Wednesday 31 May 2023

WARNING - Do not read this.




This article will make you think and may well change your mind. 

Read no further if you do not wish to be affected.

 Imagine you were omnipotent. You had supernatural powers and you could do anything you like. You could be anywhere you wanted by just thinking it. Your very thoughts controlled all your actions.

What would you do?

Would you sort out all the ills in the world? Eliminate poverty? Stop evil doings? Stop disasters like earthquakes, droughts, famines, tornadoes and so on?

Would you find a cure to cancer and all other terrible diseases? 

What else would you do with your new-found power? Would you let someone you like fall in love with you? Would you make someone change their ways from doing something wrong to going the right way?

If you miss someone dearly, a loved one, would you bring them back from the dead?

Think about it for a moment. You are omnipotent. You can do what you want. What would you do?

Now let's think some more. 

By doing some of these things we mentioned, are you really imposing your will on someone else? Often, when bad things happen it is because people made them happen. Poverty, droughts, famines and so on. It was once said that someone's sunshine and good weather can be a drought for a farmer. Or the farmer's rain can be a flood for someone else.

If you made someone love you, is that really true love or control on your part?

If you bring a dear one from the dead are you imposing your will on them? Maybe they don't want to be brought back into this world as it presently is.

With power, omnipotent power, comes responsibility.

God/Jesus is/are omnipotent. They can do all the things we've discussed and more besides. But they don't. 

Jesus did heal the sick, and help the poor, and even raised people from the dead. But every time He performed a miracle it was at the request of someone else in need. At no time did He impose His will on others. 

God can stop all bad things in the world from happening, but He does not do so. He allows them to happen. Why? It is because He does not want to impose His will upon us; even though we may pray daily "Thy will be done". He responds, "Yes, but I am also aware of your will too!"

Even when He decreed that Jesus would be born as a human, He asked Mary for her permission first.

People often confuse God's omnipotent power and our gift of free-will. God can influence people to His ways, but at all times He leaves the final choice to us and will not impose His will. We always have a choice to walk away, to say "no" and to turn the other way. Even to the point of denying His very existence.

Adam and Eve's sin was not one of disobedience. It was one of wanting omnipotence and power. To be like God.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Treasure Hunt ...


There's this group of elderly people, about twenty of them, who meet at our church hall every week for a few hours to pass the time and to fight loneliness. We offer them tea and biscuits and have a chat or play bingo or invite guest speakers. We've had someone from the fire brigade talking about fire hazards, someone from the police talking about security and various scams, and someone from the hospital talking about accidents and injuries. Did you know that over 50% of accidents happen in the home? Now these old folks sleep in the garden to be safe. 

I sometimes call out the bingo numbers. I call them in Latin to make sure only the Catholics win. Father Frederic told me this is unfair and a sin. So now I call the numbers in Aramaic and confuse everyone including our priest. Last week I won every bingo game. Is it OK for the bingo caller to be a player as well?

To introduce variety, we decided to have a treasure hunt. A bit like the egg hunts at Easter. The idea was to hide various clues in the form of questions all over the grounds of the church compound, and the people working in pairs would search for the laminated cards and try to answer the questions therein. I tried to keep the questions simple to make the game fun and to encourage people along. See if you can answer some of them:

Q1 - Name all the elements in the periodic table. 

Q2 - Explain what Einstein meant by e = mc2. 

Q3 - What is the difference between amps, voltage and resistance?

Unfortunately, none of the old folks were as bright as I anticipated. That's because they did not have the gumption to find the hidden laminated cards. For a start, they all followed each other and started searching the same place. One of them opened a cupboard containing church votive candles and they all followed suit looking inside the same cupboard instead of spreading out somewhere else. There were votive candles all over the floor. Some broke and were useless. Others got trodden on.

I remember I distinctly said the cards were hidden outside the building, specifically to stop them from opening cupboards and various rooms. So I repeated the instructions and sent them all out in the church gardens. I stayed indoors and picked up all the candles from the floor. 

When I went out I discovered that once more they were all working as one group; all 20 of them. They did not work in pairs as instructed. They had opened the garage and were pulling out a ladder. I asked them what the **** they were doing and they explained they wanted to search the chimney on Father Frederic's house. 

I assured them that all the laminated cards were at ground level. They could easily find them by not raising one foot. In fact they could glide along and find the damn cards. 

Father Frederic heard me and told me not to swear. He said I should confess that sin. I told him to wait until Saturday when no doubt I would have much more serious sins to confess as well. 

I noticed the old folks were gathered in a huddle in the middle of the car park. I thought they were talking about me. I approached them and asked what's the matter; why are they not searching for the laminated cards. They said they were looking for Agnes Murgatroid.

Somehow, she had gone missing. She definitely did turn up at the beginning of the meeting but somehow she had vanished and no one could remember when they last saw her. In my frustration I lost my normal cool demeanour and said, "this would not have happened if you worked in pairs as instructed ... but NOOOOOOO ... you decided to work in a pair of 20 people. Well 20 is not a pair in my mathematics book!"

Helen Snodgrass started crying. Captain Sullivan said, "steady on old boy ... we need to search for Agnes ... what?"

So the treasure hunt for laminated cards turned into a missing person enquiry. It reminded me of that TV series "Missing Without a Trace" with Anthony LaPaglia. Only we were much more thorough in our search.

I suggested ... again ... they work in pairs whilst I take crying Helen Snodgrass to Father Frederic for some solemn consolation. 

Once more, they ignored my instructions and all 18 of them went into the kitchen. They had opened the fridge and were taking stuff out.

I said, "the trail for missing Agnes is not that cold that you need look into the damn fridge ..." 

"We're making a snack before we start searching," said the Captain.

He was of course right. That's exactly what Anthony LaPaglia did in every episode of "Missing Without a Trace". He started by making sandwiches all round. 

I went out in the garden and started by searching the garage, then the fields behind the church in case she had fallen amongst the bushes. I found nothing.

I got back in the house and found them still in the kitchen enjoying tea and biscuits and cake. Agnes Murgatroid was also with them. No one had noticed her return. 

I asked her, "where the **** have you been?"

Apparently she had locked herself in the toilet and could not get out. Eventually, a volunteer cleaner opened the door for her.

Now I need to remember how many times I swore for my next confession.

Monday 29 May 2023

Don't mind me ... I'm thinking aloud.


There are too many thoughts on my mind right now. I can't shake them off. Why can't we shake ourselves like wet dogs do and get rid of all our thoughts for a while?

For example, I have noticed in many films and TV dramas that when women start crying, as they often do, the man always hands them a neatly folded extra clean handkerchief. Do men carry handkerchiefs especially for such occasions? Not me. In the past when a woman burst out crying next to me I just joined her and cried even louder and asked her for a handkerchief. That usually stopped her. If she did not stop crying I just walked away. 

Talking of which, I walked to the stationery shop to buy some envelopes. It had moved. It really surprised me. 

There's been an increase in crime in our multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many levels.


There was an accident outside the car-park. A lorry-load of tortoises crashed into a van filled with terrapins. What a turtle disaster that was. In the mayhem that ensued a tortoise was mugged by a snail. When the police asked for details the tortoise said it happened so quickly.

I hate it when people are so slow. The other day I had dinner with a world chess champion. At our table there was a check tablecloth. It took him twenty minutes to pass me the salt.

At the restaurant I met Bruce Lee's vegetarian brother. Brocko Lee.

There were a couple at the restaurant holding hands. How romantic. I like to hold hands at the movies, which always seems to startle strangers.

I think every married man should hold hands every now and then and forget past mistakes he's made. There's no point in two people remembering the same thing. Like the day my wife asked me to stop impersonating a flamingo. I had to put my foot down.

I went to a wedding the other day. The photographer said, "would all married men stand next to the person who made their life worth while!" The bartender was almost crushed to death.

Wives are strange creatures. Mine waits up until 3 in the morning just to ask me "do you know what time it is?" The other day she started shouting at half-passed-midnight. "Golf ... golf ... golf ..." she cried, "you do nothing other than play golf!" She nearly gave me a heart attack. I did not expect her on the golf course at that hour.

Right now I'm thinking which came first? The chicken or the egg? I've ordered both from Amazon and will let you know when they arrive.

I sometimes wish I lived in a big house. But then who is going to do all the cleaning? Or take the trash bins out? Such a long walk to the side-walk!

Who takes the trash bins out in your household?


Sunday 28 May 2023

The Holy Spirit? What's it all about?


There’s some logic which sometimes escapes us Christians.

We say we believe in God. We also believe in Jesus His only Son. And … hesitantly perhaps … we also believe in the Holy Spirit.

I say hesitantly because most people believe even though they might not know what to believe. And that’s not always their fault.

Sure, they’ve heard what happened at Pentecost, and how the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. They’ve heard of the Annunciation and the Virgin Birth, and the Holy Spirit appearing at Christ’s baptism.

But apart from these and other stories about the Holy Spirit, people are left with a void, a mystery. To many, the Holy Spirit is something or someone to believe in without question. To them, the Holy Spirit is confined to the pages of the Bible, to be believed in and not dwelt upon for too long.

The important questions are rarely asked:

Is the Holy Spirit relevant to them today? Is the Holy Spirit here now?

Of course He is. And what is more, He is here to guide us throughout our lives, through difficult times and good ones, showing us the way, and teaching us what to say and do.

Yet many people, Christians in every other respect, are unaware of this fact. 

To the followers of Jesus gathered together at Pentecost, receiving the Holy Spirit was a real event in their lives. It was not something they had read about in some old scrolls, or heard about it from some prophet. To them this was real indeed. And it became real for the rest of their lives. When they met and spoke about receiving the Holy Spirit they meant exactly that. To them, receiving the Holy Spirit was a life-changing event.

Imagine for instance some major event happening in your life. Imagine having to describe this event to others who had not been there ... to you, this event was and will always be a reality. It happened. You witnessed it. You were there. And now you can tell others about it. It's not just a story you are telling. It is real.

Sadly though, with the passage of time, the story of Pentecost, or more precisely, the significance and understanding of receiving the Holy Spirit, has been diluted over the years.

Perhaps it's because people don't understand the Holy Spirit. They have not been told, they have not been taught. Perhaps too it is because of their confusion in accepting and comprehending the Holy Spirit in-dwelling within ourselves.

Why is the church sometimes so reticent in proclaiming this – the greatest news and central message of our Christianity?

God, Christ, is/are with us right now. Through the Holy Spirit. In-dwelling in our souls if we so desire.

Friday 26 May 2023

Learning from the past


Hello and welcome to Time for Reflections.

I’ve often wondered why it took the Israelites forty years to walk from Egypt to the Promised Land. Geographically speaking it is a very short distance. Why did it take them so long and is there a lesson there for us?

You can read the story on how Moses got the Israelites out of Egypt in the book of Exodus in the Bible. And I think the lesson there is about people putting their will above the will of God.

If you were one of the Israelites in Egypt I you would have seen many signs from God. You remember Moses asked the Pharaoh to release the Israelites, and when the Pharaoh refused God sent ten different plagues on Egypt. And eventually when he released the Israelites, the Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army after them. Moses divided the Red Sea and the Israelites crossed safely to the other side; and then the waters came back together again and stopped the Egyptian army from pursuing.

But even then, when they were safely across the Israelites started moaning and arguing amongst themselves.

They wanted food and drink; God provided them with water, God provided them with manna from Heaven.

But they still continued to rebel against Moses. To rebel against God. To build a golden calf to worship. And to argue as to the way ahead.

Even when they eventually reached the Promised Land, they were not sure whether to go ahead and enter the Promised Land or not; and continued walking round in circles for forty years.

A typical example of putting man’s will above the will of God, rather than looking back at the signs that God provided them in the past that He was looking after them and caring for them.

Move forward to today and look at us right now.

I’m sure we’ve all had difficult times in our lives from time to time. When this happens, what do we do? Do we kick against God and blaming for the difficult time we’re going through? Or do we stop and think into the past when we had difficulties and God was by our side all the time and He helped us along?

Whatever the difficulties that we met, the difficulties that He allowed to happen, He saw us through those difficulties to better times.

Are we perhaps like those Israelites at the time of Moses? Do we moan about today and our difficulties right now, rather than looking at the past when God was by our side and He helped us through our difficulties?

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

Wednesday 24 May 2023

A Tall Tale


Milton Flowery-Underpants was a tall man. Taller than the average tall man. Tall men are usually 5 feet 11 inches, or 6 feet tall or more so. I never knew how tall Milton Flowery-Underpants was because he measured himself in metres.

He was born Milton Flowery but put on the Underpants when he got married to please his wife.

That day in his office he paced up and down in front of his desk whilst I sat not a distance away awaiting his instructions. Moments later he began to speak.

"I cannot understand why sales are down," he said, "research says the public think our product is expensive. But it isn't considering the high quality ingredients therein!"

I picked up the tin of dog food and read the ingredients. I noticed that caviar and saffron were not amongst them. It was the usual type of ingredients you'd expect in a tin of dog food. Cereals, fat, meat derivatives, blah blah blah ....

"Perhaps we should spell out in percentage terms what the ingredients in the tin are and their cost," he continued, "cereal products 40%, fat 24%, meat derivatives 12% and so on ..."

"It's not very clever to tell your customers you're basically selling them third rate cereals," I thought but said nothing. 64% of the product is a mixture of boiled wheat and rice mixed with fat.

"Or perhaps we could also print another list," he declared, "spelling out how the overall price is reached. Ingredients cost 10%, production 22%, transport 23%, advertising 40% and so on ..."   

"That's not clever either," I thought but remained silent, "basically we are spending 40% of the product cost on advertising cheap ingredients".

He looked at me and continued pacing up and down. He knew from past experience that when I did not speak it was because I did not agree with him. 

"Well ... what do you think?" he said, "we could tell them that the product is quality tested by humans. Remember that chap ... what was his name? Oh yes ... Flea-Ridden Fido ... he used to taste every batch of dog food before it was put in the tins!"

"I remember he ended up in the Emergency Room at the hospital," I mumbled.

"Oh yes ..." Milton said, "I recall he developed an unfortunate habit. He stepped off a curb to sniff a poodle's butt and a car hit him!"

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Were you there when it happened?


My grandfather was there and he tried to warn them about the Titanic. He screamed and shouted about the iceberg and how the ship was going to sink, but all they did was throw him out of the cinema.  

I was there when Barry Manilow gave an open-air concert in England. I'd managed to get hold of two rare tickets and took a young lady who liked him very much at the time. I remember the loudspeakers were too noisy and they did disturb my sleep.

I was also there when Elvis Presley met my milkman. It was in London. A group of us went to this up-market hotel for a business conference. As we tried to get in, some security people stopped us on the side-walk and said Elvis was coming out to leave in his limousine. Just then, a milk delivery van drew up outside the hotel. I recognised our milkman and he recognised me. I was surprised to see him since we lived in Scotland at the time. He must have had a big deliver route from Scotland to London.

Moments later Elvis got out of the hotel. He walked to the milkman and greeted him. He bought a bottle of milk and said, "I'm all shook up"; and was driven away in his limousine. 

Another event I was at last week is when my wife incinerated our Sunday roast. Burnt to a cinder it was. I don't blame her really. She learnt cooking at the local iron smelting foundry. She makes toast for the workers by shovelling slices of bread in the furnace.

Any momentous occasion you have been at?

Monday 22 May 2023

I Watch The Sunrise




I watch the sunriseLighting the skyCasting its shadows nearAnd on this morningBright though it beI feel those shadowsNear me
But you are always close to meFollowing all my waysMay I be always close to youFollowing all your ways, Lord
I watch the sunlightShine through the cloudsWarming the earth belowAnd at the mid-dayLife seems to sayI feel your brightnessNear me
For you are always close to meFollowing all my waysMay I be always close to youFollowing all your ways, Lord
I watch the sunset fading awayLighting the clouds with sleepAnd as the evening closes its eyesI feel your presence near me
For you are always close to meFollowing all my waysMay I be always close to youFollowing all your ways, Lord
I watch the moonlightGuarding the nightWaiting 'til morning comesThe air is silentEarth is at restOnly your peace is near me
Yes, you are always close to meFollowing all my waysMay I be always close to youFollowing all your ways, Lord
May I be always close to youFollowing all your ways, Lord

Sunday 21 May 2023

Good morning grumpy


The Angels were looking down from a window in Heaven and saying, "1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ...."

Jesus walks past and asks, "What are you doing?"

Gabriel replies, "We are counting how many people say 'Good morning God', when they wake up!"

Well, how about you?

I sometimes wake up grumpy in the morning. At other times I just let her sleep!

No ... wait ... let's be serious for a moment.

Do you welcome a new day as you wake up each morning? Do you thank God that you made it through the night and are ready to face a new day? Or do you dread another day full of chores, worry and difficulties?

How does God see you as you wake up? Does He smile at your cheerfulness and hope. Or does He say, "Oh ... here we go again! Moan moan moan and not an ounce of Faith despite the many prayers!"

Just asking.

Saturday 20 May 2023

The buzzard, the bat and the bee.


A Buzzard, a Bat and a Bee

What do a buzzard, a bat, and a bee have in common? Consider how they respond to specific circumstances. Each one has amazing abilities. Yet each one also has extreme limitation in other circumstances.

A Buzzard

If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

A Bat

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A Bee

A Bumblebee if dropped into an open tumbler, it will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.


In many ways, how many people are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. They struggle about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there "above" them.

Friday 19 May 2023

What would you say?


This man goes to Heaven and knocks at the door. Saint Peter opens up and asks, "Yes? What do you want?"

The man says, "I want to go to Heaven!"

Saint Peter asks, "Why?"

The man responds, "Because I want to spend eternity with God."

Saint Peter replies, "And what makes you think God wants to spend eternity with you?"

Now let us consider for a moment that Saint Peter asks this question of you. What would you say?

Some might respond that God loves them, and that they have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus on the Cross, or that they are saved, or that they have done good works throughout their lives, or a variety of other reasons, (or excuses), as to why they are fit and worthy to enter Heaven. 

Most often, sadly, these are phrases that people have learnt by heart to explain/justify their faith in entering Paradise. Harsh criticism from me perhaps, but let's consider further.

In reality, why do you think you should go to Heaven for eternity?

"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.

What does God, our Father in Heaven, wants us to do? Do we "earn" entry to Heaven or is it a free gift for us from God through Jesus?

The Bible is full of examples and instructions on what we should do; like helping others, being kind, generous to the poor, forgiving more than seven times, blah ... blah ... blah ...

But is this enough? There are many people who do not believe in God who are very kind, generous, forgiving and so on; much more so than some Christians I have known.

Surely they deserve to enter Heaven. 

Fortunately, the decision is not mine to make; nor yours. Only God decides who enters Heaven. And it could be that certain individuals deliberately exclude themselves from Heaven by their deliberate actions and obstinate beliefs.

"The Gates of hell are locked on the inside" C S Lewis. 

But for those hoping and wishing to enter Heaven, the same question applies. Why should they be allowed in? Why should you, or I, enter Heaven?

Having accepted that no one is really worthy to enter Heaven on their own merit, and that God desires that all of us should spend eternity with Him, then what distinguishes you, (or me), from any other good person wishing to enter? What have we done in life that distinguishes us from all those people who are excluded from Paradise?

Is it faith alone? Or good deeds too that God requires?

"My brothers and sisters, what good is it for people to say that they have faith if their actions do not prove it? Can that faith save them? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!” — if you don't give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead." James 2:14-17.

So the question still arises: If you are sure you will get into Heaven; ask yourself WHY?

Stock phrases like "God loves me" and "I am saved" will really not do.

Points to ponder next time we carry out a self-examen.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Medical Treatment


I needed medical treatment of the bedroom kind. This is very embarrassing and probably not a subject for this Blog. But I've always been honest with you folks and told you about myself and things happening in my life. So here goes ...

I fell out of bed. I was dreaming of playing football and kicked the ball very hard. My foot hit a bedside cupboard nearby, and I fell out of bed. Result: torn ligament.

I don't know what torn ligament means. The doctor tried to explain but I was not interested. All I knew is that it hurts badly. Worse than a paper cut on your finger.

He suggested I go to a physiotherapist. 

Now I don't know about you, but I hate going to all types of medics. I don't like being prodded and checked here and there and everywhere. Especially there!

I remember going to a dentist once and when he said "Open wide" he fell into my mouth. They had to bring a rescue team with ropes to fish him out again.

I don't understand much about medical matters. Did you know that 9 out of 10 doctors agree that 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot? 

Whatever ailment you have the doctor will say it's a virus; which really means "I don't know!"

So I went to church to pray about this forthcoming physiotherapist visit. As luck would have it, there was another man also there a few pews away. He was praying in a loud enough voice for me to hear. He pleaded with God for some money to feed his family. I don't know if it was true or not; maybe he is in financial difficulties or maybe he was a gambler and lost all his money. Whatever, he was disturbing me. So I got up and gave him all the money I had; then I turned to God and said, "now may I have Your undivided attention?"

I prayed that I did not want to go to the physiotherapist. So God pushed him down the stairs!

(JOKE ... It's a joke, people. As if God would push the physiotherapist down the stairs. Trip him maybe ... but not push!)

Anyway, I reluctantly went to see the physiotherapist. You should have seen how much he charges. It would have been cheaper to buy the whole practice and have him work for me.

He suggested the best treatment for a torn ligament in my leg is for me to take up ballet dancing. 

I hate the ballet; especially men dressed in those very tight pants revealing all their bits. 

I told the physiotherapist that wearing those pants with a mixed group of people would be very embarrassing for me. 

He said, "yes, but it would take your mind off the torn ligament."

So there you have it. If you're feeling unwell be thankful that it could always be worse.

Let's hope I dream something more pleasant tonight.

Monday 15 May 2023

The Advocate


John 14:15-21

‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

Who is this Advocate? Some might ask.

Jesus here is speaking of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God, and Jesus Himself, who will come down from Heaven at Pentecost and be within the disciples.

There's often confusion in people's minds about the Holy Spirit. Who is He exactly?

We are taught about God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit … He doesn’t seem to have a title or description.

St Hilary of Poitiers, a Bishop in the 3rd Century AD, described the Holy Spirit as “the Gift”.

He is the gift given to us by God after Jesus ascended into Heaven.

He is the very Spirit of God, God Himself, come back to us on earth to dwell within us and to help us in our Christian life.

That’s why He is sometimes referred to as the Helper, the Counselor, God’s own Being living within us.

The Holy Spirit didn't just descend on the disciples at Pentecost and that's it. A once in a lifetime event. He is present here and now today and is within some people who ask for His presence within them.

Now that last fact itself, God's own Being living within us, causes even more confusion amongst Christians and non-Christians alike.

Sure, Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost teaching them what to say in various languages and how to proclaim the Good News to all. But now? Today? Does the Holy Spirit enter our very souls today?

Can you imagine that?

God. Living within us. Guiding us. Helping us. Teaching us. Advising us when to speak and when to remain silent. What to say and what to do.

Isn’t that wonderful? Or is it too difficult to imagine or believe?

If you were to say to a non-Christian that God is living within you in the form of the Holy Spirit they would most probably scoff, or smile politely or perhaps think you've lost your mind.

The very concept is difficult for many Christians to believe; never mind those who don't believe at all.

And yet ... Isn’t it a tragedy that in this day and age, when many are too willing to believe that the devil can possess an individual unwillingly and reap havoc in their lives; many people find it difficult to understand that the Spirit of God is willing to abide within us and lead us to an eternal better life in Heaven.

But only if we ask Him.

Unlike the devil, the Holy Spirit will not abide in a person unless He is asked. Unless He is invited.

All we have to do is to believe and to invite the Holy Spirit to be within us.

Friday 12 May 2023

In my ignorance


Lord, in my ignorance I trust you. In my innocence I trust you.

There is so much we do not know about God. We all have our own idea or imagination of Who or what God is. But in reality, we are so far off the mark in our knowledge or beliefs.

Some see God as an omnipotent all-powerful and an all-knowing living Deity Who has created all and everything and has always existed. That much is true.

Others see Him as a King Who begrudgingly tolerates us and punishes us if we step out of line.

Whereas others see Him as partially revealing His existence and power to only a few chosen learned souls whilst the rest of us are left fumbling in the darkness of our lack of knowledge.

In reality, there is much we do not know about God.

Jesus said to Thomas, "If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him." John 14:1-12

And then Jesus says to Philip, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father ... Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?" 

What Jesus is trying to explain here is that God is a Spirit. Jesus too is a Spirit who has always existed. He did not begin to exist when He was born as a baby on earth. He always existed.

Jesus and God, and the Holy Spirit are one. The Holy Trinity. Jesus is explaining here that if you have seen Him, (the Spirit incarnate), then you have seen the Father.

The disciples do not understand this until Pentecost, when they receive the Holy Spirit.

Christ's disciples and followers were fortunate in that they saw Jesus in the flesh. They witnessed His power and heard Him describe God, His Father and ours, as a loving and caring God.

But many years later, we, us, living today, mostly have the Scriptures and faith on which to base our beliefs. A few, very fortunate ones amongst us, have indeed met and known God and His Son in very real terms. Not a figure of speech; but in reality.

But for most of us, we rely on pure faith and trust in our beliefs and knowledge of God.

After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said to Thomas, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29

Whenever we have doubts and confusion, our prayer should be, "Lord, in my ignorance I trust you. In my innocence I trust you."

Thursday 11 May 2023

Defective Detective


A Policeman is interrogating three men who are training to become detectives. To test their skills in recognizing a suspect, he shows the first guys a picture for 5 seconds and then hides it. "This is your suspect; how would you recognize him?"

The first guy answers, "That's easy, we'll catch him fast because he only has one eye!" The policeman says, "Well...uh...that's because the picture I showed is his side profile."

Slightly flustered by this ridiculous response, he flashes the picture for 5 seconds at the second guy and asks him, "This is your suspect; how would you recognize him?"

The second guy smiles, flips his hair, and says, "Ha! He'd be too easy to catch because he only has one ear!"

The policeman angrily responds, "What's the matter with you two?? Of course, only one eye and one ear are showing because it's a picture of his side profile! Is that the best answer you can come up with?"

Extremely frustrated at this point, he shows the picture to the third guy and in a very testy voice asks, "This is your suspect, how would you recognize him? He quickly adds, "Think hard before giving me a stupid answer."

The third guy looks at the picture intently for a moment and says, "the suspect wears contact lenses."

The policeman is surprised and speechless because he really doesn't know himself if the suspect wears contact lenses or not.

"Well, that's an interesting answer. Wait here for a few minutes while I check his file and I'll get back to you on that." He leaves the room and goes to his office, checks the suspect's file on his computer, and comes back with a beaming smile on his face.

"Wow! I can't believe it. It's TRUE! The suspect does, in fact, wear contact lenses. Good work! How were you able to make such an astute observation?"

"That's easy," the third guy replied." He can't wear regular glasses because he only has one eye and one ear."

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Global mass shortage


Look folks ... far be it for me to start rumours and cause panic buying all over the world and distress everywhere. But I think it is my duty to let you know that we are heading for another mass shortage throughout the world.

We've had toilet paper shortage, and panic buying. Computer components shortage. Fruit and vegetables, flour, eggs, milk and other food shortages.

Well ... now prepare for a much worse situation.  

There is going to be a mass shortage of common sense throughout the world. In some places it has happened already.

You will notice early signs of this shortage in peoples' behaviour. They will do things, or say things, that any normal "head-screwed-on-properly person" would never do. You'll ask yourself why did they do this? And that's when you'll realise that they have lost any modicum of common sense which they once may have possessed.

Time was when thinking was the norm. You did not need high education and reams of certificates and diplomas to prove you could think. Thinking was a natural occurrence which developed through experience as you grew up. You observed, you remembered, you learnt and you thought things through.

But times have changed. We are now in a modern era and thinking is no longer required or widely practised. 

"Don't think do" is the new lifestyle motto.

Hence the shortage of common sense and the increase in number of fatheads around. Some people are losing a bit of their brain every time they go to the toilet.

And it is not just individuals; you will notice this lack of common sense in businesses, organisations, corporations and any sphere of life.

Don't say you have not been warned. There will be ... and there is already ... a global shortage of common sense. 

Stock up on common sense now and don't get caught short. 

The only way to overcome this, (hopefully temporary), shortage is to ...

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Who reads my diary?


Dear Diary,

Here I am banished to the cellar for a while until my wife cools off a bit. It all started when she said she wanted some peace and quiet whilst she does the cooking. So I took the batteries off the smoke alarms. No sense of humour, I guess! 

We live in an old Victorian house, hence the cellar. The house is supposed to be haunted but we've never seen a ghost. I guess he's afraid of my wife.

Funny thing cooking ... some would say that cooking is preparing raw food, cleaning it, putting it in a pan or oven with other ingredients and actually check it every so often until it is ready to eat. Others see cooking as opening a can of beans on some toast. Or heating a tin of soup. I wonder, do illiterate people get the full benefit of alphabet soup? I used to love alphabet pasta with tomato sauce when I was a child. When my parents discovered I was dyslexic they gave me spaghetti instead.

One of my favourite memories as a kid was when my brothers used to put me inside a tire and roll me down a hill. They were Goodyears!

Life was different back then. I grew up in a religious household. I used to pray and ask God for a bicycle. But none came. So I stole one and asked God to forgive me instead! 

Ha ... glad to see I haven't lost my sense of humour. Unlike her in the kitchen practising cremation. 

Life is different these days and it is difficult raising children. I've spent a fortune child-proofing our house. But the kids still get in somehow. I've got to be kind to them though. They'll be the ones to choose a senior home for me some day.

Life isn't that bad really. My wife and I are happy. We were trapeze artists in a circus. We met on the net. 

She likes going to parties. Me ... not so much. In parties there are usually two kinds of people. Those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is we are married to each other! So I stay under sufferance and make small talk with the ladies. I usually compliment them on their lovely shoes ... that's because I'm lying on the floor drunk!

Looking around here ... I really need to tidy up this cellar. I can see in that corner my step ladder. I never knew my real ladder. I wonder where it is. Reaching some heights no doubt.

I wish I was clever and could invent things and be famous. My grand-dad invented the cold air balloon but it did not really take off. My other grand-dad was a biologist. He tried to cross a shark with a cow. He got killed when he tried to milk it. 

My first job was as a photographer. My career was a bit of a blur.     

Better go upstairs now. Dinner's ready. I bet the dog will enjoy it.

Monday 8 May 2023

Suicidal ...


According to a program on TV, here in the UK, about one in four young people have suicidal thoughts.

I ask myself why!

I don't claim to be an expert in any thing, or to have any answers, but it seems to me that young people today are facing more intense challenges and difficulties than previous generations.

The world is changing fast; and not for the better. This is not the same world of twenty or so years ago. The recent global pandemic has changed our way of living and our way of thinking.

Added to this, young people today are seeing life through the prism of social media.

A prism is a piece of glass or other transparent material cut with precise angles and plane faces, and when light goes in it is broken down into its constituent original colours. This means a white light becomes like a rainbow. I am sure you've seen it.

Likewise, young people today are influenced by social media, the Internet, celebrities' lifestyles, musical and fashion trends, and so on.

More so than any other previous generations. 

They see and read what others are saying and they believe that this is how they must also think.  To think differently risks making an individual an outcast, outmoded, non-fashionable, or an old-fogey even.

Youngsters are "told" what to think about various issues like the environment, politics, consumerism, veganism, world population, relationships, religion and various other topics that are aired in today's easily accessible communications networks.

Added to this, they face the additional pressures of being unsure about their future. There's too much negative news and they have doubts about their careers, well-being and even their very survival. 

The global economic situation and competition is such that many will not be able to achieve their full potential and do better than their parents. 

With computerisation, mechanisation and global commercialisation many will find it difficult gaining employment which will provide them with a home in which to raise a family. 

I read recently that many young people are suffering from depression as a result of the pandemic. Others are so concerned about the perceived real threat to the environment and the future of the planet that they truly believe the world will end within ten years or so. 

One young on TV, he was about 20 years of age, vowed never to get married or have children because the world will soon end anyway. He reminded me of a work colleague many years ago. He too was in his early twenties and was convinced that the world was over-populated. He was married and told me he had agreed with his wife not to have children and add to the world's problems. He was sure they would have a bad life. I never found out whether he ever had children or not. But had he done so, that man would have had grand-children by now.

With ever increasing secularism in a materialistic world it is no wonder that many people are losing hope and doubt their very existence.

Every generation has been through difficult times when the world seemed at its darkest. Yet somehow, we lived through it. At least most of us have. We struggled through somehow. No doubt there are many reasons and theories as to why and how we managed to get through the bad times to where we are now.

We owe it to the young of today, we have a duty to instil in them their lost hope. To teach them courage, perseverance, and most of all to focus on what is really important in life. 

"Keep your mind set on the things that are in Heaven, not on things here on earth." Colossians 3.

Sunday 7 May 2023

I will be with you


Saturday 6 May 2023

I am afraid


When I was a little boy I was afraid of monsters under the bed. My parents soon sorted that out by cutting the legs off my bed.

If we're honest, we are all afraid of something or other. We all have our own monsters under the bed. Fear manifests itself in many forms.

It could be fear of illness. Or fear of old age. Or of being alone, of losing our job. Or fear of poverty. Possibly fear of not getting married and being single all our life. Or fear of change or the unknown. Or fear of rejection.

Remember when we were kids and we had to choose two teams for a game and two leaders would choose from a bunch of kids who will be on their team? Were you always chosen first, or were you one of the last ones to be chosen? That's what fear of rejection feels like. Being the last one to be chosen, or to be chosen out of pity. Like when I sent my photo to a dating agency and they returned it with a note saying, "we're not that desperate!" That's rejection.

Well, let me tell you something. You are never rejected by God. You are unique. You are special. And you are one-of-a-kind. No matter what you may think of yourself you are not rejected by God. He created you and there are no rejects off His production line. 

And another thing; living in fear will not make you happy. No matter what your fear is, real or imagined, hand it over to God. Pray about it and hand it over to God in the full knowledge that He cares for you and will protect you.

Sometimes you may need to seek advice to help resolve a problem or matter that causes you fear. Do so in the full trust in God that He is with you every step of the way. 

Trusting in God is not easy for everyone. Some people do struggle at it and feel that God is not listening or that they are distant from Him. This is the devil playing with our fears to derail us and to take us astray. The closer we are to God in our daily prayers the more the devil will fight to lead us astray. And our fears are his playground. 

He tempted Jesus many times. So we should not be much of a challenge to him.

Prayers are the answer. Prayers and trust in God. Do not be afraid. He has redeemed you and loves you. (Isaiah 43:1)