."

"Did He have the same feelings as us?" asked the young boy.

"Yes, I believe so," replied Father Ignatius, "when He was beaten and tortured at the Crucifixion He felt the same agony and pain that any of us would have felt. He had the same emotions as us. He felt compassion for the people He met. Sadness at the death of Lazarus. He felt tired and fell asleep on the boat. He was thirsty and asked the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink. Yes, I believe He had the same human emotions as us albeit He is God at the same time."

"Why did He not marry?" asked the boy then bit his lip.

The priest did not react, but continued gently.

"I believe that as a human He shared the same human emotions as us. Remember the devil tempted Him in the desert with similar temptations he would use to us. If you are God's Son as you claim you are jump from this temple. Turn these stones into bread. Why don't you worship me? I can offer you much in return. I suspect that if chocolate had been invented at the time, Satan would have tempted Him with this too.”

The boy smiled as the priest went on.

"I guess Jesus may have had some feelings for women as any human would have; but being God at the same time He knew that His mission on earth would have been jeopardised in this respect. 

"He knew, well before He was born as a human, what His mission was and how humanity would treat Him. He accepted this as the will of God and as an eternal sacrifice for us all. The Old Testament is full of prophesies about Him and His mission; at least 300 of them have been fulfilled in His lifetime and death and Resurrection.

"I think that one way to understand Jesus is that He was, when on earth, a human with the soul of God. He was as He has always been, a Spirit just like God, but in appearance residing in a human body.

"That being said, however, there is one truth which we as Christians believe and from which there is no flinching doubt or hesitation ... Jesus is the Son of God. He was not just a teacher, a wise man, a prophet or whoever else some people would wish to describe Him or believe. Time and again He asked those around Him Who they believed He was; and every time He corrected them and said He is the Son of God. 

"When Jesus asked 'Who do you say I am?'  Simon Peter said, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in Heaven.'

"This is Divine affirmation that God, through the Holy Spirit, opened Peter's mind and made him understand that Jesus is the Son of God.

"Let there be no doubt about that."

Saturday 25 March 2023

Maybe they don't want to be saved


There was this program on TV about wildlife and how some species are at risk of extinction unless we do something to save them. Then someone said, "why don't we leave them alone? Maybe their time has come and they don't want to be saved. What is it with us wanting to save everything? The animals, the planet, even you with your Christian books that you publish!" 

I did not react to the comment, but maybe it had a ring of truth. I do not write books to make money. I hope that someone somewhere may find what I write helpful.

Jesus did not go around compelling people to be saved. No one is forced into Heaven against their wish. It is God's desire that we should join Him in Paradise for eternity but the final decision is surely ours. If we choose not to go to Heaven then it is for us to go the other way; whatever we perceive it or imagine it to be. 

Maybe some people do not want to be saved. Either through negligence or defiant self-will they have chosen to turn their back on God. They have every right to do so. What right have we, Christians, to try and save them?

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18

This paragraph has confused people for years on end. Does it mean we should all go out and "encourage" others to follow our ways and our beliefs? What if some of us are not good at public speaking, or writing, or knocking from door-to-door with leaflets, or standing at street corners?

What does Jesus really want? And are we failing Him by not following His instructions?

Each one of us has been given different talents and with them different responsibilities. I believe when we get to meet Christ face to face He may well remind us of Matthew 28:18

Those amongst us who have chosen to follow a religious vocation will have more to answer for. What is the point of a priest who has not "been Christ" to anyone?

Others will have to consider how their lives have affected others. 

As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits. His very nature, he admitted, was flawed. However, it is said that his mother prayed all her life for God to help him and eventually Augustine turned to God and became a leading figure in the Church.

This is what Jesus expects of us. To pray for those who have gone astray and to lead by example. Let us look truthfully at our lives. Is it really one that others would wish to emulate? What is it about us that would make someone want to be a Christian like us?

Sure, maybe some people do not want to be saved. But then, are we a bad advert for Christ?

Friday 24 March 2023

Star Trek and all that ...


I like Star Trek, especially Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisco and Kathryn Janeway. In fact I like all TV programs about space. 

One thing I don't understand though. Why is it when they meet a new race they show them round the Enterprise space ship and explain about warp drive, dilithium and other technical things? You wouldn't expect to show a stranger your whole house if they knocked at your door.

Also, why do they never take them to the kitchen and show them how to make French Fries?

As for me, whenever I meet someone new I always start with French Fries. Many years ago I had a new girl-friend. I had the choice of taking her to the Ritz Restaurant in London or to McDonald's. I did not want to risk the Ritz on a first date on account that it can be expensive. So I took her to the local McDonald's.

Turned out she was vegetarian and this immediately ended our relationship. I could not look forward to a lifetime of broccoli. Why is it that vegetarians always want to convert you to their way of thinking? 

So next time those Star Trek people meet other races from other galaxies perhaps they should give them some French Fries as a peaceful gesture in the quest to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life
and new civilizations and to boldly go where no man has gone before. 

And also ... not to split an infinitive.

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Walk Tall


Tuesday 21 March 2023

Allo ... c'est moi, ici!


Have you ever wished you could take a holiday from being yourself? You know, being someone else but not you. Act totally differently from the same old same old you? 
Perhaps take a day off work and go to a town or city where no one knows you and pretend to be someone else. Perhaps speak in a different accent. Or dress as a down-and-out and mix for a while with the homeless to get to experience better how they feel. Or maybe be an angel and buy them food and coffee. 
Have you really never wished you were someone else for the day; anyone but you?
I like the French; and one day I decided to be French from there on. I got up in the morning, and after having a croissant for breakfast, (which I had deliberately purchased the day before), drank a black café and nearly choked myself on a Gitanes cigarette, I went out to the newsagent for my morning papers.

"Allo ..." I said to the newsagent, "Bonjour monsieur. Do you 'ave Le Monde and Paris Match pleeze?"

"Are you alright mate?" asked the newsagent having recognised me despite my beret and striped T shirt.

"Comment?" I continued in my best French accent, " 'ave you not zese publications?"

"What's the matter with you this morning?" asked the newsagent getting a little irritable, "why are you speaking in this terrible French accent?"

"Why iz it terrible?" I asked, making sure to pronounce terrible in French rather than in English, "do you not like ze French?"

"I like the French very much," he replied getting angry at my insinuation, "in fact I have a holiday home in France and we go there at least three times a year. It's you coming here this morning with your stupid hat and striped shirt pretending to be French. What's the matter with you?"

Now of course, if I am to have a holiday from being myself I had to remain in character and not go back to type as being me. So I asked him, "Do you 'ave Gitanes cigarettes?"

"No!" he growled.

"Do you 'ave Gauloises?" I continued.

"No!" he emphasised looking me straight in the eye.

"Wat cigarettes de France do you 'ave?" I asked.

"Look, I know you don't even smoke," he said. "So you either get your usual morning papers or you leave the shop right now. I'll set the dog on you!"

"Iz it a French poodle or a Papillon?" I asked. But I did not wait for a reply as he waved a baguette at me and threw a brioche which hit me at the back of the head as I left hurriedly.

This being someone else is not all it is cracked up to be. What is worse, when I got back home the dog did not recognise me and jumped at me biting me somewhere which changed my tone of voice, if not my accent, for the rest of the day.

How about you? Have you ever wished to have a holiday from being yourself and being someone else, real or imagined? Tell us who is your Walter Mitty fantasy.

Monday 20 March 2023

What is Sin?

What is sin?

It is simply going against the will of God. Sadly, modern society has ceased to understand this. Since the time of creation God has taught us right and wrong. But today people have blurred the line between those two very distinct positions. Many feel that because everyone else does a certain thing then it is no longer wrong, and therefore it is not a sin. With the passage of time certain actions have ceased to be seen as wrong and so the concept of sin has been very much diluted.

If something was wrong years ago, it is still wrong today. 

For example, if you phone your boss and pretend you are ill in order to take a day off work, this is stealing. The fact that other people do it too does not lessen the fact that it is stealing.

If you listen or partake in gossip about someone, it is stealing his good name and reputation. It is in effect taking something away from him and causing him harm.

Sin is a deliberate behaviour to act against the will of God.

Can sin be forgiven? Of course it can, but to do so the individual must recognise that he has sinned, confess that sin and genuinely seek forgiveness. He should also resolve not to commit that particular sin again.

But yet again, the real meaning of forgiveness has been blurred with the passage of time. Many feel that by just saying "sorry" to God all is well again. This is in effect a sin in itself because it denigrates the great sacrifice which Christ made for us on the Cross. He did not die so that we casually say sorry without meaning it.

Being human, we are all liable to sin. The devil is always there to tempt us in various ways big or small. The sin of Adam and Eve was not a simple sin of disobedience about eating a forbidden fruit; it was the much more serious sin of wanting to be like God. The sin of defiance against their very creator.

The devil even tried to tempt Jesus, so we should not be much of a challenge to Him.

When temptation comes our way, we should follow Christ's example and pray. Prayer is a sure way to avoid sin at its source.

Sunday 19 March 2023

When Circumstances Overwhelm Us.


Hello and welcome to Time for Reflections

There will be times in life when events and circumstances will overwhelm us. We will feel the need and necessity to respond, to get involved, to put things right.

As a good and important discipline, our first instinct should always be to hand over the situation to God. Even if we spend the shortest moment in doing so. We should give the situation, with its uncertainties, difficulties and fears to God.

This handing over to God ensures Divine intervention in every situation; however bad it is. This simple act of faith is repaid many times by God, because we are acknowledging His omnipotence, His power and His love for us.

Our first reaction should always be handing the situation to God, and then wait and watch calmly and patiently His oversight and His activity. We may well be tempted to act, and to take control once again; but we should wait on God’s command. God will show us what we should say and what we should do and when and how to do it.

By praising God in such difficult times, however bad they are, we are in effect demonstrating our total faith in Him and accepting that His will be done always; because His will is for our good.

Thank you for listening. God bless.  

Thank you very much for listening to Time for Reflections. This is Vic Moubarak saying bye bye for now and God bless.

Saturday 18 March 2023

I love


Our teacher asked us what our favourite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."

She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else in the class laughed.

My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried chicken is my favourite animal. I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a vegetarian and would not have reacted if I'd said I loved fried couscous!

He said vegetarians love animals very much.

I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favourite live animal was.

I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, just like she'd asked the other children.

So I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the principal's office again. He laughed, and told me not to do it again. I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most.

I told her, "Colonel Sanders." Guess where I am now. Anyway, the principal smiled without saying a word and then he opened his desk drawer and we shared some KFC legs he had there.

Friday 17 March 2023

The little fluffy yellow chick


Once upon a time there was a little fluffy yellow chick, all tiny and cute before it grew its grown-up feathers. It had been born in an incubator in a farm and now it lived in a big barn with hundreds of other chicks all running around, being fed and watered and kept warm by artificial heating systems. It was nice being there, safe and secure from the great outdoors and what lies beyond the barn.

One day the little chick noticed a gap beneath the door of the barn. He crawled under and got outside. Suddenly he was in a new world he had not even imagined existed. There was grass all around, and fields beyond with various creatures he had not seen before since he had never known cows, sheep and horses. 

He stepped out a bit further and noticed other barns like the one he'd just come out of. He sneaked into one and it was full of grown up chicks with real feathers rather than the yellow down they are born with.  

He then moved on to another barn and it was full of grown up chickens. He was amazed at what he saw and how from a baby chick like him he would grow into an adult bird. 

What a wonderful place this farm was, being taken care of, kept safe and fed and watered all your life. He was glad he was born in this place of all places. 

But as he wandered further he entered another huge building and what he saw there changed his mind about the idyllic place he was in. It was the abattoir where all the chickens were slaughtered and prepared for the supermarket. 

As he tried to escape a farmer noticed him and picked him up. "What a beautiful creature," said the farmer, "don't worry little one. Now that I have found you I will keep you safe. I promise you that you will not end up like those chickens you've just seen!"

"Whoooo? Meeeee?" said the chick in its tiny squeaky voice. (Did I mention it could talk?)

"Yes, you," said the farmer, "I promise you you will not be eaten like those chickens you just saw."

"I will not end up in a chicken pot?" asked the chick.

"No ..." smiled the farmer.

"Not as chicken soup?" the little bird asked again.

"Definitely not ..." confirmed the farmer.

"Or in a chicken pie?" asked the bird chancing its luck once again.

"No ... not in a chicken pie either," vouched the farmer.

"Or KFC?" 

The farmer caressed the chick tenderly and explained, "you will be safe. I will take you to my farm where you will be free to run wherever you want and you'll be fed and watered and never ever be killed like those chickens you saw. You'll live a happy natural life in my care."

True to his word the farmer released the chick in his farm amongst his other animals. The chick was happy running here and there enjoying life without a care in the world.

And that very afternoon he was run over by a tractor and killed.


The moral of this story is that more chicks are killed by tractors than by a rhinoceros. 


You can make up your own moral and write it in the comments box below. Invite others to do the same. Let's see how much wisdom we can gather.

Thursday 16 March 2023

Measuring the Future


When you think about it a human lifespan is about 70 to 90 years. A 100 years if you're really lucky. Let's measure this in terms we can understand. For example, walking on the sand beside a beach. Imagine that all you did in life is walk on the beach. From the moment you were born until now, and beyond, all you do is walk on the beach. Can you imagine for a moment how much have you walked? Miles and miles and miles. You've probably gone round the earth several times with all that walking. That's a lot of walks over a long period of time.

Let us now measure your lifespan against an eternity thereafter. Suddenly a 100 years seem such a minute fraction of a measure. Eternity just goes on for ever doesn't it? It never stops. But a hundred years is a short measure from when we're born and when we die.

But people don't seem to think of eternity, do they? They certainly don't measure things in eternity. They don't see the future as eternity. They see it as 70 to 100 years maximum. Many don't even believe in eternity.

Yet if you were to ask people if they will go to Heaven you'd be surprised how many believe they'll go there. Most people probably don't know why, or what Heaven looks like, and what they would do if they get there. Some might say they'll go to spend time, eternity, with God; and not wonder whether God wants to spend an eternity with them.

That perhaps explains why so many people are focussed on the here-and-now. They don't believe in the here-after. They consider this life is it and there's nothing more. So they focus on their well-being, and that of their loved ones now. They become materialistic. Self-centered. Selfish even. Get as much as you can get now because when it's gone, it's gone. You're long time dead!

Many don't believe there's such a thing as a soul, or a spiritual world, or Spirits. Some don't even believe there is a God. So spending eternity with Him becomes irrelevant in their minds.

Let's consider this.

A human body is made mostly of water, chemicals and minerals. None of these components by themselves, if put on a table, can drive a car, build a house, or procreate. Yet put together a human being can perform many things.

An amazing paradox, don't you think?

Is it so far-fetched to suggest that the body is just a covering? And deep within there is a spirit. An invisible spirit from an invisible world. Some may call it a soul. And that humans are in fact souls covered by a body for recognition purposes in this short period of time we call a lifespan. Eventually the body disintegrates and the soul carries on existing in the spiritual world or state of being.

And it is the soul that behaves as humans do. It learns, it acts, it cares, it loves or hates or does whatever a human being does in a lifetime. It is the soul that is the mechanism behind our actions and not a combination of water, chemicals and minerals.

It is the soul that will continue into eternity after its first 70 to 100 years. 

Where it will continue to exist then, is up to you now.

Wednesday 15 March 2023



Father Ignatius sat in the empty church right up front by Our Lady’s statue. He watched for a while the votive candles burning at her feet and then started his Rosary.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, these words came whirling fast into his head, totally uncontrollable and spontaneous, yet as clear as if they were spoken to him there and then.

“How shall I pray?” said the words in Father Ignatius’ head.

“Shall I beg over and over again for you to hear me? Is that what You want of me?

“Shall I plead for ever like the widow to the judge until she was heard?

“How do you want me to see You? As an over-powerful ruler demanding His own way?

“How do you want me to love You? As one loves a monster, with immense fear lest I arouse your anger and wrath?

“Shall I fear you for ever and cower at the thought of your fury?”

Father Ignatius stopped praying and made the sign of the Cross. He took a deep breath … and yet the words continued in his mind … somehow gentler now … somehow softer …

“Love me as a child … with no fear and no dread.

“Trust me as a child trusts his parents when they give him food and drink.

“A child never questions whether the food is good to eat … he takes it in trust and asks for more.

“He never doubts when led by his parents … he follows eagerly holding hands along the way.

“Love me as a child … and I’ll treat you with love and compassion.

“Ask me as a child … and I’ll give you what’s good for you in good time.

“Trust me as a child … and I’ll show you the way …

“No matter how difficult your journey ahead, I’ll always be there … guiding you into eternity … with Me.”

The words suddenly stopped as quickly as they’d started. Yet their message remained with the priest for a long time.

Tuesday 14 March 2023



You know ... every now and then I thumb through some of my books and ask myself, "Did I really write this?" Sometimes, I don't even remember writing some of the phrases or sayings in my stories.

I was reading my first book "Visions" the other day, and a sentence jumped out of the page and hit my conscience. "This world cannot know peace until it learns to forgive".

"Visions" was written back in 2007, (re-printed in 2016), yet today, the world is still short of peace.

Wherever you look, it seems there's someone withholding forgiveness.

Everyone in this world has someone they need to forgive. That's because we have all been hurt in one way or another. Yes ... including you and me. You have been hurt, and perhaps, deep inside your heart, there is someone you still need to forgive.

What's more, we have all hurt someone in our lives. And we too need forgiveness. Perhaps we never asked. Maybe we were, or still are, too proud to ask for forgiveness. Because we believe we were in the right, and the other person was wrong. So why should we be the ones asking for forgiveness?

You see ... we all need to forgive or be forgiven. No one is immune. Not even me.

I have been hurt really badly in the past, and every day I am reminded of it. Have I truly forgiven? I don't know. I know I've tried, but the memories keep flooding back. So does my forgiveness count?

Most surely I too am in need of forgiveness. But perhaps it is now too late to ask for it. Time has moved on but certainly not the pain.

For the world to know peace it needs to learn to forgive. And this starts with each one of us. One person at a time.

Let us look deeply in our hearts and see if there's someone we need to forgive. Even if we can't do it in person, let us truly forgive them in our heart by handing them over to the Lord. Let us pray for them. Right now. You cannot possibly dislike or hate someone you pray for.

If that person has passed away, then let us not dwell on the matter any more. They have now seen and understand the situation with the help of the Lord. They know what happened which led to the need for forgiveness all round. All we need do now is pray for them.

If we need forgiveness ourselves for what we have done, and can seek it from those we have hurt, then let us do so. Whether it is granted or not.

If circumstances prevent us from seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt, then let us seek it from the Lord.

By starting, one person at a time, maybe forgiveness will slowly create peace in this world, one person at a time.

Monday 13 March 2023

That's entertainment


You can't say that I don't search
high and low
to provide you with
great content.
I'm sure you will agree

Sunday 12 March 2023

Christian Economics


As often happen in business, every so often, perhaps once a year, employees start feeling that they are not paid enough. They work hard and yet they find that with inflation, and the cost of living going up, what they are earning is not enough. They would like more. And they want to enjoy the good things in life, like holidays, bigger cars, houses and so on. 

They become unhappy with their salaries. They ask their employer for a rise. If they are in a Union their Union negotiates on their behalf. Perhaps threatens strikes. Eventually an agreement is reached and a rise in salary is agreed.

Now the employees are no longer unhappy. Not necessarily happy, but no longer unhappy. Until, with the passage of time, they become unhappy again and the whole song and dance starts all over again.

Do you remember when you were unhappy? And you asked God for a favour? You may have tried to bargain with Him even. And you prayed and prayed and eventually God answered your prayers. Not exactly what you wanted; but He answered in sorts.

Then you asked again; perhaps it was on behalf of someone who was ill. And you asked again; about a job perhaps, or a promotion, or something else. And again ... and again.

Is that how our relationship with God has become? A continuous negotiation with us wanting more in order to stop being unhappy?

Years ago I worked for a large multi-national as a senior manager. It was hard work, with a lot of responsibility and travelling. I hated travelling.

I talked to a priest about it. He said, "You don't really work for this Organisation. You work for God. They may pay your salary, but everything you do it is for God. Your work should be an example to others on where your focus really is. If you're late for work, or take long lunch hours, or do a half-well job; you are in effect stealing from God. Jesus was a carpenter. I doubt He made wobbly tables. So why should you?"

In a way, that's a good attitude to life. Whether we're a manager, lawyer, doctor or whatever; we are in effect working for God. Even if we're not employed but raising a family, or retired; whatever we do we do for God. Our life is an example that others can emulate.

Even if at times we are unhappy with our lot, and we go to God in prayer; one thing is for sure. He does listen. He does reply. In His time and in His way.

Saturday 11 March 2023

Island of despair


This man was shipwrecked on a desert island. He was the only survivor when his ship went down. He gathered a few debris floating on the surface of the water and just managed to land on the beach. Tired, exhausted, cold and gasping for breath.

A few hours later he regained consciousness. He found amongst the floating wreck a few planks of wood to help him make a hut covered with leaves and branches; and a few bits and pieces belonging to the crew. 

Having struggled to build a place where he could shelter, he spent the rest of the night there, totally exhausted. The next morning he got up and started to search for food; anything that was available, berries, fruits or whatever else looked edible and safe. Most of all, he needed fresh water. He picked up a couple of containers he'd found amongst the floating debris and went inland in search of water. 

He was exhausted. He stumbled several times under the scorching sun. He was walking aimlessly not knowing where he was going and whether he would find any food or drink. 

Eventually, he discovered a small stream where he drank his fill and replenished his two containers.

He returned slowly to his hut carefully not to spill a drop of his precious life-saving liquid.

When he got there he found his hut totally burnt down. He could not understand how this happened. Maybe the hot sun had lit some dry grass used as the roof cover, or perhaps the sun-rays shone through the magnifying glass he'd found amongst the debris. Something had lit the fire and his shelter was no more.

He dropped to his knees spilling all the water and sobbed his heart out. He prayed to God in despair. Why had He abandoned him so? Does He not really care.

As he was lying face down in the sand he heard the sound of a ship's horn in the distance. He looked up, and a rescue boat was rowing towards him.

The ship had seen the smoke from the burning hut and had sent a boat to investigate.

Remember that when things go wrong for you. You may well despair. You may even cease to trust God. But perhaps He is signalling someone to come to your aid.

Friday 10 March 2023

No Fred Astaire


It's been raining and snowing for a few days here. The sort of weather when any sensible person would stay indoors next to the fire with a cup of cocoa watching TV or reading a book.

Not our friends.

They turned up un-announced. Why could they not phone first so I could pretend to be unwell and hide in the bedroom? Not only they turned up without prior warning but they suggested we go out to the Charity Dance in aid of our Church Funds. They had bought four tickets for both of them and my wife and I. 

I tried to get out of it but I was out-numbered. I had to get changed, and then we drove in my car. I hate driving in the dark, in the wet and in the snow. So combining all three I was pretty much **** off at having to go.

The dance was at the old Church Hall adjacent to the church. I noticed that only twenty people turned up, and that included the caller on the stage playing records and shouting the prompts like, "take you partner by the hand, circle round to the left, do si do ..." and so on.

I noticed that the priest was not there. Can you imagine? A Charity Dance for his Church Funds and he was not there. I learnt afterwards that he'd stayed at home to watch the football on TV. Obviously, he did not have a wife forcing him to come out in the freezing cold and dance.

And it got worse. As a few couples got in the middle of the hall to start the dance, water from the rain started dripping through the ceiling. Now anyone sensible would have cancelled the whole event; but not this lot. They continued dancing.

Have you ever tried cowboy style line dancing whilst holding an open umbrella?

The man next to me hit me in the eye with his umbrella. I nearly gave him a mouthful of insults, but had to smile politely because it is the Christian thing to do to love one's neighbour and forgive.  

Anyway, the whole thing did not last long. After about forty minutes they decided to call it a day and postpone the event to another night. 

The cakes and sandwiches they had prepared were distributed amongst those attending rather than sell them with cups of tea as intended. So at least I got home with some nice chocolate cakes.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Under Sedation

Today we took the dog to the vet. He was put under sedation so that the vet could check him out properly and take any necessary X rays.

We picked him up after he was awakened from sedation. He was a little unsteady on his feet and a bit groggy. The vet said he'd be like that all day.

Anyway, as long as he doesn't drive any vehicles like fork lift trucks, or work near machinery he'll be OK I suppose.

We gave him the best food available and the best of attention. He ate the steak earmarked for me and I enjoyed a tin of dog food on toast.

This whole episode led me to think, as I often do ...

I wonder how many Christians there are under sedation.

You know ... going to church on Sunday, say the odd prayer every now and then, and all is OK ... they see themselves destined for Heaven one day.

Is it really as easy as that? I asked myself, but did not answer.

What about "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do." Matthew 7:21

How many people are there just hoping that by doing the least possible, and by ignoring poor Lazarus at their gate, they will still end up in Paradise.

Sleep-walking into hell more like!

Tuesday 7 March 2023

OK ... so it cheers me up


My teacher asked me to characterize myself in 5 words.   “Quite lazy.”

A child’s observation: If a mother laughs at dad’s jokes, we have guests.

What does a shark say when it sees a submarine? Yummy, canned food!

It's not that hard to get a job as a percussionist, you just have to answer the cymbal questions.

Just like the economy, my waistline has suffered from inflation over the years.

The reason that Dracula has no friends is because he’s a pain in the neck.

Why does Mr Potato Head have a cell phone? In case Mr Onion Rings.

A friend asked me if I had seen the film "Tractor". "No", I replied, "but I've seen the trailer".

If I had to describe myself in one word it would be "not very good at following instructions".

The worst thing about hackers finding your password is having to rename your dog.

My mother-in-law fell down a wishing well, I was amazed, I never knew they worked.

It's not the fall that kills you; it's the sudden stop at the end.

People say I'm condescending. That means I talk down to people

Statistically 6 out of 7 Dwarfs are not Happy.

Apparently I snore so loudly that it scares everyone in the car I'm driving.

Tennis would be way more exciting if they used dogs instead of ball boys.

I would give my dad what he really wants on Father's Day, but I can't afford to move out yet.

What did E.T.'s mother say to him when he got home? "Where on Earth have you been?!"

Monday 6 March 2023

What's on TV?


I don't watch much TV. Apart from nature programmes and general "put you to sleep" programmes. I find I easily nod off when I'm watching TV. One moment I'm watching herds of wildebeests walking across the plains in search for water and then I open my eyes and see a couple making love in bed.

How did that happen? Did someone change the channel whilst I was asleep? Or did they build a house in the wilderness after the wildebeests had all gone? And why has he got his socks on?

So in effect what I am saying is the TV for me is a cure for insomnia. Switch it on and I fall asleep.

I had thought of moving the TV up in the bedroom, but to be honest I am no-longer the rule-maker in that particular room. Things have changed since that day when, as a wedding anniversary present, I exchanged our bed for a trampoline. My wife hit the roof.

I did discuss the matter with a nice lady marriage counsellor; and she did offer to visit us at home and discuss the matter together with my wife. My wife totally refused because she did not think it was appropriate to have the three of us in bed together.

So there you have it ... no TV in the bedroom ... ... ... ... ... 

I seem to have lost my train of thought. What was I going to say when I started this post? Could you wait a minute or so; I'll go make a cup of coffee and maybe remember what I meant to say.

(Ten minutes later).

Ah ... I'm glad you're still here. Thanks for waiting. What I meant to say is that I don't watch much TV because it is all so depressing and miserable. Whether it's the news, documentaries, drama or even nature programs. It is all so sad and negative. Even the adverts are miserable advertising things you'd rather not know about or need. I won't give examples; I'm sure you have similar adverts on your TV.

Why can't all those wildebeests gang up together and punch the lion on the nose rather than run away until the weakest one succumbs and dies? That is not conducive to me enjoying a ginger biscuit and a nice cup of tea, is it? Or coffee? Although I'll admit that coffee is not everyone's cup of tea. Some prefer hot chocolate instead; but you know what I mean.

The other day there was this sad TV drama about a woman suffering from severe migraine headaches. She could not speak English well and she explained to her doctor in broken English that she'd spent all weekend in bed "with a migrant." I wondered what her husband would make of this. 

Anyway, I must have dozed off again and as I reopened my eyes there was this advert about headache remedies tablets and I thought it was part of the TV drama. It was not until a cartoon character promoted the product that I realised it was an advert.

And the damn dog had eaten my ginger biscuits.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Wherever you go


Monks of Weston Priory

 Wherever You Go

Wherever you go I shall go.

Wherever you live so shall I live.

Your people will be my people,

and your God will be my God too.

Wherever you die, I shall die,

and there shall I be buried beside you.

We will be together forever,

and our love will be the gift of our life.


I want to say something to all of you

who have become a part

of the fabric of my life.

The color and texture

which you have brought into my being

have become a song,

and I want to sing it forever.

There is an energy in us

which makes things happen

when the paths of other persons

touch ours

and we have to be there

and let it happen.

When the time

of our particular sunset comes

our thing, our accomplishment,

won’t really matter a great deal.

But the clarity and care

with which we have loved others

will speak with vitality

of the great gift of life

we have been for each other.

Wherever you go I shall go.

Wherever you live so shall I live.

Your people will be my people,

and your God will be my God too.

Wherever you die, I shall die,

and there shall I be buried beside you.

We will be together forever,

and our love will be the gift of our life.