Tuesday 16 April 2024

Close encounter of the double kind

It was by far the most frightening experience of my life. I stayed overnight at an old stately home which is reputed to be haunted. I was all alone in the house.

That's when I heard someone coming in from the kitchen. Probably a burglar. I hid behind the thick curtains. I was frightened and must have cried a little because I could feel the tears trickling down my leg.

The door opened. It was the butler. 

Then from the window at the far end I saw a flash of lightening, then a bright light that would not go away. The butler remained in the room.

Moments later the door leading to the kitchen opened slowly with a creaking sound. Long bony fingers appeared on the side of the door. Then a long bony face with really big eyes. 

A diminutive humanoid type creature came in slowly. It was totally skeletal made of bones and covered in a pale grey skin. It looked like an alien from outer-space who'd just landed in the garden outside.

The alien talked. He said to the butler, "I feel a spiritual presence here. Is this house haunted?"

The butler replied, "In all the time I have worked here I have not seen a ghost."

"How long have you worked here?" asked the extra terrestrial.

 "About 400 years," replied the butler.

I started crying again.

"I notice you've only got one moon. We have seven on our planet," said the ET, "Now take me to your leader?"

"Which one?" asked the butler, "I don't have a leader. I just walk through walls and solid objects to frighten people."

"That's a neat trick," said ET, "but why the eye-patch?"

"One day I went through a key hole and someone put a key in at the same time. On another occasion I slid under a door and the maid sucked me into her vacuum cleaner while she was working. So now, it's only walking through walls for me," lamented the butler.

"We're not as versatile," said the ET fellow, "but we have tricks too. Because we move through space and time at quantum speed we can tell your future here on earth before earthlings experience it. Like travelling faster than the speed of light."

"That's clever," said the butler, "you can tell the future. Who will win the dog race tomorrow at 2:00pm?"  

"A greyhound!" affirmed ET.

"Which one?" asked the butler. 

I quickly memorised the name of the dog ET said. It was Cucumber.

The next day I rushed to the betting shop and there was a dog of that name at the 2:00pm race.

I bet £500 on Cucumber to win. It came last.

FOOTNOTE: Why are ghosts always in old haunted houses and ancient castles? Why aren't there ghosts at the supermarket, or your favourite fast-food outlet, or in a public toilet in the mall?  

Do ghosts always speak in English? Or can they speak other languages? If so, would you be scared of a ghost speaking a foreign language? 

What would you do if you were at home alone and you heard the toilet flush? I'd probably wet myself.

And what would you do if a ghost told you for certain that tomorrow you will die? I'd probably stop re-cycling. Recycling is so tedious, don't you think?

Anyway, some thoughts for you to ponder about, especially when you're at home alone. 

BOOOH !!! (I bet that made you jump).

Monday 15 April 2024

Bitten by bugs

 

Like many people, I am not immune from worries, concerns, doubts and some fears as to what may happen next.

The world is full of conflict at present. Global conflict amongst many peoples, conflict closer to home in one's own country, town or city, or even in one's family.

How many people have had a disagreement or serious falling out with another member of the family and as a result both vowed not to speak or see each other again. In doing so, not only have they built a great chasm between them preventing forgiveness and reconciliation, but they have also denied a future generation, their own children, from growing up knowing their cousins, uncles, aunts and other members of their families.

By taking entrenched positions that they are right, and the other person is wrong, they have sentenced their own offspring to a different life of not knowing their own extended family; and they have denied the older generation the joy and pleasure of seeing grand-children, nephews and nieces growing up.

What chance has the world to know peace if we can't keep the peace amongst our own families.

When conflict is great in the world we should recognise it for what it is. The continuous challenge of the devil against the Kingdom of God. It is by sowing conflict, fears and doubts that he surely draws us away from the path to eternal Heaven.

We make Satan's work easy for him by maintaining our point of view that we were right in our  disagreements with others. We do this without analysing how important the matter is compared to an eternity in hell.

Truly, the world will never know peace until it learns to forgive.

If we are to dispel our worries, fears and doubts about the future, let us start by making peace with God and each other.

Sunday 14 April 2024

Scars

 

Scars are a reminder to forgive again. 

Look people, we all have scars. We may try hiding them with a piece of Elastoplast plaster, or with mascara make-up paint that hide blemishes on our skin, or by wearing long sleeved shirts and blouses; but the scars are still there and will always remain there.

Especially those scars on our minds that remind us of hurts done to us in the past and the pain keeps re-ocurring with every reminder. They will also always be there. We may hide them with different camouflage, like humour, or shrugging of the shoulder and pretending all is well, or by convincing ourselves and others that we have moved on and its all behind us. 

But who are we kidding? The scars are still there and if we're not careful they'll affect our life, our progress and our future.

We must deal with our scars.

Jesus said, "I have come in order that you might have life--life in all its fullness." John 10:10  

He did not say that we should restrain life with scars, regrets and self-admonition.

When we let our scars hold us back we are doing Christ a disservice and insulting the great sacrifice He endured for us on the Cross.

He has scars too on His hands, feet and side. When He sees them He asks His Father to forgive once again.

We too, should use our scars as an opportunity to forgive once again and move on in God's grace and love.

Saturday 13 April 2024

Father Francis Sings

 

 




Thursday 11 April 2024

My Dear Atheist Friend

 

My Dear Atheist Friend,

I really am not able to convince you that God exists; some would say I should not even try. This is because you are probably well-educated, logical and clinical in your thinking, and analytical in search of proof and evidence in your research. 

Either that, or you probably never gave God a thought and are not likely to start doing so now. 

Either way, I am advised that it is better not to engage in conversation and try to change your mind, because your mind is made up, and you are right, and it follows that everyone else is wrong in their beliefs.

The thing is, I admire your Faith. You are sure, certain even, that God does not exist. 

I sometimes wish that believers in God had as much Faith as you. But they often doubt, hesitate, wonder and analyse what they believe. To them, nothing is 100% certain. They just believe in blind Faith; without tangible measurable proof that your intellect would require and insist on. 

But then, is that not what Faith is about? To believe when your common sense tells you not to?

Some believers, like me, would say that they have proof that God exists, and that Jesus is His only Son. 

They would say that God proved it to them personally. Their stories may differ as to how and when they were assured by God of His existence. How they came to believe. But the thing is that whatever they say, it will lack the evidence and proof that an analytical searching mind would require.

Others would say that Faith is a gift from God. We are given Faith by His grace. That is true, but we must take the first step. We must want to have Faith. We must want to believe. God does not force Himself on anyone. No one is sent to Heaven against their wishes.

There's one thing, however, I would ask you my Atheist friend. Have you considered the possibility that in one chance per million you are possibly wrong in your belief?

I shall pray that one day you may consider that possibility.

God bless.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Much Ado About Laughter



"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend, and inside of a dog it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)

MUCH ADO ABOUT LAUGHTER is not a book for dogs. 
 
It is a book of short humourous stories and anecdotes, some heard here and there over the years, others originating from the deep recesses of my mind. They have been carefully selected by me and my loyal readers as amongst our favourites to hopefully make you smile when life is dark and miserable, or even when a bright light shines inside your dog.

My English teacher used to say never split an infinitive. So he will not be happy with “to hopefully make you smile”; but then, he did not write a book like this did he?

He also told me once “Your grammar stinks!” Which was very hurtful I think, especially since my grandma always smelled of lavender perfume and eau de cologne.

MUCH ADO ABOUT LAUGHTER is available in Paperback and KINDLE from HERE

A 2 minute trailer advertising MUCH ADO ABOUT LAUGHTER
   
From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it. (Groucho Marx).

BUY MUCH ADO ABOUT LAUGHTER FROM HERE

KINDLE FORMAT HERE
 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Time to Smile

 


Wife, “Honey, soon there will be 3 of us here! Isn’t that great?”
Husband replies excitingly, “Oh darling, that is simply wonderful!!!”
Wife, “I’m so happy you react that way! I did tell my Mom you won’t mind her moving in!” 

====================== 

Grandpa’s last words will stay with me forever: “Quit rattlin’ the ladder ya little hooligan!”

====================== 

An elderly man was on the operating table, about to be operated on by his son, a famous surgeon. Just before they put him under, he asked to speak to his son:
"Don’t be nervous, boy, just do your best and just remember, if it doesn’t go well, if something happens to me… your mother is going to come and live with you and your family."

======================  

A new boss is appointed in an office, and he has a really fierce reputation.
He’s walking through the office for the first time when he spots a guy just leaning against a door frame, doing nothing just staring in mid-distance.
The boss decides to show everybody how things are going to be from now on. He approaches the guy and asks him sternly, “What is your monthly salary?”
“£1500,” replies the man, a bit surprised.
The boss whips out his wallet, thrusts £3000 at the guy and yells, “There’s your two months’ pay, now get out of here and never show your face again!”
The guy takes the money and leaves. The boss, feeling good he’s shown everybody how idle hands are dealt with, asks, “So what was that lazy jerk doing in this place?”
One clerk shrugs, “He just delivered our pizza.”

======================  

A wife calls her husband at work, “Robert, have you ever experienced this piercing pains all over your body? Like as if somebody had a voodoo doll image of you and was sticking pins into it?”
“No…” he replied confusedly.
“Alright, hang on… and now?”

====================== 

A jellyfish has existed as a species for 500 million years, surviving just fine without a brain. That gives hope to quite a few people.

====================== 

A chemist walks into a pharmacy and says, “Do you have acetylsalicylic acid, please?”
“You mean aspirin?” wonders the pharmacist.
“Ah yeah, aspirin, I can never remember that name!”

====================== 

I went on a date with a chess player to an Italian restaurant with chequered table cloths. It took him maybe half an hour to pass the salt.

Monday 8 April 2024

Old Masters

 

1 - Ok Folks, once again I need your help. In an attempt to appear learned I have been studying old masterpieces and wondering what was in the artist's mind when he created such a work which is so admired years later. The first is a sculpture by Rodin called The Kiss. As you can see, I have renamed it "I can see right up your nose!"

Can you think of a better or more amusing title for No. 1?

For fun, no prizes, can you rename the masterpieces below, and for an extra point, do you know who the artist is?  

2

3
4

5

6
7
8

Sunday 7 April 2024

Doubting Thomas

 

John 20:19-31

...  Now Thomas, (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came ...

... A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told Him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

How do you feel about that? Don't we too have our faith going up and down from time to time? Sometimes we are so sure in what, or Whom, we believe, and at other times we're confused, our head is in a spin, and we wonder what's it all about.

Before judging poor Thomas who, with the other disciples, had gone through a horrendous period seeing Jesus, their leader, arrested, tortured and crucified, let us for a while consider things from his viewpoint.

Remember, the other disciples too did not believe when the women gave them the news that Jesus had risen from the dead. So they have nothing to be congratulated for.

They were all in a trauma; until they saw Jesus with their own eyes and He showed them His wounds and spoke to them.

Unwittingly, Thomas did us all a favour. Because he did not at first believe, Jesus appeared again and the event was witnessed and written about by John. Had Thomas believed the disciples this event would not have happened and written about for us to read and believe.

A sober thought when we too sometimes hesitate in our faith. 

I believe Lord, help my unbelief.  Mark 9:24

Friday 5 April 2024

Attractions

 

Right folks, I need your help with this. We were having a discussion at a family gathering over Easter and the subject was the most popular tourist attraction in the world. Someone suggested the pyramids, or Niagara Falls, Disney World, or the Eiffel Tower.

Personally, I don't agree about the Eiffel Tower and would not recommend it. It is not authentic. I went there some years ago and it does not lean to one side as in the photos. We bought a small model of the tower and when we got home it too was as straight as can be. I had to put some chewing gum under two of the legs to make it lean sideways. Only we did not know whether it should lean to the left or the right. Someone suggested it depends on which way you approach it. But when you're at home you can only approach it from the door as you enter the room. They should give you instructions with the model as to where you put the chewing gum - not included.

I suggested a great tourist attraction is the screwdriver museum. I think it's either in London or Edinburgh. I've never been, but I read it contains all kind and size of screwdrivers over the ages. Some have different tips like a cross rather than a straight line, others have a tip that looks like a star. Others have a magnetic tip so that the screw does not fall off. You could be there all day marvelling at all the exhibits.

Also, another great tourist attraction is the cross-junction between Acacia Avenue and Acorn Drive. It is visited by thousands of tourists every year, but has never been mentioned in tour guide magazines or brochures, despite its many visitors and it being near the local airport. There's also a nearby fast-food restaurant there in case you're a bit peckish whilst watching the passing traffic.

I heard that somewhere, can't remember where, there's a pencil museum. It contains all sorts of pencils of different sizes, colours, hardness of tip, and graduation of the graphite it contains. They have there a pencil used by Shakespeare when he wrote his plays. It's graded 2B, or not 2B; can't remember exactly which.

There's also a famous museum containing glasses/spectacles of famous people over the ages. Including the ones that Van Gogh dropped when he cut off his ear.

Anyway, how about you? What do you think is the most famous tourist attraction?

Thursday 4 April 2024

The innocence of youth

 

I wonder what advice you would give to your younger self. Think back to your late teens or twenties and the things you did then; what would you like to have done differently? What advice would you give to you the teenager or twenty something?

I would tell my younger self that sometimes some women, or ladies, can be very unreasonable. This happened to me when I was dating a beautiful fellow worker. I was about 22 and she was the same age. We'd been out together once or twice to the cinema and we were in the early stages of getting to know each other.

So I invited her to my place for a meal. I looked forward to it all week; and she said so was she. On the Saturday she turned up looking the most glamourous I'd ever seen her. She was wearing a brand new red dress which she had bought for the occasion and matching red earrings and red shoes. She reminded me of the song Lady in Red by Chris de Burgh. Do you know the song? I'll never forget the way she looked that night. My Lady in Red.

Then she spoiled it all by point blank refusing to cook. There was a football match on TV I wanted to watch and she refused to cook. Don't you think she was being unreasonable? It's not every day my favourite team is on TV.

She got angry and started crying. She said she looked forward to a romantic candle lit dinner and I don't know what else she wanted. I searched for a couple of candles from the cupboard under the kitchen sink, and she cried all the more.

I suggested I phone for pizzas; but that didn't help either. She wanted to leave and asked me to phone her a taxi.

I offered her a packet of potato chips to pacify her and she threw it back at me crushing all the bits inside. 

She would not stop crying whilst the game was on TV until the taxi came. She left slamming the door behind her.

On Monday at work she'd told all her friends and they gave me a hard time as if it was my fault.

If I could I would advise my younger self to get it in writing what my girl-friend expects when invited for a romantic dinner.

Don't you think she was unreasonable?

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Have you been to Emmaus?

 

Just after Christ’s Resurrection, two of His followers were going to Emmaus. (Luke 24: 13-35).

They were totally distraught about Jesus’ death, and even though there was now news that His tomb is empty and that Christ is alive, they were still down-hearted and confused.

Jesus appeared to them on the way. They did not recognize Him. They spoke with Him and told Him their news. They said that their Lord and leader had been crucified, and there were rumours going around that He was alive again.

Jesus did not tell them who He was but explained to them the prophets’ predictions about Him. He walked with them all the way to Emmaus, but still they did not recognize Him. It wasn’t until He broke and blessed the bread that they recognized Him.

Why? I ask myself.

Why did they not recognize Him when they first saw Him, or when He took the time to explain to them the writings of the prophets?

Could it be that their minds were more pre-occupied with their problems and their dilemma rather than listening to Him?

You can just imagine how their mind worked and how concerned they were about their predicament.

Their leader is dead. What are they to do now? Is it all over? Every thing He said and taught comes to nothing? And what of the future? What are His followers to do now?

But aren’t we just the same.

How often do events touch our lives and turn it upside down. Events perhaps of our making, or events that we did not contribute to but they affect us all the same.

And we panic. What are we to do now? What will happen next?

We fear the future, we fear matters getting out of our control and we turn our attention to our problems and our dilemma. Just like those two on the way to Emmaus.

Yet, all the time we are panicking Jesus is there. Walking beside us. Quite literally. Waiting for us to recognize Him, hold His hand in the full knowledge and trust that He will see us through our darkest hour.

It is our doubts, our fears and our worries which prevent us from seeing Him.

Tell Peter

 

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’”Mark 16:5-7

This passage is described in all four Gospels. Mark specifically said, "go tell His disciples and Peter ..."

Why did he single out Peter in this way? No such emphasis in the other Gospels. Look them up.

Let's now consider this. 

"Jesus answered (Thomas), 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' " John 14:6

This is one of the most controversial and unpalatable quotation of Jesus.

You have to make up your mind. Is Jesus a liar, or is John 14:6 true?

Remember that just before the Crucifixion Peter had denied Christ three times. Basically, he put himself away from the path to God. Jesus had said so clearly in John 14:6.

Peter must have been in total despair. It is no wonder he did not follow Judas' example and hanged himself.

That is probably why the "young man dressed in a white robe", (an angel), specifically said go to Peter. To reassure the man that he is forgiven.

And so are we forgiven, no matter what we have done, if we confess and repent genuinely.

Monday 1 April 2024

Why did Jesus have to suffer and die?

 


Why did Jesus have to suffer and die in order that we might be forgiven? Surely, if God wanted to forgive us, and to redeem us, He could have done so without Jesus having to suffer such a cruel death.

These are questions which may have crossed our mind from time to time. I don't claim to have the answer; but here are my thoughts on the matter.

When God created us, He had two choices. He could have created a race of robots, all pre-programmed with His will, all doing as He would have wished. There would have been no wrong-doings, no sin, no evil; and everyone living happily ever after in Heaven.

But God in His infinite love and generosity gave us a gift. The gift of free will. The choice to make our own decisions and to do as we wished. Even to deny His very existence and to rebel against Him.

And humanity did just that. Humanity rebelled. We chose sin time and again, from one generation to the next, and the chances are we will always choose sin.

God wanted to give us a second chance. And yes; He could have said, "If you truly repent, then you're forgiven. You are redeemed. Saved. All is well again between us!"

But God wanted us to meet Him face to face. To see Him as a human. Just like us. To learn from Him. To see His love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and power. Power to heal, power to forgive, power to raise people from the dead. So God sent His only Son, Jesus, so that we may see Him and learn from Him.

Yet God did not take away from us our freedom to choose. We still retained the gift to mock this Man who claimed to be His Son. To turn the other way. To rebel against Him and kill Him even.

Let us not forget that God knew we would turn against His Son long before it happened. It was predicted by the prophets in the Old Testament many years previously. Yet God allowed it to happen. He allowed His Son to come to earth and be rebelled against and killed.

Jesus always existed as God; He did not just start to exist when He was born on earth. He always existed and always knew that by coming to earth He will be rebelled against and killed. Yet, He accepted His mission in obedience to God and in love for us. 

I can appreciate here the possible confusion in many minds. How can a "grown up" Jesus who always existed appear again as a baby on earth. This is one of the great mysteries of our faith; and I doubt anyone has a suitable explanation. In my mind, I think that as a Spirit Jesus always existed. His birth as a baby was as a human being. God decreed that He would be born of a human as a vulnerable child, growing amongst us, learning our ways, and living with us. The alternative would have been to appear suddenly as a Superman type character with many powers that would astound and baffle our brains. Hardly the act of a loving, caring, God. Is it?

So Jesus came to earth as a human; just like us, albeit He was/is God at the same time.

Because of our sin, from generation to generation, everyone in humanity has to suffer. It is the price we pay for making the wrong decisions. It is, perhaps, the cross we have to bear, as Jesus put it in one of His sermons.

Everyone of us carries his own cross. For some it is poverty, for others it is some illness or ailment, for others it is the work we do, or the difficulties of unemployment. Everyone of us has his own share of suffering that we go through in life.

This is not a punishment for our own personal sin; but a consequence of humanity's rebellion over many generations and its propensity to sin; to choose evil instead of good. There is no one in the world, whether rich or poor, whether great or small, old or young, who has not his own share of suffering. It goes with the territory. It is part of life. The good news is that God does not allow us more suffering than we are capable of bearing.

It follows, therefore, that Jesus, being human, as well as being God, had to suffer the pain and cruelty of a terrible death. Not because of His own personal sins; because He was without sin. But because of the consequences of humanity's sins throughout the generations. Sinning humans rebelled against Him and put Him to death; thus fulfilling the prophesies about Him which God knew about all along.

God knew that when He sent His Son to earth we would attack and kill Him. Yet He allowed it to happen. Had He interfered He would have been interfering with our freedom to choose; our freedom to do evil; our free will! A freedom we have used for generations to sow death and destruction throughout the world.

When Jesus prayed to His Father in the garden on the Mount of Olives "not my will, however, but your will be done"; He meant, "not your will that I should suffer, but your will that they may have and exercise their freedom of choice!"

Later, on the Cross, Jesus says, "forgive them Father! They don't know what they are doing," (by exercising their freedom of choice).

It is us who put Jesus to such suffering and cruel death, not God. God knew it would happen and allowed it to happen because of His love for us; because He wanted us to see Him and meet Him face to face; to learn repentance and forgiveness and redemptions through Him. Instead, we behaved true to our evil nature.

When we study the life of Jesus, there are more than 300 prophesies about Him in the Old Testament that He fulfilled in His life. Some prophesies He had no personal control over - like where He would be born, the manner of His death and suffering, where He would be buried. The fact that on His Death the Romans would not break His legs as they did to the other two crucified with Him. The fact that the Roman soldiers would divide His clothes amongst themselves and gamble for His robe whilst He hung from the Cross.

But there is more to it than just Jesus suffering death in such a way. God needed to show us that He can conquer sin. He can conquer death. And He did so by resurrecting His only Son for us to believe. For us to know that He was/is the Son of God. The one who died for us, to forgive our sins, and was raised again by His Father, our God.

Friday 29 March 2024

The Resurrection - Lies or Reality

 

As we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord let us remember that this particular event gave rise to many speculations and rumours all those years ago, and indeed over the years since then.

Let’s consider the facts as we know them.

A man claiming to be the Son of God was crucified and died a most horrible death.

After His death, His followers claimed that He rose from the dead as He had said He would.

Now let’s look at the rumours and the conspiracy theories.

It is possible that Christ’s disciples and followers stole and hid the body of Jesus to perpetuate the story that He is the Son of God and that His Father raised Him from the dead.

But if that were the case; what benefit is there to them to disseminate this story knowing full well that it is a lie? Why suffer persecution, imprisonment, torture and death for something you know to be false? Would you do that?

The other theory is that the Jews, the Sadducees or Pharisees, removed the body in order to stop any beliefs that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God.

But if that were the case; then why not produce the body once the disciples said that Jesus rose from the dead and invalidate the story of the Resurrection right from the start? Isn't that what one would expect in such circumstances?

Another hypothesis is that Christ never died at all. He just lost consciousness or was in a coma, and He woke up once again and walked out of the tomb.

But the Romans were very thorough people. They made sure that those crucified were indeed dead by breaking their legs whilst hanging there. They did not do so to Jesus because when they checked He was already dead. Even so, they did pierce His side with a spear just to make sure.

And then; there is of course the fact:

Christ died on the Cross and rose from the dead.


Thursday 28 March 2024

Tantum Ergo

 

TANTUM ERGO SACRAMENTUM

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Difficult to be Christian

 

In our front window, clearly visible from the street, we have a Cross. At Easter we also have the above poster given out to us in church. At Christmas we have a similar poster.

Not many people in our street, or in town, have such posters. And certainly very few have a Cross in their front window.

This makes my life difficult. You can't have a Cross in your front window and not act in a Christian way. You have to be nice always and kind to everyone. Especially when those door-to-door salesmen call and try to sell you something. And they won't take "No" for an answer. 

Or when those charity people call and ask for a donation. You have to be kind to them; and generous. The other day an old lady called and she said she was collecting for a new swimming pool for the elderly in a senior citizens home. So I gave her a glass of water.

As for those religious people who come to convert you to Christianity. Try as I might to explain I am a Christian, they'd rather I convert to their brand of Christianity. Like buying a different brand of soap powder at the supermarket. How can I manage to be kind, nice and "Christian" to them?

Other people I have to be nice to are those passers-by who eat chocolates, burgers, or other fast foods whilst walking and throw their garbage in my front garden. I know what I'd like to say, or do, to them; but I can't. Because of the Cross in my front window.

There's also someone who walks his or her dog. And when the dog poops, they pick it up as is the law over here. They then walk past and throw the plastic bag in my front garden. I never caught someone doing this; but as I pick up the plastic bag I find it very difficult to forgive other peoples' trespasses. 

On the back of my car I have a fish symbol.

This also causes me difficulty. I cannot tell everyone I am a Christian and then drive like a lunatic. I have to drive carefully at all times. And when someone cuts me up in traffic or does something dangerous I cannot give him a hand signal to tell him he is Number One. I have to be polite and smile and pray for him through clenched teeth.

And when he rushes in and takes the parking space I was about to get into; I have to drive past politely and find another space. Even if it is a million miles from where I'm supposed to be.

Oh, and I always have to obey speed limits. Do you know, I once was stopped by the police on the highway for driving at 40 miles an hour in a 70mph speed limit area. He followed me for a while and then stopped me. He said I was driving so carefully that he suspected something wrong; like was I driving under the influence of alcohol, or was it a stolen vehicle, or what? No one drives so carefully, he said. He then let me go.

You know, I'm convinced it is too difficult to be a Christian.

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Peter's first Easter

 

Discover how Peter spent his first Easter

Sunday 24 March 2024

Lenten Reflections

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Then they threw their cloaks over the animal and helped Jesus get on. As He rode on, people spread their cloaks on the road. When He came near Jerusalem, at the place where the road went down the Mount of Olives, the large crowd of His disciples began to thank God and praise Him in loud voices for all the great things that they had seen. “God bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory to God”

This is the story of Jesus as He enters Jerusalem in triumph. Yet this very crowd which praises Him now will soon be shouting “crucify Him, crucify Him!” Why did they change their mind so quickly? Was it because of fear of the Romans and the power of the high priests? Or were they just fooled to believe and shout what others wanted them to?

How about us today? Do we shy away from proclaiming our Christianity? Do we set a good example by the way we live?

While they were eating Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples, “take it,” He said, “this is my body”. Then He took the cup, gave thanks to God and handed it to them, and they all drank from it. Jesus said, “this is my blood which is poured out for many. My blood which seals God's covenant”.

It was at this very meal that Jesus predicted that one of His disciples would betray Him. Later He tells Peter that he too will deny ever knowing him.

Today we face so many temptations which can lead us astray from God. Let us pray that we do not give in to these temptations and in so doing we betray Jesus once again.

He went a little farther on, threw Himself face downwards on the ground and prayed, “My Father if it is possible take this cup of suffering from me; yet not what I want but what you want”.

Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him and although He asked His Father to take away all the suffering and the cruel death He was facing, He then accepted His Father's will for our sake. How often do we pray, “Thy will be done”? Do we really mean it or do we mean, “Thy will be done as long as it is what I want”?

Jesus was still speaking when a crowd arrived led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. He came up to Jesus and kissed Him. But Jesus said, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you betray the Son of Man?”

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. But how about us? Do we too not betray Him when we miss an opportunity to proclaim our Christian beliefs? When we shy away because we're too frightened that people will mock us and laugh at us when we witness for Jesus.

When they had finished mocking Him they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes back on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.

On His way to His Crucifixion the most pain that Jesus felt and suffered was on His shoulder. That's because where the heavy wooden cross rubbed on his skin and hurt and cut into his skin all the way to the bone. It was a very heavy cross indeed because it carried all of our sins.

Jesus said, “forgive them Father, they don't know what they are doing”.

It is very difficult when we're hurt to forget and forgive. The memories linger on, they don't go away, and we often remember the pain and hurt caused to us. When Jesus sees the scars in His hands, in His feet, and in His side, He too remembers and He forgives once again.

“I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He is not here. He has been raised.”

“He has been raised”. This is the central message of Christianity and no matter what gloss or interpretation modern society wants to put on it, they may say it was all symbolism, it's not meant to be believed as it was written, it's just a story; the reality of Christianity is that Jesus, the Son of God, came on earth as a human being, He died and He was raised again.

“And I will be with you always to the end of the age.”

These words are very meaningful to me and they should be meaningful to all Christians because this is the promise made to us by Jesus when He was raised to Heaven after his Resurrection. He did not leave us. He is with us here today now. He is only a prayer away if we believe Him and trust Him.

Friday 22 March 2024

Auto-suggestion

 

Auto-suggestion is when you believe in something that perhaps is not there but your brain or mind tells you that it is so. For example you could be at home alone and you think you saw something moving from the corner of your eye. Like someone was there and went away. What was it? A ghost perhaps? And you're convinced that you saw it. You were not alone at home as you thought. Spooky !!!

Or you could be outdoors and you look up to the sky and you think you saw something fly past. What was it? A comet? A UFO? Aliens from outer space? A flying Angel? Or your imagination?

I'm sure you've all had such incidents in your life and may wish to talk about them. What were they? Real or self-auto-suggestions? You think you saw something and your brain explains it by suggesting something else that sounds feasible, even though it may be improbable. 

The thing is, such a thing has happened to me recently. It was evening, dark, cold, moonless, and a little misty. All it needed was a howling wolf or coyote and it would have been the beginning of a horror movie. 

There were no such creatures, just a bat or two flying by to provide atmosphere, and me and my dog in the back garden. He was taking an unusually long time to do his business. Running up and down here and there checking on his domain. Sometimes he got to the end of the garden and I could not see him; then he re-appeared from behind some bushes.

I stood there freezing to the bone and looking around at no thing in particular. Then I saw it. It was no illusion. It was there in reality. At the end of the garden we have a huge oak tree. And I mean huge. And there, at the top of the tree was a bicycle. Yes, a bicycle. A real metal frame bicycle with two wheels there stuck in the branches of the tree.

How did it get there? Did someone come cycling down the lane so fast that he hit a stone and flew up in the air into the tree? Possible? Probable? Feasible? If so, where is that somebody? Should he, or she, for it could be a woman, not also be hanging there in the branches shouting for help? How come there's a bicycle up there but not an accompanying human body as one would expect?

I walked to the tree and searched everywhere for a human body dead or alive. There were none. And not a sign of disturbance like plants or flowers squashed into the ground by the weight of a falling body.

I looked up. The bicycle was still there. Could it have been a low-flying E.T. who got entangled in the branches? You know, like in the film. I never understood why he was flying on a bike. I fell asleep half-way through that movie. Unlike the movie "Babe". You know, the film of a pig which can herd sheep. I stayed awake throughout that movie, and when it ended I yearned for a bacon sandwich.

Anyway, I got the dog in and shut and double-locked the back door and looked once more through the window. The bicycle was still there up on the tree.

I was alone at home that night. The family had gone to London ... again.

I did not know what to do. I could hardly phone the police and say there's a bike parked on my tree. I did not sleep a wink. I stayed there on the sofa and kept the TV on for company. Weird programs at that time of night. 

Flicking from one channel to another did not help. So many X rated films, nudity, and channels dedicated to selling you things like vacuum cleaners, air-fryers and other things that I cannot do without at this time of night. And why is it they have so many scary films about ghosts, and haunted houses, and bad things happening at this time of night? 

One thing I noticed; in horror films, if it's about a haunted house and there are strange noises at night, women are always young and beautiful and vulnerable all alone. And they always get out of bed and go investigating any strange noises in their most revealing underwear. Even if it is freezing outside and the wind is howling through the open windows. Sometimes they even open the front door and go out searching where the strange noise is coming from. Or if there is a basement or secret door in the house they always go in all alone in the dark with only a lit candle for light. Never a million lumens torchlight. 

Well, I certainly will not be going out with a candle in search for a bicycle rider right now. I'm too scared even though I'm not wearing frilly see-through underwear.    

I guess I must have dozed off eventually in front of the TV. At first light the dog woke me up. I ran to the back garden. The bicycle had gone.

Now many of you will say this is another tall-tale. I can assure you that the tree is indeed tall; at least thirty feet. And up there in the air there was a bicycle that's now not there. 

What do you think?

Thursday 21 March 2024

Are you tuned in?

 

The closer you come to God the more attuned you will be to the evil around you. Evil in the world, in society in general and certain people in particular. You will even notice the evil in yourself.

Do not be distressed by this. Having come nearer to God's love and mercy you are now becoming more aware of the lack of such qualities in others. Even yourself.

You are now becoming more aware of your own shortcomings and sins. Let each reminder of such failings be an opportunity for you to confess to God, repent and seek His forgiveness. This will bring you even closer to His divinity.

And as you reflect on the evil in others around you, hand them and their situations over to God in the sure knowledge that He is in control and will overcome evil in His way and in His time.

We live in an evil world, and your closeness to God is making you more aware of evil's influence in every sphere of life. Resist it in your own life.

Ask the Holy Spirit to descend on you and to guide you and protect you.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Stupidity on legs

 

Giraffes are stupid looking creatures. They consist of a funny shaped body suspended high up in mid air on four tall legs and then a very long neck reaching the sky with a tiny horse shaped head with horns.

Totally stupid if you ask me. Why the horns? To attack mosquitoes or low flying matadors?

And why such a long neck? By the time it eats something and it reaches down to its stomach the giraffe is hungry again. Surely it would have been better to have the stomach higher up; nearer the mouth perhaps.

And why such long legs? What is there up there that's so interesting to see?

Such a tall creature would have been ideal to play basketball. But it's so stupid it cannot bounce the ball and walk at the same time.

Have you seen it take a drink? It cannot bend its neck and get its head down like a horse would do. It spreads its front legs wide like a limbo dancer and lowers its front end until the head reaches the pool of water.

A friend of mine works in a zoo. He looks after the giraffes. One Saturday he had just one job to do and then the both of us would go to the football match. He had to take one giraffe from the zoo to another animal enclosure about four miles away. 

We got to the zoo early to perform the transfer then have the whole day to ourselves. He had a cage type trailer with an open top so that the giraffe would stand in with its head in the air; and then we'd drive slowly in the Jeep until we reach the enclosure. Should have been an easy job but when we got there the trailer had a flat tyre. He tried to fix it. No go ... impossible.

He got on a big step-ladder (he never knew his real ladder - joke!). He got on a ladder and tied a rope to the giraffe's neck just by the head. It was a special muzzle with a rope.

He asked me to take the giraffe out in the street and he'd phone a colleague to come and help and then lock up the zoo and meet me.

Easier said than done. The stupid creature would not move. It pulled back with me being dragged along. Eventually we managed to coerce him to walk along. I went out in the street and waited ... and waited ... People passing by looked at me and said nothing. They probably thought I was taking it for a walk.

Half an hour later his colleague arrived ... in a Toyota car. Have you ever tried getting a giraffe in a Toyota? Not possible. We didn't even try. His colleague said he would have brought another trailer had he been told what the problem was.

He told me to walk slowly down the lane towards the enclosure destination whilst he tries to fix the flat tyre.

The animal was now more co-operative. He walked slowly behind me and every now and then he would stop abruptly turning his head left and right as if he'd heard something. Perhaps his antennas picked up another radio station as we moved along.

At one point he stopped at a bus stop and just would not move. We waited for ten minutes, then a bus arrived. The driver shouted, "You're not bringing this creature in here, mate!" and drove off.

We continued to walk and stop and walk and stop until I arrived at the agreed destination and handed over the giraffe to its keeper for the weekend.

One word of advice if you ever have to take a giraffe for a walk. Don't stand too close. If he relieves himself you will not be a pretty sight ... or smell!

Monday 18 March 2024

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