Thursday, 31 October 2013

My heart is full of faith again

O my heart is full of faith again, knowing that Christ my every need supplying. That on him, on his strength I'm relying. O my heart is full of faith, that I awake to pray and sing hymns again. The world appears to be a blissful place, a paradise because Christ's melodies is playing in my heart today. O what joy, what peace that flows into my heart like a river. I would not trade his love for all the money in the world. O I can dance in the storm. I can fear no evil and can do all daring deeds for Christ. O my heart if full of faith, that God is ever good to me. His eyes towards me are always full of love, mercy and pity. 'My poor child' he says. 'I have no judgement unto damnation. No, I have no anger reserved for you, my arrows are pointed away from you. I have nothing against you. I only have sweetness for you. I have lovely eyes for you.' O what joys. My heart is full of faith again.


A family should

Family should equal safety, refuge, and freedom. A place where people can feast and enjoy each other with passion. A place where people feel anchored and where people carry each others burdens. A family should encourage hope, honesty and brutal truth telling. A family should spend much time with each other. A family should love and respect each member, regardless of their status.


She did pray well for me

She did pray well for me, namely that I was of some significant in this vast world. That my words were not always like ashes before the wind, but they were like rain upon the earth. It nourishes and helps some poor souls out there. Also she said, that I was a rock, a steadfast soul, one who loved the Lord well and that he loved me well.

I have all the reasons to have anxiety in me, about my future, but to him I can look. But also that there are things that I can do, namely to work hard and to love well. I am to express my feelings without the fear of rejection, to stop thinking that it would do no good. I listened and listened and believed so that now I am very much encouraged to be a light in the darkness, to remove my lamp from underneath the table, and to make it shine brightly in the world, especially in my immediate world. 

I would marry her tomorrow and be content with her for the rest of my life - but I do not think that I am a wine she would daily want to drink. Nay nor the one to richly bless her life. My path is marked with poverty, poverty in spirit and poverty in riches, thus it would make me sad that I never could give her enjoyment in this world. O the sorrows of love are buried in the pleasures of love, but when that pleasure fades, how stormy are those sorrows. They shall blow my feeble heart down.


Singleness and celibacy

A monk once said:

Singleness and celibacy are the two wings by which I must fly into heaven. They are the two shoes upon my feet. And although she is much in my heart and will to wear her as my crown, yet, this is my cross, my self sacrifice, my declaration to the lord that I love him more than I love her or could love any woman. This is so much so that I must forego her kiss, her touch, her eyes. I have tasted the fruit of love, of communion with a woman and none of it taste as grand as the gospel, as grand as fellowship with the trinity. For when I had those fruit of love and communion with a woman, there was something yet missing. But when I devoured the gospel fruit, all in me was satisfied. Therefore, I shall be at no loss if I make singleness and celibacy my portion. They are the two wings by which I must fly into heaven.


Monday, 28 October 2013

The joy of confession: What have I gained by going again to my old sins

We bring much shame to ourselves when we forsake the Lord, when he is leading us in the way. He is telling us to go here and there but instead we depart from his commands and go where our heart desires. I know of persons and even more of myself who have gone again to old sins to drink of their pleasures.

But what have I gained by going again to my old sins to drink of their waters? Nothing at all! In fact I gained sorrow and misery, depression, aches and shame. Only if I had continued in the direction the Lord was leading me, I never should have put my soul through such a sad miserable experience.

And now, I know that it is evil and bitter for me to forsake the Lord. And why did I forsake the Lord? It is perhaps because the fear of the Lord is not in me.  How is it that God who planted me as a choice flower in his kingdom, wholly of pure seed, that I have now turned degenerate and become a wild thorn? How is it?

I think it is because I have forsaken his commandments. Because under every green tree, or one could say that under every other area of my life, I bowed down to the world like a whore.

I dare not consider my ways in secret, nor my ways when there was no discerning Christian. O to consider such things would only reveal my vile lusts. I had loved foreigners and principles that were alien to the Kingdom of Christ, yea I had loved their products and thus gone after them. But now, as a thief is shamed when caught so am I. I had turned my back on the Lord and now in my troubles, I bid God to arise and save me. But where are those things in which I trusted and lusted after? Where are they now? They cannot save me thus it was folly to have in the beginning departed from the ways of the Lord.

But I have sinned. Thus Lord, in my repentance grant me your merciful glance. According to the glory of your name and the death and resurrection of your Son, welcome me back home. I know this you will do for it was your Spirit sealed in me that has brought me to my knees.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Loving the forgotten

The big story in this week’s news was the devastating tropical cyclone which battered the densely-populated east coast of India. The equivalent of a category five hurricane built up speed over the warm waters of the Indian Ocean before hitting land last weekend causing untold damage and affecting up to 12 million people.
I say it was the big story of the week but actually after a few articles in the papers over the weekend and some TV news coverage by midweek it had slipped down to the middle and back pages. Today it’s almost nowhere to be found unless you seek it out. Not only is there no Cyclone Phailin story on the BBC news webpage, there’s nothing on the world news page. Only when you click onto the India section is there anything about it.
This is because only 27 people died. Without mass deaths, disasters just don’t make the news. The cruel irony is that the fact only 27 people died should be a huge news story in itself – the last time a similar strength cyclone hit India’s east coast in 1999 10,000 were killed. The amazing reduction in the death toll is the result of a co-ordinated evacuation of almost one million people and effective precautions taken by the Indian government and relief agencies. Better forecasting such as early warning systems to alert at-risk communities meant thousands of lives were saved – and column inches never written.
Not only was this miraculous lifesaving effort not deemed newsworthy, the lack of blood meant the acute and immediate humanitarian need failed to get the oxygen of publicity it needs. Hundreds of thousands of survivors avoided death but are currently stranded and homeless waiting for emergency relief.  Around 300,000 homes have been destroyed in 16,000 villages with hundreds of thousands of further homes damaged. Power lines have snapped, fishing nets and boats have been destroyed or washed away. Livelihoods have been ruined, businesses wrecked. Despite the launching ofemergency appeals such as Christian Aid’s, funds have only trickled in because of the lack of media interest. By avoiding death, the suffering have been victims of their own success.
As Christians we should try to be aware of the true need around us and look for where we can make an impact. Let’s not just be led by the obvious or fashionable but seek out the opportunities to shine a light on the mundane and out-of-the-way. Jesus often spent his time with those on the periphery, the forgotten and the stigmatised. Whether it was singling out and visiting the hated tax collector Zacchaeus, or helping the mentally ill and shunned Mary Magdalene, healing lepers or recruiting humble fisherman to be his disciples, Jesus looked beyond the obvious and confounded expectations by investing his time and attention in unpopular and broken people.
Often the most overlooked and unloved are where we can have most impact. Like the forgotten thousands waiting for humanitarian help in India, unworthy of airtime, we can often make an impact in the lives of people who are hidden, awkward and in need of love and relationship.
Joe Ware is church & campaigns journalist for Christian Aid

A question: Should false prophecy in the church be a significant problem?

If  prophecies made in Churches are mostly inaccurate, then how can you trust the people that are making the prophecies? Imagine if Jesus or the apostles had made a false prophecy, what would you make of them? What would the bible make of them? Is false prophecy then not a significant problem?

In the bible, A prophet is someone who speaks the word of the Lord. As one speaker puts it:

 ....A prophet is not someone who reports a hunch, or announces whatever spontaneously comes to mind. A genuine prophet doesn’t speak half-truths blended with errors and ambiguities, nor is he someone who simply delivers an opinion that he feels strongly about. A true prophet speaks a word from the Lord. An authentic prophecy has inherent authority. It’s not a “what-if.” If it’s a real prophecy and it contains a command, that command is binding. If it contains a rebuke, it’s serious. If it contains a warning, you had better heed it. And the only way Scripture gives us to test whether someone is a true prophet or not is to check whether his prophecy is accurate or not.....


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A short story: Can we have a chat

In general when someone says to a boy 'can we have a chat,' it usually means that there is something on their heart that they wish to pressingly talk about. Of course this could also be true for a girl. And in this case it was a girl who made the request.

Now the boy is not the one for conversation, especially conversations which have no philosophical, theological, or metaphysical air about them. Even on politics, he would only comment when it was only necessary and to show some politeness.

Now this girl who had made the request to him, he knew a little but she knew him well. For it was her leisure to contemplate him and marvel at his absent nature. She would often go where he is in order to tangle in a conversation with him, but she always started the conversation with the wrong topic. So he would leave because such chats are of no amusement to him.

We can say that the boy was very selfish in character, although he had a very good heart, because even though he had nothing in him for fish smelling conversations (for that was how he perceived them), yet he thought much but not too much about the girl in his heart because he prayed well enough for her.

Now the evening came when the boy (very unwilling) granted the girl his ears.

"Now, tell me," said the boy eager not to spend a minute more than was required, "Tell me what is on your mind that concerns me."

The girl, filled with nerves but possessing the loveliest of mixed eyes said,

"Rene, I want to know what you think of me?"

Taking a deep breath, Rene replied with these words.

"Cecile, what you ask me is not a subject I have lingered much upon, but if it is of any consolation, I do pray for you almost every night."

"That is a very good thing to do, Rene." said the girl. "I am glad that there is something of me in your heart. And apart from prayer are there any other times when I am in your heart?"

Rene paused a moment feeling more and more uncomfortable and suffering the whole meeting a burden. But for the sake of politeness he answered her question.

"Apart from prayer, and except when I see you in my immediate view, I do not linger on your person. Although I must say that you are very kind and of a good well meaning nature."

"Thank you Rene." replied the girl feeling a little dissapointed that he didn't think any more about her.

She noticed the wandering of his eyes perceiving that he wanted to leave and be alone to read his dead authours. So she asked him a question.

"Have you no question for me, dear Rene?"

Rene shook his head but she continued.

"Would you not like to ask me the question I asked you?"

This we can say is an unfortunate circumstance for Cecile. For she had fallen in love with a boy that only cares for the metaphysical discussion on love and on its ethereal properties, rather than wanting to live it in reality, especially the love of eros. Her heart had falling into his calm sea never to be aroused by his passionate waves to carry her into his harbour.

She sighed heavily placing her left elbow on the table and her palm beneath her cheek. Rene, seeing this sorry sight suddenly had a great deal of pity and empathy for her, considering it not the worst of things to engage her in conversation. He knew that she was much in love with him for he was a student of logic and had splashed his mind into psychology, so he understood all of her body language.

"Now, now," said Rene with a smile that she had never seen before, "I want to know what you think of me."

The girl's eyes blazed alight, having a fast beat about her heart, flushed internally, then regained her composure.

"Dear Rene, I think well of you. Infact I think, I think too well of you."

"O do tell me how you think well of me." inquired Rene.

"Must you make a lady empty out her heart?" She replied flirtyly.

Understanding the gesture, Rene wished no part to act in her playful behavior but signaled to her out of kindness that he was curious to know.

"O Rene," said the girl, "I do not know when it started, but all I know is that on a day that was as normal as any day, I found feelings for you in my heart. Your features became to me very agreeable, your brown eyes very charming, and your face, whenever my eyes met with them, melted away my sadness. You are the only boy that appears in my dreams and in my notebook there contains all kinds of doodling about you."

"So you have no faults with me?" asked Rene.

"I ought too, and many for that matter. But because you are very favourable to me, I will always turn a blind eye upon them."

"So that's how it is." replied Rene, then continued. "So I make you smile."

"I have never been much happier than tonight." said the girl. "Talking with you excites me greatly. I wish you would grant me this pleasure every night or at least once a week."

At this suggestion, Rene paused to think. And seeing the good passions that emanated from her face, he agreed to meet her once a week.

They did so for six months without fail. In time Rene grew very soft towards her and very favourable towards her. When he slept, her face would appear so sweetly and calmly in his dreams. And soon enough he aroused the waves of his calm sea, falling with all the admiration in the world on one knee, asking her absolutely that he wanted her to be his wife.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

We both fell asleep

Why do i care about what happens to her. Her happiness seems to be mixed up with mine. When she is unhappy I worry about her. Will she make the same mistakes? Is she crying? Is she lying on her bed wanting to take her own life? Will she make the same mistakes? That last question lingers much on my mind especially when I am alone with myself. I cannot sleep because I worry about her. My feelings rise and my heart begins to ache. Why do I feel like this? Why did I let myself get into this position. I wish I had no care. I wish my death would come tomorrow, yea for me to eternally go to sleep because I see that I have no future. There is nothing I can do in this world. I am no good. And although I think that she once thought well of me, I think that she is now thinking of another. When she was thinking well of me I delayed my love towards her. But now I feel for her and I fear that she no longer feel for me. What sadness! what aches! But life is such that one must move on. I wish I had something to do but I have nothing at all. A poor man is a burden to his family and his friends, because he is always looking for money to borrow to pay his debts. I have many and I have hardly any hope of paying them. O to die in peace and leave all my worries and sorrows on this green earth.

So I crumble the tablets in the water. I shake and stir. I put the glass on my lips and put it back down again. I hold my head and bring it down to my chest. I rise up from my chair to look into the bathroom mirror. I splash cold water on my face. I take three deep breathes and go back to my bed. The water still sits on the bedside table. I go to bed only to wake up that she came around last night and had drunk half of the water. I tremble as I saw her body laying lifeless. She was the only thing keeping me alive. I call for the ambulance. I wrote a quick note. Then closing my eyes I picked up the half glass of water and drank it all in one gulp. My vision got blurry. I lay next to her placing her left arm on my chest. My face kissed her cheek and slowly and happily I drifted into the world beyond this one. I fell asleep. We both fell asleep.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

The devil cannot love

The devil cannot love. The devil cannot forgive, therefore the devil is the most miserable of persons. His anger and bitterness grows from age to age. It knows no decreases, it shall never end. His fury shall rise as the smoke for all eternity. Even in chains he curses heaven. He still holds the deep resentment for humanity. He walks around like a lion on this earth to cause chaos. Never could he strife for peace. Destruction and death are his two angels, poverty and greed are his cherub, pride is the crown on his head and hatred is his black garment. The devil cannot love. His kingdom is built on enmity, everyone in his camp is abominable. He lurks in powerful places, he sleeps in the harlots house. He makes friends with hypocrites and wages war on the penitent. The devil cannot love but he lies, he steals and cheats. He is vile, base and pomp. Therefore children, beware of the devil, especially of the devil inside of you. 


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

My pleasure is entirely in the Lord of magnificent hosts

God of all lights, I do pray for your people, that their 

treasure will be found in thee, for you are worth more 

than ten minutes a day, more than an hour a week, 


more than a thanks for every meal. For when men in 

their leisures do employ, rarely is it seen that it should 

be wrapped up in thee, for indeed they joy in health, 

dance and play and do their favourite things, but 

rare as a phoenix seen, once a millennia, that a soul 

should say, 'my pleasure is entirely in the Lord of 

magnificent hosts.' 

Reading or swimming, playing or listening, this alone 


my soul: Worshipping my Lord, desiring his presence 



Christ may lead us through waters deep

Christ may lead us through waters deep, trials will surely come our way, when rich, poverty may suddenly strike. Fret not, its Christ testing thee.

Christ may lead us through waters deep, through oceans vast, and through valleys dark. When dancing, paralyses may suddenly strike. Fret not, its Christ testing thee.

Christ may lead us through waters deep, through deaths billowing waves, and through worldly scorn. Fret not, its Christ testing thee, for at last, He will lead us home.


By faith I lean heavily upon the cross of Christ

By faith I lean heavily upon the cross of Christ, wet with the 

saviour's blood that flows. For it is my remedy to wash away


sins, and take away my guilt. 

By faith I do see Christ, my 

faithful high priest, taking some of his own blood with his 

finger marking it on my forehead. By this he makes 


for me, and now I smell ever pleasing to the God above.


Friday, 4 October 2013

The Joy of confession

Sinner: Dear Sir, the devil has set my mind on fire, it groans and laments, left sacrilege, defiled by the lustful hands of sin. Depression thus enters, taking her seat as a wicked witch blackening every ray of white which served as joy to my soul. She orders her minions to burn to ashes every seed of hope, and to open wide the gates, so that all the despairing thoughts as well as all the soul destroying vices may enter in. Virtue is locked in prison, Christ has fallen and the self weeps in pity. The soul is in unbreakable chains, and darkness runs wild. Is this the portion for a saint who did not guard his soul from sin? That after many dabbling in the devil's water, that now I am drowned by it. Jerusalem the city of refuge is far off. Will I perish in Babylon, eating by the Lions that slept with Daniel. They touched him not for he was clean, yea holy, but I, a most disgusting thing, should not be worth their digestion but rather their anger in tearing me to pieces. Is heaven so offended that she would leave me to continually lay on thorns. Dejection now holds me down, her chords are around my waist and neck. Resignation does strike her broken chords, calling me to take her strings and use it as the means of my escape. I shall therefore enter hell, dragging my soul into the burning lake with great sorrow and regret.

Sir: My dear friend, the devil and your old man may deal blows at you. But don't then start dealing blows to yourself. David fell, but he rose up to fight the enemy. Peter fell, but he did not hang himself. Many saints have fallen from their heights, but none who continued to look to the Savior ever perished. Nay, none of them had their eternity in hell. Will you take hope by the hands like David and Peter? Will you see the mercy and love in your Father's eyes rather than the guilt in your eyes. O reach out to him. He loves thee and his sword his held out not to cut thee but to cut off your chains. 


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I sought him, and he answered me

Yes my Jesus is worthy of worship. He is worthy of praise. For who is like Him that has broken every chain that kept me away from the Father's love. He made my salvation effectual; that my wandering feet would end up before the throne of his Father. I sought him, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Therefore, my soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I see by faith the excellencies of Christ Jesus. Such marvelous beauty has won my heart that I am drawn heavenwards. Thus the charm of the world only sound to me as the hiss of a serpent, whereas his melody, yea, his divine song is as the sun compared to the candles of Beethoven's grandest symphonies. Those who look to him are radiant - they shine with luminous intensity. They lack no good thing. Will you not come and see for yourself that beauty which exists in no other? If you know not how, ask for the gospel, ask to be told the gospel of Christ.


Too young to vote?

This week in his conference speech Ed Miliband joined a growing band of politicians promising to lower the voting age to 16. Alex Salmond led the way, the Lib Dems then followed suit and now Labour have done the same.

Disenfranchisement is a serious issue. Young people are not interested in politics. Would giving more young people the vote help?

At the last election only 44 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 voted, compared with 73 per cent of those aged 65 and over. It is no surprise that pensions (notice they are never called benefits) are protected by the coalition, while university fees tripled.

The younger generation don’t use the vote they have and as a consequence policy is skewed towards an older generation. Free bus passes, TV licences and a winter fuel allowance for pensioners regardless of income make sense when you look at who votes.

Being allowed to vote is one thing, using it is something completely different.

So is a 16-year-old mature enough to vote?

At 16, you can live on your own, get married, pay taxes and serve in the army. But you will need your parents’ permission to get married unless you live in Scotland, and you won’t be allowed to serve on the frontline in war zones until you are 18.

You are not allowed to buy tobacco, alcohol, knives, fireworks or solvents. A 16-year-old cannot enter a casino or drink in a pub. You have to be 17 to hold a driving licence. But, from the age of 13 anyone is allowed to work part-time and in certain professions like the theatre, sport or modelling there is no minimum age, provided parents get official approval. Surely there should be no taxation without representation? But how many 16-year-olds actually pay tax?

The reality is that legislation is moving to keep young people in education or training until they are 18. The recent trend has been towards greater protection of children, raising the legal definition of a child from 16 to 18 in some legislation.

Adulthood is being delayed. Generation Y or the Millennials, as they are known, have pushed back the five milestones of adulthood: completing schools, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having kids.

In the UK, the average age at which men get married is 32 years, while for women it is now 30. Back in 1981 it was 25.4 and 23.1 respectively. So if people are growing up later, should we be pushing the voting age back up to 21?

Those aged between 16 and 18 do occupy an unusual status in the UK. It is strange what as a society we have decided they can and cannot do. If we allowed 16-year-olds to vote we would join an unusual group of countries – Brazil, Ecuador, Austria, Nicaragua, Cuba and Argentina. These countries are not top of the list of thriving democracies.

But there is another point worth considering. If you are a Christian reading this article, then the chances are you made that decision before your 16th birthday. Most people who become Christians do so when they are young, and those that make this decision before their teenage years are more likely to remain committed.

The Church has invested a huge amount of time and resource into children’s and youth ministry believing those under 16 can make a life-changing decision. So why not allow those same people to vote?

Peter Lynas is director of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland.

Dedicated to excellence

I ought to be dedicated to excellence, that everything I do is done to the best of my ability. We ought to give all to God and do all as if ...