Mike's Blogs

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

19th September 2020

It’s time for Christians to wake up and smell the coffee. We are living in truly evil times and most Christians are living in dream land, completely unaware of what’s really going on. They think that the Coronavirus crisis happened naturally and that it will be over soon. They are wrong.

The Coronavirus crisis that is in full swing globally did not occur naturally. It was planned years ago. It is not a pandemic; it’s a plandemic. According to a virologist who worked for the World Health Organisation, COVID-19 is a manmade virus, created in a military laboratory in Wuhan. She says that she has proof that it is not natural. Regardless of whether or not the virus is natural, all of the activities associated with it were planned years ago. There are powerful global forces at work whose stated aims are to reduce the population of the earth, control the masses, take control of all of the earth’s resources, create a single monetary system, create a one world religion and set up a one world government. The means to these ends are the global warming hoax and the coronavirus hoax. They are using fear, lies, propaganda and censorship to trick us all and get us to comply with their plans.

I am not making this up and I’ve not lost my mind. All of the evidence is out there for anyone who wants to take the trouble to do the research. All you need to do is look into the United Nation’s Agenda 21, the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset, the Club of Rome and the Blair Faith Foundation for example. I would also recommend that you look up Dr Vernon Coleman (vernoncoleman.com) and J D Farag (Hawaiian pastor). Dr Coleman produces regular videos about the coronavirus hoax which can be found on the video platform Brand New Tube. J D Farag produces weekly prophecy updates from his church in Hawaii which are available on YouTube at the moment. He provides the same kind of information as Dr Coleman but from a biblical prophecy point of view. What we are witnessing is a global coup designed to change the world into a kind of hell on earth for most of us. You can find out much more about what’s really going on from Dr Coleman and J D Farag.

Although there are certain individuals and organisations behind the Coronavirus hoax, the real driving force is Satan. Satan is masterminding a global plan that will prepare the world for the Antichrist and we are witnessing the first steps. He is creating a new world order, otherwise known as the ‘new normal’. Part of his plan is to silence and disable the church. The restrictions being imposed on the church around the world are truly demonic. And those Christians and their churches who are bowing down to these demonic restrictions are collaborating with the Devil. But this should come as no surprise. For decades now, most of the Church has been becoming more and more apostate. And what this plandemic has done is expose just how rotten most of the church is. However, God has always made sure that there is a remnant of true believers no matter how bad things get and that is just as true today. There are some leaders and their churches who have not bowed down to Satan’s plan despite being under great pressure. Most notable among them are J D Farag and Calvary Chapel in Hawaii and John MacArthur and Grace Community Church on Los Angeles.

Anyone who thinks that the church is going to be allowed to go back to the way it was are living in cloud cuckoo land. We will never get our religious freedom back. Not only that, things are going to get much worse in every way. Time is running out; what’s happening now is just the start of a truly wicked plan for mankind. Wake up you sleepers and smell the coffee.

Forsake Not The Assembly

26th July 2020

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:23-25

In verse 25 above the writer to the Hebrews gives a command not to forsake the assembling together of the Church. The words, ‘assembling together’ are translated from the Greek word, ‘episynagoge’ which actually means ‘to gather together in one place’. This is what the church is meant to do; to gather together in one place. This means that we must meet in one geographical place or location such as a building or a place outside such as a field, a park or a beach. However, most churches today are meeting online with the various members scattered around in different places, usually their homes. Churches that do this are disobeying God.

Notice that the writer to the Hebrews says that the commend to assemble together is even more important as we see the day drawing near. The ‘day’ that the writer is referring to is the Day of the Lord or the Second Coming. And anyone who does what Jesus told us to and observes the signs of the times can be in no doubt that the ’Day’ is very, very close right now. We are moving rapidly towards the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming. And because we are so close, Satan wants to stop the Church from functioning as it ought to. That is what is happening right now all around the world. And that’s what lies behind the restrictions being imposed upon us. It is exactly this situation that the writer to the Hebrews has in mind.

So, those Christians who want to obey God must stop meeting online and start to assemble together. That’s what I’m doing. Will you join me? And if you live in the Manchester area and you want to assemble together with me, just get in touch with me through the Contact page on this site.

It’s Over

18th July 2020

The Church Age is over. Yes, I am convinced that the Church Age is over. The Church Age began on the day that Jesus rose from the dead and it will end when the Church is Raptured (see my teaching on the Rapture). Although the Rapture of the Church has not happened yet, the Church is no longer functioning as it should and has effectively come to an end for good. I say this because I am convinced that the government will never allow the Church to function as it should ever again; that is, to be the Church that is described in the Word of God (the Bible).

When the Coronavirus outbreak began earlier this year, some church leaders thought that it had been sent by God as a judgement upon the earth in order to bring millions to faith in Jesus. However, they could not have been further from the truth. They were missing the point completely. The virus was not sent by God. What they should have been looking at were the actions being taken by governments all around the world in response to the outbreak. Covid-19 is just another virus that is no more dangerous than the annual flu outbreak and yet the measures imposed on us are extreme and totally unnecessary. They are totally disproportionate to the threat posed by Covid-19. And that’s because the real purpose of the measures has nothing to do with the virus. The virus is simply being used as an excuse to introduce them. The measures are really about the manipulation and control of the masses. The threat from the virus has been deliberately exaggerated in order to get us to accept the loss of our freedoms and to give enormous, dictatorial power to governments. There are powerful forces at work preparing the world for a one-world government (as prophesied in the Book of Revelation) and we are witnessing the first steps designed to move us towards that goal. We are seeing the birth pangs that Jesus spoke about in Matthew chapter 24.

The measures being forced upon us are evil. They are designed to make us fearful. Fear does not come from God. The most common words spoken by Jesus to his disciples in the Gospels were ‘fear not’. The fear being instilled in us by governments, scientists and the main stream media is designed to get us to agree to being controlled. The social distancing, virtual house arrests, quarantining and isolation are designed to keep us apart and harm us mentally. The lockdown or closing down of the economy was designed to cause financial ruin and create despair and anarchy. The introduction of tracking systems is designed to get us used to having our every move followed and to take away our privacy so that we can be controlled and manipulated. The measures being imposed on us will cause the breakdown of society, they will cause enormous health problems in the future and horrendous financial suffering for millions and finally, they will cause many people to die prematurely (far more than Covid-19). And these measures will not be lifted soon; they will remain in place to some extent for a long time. That is why I say they are evil.

And the most astonishing thing to me is that most people can’t see what is really happening. We are being manipulated and lied to and most people can’t see it. Now, it comes as no surprise to me that unbelievers would not see the truth but what shocks me is that most Christians can’t see it. Most Christians have completely bought the lie and think that all the measures are necessary and that it will all end soon. They are deluded. It will not end soon; in fact, it is going to get worse. The government has shut the church down and most Christians have accepted it. I’ve even heard some Christians saying how wonderful the lockdown has been, as if it was a gift from God. Most churches have moved online, creating virtual churches. But this is unbiblical and is not true church. We should not be doing this. Many Christians positively embrace and relish what the government has done to the Church. So, as I say, it amazes me that most people, including Christians, can’t see what is really going on. In 2 Thessalonians 2:11 Paul talks about God sending a strong delusion on the people of the earth causing them to believe a lie. I know he was talking about the Great Tribulation, but it seems to me that something similar is happening right now. This means that only those Christians who know the scriptures and who are in close fellowship with Jesus can see through the lie and understand what is really happening. The rest are deluded and need to wake up from their slumber.

At the beginning of this blog I said that the Church Age is effectively over and everything else I have said is evidence to back up that claim. I am not alone in being able to see what is really going on. There are other Christians who can see what I can see and there even some non-Christians who can see what’s really going on. The difference between the Christians and the non-Christians is that the Christians know why these things are happening. So, I am saying to the deluded Christians, ‘wake up’! Wake up, it’s over, the groom is coming for His bride very soon.

To Obey or Not to Obey That is the Question

21st June 2020

This blog is a follow on to the one I published on the 14th of June. On that occasion I showed that, because of the restrictions imposed by the UK government, the kind of Church we now have is unbiblical. As I said on that occasion, the Word of God defines what the church is and how it should function. However, the government has stopped the Church from doing what the Lord has instructed us to do. So, the obvious question that arises from this situation is, should the Church obey the government of the Word of God?

In response to this question, many Christians will point to the instructions given by the Apostle Paul in Romans regarding submission to authorities. This is what Paul says:

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
Romans 13:1-2

If we take this text on its own it seems clear that we should always obey the government otherwise there will be consequences for us. However, what if the government goes against the will of God? We see all over the world that governing bodies don’t always act with the best interests of Christians. Some are positively hostile to Christians. We must not forget that we live in a fallen world and this affects the judgement of governments as much as anyone else.

Despite what the Apostle Paul tells in us Romans, the Apostles did not always obey the authorities. We see this in the Book of Acts:

When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in his name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5:27-29

On this occasion, the ruling religious authority in Jerusalem had told the Apostle to disobey God by not preaching the Gospel. The Apostle Peter’s response is clear. God is the ultimate authority and his commands must take precedence, especially when the government is going against God’s will.

So, while it’s true that Christians should submit to the ruling authorities of the land, there are instances where submitting to the higher authority, God, must take precedence. Defying the government in such circumstances is not easy and it can have serious consequences for Christians. Nevertheless, there are times when we must show our faith by obeying God rather than the government.

It is my opinion that the current restrictions imposed on the Church by the government is one such instance. As far as I can see, the government has no plans for the foreseeable future to allow the Church to function in accordance with the Word of God. Therefore, I believe that it is time for Christians in this country to obey God and not the government in respect of the function of the Church. This means that we should get back to doing everything we were doing and the way we were doing it before the lockdown, as long as what we were doing was in conformity with the Word of God. And face the consequences in doing so. Christians are meant to live by faith but it takes no faith to obey the anti-Christian rules of the government. But it does take faith to obey God rather than the government with all the powers at their disposal.

Having said that we should of course provide safeguards for those Christians who are vulnerable to the Coronavirus if they want them.

When is the Church not the Church?

14th June 2020

The simple answer to the questions is, when the church is operating under the current lockdown rules. Before I explain further, I just want to say that everything I am about to say is based on the situation right now in England where I live. I do not know exactly what the lockdown restrictions are in other countries.

Since March this year the government has imposed severe restrictions upon the citizens of England in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions impact on every part of society, including the church. For the church this has meant that we are no longer able to meet in our church buildings or home groups. And we have all been held separate in our family homes. In other words, as a church, we are no longer able to meet together physically or work together physically. In response, many churches have stopped most activities and have turned to meeting online through video conferencing. In doing so, the church’s activities have been restricted to online or virtual Sunday services, prayer meetings and bible studies. In effect we are left with a virtual church on the internet. But is this right?

When it comes to understanding what the Church is meant to be, we need to turn to the New Testament where the Church was first revealed. So how does the Bible define the Church. The original Greek word for Church is Ekklesia which means the assembly of believers. And in Matthew 18:20 Jesus described the Church with these words: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” It is clear from the New Testament that Christians are meant to assemble or gather together physically in one place to worship God, use the gifts of the Holy Spirit, build one another up, exercise ministries and have love feasts. But is that happening now?

Before I go any further, I just want to list those things that the Church can no longer do under the government-imposed restrictions:

  • We can’t assemble together in one place.
  • We can’t have love feasts or share bread and wine in communion.
  • We can’t have baptisms.
  • We can’t worship together in accordance with scripture.
  • We can’t do missionary outreaches.
  • We can’t preach in public to groups of people.
  • We can’t debate with Muslims at Speakers Corner in London.
  • We can’t have any events such as conferences, summer camps or exhibitions.
  • We can’t lay hands on the sick or anoint them with oil.
  • We can’t include those who are not on the internet.
  • We can’t effectively counsel anyone.
  • We can’t shake hands.
  • We can’t give each other a holy kiss.
  • We can’t give any physical comfort to each other such as holding hands or putting an arm around.
  • We can’t provide a shoulder to cry on.
  • We can’t have proper home groups (2 metre distancing is impractical).
  • We can’t provide hospitality.
  • Many of the talents and gifts that Christians have are now lying dormant.

 

We can have bible studies online but they are nowhere near as effective as they are face to face. We can have Sunday services online but they are limited (we can’t sing hymns together) and unbiblical. We can have prayer meetings online but yet again they are not as effective and they are unbiblical.

At the moment we are able to open our church buildings for private prayer but that is based on a false understanding of true Christianity. As I have stated above, the Church is the assembly of believers and that is what our church buildings are for. Private prayer can be done anywhere; there is nothing special about our buildings. It appears at the moment that the government is going to allow us in the near future to use our church buildings for other activities such as collective worship. However, we will have to keep two metres apart, wear masks and we won’t be allowed to sing hymns. When that happens will still not have a biblical Church.

I hope you can now see why I said from the beginning of this blog that the Church is not the Church when it is under the current lockdown restrictions and that won’t change when we can use our buildings again in July. In effect the Church no longer exists in this as it is meant to be. Instead we have a false online version of the Church. And that won’t change until the Church returns to the biblical model if it ever does.

Seeking Out The Lost Sheep

22nd April 2020

I would like to share with you something encouraging from C H Spurgeon’s daily readings. It is a message of assurance and is based on Ezekiel 34:11. Below I have set out the text and Spurgeon’s thoughts on it.

For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”
Ezekiel 34:11

This he does at the first when his elect are like wandering sheep that know not the shepherd or the fold. How wonderfully doth the Lord find out his chosen! Jesus is great as a seeking shepherd as well as a saving shepherd. Though many of those his Father gave him have gone as near to hell-gate as they well can, yet the Lord by searching and seeking discovers them, and draws nigh to them in grace. He has sought out us: let us have good hope for those who are laid upon our hearts in prayer, for he will find them out also.

The Lord repeats this process when any of his flock stray from the pastures of truth and holiness. They may fall in to gross error, sad sin, and grievous hardness; but yet the Lord, who has become surety for them to his Father, will not suffer one of them to go so far as to perish. He will by providence and grace pursue them into foreign lands, into abodes of poverty, into dens of obscurity, into deeps of despair; he will not lose one of all that the Father has given him. It is a point of honour with Jesus to seek and to save all the flock, without a single exception. What a promise to plead, if at this hour I am compelled to cry, ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep’!

The Coronavirus Crisis

6th April 2020

Many Christians are trying to make sense of the current crisis regarding the Coronavirus pandemic which is affecting the whole world. A particular strain of Coronavirus known as Covid-19 is spreading around the world and the response of governments and state authorities to it is extreme to say the least. In effect, the whole world is being shut down. So what are we to make of it in light of scripture?

The first thing that I would like to say is that the real danger to us from this crisis is not the virus itself but from the behaviour of governments and the mainstream media. Furthermore, this virus will take its course and come to an end, but it’s what could happen as a result of this crisis that we should look out for. But before I look at the possible consequences of this crisis I want to shed some light on what is currently happening.

Given the actions of governments and the scientists working for them you would think that we are facing a catastrophe akin to the Black Death. That we are all in mortal danger because this virus is so dangerous. But just how dangerous is this virus? Up to 650,000 people die from flu each year. So far 69,000 people have died from Covid-19 and we are well into the cycle of this pandemic. So far, the scale of this pandemic is nowhere near the scale of the annual flu outbreak and yet the world authorities have never used the extreme measures to deal with flu as it is doing with Covid-19. Furthermore, most of the people who are dying from this pandemic are the same kinds of people who die from flu every year. On top of this the statistics being reported by governments and health authorities are misleading and unreliable. In the UK the figures so far published are based solely on those people who have been admitted to a hospital. This is because so far the only people being tested are the hospital patients. The wider population has not been tested and anyone who dies outside hospital is not tested. This means that the infection figures and the death figures are unreliable and give a misleading impression of what is really happening. And we are not being provided with any figures for the number of people who have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and have recovered. And finally, everyone who dies and has the virus is being treated as having died of the Coronavirus, even though most of them have other serious health conditions which could have led to their death. I do not wish to minimise the deaths of those involved in this pandemic. Every person is precious and the deaths of such a lot of people as a result of this pandemic is tragic. But we have to keep it in perspective. So far, it looks like this Covid-19 is no more dangerous than Influenza.

So why have the authorities responded to Covid-19 with such extreme and draconian measures? I don’t have a full answer to that question but I do know that the measures taken are driven by certain scientists, the crisis is man-made and that the pandemic has been politicised. So, let’s take a closer look at the way this pandemic is being handled by politicians, health officials and the mainstream media. I am going to base my observations on what is happening in the UK where I live but they are generally true of the rest of the world. The government and health officials have deliberately created great fear and hysteria in the population about this virus. They have controlled very carefully what the public is told and have focused on the most alarming data they can come up with. In some cases, they have made extreme predictions without presenting any science to back them up. Having instilled great fear in the population, they have introduced draconian measures that have taken away our civil liberties, caused great hardship for a huge part of the population, wrecked our society by isolating most people from one another, given enormous powers to the government, suspended most of our democratic processes, closed down the church and set the country on a course of financial ruin. They have also silenced descent from the government narrative by making social outcasts of anyone who questions what the government is doing or who disobeys what they tell us to do. In the UK we are now effectively in a dictatorial police state in which most of the population is under effective house arrest and severely restricted in what they can do. Now I am not saying that there is any kind of malicious intent in any of this or that there is any kind of conspiracy; I am just describing what is happening. I do believe that all of this is deliberate. The best way to get the mass population to co-operate with these extreme measures is to instil great fear in them. But once again I am not saying that there is anything malicious in this but I do think that what they are doing is dangerous and should concern us. I would also like to point out the behaviour of the mainstream media. They have played a big part in this man-made crisis. They have sensationalised what is happening and provided a very biased view of what is happening around the world. They have focused almost exclusively on the worst and most frightening stories of what is happening. They have focused on places like Italy and Spain where the health services are struggling to cope and ignored those countries where there are very few deaths. They have also focused on the most alarming figures such as the growing death toll and the growing infection total. They have provided saturation coverage of the Coronavirus crisis and the impact of it across the world. All of this ensures that the subject utterly dominates our lives and reinforces the fear in everyone that the whole world is in great danger. It is achieving what the Climate Change campaigners could only dream of.

As I said earlier, the issue that we Christians should focus on in this crisis is what could happen as a result of this crisis in the light of scripture. Right now we need to we watchmen, looking at what is happening and searching the scriptures. We are in the midst of an extraordinary world event and we need to consider whether or not this has any prophetic end times significance. Without going into great detail, it is clear to me that we are right at the end of the Church Age spoken of in scripture. There are all kinds of evidence for this including the re-establishment of the nation of Israel and the widespread apostasy in the church. The world is becoming ever more depraved and rebellious against God akin to the days of Noah. We have the technology and other means needed to facilitate the one world government and the rise of the Anti-Christ prophesied in scripture. Already some people are using the Coronavirus crisis to call for a one world government. There are also efforts being made to create a one world religion which are at an advanced stage. The one world religion will be about worshipping man and not God. These are just some of the signs that show that we are right at the end of the Church Age. So where does this Coronavirus crisis fit into the end times? I believe there is a real possibility that this crisis will be used to set the stage for the establishment of a one world government and the rise of the Anti-Christ. This health crisis will result in a financial crisis and in famine. This could lead to a false messiah stepping in to save the world. This crisis is like a trial run for mass control. People are being conditioned for this. It is also like a trial run for a global solution to a problem facing humanity. There is a very real possibility that this crisis will lead to a global currency, a global government, global control, global ID and a system for close surveillance of the population. At the moment the church has been shut down by the state and there is a real possibility that this crisis will lead to continued restrictions on the church and even to widespread persecution. And all of this would fulfil end times prophecies.

So, we Christians need to watch what happens and warn everyone that time is running out and that they need to repent and believe in Jesus as their saviour. Some Christians see this pandemic as a form of judgement on the world and they could be right but I am not convinced given that COVID-19 looks like being just another ordinary pandemic. Those who see this virus as a judgement also hope that it will lead to repentance in the world and in the apostate church. But I see no evidence that this will happen. I think that the apostate church is too far gone to repent and turn back to biblical Christianity and I see no evidence that the unbelieving masses see that this pandemic has anything to do with God. Far from it, on the whole they have turned their backs on God so strongly that they won’t give a second thought to turning back to him. I believe that this pandemic will come to an end without being as bad as some scientists have prophesied and the world will pat itself on the back saying that it was their efforts that saved the world from catastrophe.

If I am right, then we are living in the time immediately before the Great Tribulation described in the Book of Revelation and we will witness end times prophecies being fulfilled. So stay awake and rejoice because your salvation is near.

New Year Message – It Is Still Getting Darker But There Is A Ray Of Hope

1st January 2020

A year ago I said that the world is getting darker because of what is happening in the church in the West in particular. And it is still getting darker. However, there is always a ray of hope in the darkness. God never abandons us even when the church as a whole is abandoning the truth and chasing after idols. He always keeps a remnant of His faithful ones as a light in the darkness.

Once again this past year I have seen Christians and churches rejecting the truth of scripture and replacing it with man-made ideas. In my profile on this website I have said that I believe in the bible, the whole bible and nothing but the bible. And many Christian would say that they believe this too. However, when you dig a little deeper with them it often turns out that this is not actually true. And the consequences of this can be very serious for the church at times as I have seen for myself. I would say that the majority of the church in the West does not believe in the bible, the whole bible and nothing but the bible but thank God there are some churches and some individuals that do and that is the ray of hope that I have referred to above.

There have been occasions this past year when darkness appeared to have prevailed in our personal circumstances. But the darkness did not prevail because God shone His light into the situations and rescued us. On one occasion our ministry seemed to have hit the rocks but at that time the Lord brought a faithful servant into our lives who spoke wisdom into our situation. He said, “Do you think God was taken by surprise by what happened? “Do you not think He has prepared a solution for you?” And sure enough he was right and as one door closed another better one opened. So on a personal level Suzanne and I have also seen a ray of hope in the darkness.

We live in the United Kingdom and last year our nation seemed to be in great peril. However, on the 12th December God had mercy on us and gave us another chance to restore our nation to what it once was. I see a ray of hope in the General Election result, a result that many Christians had prayed for. I see the rest of Europe becoming ever darker but by separating ourselves from the European Union we have a chance to set a different course. All we need now is for God to raise up faithful Christian leaders to speak prophetically to our nation and the church, calling us back to God’s ways and not man’s. Will you stand up and be counted in 2020?

Christmas Message – He Entered Our World

24th December 2019

At this time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus when the Son of God entered our world by taking on flesh and living as we do in everything but sin. Although Jesus wasn’t actually born on the 25th December it doesn’t stop us from remembering his birth at this time of year.

The fact that God took on human flesh and lived amongst us is truly amazing. Most people think of God as a distant spiritual being who is so different to us that he cannot relate to us as human beings. But our God is not like that. He made us and He has lived among as a human being whilst retaining His divinity. So he knows what it’s like to be a human being. He knows our weaknesses, our struggles, our pain, our suffering and our emotions. He totally understands us.

Our God is not distant; He’s very close to us. In fact he loves to fellowship with us and to have an intimate relationship with us. He loves to talk to us and He loves to listen to us. He saves us and He sustains us. He protects us, He teaches us, He gives us gifts and He is generous to us. He wants nothing but the best for us and most of all He is gracious to us.

All of this is so because about 2,000 years ago He entered our world as a baby in Bethlehem just as He said He would. Our God is truly amazing and just as the angels rejoiced at His birth so should we.

Peace be with you.

Mike and Suzanne Ashton

Pastoral Concerns

15th November 2019

In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that he came to give us abundant life and in Ephesians Paul tells us that God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. But are we really living life to the full and are we really blessed with every spiritual blessing? We should be.

Sadly, I see far too many Christians who are missing out on so much of what God wants for them. And I see two reasons in particular for this happening. The first reason is that so many Christians put up barriers to receiving what God wants for them. This can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s down to a lack of faith, sometimes it’s because of ignorance, sometimes it’s because they have accepted some form of false teaching, sometimes it’s because of fear, sometimes it’s because of bad experiences, sometimes it’s because of stubbornness, sometimes it’s because of laziness, sometimes it’s because of worldliness, sometimes it’s because of a poor spiritual life and sometimes it’s because of sin. And this is so unnecessary because through the Word of God and through prayer God can deal all of these barriers and set us free to receive what He has for us.

The second reason is because too many Christians are victims of the devil’s schemes and don’t even realise it. It is tragic to see so many Christians being robbed of God’s blessings because they have so easily succumbed to one of the devil’s schemes. The reality for all of us is that we are involved in a constant struggle against the devil and all of his evil forces. Yet there are many Christians who deny his existence or play down his significance in the spiritual life. And as soon as they do that they become vulnerable to his schemes because they are not looking out for them. Then there are those who do acknowledge his existence but who are ignorant about his schemes. The kinds of barriers I have described above are also the weaknesses that the devil exploits. Evangelicals are meant to be Christians whose faith and life is based on the scriptures, the Word of God. But all too often they are selective about which truths they accept from the bible. And that is another weakness that the devil can exploit. One of the devil’s most cunning schemes, however, is to get Christians to put the teachings of men before the teachings of scripture. Too many Christians do not test what they are told. They do not test the teaching against the scriptures. And before they know it they have been robbed of God’s blessings because of false teachings that they have accepted. This is so tragic.

So I would urge you to pray diligently at all times and know the scriptures for yourselves. And I would urge you to come humbly before the Lord and let Him teach and guide you in all things.

Who Should Christians Follow?

3rd October 2019

At the bottom of this blog I’ve put a link to a video of Joshua Chavez giving a teaching entitled ‘Who Should Christians Follow?’ Using scriptures from the Old and New Testaments, Joshua explains the dangers of following men. He looks at our tendency as Christians to ‘hitch our wagon’ to a particular leader or teacher and go along with everything they say and the risks we take in doing so.

Over the many years I’ve been a Christian I’ve seen this happen many times. I am also aware that this is a common practice among Christians; a practice that can lead to division. The classic example amongst Evangelicals is the division between the Calvinists and the Arminians.

As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus, not men. It is important that we do not rely on the teachings of individual teachers or leaders. Instead we should rely on the Word of God and test everything we are taught by men against the scriptures. Good teachers and leaders should be respected as long as they conform to the Word of God but we must not ‘hitch our wagon’ to one individual above all others.

If you click on the link below you will be able to hear Joshua explain it all in more detail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y_9pv1agxg

New Chapter

24th September 2019

In my blog on the 19th May 2019 I said that Suzanne and I would not be able to do much on the website for a while because of a long term project. Well, that long term project has now come to fruition. The project was a process we needed to go through to reach a new chapter in our ministry together.

Some time ago we said to the Lord in prayer that we were willing to go wherever He wanted in order to do His will. We did this because we were aware that sometimes the Lord leads His followers to new geographical locations in order to do what He wants. We find examples of this throughout the Bible. Well, the Lord took us at our word and has moved us to Manchester in northern England. He showed this to us in May and ever since then we have been preparing for the move and now we have arrived.

In the Resources section of this website I recommend a book called Biblical Church. This is a book that identifies the key features of a truly biblical church which is nothing like most churches that we find today. For some time I have longed to be part of such a church and here in Manchester I have found one with the Lord’s help. We have moved to Manchester to be part of this local church and to fully use our gifts and talents. We believed that this move would enable us to be more fruitful in our ministries and already that is proving to be the case.

We have taken this step in obedience to the Lord’s will for us and we have taken it to serve. We have also simplified our lives in order to be able to more easily serve Him. Although we now have the time to work on the website more than we have for a while, most of our time will now be spent working in our new church.

The opening of this new chapter in our lives has taught us a number of lessons which I would like to share with you. This move came about as a result of much prayer and fasting over a couple of years. And our prayer was all about humbling ourselves, being willing to serve and being willing to leave all behind for the sake of the Kingdom. The Lord listened and was gracious enough to share his plans for us over a period of time. Our understanding of His plans for us grew and at just the right time the door opened for us to move. And when the door opened everything fell into place very quickly. We have learnt that if you come before the Lord with a humble and open heart He will answer. Finally, this move is the fulfilment of a calling I received from the Lord decades ago which just goes to show that He will make it happen but in His time. We must never give up.

Are you really a Christian?

22nd July 2019

At the bottom of this blog I’ve put a link to a video of Joshua Chavez giving a teaching entitled ‘Are you really a Christian?’ In his teaching he gives an excellent explanation of the Gospel and then goes on to describe what a true Christian is like. He does this in order to challenge the many people in the Church who mistakenly believe that they are Christians when they are not. I recommend this video for everyone in the Church.

Joshua covers a subject that I have covered in a different way. In the teachings part of this website you will find one of my teachings entitled, ‘The Authentic Marks of a Christian. In my teaching I list these marks or characteristic so that they can be used as a test or measure.

So why don’t you watch the video by Joshua and then read my teaching. I hope you will find them helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY0sSKzwX7o

Intermission

19th May 2019

Suzanne and I will be involved in a short term project in the next few months that will keep us very busy. This means that I will not be able to give much time to my website during this period. So, if you don’t see much happening on the website for a while it does not been that I have abandoned this work. It just means that I’m temporarily too busy and that I will return to this ministry when the project is completed.

I have some development plans for the website which I hope to work on as soon as the intermission is over.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

25th April 2019

In this blog I have provided some basic information about the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we read about in the New Testament. I have done this by providing some quotes from Derek Prince, some scriptures and some principles. I am putting these before you for reflection.

I would like to start with a quote from Derek Prince who was the best bible teacher I have heard on this subject:

‘The New Testament depicts Christianity as a supernatural way of life. To be functioning members of the body of Christ, as well as more effective witnesses for Him in the world, we need an understanding of the nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit and their operation in our lives’.

The 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit

We read about them in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

We can divide them into 3 groups as follows:

Revelation Gifts

A word of wisdom

A word of knowledge

Discerning of spirits

Power Gifts

Faith

Gifts of healings

Workings of miracles

Vocal Gifts

Different kinds of tongues

Interpretation of tongues

Prophecy
 

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are:

Given to a person

Brief manifestations

Not dependant on the character of the person receiving the gift

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not the same as the ministry gifts which are found in Ephesians 4:11.

The 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit are not the same as the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit which are found in Galatians 5:22. The fruits of the Holy Spirit take time to grow and mature; they need to be cultivated. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are received instantly.

In 1 Corinthians 14:1 Paul tells us to “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts.” Commenting on this, Derek Prince said that, “spiritual gifts are the tools by which love works.”

“We must not be one-sided. We need both gifts and love. We need both gifts and fruit. We need both spiritual gifts and ministry gifts. None of them is a substitute for any of the others. We need all of them.”  Derek Prince

‘Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, let us use them.’ Romans 12:6

‘Earnestly desire the best gifts’. 1 Corinthians 12:31

‘As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’. 1 Peter 1:10

‘I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way – in all your speaking and in all your knowledge – because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 1:4-8.

The above text from Corinthians shows that the gifts have not come to an end because Jesus has not returned yet.

“The reason why some believers do not have the manifestations (the gifts) is that they have never taken the vital step out of the natural into the supernatural.”  Derek Prince

“The New Testament reveals the gifts as part of the spiritual equipment for normal Christian living for believers throughout all ages until Christ returns.”  Derek Prince

“Why are the spiritual gifts important? It is because they bring glory to God.”  Derek Prince

What Is The Kesher Course?

13th April 2019

The Kesher Course is a course published by Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) in 10 Sessions with DVDs, a Leader and Student books. It is designed to enlighten people to make the connection between Judaism, Christianity, Israel and the Church.

The main teachings are by Roy Thurley, with Hebrew word studies by John P. Smith.

The course explains how historically the Church has attempted to distance herself from Judaism. Art has often portrayed very inaccurate pictures of Jesus, often with white skin, fair hair and blue eyes.  Although there is no historical record of what Jesus actually looked like, He was likely to have had an olive complexion given where He lived and His genealogy.

Supported by Scriptures throughout, the Kesher Course confirms the Jewishness of Jesus. His genealogy is recorded in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-28.

In biblical prophecy we see that the Messiah must be descended through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, David and also Zerubbabel (Haggai 2:23). These requirements are all met in the genealogy of Jesus for Him to be in the right line to be the Messiah.

He also fulfilled the condition of circumcision according to the Covenant God made with Abraham. (Genesis 17:10, Luke 2:21).

Israel’s Rejection Is Not Final

For those who believe Israel and the Jews have been replaced by the Church:-

“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” (Romans 11:11)

Romans 11 verses 17-18a show that some branches (Israel) were broken off and we (Gentiles) being “a wild olive tree” were grafted in.

We are warned not to boast against the branches “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.” (Romans 11:21)

“And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:23)

“And so all Israel will be saved as it is written:….”  (Romans 11:26)

Our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus or Yeshua, was born a Jew of Jewish line, died a Jew, was resurrected and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and will return as a Jew.

“I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16)

We as Christians have been grafted into that tree as in Romans 11:17-18a, and as such, we have become part of that family in Christ Jesus, our Lord – Yeshua.

So think carefully about how you treat and speak about God’s chosen Nation and people.

“Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

I believe that this course should be promoted by the Christian Church.

This will enhance your Bible studies too by helping you to understand Hebrew roots, some Hebrew vocabulary and Hebraisms, but above all to help reduce anti-Semitism and replacement theology.

Suzanne Ashton

Cessationism

7th April 2019

Cessationism is the teaching that the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased by the end of the Apostolic Age. There is no unanimous agreement by the Cessationists on the details of their teaching but the main idea they put forward is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only made available to the Apostles to authenticate their ministry and when the Apostles died the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased. This is arrived at by the selective use of bible verses taken out of context and by ignoring most of the church history since the Apostolic Age. Let’s be clear, there is nothing in scripture that clearly supports the idea that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for the Apostolic Age only. It is just a man-made idea or theory. Anyone who reads the Book of Acts properly could not reach this conclusion. For instance, it wasn’t just the Apostles who used the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There were many Christians in the early church who were not Apostles but who used the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

One of the arguments of the Cessationists is that in the post-apostolic era the gifts began to disappear. However, they stop there and don’t look at the rest of church history. If you look at the whole of church history you see the gifts of the Holy Spirit in use at various times. And there are reasons for this. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit gives them as He wills. This shows that they are not always available to us. And if you look at the whole of church history you see a pattern emerge similar to Israel in the Old Testament. There have always been times when the church in various places has been very fruitful, when many were saved. Then the church tends to turn what God did through the Holy Spirit into institutions and systems that lead to the quenching of the Holy Spirit. This then leads to a decline or deterioration in the church until God intervenes with a mighty work of the Holy Spirit to revive the church. And on the cycle goes.

The truth is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have always been available throughout church history but we haven’t always seen them in action. This is partly because of the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit and partly because of the false teaching of Cessationism. If we are told by church leaders that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer available to us then we are not even going to ask for them even though the scriptures tell us that we should eagerly desire them (1 Corinthians 14:1).

One of the reasons why some church leaders teach or practice Cessationism is that they are afraid of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Many church leaders like to be in control and to have everything carefully structured and organised. And they see the gifts as risky or even dangerous. And to some extent I can understand this. Sometimes things can go wrong when the gifts are in use in a church. You only need to look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. However, that is easily remedied by giving sound instruction on their use as the Apostle Paul did. The risk of problems arising is no excuse for rejecting them outright.

When church leaders tell their congregations that the gifts are no longer available or in some way suppress them they are guilty of quenching the Holy Spirit. Furthermore they are guilty of robbing God’s people of the fullness of God’s blessings. This is a very serious matter. Jesus and the Old Testament prophets had some strong things to say about leaders who robbed God’s people.

I am amazed at how often Christians rely on certain church leaders and teachers and not the scriptures for their understanding of doctrine. Dr Jack Deere speaks about this in his book ‘Surprised by the Power of the Spirit’ when he recounts an occasion when he was interviewing theology students. Whenever he asked them to argue a certain doctrine from scriptures they couldn’t do it. They had got their understanding from books and teachers. He was very disappointed by this discovery. There are dangers in relying on certain leaders and teachers for our understanding. I have seen many examples of Christians accepting teaching from men who were manifestly teaching false doctrine. It is so important that we all study the scriptures diligently so that we can discern the true from the false. And I apply that to what I have said here. Don’t just rely on what I’ve said, read and study the Book of Acts and the Epistles for yourself to see if what I am telling you is true.

Why Christian Friends of Israel (CFI)?

28th March 2019

Christian Friends of Israel (UK) exist to:

Support the Jewish people and communities in the United Kingdom (UK) and beyond.

Reduce anti-Semitism and replacement theology in the nation and the Church.

Assist cross-community projects in Israel.

They participate in UK tours, festivals and prayer conferences to help raise awareness of the above issues. And they educate people about Hebraic roots and encourage them to ask questions as to why, as Christians, we should be friends of Israel and stand with the Jewish people and communities in the UK and beyond.

They offer much literature and various courses, including the Kesher course which is about making connections between Judaism, Christianity, Israel and the Church.

Psalm 133 is entitled ‘Blessed Unity of the People of God’. Please pray that the churches would pray for the nations in unity and that they would be blessed in this.

In CFI’S latest prayer pointers they mention Amos 8:11 which speaks of a famine – a lack of the Word of God. It may be that we are in such a similar season.

Please pray that all believers are filled with the truth and a hunger to study and that the Church will stand on the foundation of the Word. Please pray for CFI and their valuable work; that they will reach out to the many and not the few and that they will bear much fruit.

Their website is www.cfi.org.uk.

Suzanne

The Leading of the Holy Spirit

14th March 2019

The book of Acts in the New Testament is an account of the life of the early church and shows us what the church and the Christian life is meant to be like. And we find in this book that the Christians that feature in it often received instructions from God about what they were to do or about what to expect in the future. This came in the form of dreams, visions, angelic visitations, prophecies and direct instructions from the Lord. These were specific to the Christians receiving these revelations and they helped them to make the right decisions and take the right action. For instance, in Acts 10:1-7, Cornelius was told in a vision to send for the Apostle Peter. That was something that happened in the past and for Cornelius only. It will never be repeated and it is not something that you and I could be told to do. It became part of the canon of scripture to teach us a lesson. And that lesson is that God has always spoken to individuals about things that are unique to them. I could give many more examples from both the Old and the New Testaments. And because God is unchanging, He still wants to do that today for us if we will listen.

In addition to the methods of communication I have given above that can be found in the Acts there is another one that I want to focus on. In the Acts there are plenty of examples of the leading of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians and I would like to draw your attention to them:

Acts 8:29
Here we read that the Holy Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch and stay near it. Notice that the Holy Spirit ‘told’ Philip what to do. The Holy Spirit spoke to Philip directly. Has the Holy Spirit ever spoken to you like this? If you are a Christian this is something that you can expect to happen but do you believe it can?

Acts 10:19
Here we are told again that the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter. Notice how the Holy Spirit gave detailed and specific instructions to Peter, telling him what to expect and what to do.

Acts 13:2
On this occasion the Holy Spirit spoke to the church at Antioch as they were worshipping the Lord and fasting. This time the Holy Spirit spoke to all of those taking part in this worship and gave specific instructions about two of the teachers amongst them, Barnabas and Saul (Paul). And the instructions were about ministry. This is how Barnabas and Paul became apostles.

Acts 16:6
As Paul, Silas and Timothy went about their work, the Holy Spirit stopped them from preaching in the province of Asia. So in this instance, the Holy Spirit intervenes to stop them going in the wrong direction. This is a negative example of the Holy Spirit’s leading. Instead of leading them towards something He leads them away from something.

Acts 20:22-23
Paul tells the elders of the Ephesian church that the Holy Spirit has ‘compelled’ him to go to Jerusalem. This is a very strong word and it indicates that on occasions the Holy Spirit is very forceful in His leading.

Acts 20:28
On this occasion Paul is addressing the elders of the Ephesian church and he reminds them that the Holy Spirit has made them overseers. Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who does this. There is no mention of any human involvement in this. First and foremost the Holy Spirit makes someone an elder and then it is just a matter of the church recognising it. It is not for men to appoint elders.

Acts 21:10-11
On this occasion the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul through a prophet. The Holy Spirit tells Paul exactly what is going to happen to him in Jerusalem so that Paul knows what to expect. The prophecy is for Paul alone and it is very specific.

There are some who say that this kind of leading of the Holy Spirit does not apply to us today. However, there is no scriptural basis for saying that. There is nothing in the scriptures which says that this only applied to the apostolic age. No, the truth is that God has always given instruction to individual believers, right from the creation of Adam and Eve and throughout church history. But sadly, in today’s church, far too often the expectation and belief that God wants to give us personal leading through the Holy Spirit, has been lost. And that has had disastrous consequences resulting from too many Christians making decisions for themselves in the flesh.

New Year Message – It Is Getting Darker

1st January 2019

At the start of a new year we tend to look back and look forward at the same time. And that’s what I’ve been doing. The two areas that I’ve been reflecting on are the state of the church and the state of the world because the two are connected. The church is here to witness to the world and to act as a restraint on evil. And the state of the world reflects the effectiveness of the church. I should state at this point that I’ve only been looking at the Western part of the church and the world.

I was born more than three score years ago and I‘ve been a Christian for the majority of that time. And during my lifetime I have watched the church deteriorate and evil in the world increase. The church has deteriorated in a number of ways. One of the ways in which the church has deteriorated is in terms of doctrine. This has happened in two ways. Many churches have abandoned important doctrines and many others have introducing false doctrines. For instance, there are churches which no longer preach the gospel. I was struck again this Christmas that the messages of many of the leading church men and women in Great Britain were about social and political issues. Christmas should be an opportunity to remind the world that Jesus came into the world to save us. There are many other churches that do not teach about the Baptism with the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Holy Spirit for instance. On the other hand there are churches that teach false doctrines such as tithing by Christians, the prosperity gospel and ecumenism with other religions. Another way in which the church has deteriorated has been by bringing worldly ideas and practices into the church. This includes such things as false bibles like The Message, seeker sensitive practices, business systems, the social gospel, marketing and imitating the entertainments industry. Another way that the church has deteriorated is through being self-serving and insular. Many churches put all their efforts into maintaining the church and forget about their mission to reach out with the gospel. And worst of all there are many churches which have brought witchcraft into the church. These are just some examples of the way in which the western church has deteriorated. There are other ways but I think I’ve given enough examples to make my point.

The result of all of this wrong doing in the church has been the decline of the church in size and influence. And this in turn has resulted in an increase in evil and immorality in the western world. In my lifetime I have seen an increase in divisions and extremism in society, I’ve seen a breakdown in wisdom by our leaders and I’ve seen a concerted effort to push the church to the margins of society. I’ve also seen an increase in immorality. Some things declared by God to be sin have become acceptable in our society. There’s been a massive increase in pornography, with some porn stars becoming celebrities, and there has been a huge increase in hedonistic behaviour. Infidelity is largely accepted as something to be expected and does not have the consequences it used to do. Divorce has become easier. And in more recent years gambling has become huge in Great Britain. Lies, deception and corruption have become widespread in society and the gap between the rich and the poor just gets wider and wider.

As the light of the church becomes more and more dim, the darkness of the world around us grows ever darker. And unless the church turns around it will only get darker. So, as we start a new year, what should we do? We need to stop the rot in the church. To do this we need to grow in our knowledge of God’s word through diligent study of the bible and we need to believe and accept every word of it whether we like it or not. This will equip us to discern the truth from lies and false teaching. We also need to humble ourselves before God and seek a deeper relationship with him and reject the ways of the world. So, what will you do this year? Will you do your part to stop the rot?

Christmas Message – Being Humble

18th December 2018

At this time of year we are reminded about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. And although Jesus is almighty God he was born into our world in humble circumstances. He was also a king but he was not born in a palace surrounded by riches and splendour. Instead he was born in a stable with a manger for a bed and this was deliberate because God wanted us to learn about the importance of being humble.

Jesus is not your typical king. Unlike other kings, Jesus, in His first coming, was a servant king. He is an example to us of how we as believers are to behave. And he emphasised this point in Chapter 13 of Johns Gospel when he washed the feet of the disciples and told them that like Him they were to be servants.

In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul says, ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.’ Jesus humbled himself and Paul tells us that we are to do the same. The only true attitude of believers is to be humble; to be servants. In God’s kingdom there is only one king and Lord and that is Jesus. In the kingdom and in the church there is no place for masters or lords. We are all meant to be servants of one another.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we read that God said to Solomon, ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ From this we can see that God will listen to us and bless us when we humble ourselves. But pride, which is the opposite of humility, is very different. In Proverbs 11:2 we read, ‘When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.’ And we are told in James 4:6, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’

I could give even more examples of the contrast between being humble and being proud. But I hope you can see now that God does not want us to be proud but to be humble. We are not to seek titles and honours or positions of prestige. We are not here to make a name for ourselves or to leave a legacy. Instead we are to humbly serve the Lord Jesus out of love and gratitude. So this Christmas I hope you will take some time to meditate on the humble beginnings and earthly ministry of Jesus and follow His example in your attitude and the way you live your life.

Peace be with you.

Mike and Suzanne Ashton

The Message

21st November 2018

One of the functions of a pastor or shepherd is to protect the flock, the flock being the congregation in their care. And it is out of this pastoral duty that I am writing this warning to all Christians.

As Christians we face all kinds of dangers which can harm us. One of the dangers we face comes from those who try to mislead us or keep us from knowing the truths of scripture. This usually comes from false teachers but it can also come from books. And it is a book that I want to warn you about on this occasion.

The book in question is one that is called ‘The Message’. It claims to be a bible for modern times but in truth it is not a true bible. It is a paraphrase of the bible, written by Eugene Peterson. The books of the bible were written in three languages; Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. They were inspired by the Holy Spirit and the words were chosen very carefully. And anyone who translates these languages into English must be careful to make sure that the meaning of the original language is accurately expressed in the new language. They must not add something that was not in the original language or take away something that was there in the original language. If this is not done then we will misunderstand what God is saying to us and we will miss out on some things that God wants to say to us. The trouble is Eugene Peterson did not follow these important rules. Instead he chose to write a book based on the bible but written so as to conform to the current values and thinking of the Western world which are often at odds with the truths of the bible. He was conforming to the pattern of this world which Paul told us not to do. See Romans 12:2.

In ‘The Message’, Eugene Peterson has omitted words from the original text and added words that were never there. In doing so he has destroyed much of the original meaning of the texts. I suggest you read his versions of Matthew 6:9-13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 and you will see what I mean. Understanding and putting into practice all the truths in the bible are so important for us as Christians but ‘The Message’ stops this from happening and that is why it is so dangerous. If we read this book it will have damaging effects upon our lives because it will mislead us. Therefore, if you have one of these counterfeit bibles I urge you to destroy it and have nothing to do with it. And it should not be used in your church or your study groups.

Deception

31st July 2018

I have become increasingly aware of late just how much false teaching and practice there is at work in the church today. In 2 Timothy 3 Paul warns Timothy about such things in the last days and we are in the last days. In fact, I believe that we are in the last hours of the last days.

I once knew someone who owned a Christian bookshop and he confided in me that it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to separate the books containing false teaching from the ones containing the truth. And that was over twenty years ago.

Recently I have seen a couple of videos of famous Christian teachers saying things that were clearly false. They were speaking to hundreds of people at different venues and the people were lapping it up. Their techniques for achieving this were cunning. They mixed truth with lies and in the end their only purpose for doing so was to get the audience to part with lots of money. I’m talking about men who are internationally known and have bestselling books. If I had been there I would have walked out.

There have always been false teachers and prophets trying to deceive believers. But with the communication and information revolution that has occurred in my lifetime I am seeing a massive increase in it these days. Many, many Christians are being deceived and robbed pastorally I am angry about this and that’s why I’m writing this. And the sad thing is that there is a simple solution to this problem. To avoid being deceived you need to know your Bible and test what is being said or done. If something you are reading or being told is not in the scriptures then it is false. I have included a link to a video below which is really good on the subject. The only thing I would add to what Joshua Chavez says is that you also need to walk closely with the Lord in submission.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sheBpWQAo98

At Your Service

18th April 2018

Over the past year Suzanne and I have been turning our home into a House of Prayer and the Word, in the Spirit. We have put prayer and Bible study at the heart of everything we do. We also break bread as often as we can. Recently, for example, we have been studying unfulfilled prophecy in the Bible and the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross. We also do other forms of casual bible study. If anyone would like to join us for prayer or Bible study you are more than welcome. If you know us personally, just ask us when you can join us. If you don’t know us, you can contact us through this website. We are based in central Lancashire.

Suzanne and I also have gifts that we are willing to share with you in our home or elsewhere. I can teach, pastor, counsel and preach. I love to help Christians to experience healing and growth in Christ. I take delight in seeing Christians become stronger in faith and closer to Jesus in love. Suzanne is gifted in music, languages, prayer and evangelism. Her greatest passion is to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ. She also loves to pray and takes delight in being in God’s presence in prayer and she has an enormous appetite for study.

We both have professional jobs using other skills but we are ready and willing to lay them down to serve the Kingdom of Jesus fulltime if the Lord wills. We are ready and willing to go wherever the Lord takes us. So, if we can be of any service to you, either in our home or elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

31st March 2018

Three crossesAt this time of year we celebrate what we call Easter. But over my lifetime I have seen the importance of this festival in my country slowly decline. I’ve seen the enthusiasm for the Christmas festival grow but the opposite is true for Easter. The build up to Christmas is enormous but Easter is barely given any thought.

And yet I would say that Easter is far more important than Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate the most important birth in human history but at Easter we celebrate the greatest event in human history. What Jesus achieved when he offering himself up on the cross affects the whole of human history going back to the creation of Adam and Eve and right through to the end of time. On the cross Jesus dealt with the effects of the rebellions of Satan, Adam and Eve and it was complete. Through Satan evil was released into our world. He brought lies, deception, rebellion, corruption and selfishness. Through Adam and Eve sin, disease, blindness, deafness and slavery became part of our human nature. And Jesus dealt with all of this and more on the cross. He dealt with sin, the penalty of sin (death), sickness and curses. He brought forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance, eternal life, abundance and much more. Then when he rose from the dead he triumphed over Satan and he conquered the greatest curse on mankind, death.

And the amazing thing is that it is all free to those who put their faith in him and turn away from their rebellion against God. Who else can we say these things about? That is why Easter is far more important than Christmas.

The Best Things in Life Are Free

18th March 2018

One of the best known sayings in my country is, “The best things in life are free” and it is so true. For most of us we have to earn what we might consider to be the good things such as being loved. For instance, if we want an income or wage, most of us have to earn it.

And this principle is true in many relationships. How often do we find that we have to earn someone’s love for us? Before someone will love us they will often expect something in return or they will expect us to prove our loyalty first. But the love of Jesus is unconditional; there are no strings attached. It’s a giving love. When Jesus offered himself up as a sacrifice for us on the cross he showed his unconditional love in the most perfect and complete way possible. He paid the price for all of our wrongdoing, our sins and the punishment that we justly deserved. He paid the full price so that we don’t have to pay anything at all for our wrongdoing.

Through his death on the cross Jesus has made so many good things available to us for free. Here’s just a few of them in no particular order: forgiveness, peace, prosperity, wisdom, health, freedom, blessings, eternal and abundant life. So, why would anyone reject Jesus and the all that he has to offer us for free? It makes no sense.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit

26th November 2017

I have been a Christian for a long time and it never ceases to amaze me that I have never attended a church service, bible study or other church event where the baptism with the Holy Spirit was taught apart from one occasion. And on that one occasion the teaching was false. I’ve even heard someone preach on one of the texts about the baptism with the Holy Spirit and not even mention the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

The reason for my amazement is that this subject is one of the most important for the church and always has been.  When the disciples were baptised with the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus they were transformed with power and boldness to preach the gospel. Just as in those apostolic times, the church today desperately needs that same power. Without it the church is weak. For the apostles and the early church they expected as the norm that all believers should be baptised with the Holy Spirit. But today that expectation is lacking on the whole. And that is because, in my experience, very few leaders ever teach the subject properly. As a result many Christians either don’t know what it is or they are deluded into thinking that they have received it when they haven’t.  And that means that so many Christians don’t even seek it.

I recently had a conversation with a Christian who said to me, “I thought all Christians were baptised with the Holy Spirit.” And I had to say that sadly this wasn’t true. All Christians have the Holy Spirit in them but not all of them are baptised with the Holy Spirit. One of the characteristics of being baptised with the Holy Spirit is that those who receive it know that it has happened. They might not understand at the time what has happened but they do know that something tangible has happened to them. If you have not had such an experience or you just want to know what the baptism with the Holy Spirit is, I would urge you to listen to the sermons of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the subject. He preached seven sermons on the baptism with the Holy Spirit from John 1:26-33. You can find them on the MLJ Trust website entitled Baptism in the Spirit.

God Is Love

15th October 2017

One of the shortest, yet most powerful and profound sentences in the bible is found in 1 John 4:16 where it says ‘God is love’. The original Greek word used for love in this statement is agape and it’s unique to God. Agape love cannot be produced by human beings on their own; it can only be expressed by us through God because agape is divine love and it is at the heart of the very nature of God. Agape is sacrificial, unconditional love, it gives and it puts others first.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Paul tells us, ‘Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’. Again Paul is using the Greek work agape and he is making a profound statement. Faith and hope are vital components of the Christian life and indeed they are great, but greater than them is agape. And when Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, he answered, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” So Jesus too emphasised the centrality of love in all that God and his people do.

If we are true Christians then Christ lives in us and if God is love, then that loving nature of God must surely flow out of us. And think of how powerful that love is. It’s this divine agape love that led the Father to send his only son to die for us, that caused Jesus to be merciful to the woman caught in adultery, that caused Jesus to say on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” and gave victory over sin and death when Jesus rose from the dead. It’s a love that creates, changes and overcomes. I’ve seen this love at work in my wife and it has a powerful effect on me. If heals me, it inspires me, it makes me strong and it draws me to the Lord. What better way is there to show Jesus to the world (to show the gospel) than to love as Jesus loves in a world which is so lacking in true love.

The Workers Are Few

11th June 2017

Ever since I became a Christian a long time ago my heart’s desire has been to serve the Lord in his kingdom. And over the years I have served him in various ways both in a full time capacity and in my spare time. But it has been my understanding for most of my Christian life that He wants me to serve him full time. But, there have been seasons when this has not been possible. However, last year a new season began when I met Suzanne and since then the Lord has been moving me towards going back into full time ministry again. Not only that, He has been doing the same for Suzanne.

Soon after our relationship began it became clear to Suzanne and I that the Lord had brought us together to minister as a married couple. And we have been praying for the Lord to give us direction and guidance on what He wants us to do and how He wants to go about it. Slowly the vision is becoming clearer and we are now looking for the doors to open. In recent prayer the Lord has shown us that we should share this on the website and Facebook page. So, we are asking all of you who read this to pray for us as we stand ready to take the next step of faith. We are ready to serve the Lord together with the gifts and talents the Lord has given us; Suzanne with her gifts of evangelism and music and me with my gifts of teaching, counselling and pastoring.

As Jesus said to the disciples in Luke 10.2, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send workers into his harvest field.”

Shepherds Stream

1st June 2017

I would like to tell you about a wonderful place where I recently stayed. It is called Shepherds Stream. It is a place for prayer retreats and it is located in the Berwyn Mountains of Wales. You can find out more about it by clicking on the link below.

Suzanne and I stayed there for a few days and right from the start I could feel God’s presence and I knew I was on anointed ground. As soon as I began to pray I found the Lord speaking to me much more than I have experienced for a long time. Every step and action I took was guided by the Lord. It seems to me that Shepherds Stream is a kind of Garden of Eden with a cascading stream running through it. And when Suzanne and I walked through the grounds and paused periodically to pray it felt like we were walking with God. During the time we were there the Lord took us on a wonderful journey of revelation and healing the likes of which I have never experienced before. It was truly life changing.

The story of how Shepherds Stream came into being is amazing. If you go there, I would encourage you to ask Peter or Gill about it; it will bless your socks off. I believe that God has claimed this plot of land for God’s people to dwell with him from time to time and be refreshed from the well of God’s living water. I would encourage you to go there and see what God can do for you.

Shepherds Stream Prayer Retreat

Tithing

7th May 2017

There is a growing trend in the church today for leaders to tell their congregations that God requires them to tithe. For those who are not familiar with the word tithe it is a word that simply means a tenth and the idea is that Christians should give one tenth of their income to the church. Now a tenth of anyone’s income is a significant amount and any leader who can get everyone in their congregation to give them one tenth of their income is going to raise a significant amount of money.

But before you start handing over a tenth of your income you should ask yourself, “Does God require Christians to give a tithe (one tenth of your income) to the church?” And if you do a proper study of the subject and a thorough examination of the bible you will find that the answer is NO. God does not require Christians to give one tenth of their income to the church. In the bible, tithing was only required of the nation of Israel and the true amount that they had to tithe worked out at about 25 per cent a year on average, not 10 per cent. What God does require Christians to do is Give generously but with Giving there is no fixed amount. What Christians should do is ask the Lord to show them how much they should give.

Now, in the limited space of this blog I cannot give a full explanation for what I have said above but I know a man who can. His name is Roger Price and I urge everyone who reads this and is tithing to listen to his teaching on the matter. It is part of his Fellowship Life Studies and it is included in a two part teaching about Giving (FLS22 and FLS23). If you click on the link below you will be able to purchase the recordings.
http://www.ccftapes.co.uk/FLS.htm

A New Beginning

16th April 2017

Last December I announced that I was going on sabbatical for a while because something life-changing was taking place in my life. At that time I was engaged to be married and I was making preparations for our wedding. I had met an amazing Christian woman called Suzanne, something that I had longed for most of my life. I realised at the time that she was going to be a true Christian wife and so it has proved to be since we got married in February.

I had always understood how Christian marriage is a reflection or insight into the kind of relationship the church has with Jesus. And now I am experiencing that first hand for the first time in my life.

So, now the sabbatical is over and a new era in my calling begins on the day that Christians all over the world remember the day that Jesus rose from the dead. For Christians, Easter Sunday is a time when we are reminded of the victory and power we have in Christ. We’re reminded that when we died to sin we were raised to new life. And for me, this Easter Sunday is the start of a new era in my ministry, a time when I can move forward strengthened by the love I receive from my wife.

This is my wife Suzanne.

Sabbatical

29th December 2016

Something life-changing is taking place in my life at the moment. It is taking up much of my time and it will continue to do so for a while yet. Because of this I have decided to take a sabbatical from my ministry for the next few months until things have settled down. I have chosen not to explain what it is for the time being but it will become clear in the future.

This is a very exciting time for me. A dream is being fulfilled which will have a good impact on my ministry. When I see what is unfolding, I’m reminded of how loving and gracious God is. And I am deeply humbled that he should do such a wonderful thing for me.

The EU Referendum

30th May 2016

On 23rd June 2016 the citizens of the United Kingdom, where I live, will be given the opportunity to vote on whether to remain in the European Union (EU) or to leave it. As a nation we have been a member of this political organisation for a long time so it is possible for us to understand what it is. In the lead up to this referendum some experts have explained to us the history and aims of this organisation.

We have also been bombarded with predictions, claims and information from various organisations and individuals both inside the UK and from outside. But what are we as Christians to make of it all? How should we vote on the 23rd? Well, I’m not going to tell you what to vote but I would like to suggest how we should go about making the decision on which way to vote. Firstly, we should not be thinking about this the way the world does. Secondly, we should understand what the EU is from a spiritual perspective. Thirdly, we should apply the scriptures to the situation. And finally, we should seek God’s wisdom. It also helps if we understand the times we are in. And as you do all of these things prayerfully, I recommend that you read a booklet by Intercessors for Britain called, ‘A Christian Perspective on the European Union and the Referendum’. You can find the booklet by clicking on the link below:
A Christian Perspective on the European Union and the Referendum

Revival

1st January 2016

At this time of year many people reflect on the past and look to the future and that’s what I’ve been doing. One of the events I remember from 2015 was the publication of a report that showed a huge decline in Christianity in Great Britain over the last 30 years. And, as this has happened, it seems to me that there has been a decline in moral standards and behaviour. For Great Britain, both of these developments are tragic and something needs to happen in order to reverse these trends.

So what needs to happen? The answer is simple. The church needs to rediscover the power and authority given to it by Jesus. And the best way for that to happen is through a revival.

Unfortunately, revival is something that is all too often misunderstood and the word revival is too often used incorrectly. The last great revival to take place in Great Britain was in the Outer Hebrides starting in 1948. On the Resources page of this website is some information about a book written about this revival. 1948 is a long time ago and, as a nation we are long overdue for another one. So, what is a true revival? Well, the best definition I have ever come across is as follows; a revival occurs when a large number of people are baptised with the Holy Spirit. A revival is not a quiet, hidden event; there is no mistaking that something extraordinary is happening and the effects are far reaching and long lasting. I believe that the effects of the 1948 revival are still being felt on the Isle of Lewis today. And the final point about a revival is that it starts in the church.

The church is at its most powerful when a revival occurs. That’s why those of us in the church need to understand what it is and to pray for it. And the best place to start learning about it is to listen to the 24 series of sermons that Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave on revival. More information about this can be found on the Resources page of this website. So, for 2016 I would urge you to learn about revivals and to pray earnestly for another one soon in Great Britain.

It’s Good To Talk

18th October 2015

I’m sure I once read in one of David Watson’s books that Christianity is all about relationships. And two of the key components of good relationships are talking and listening. Talking and listening go together. There is no point in talking unless someone is listening and there’s no point in listening unless someone is talking. And when both of them are happening effectively together, there is a relationship.

When we don’t talk or listen to each other, relationships tend to break down. When we don’t talk to each other, the person keeping silent is unable to express themselves and this can cause them problems such as becoming isolated or frustrated. And the person who isn’t hearing anything from the other is ignorant of the other’s needs or feelings and worst of all they are can only guess what the other is thinking.

Sadly, I have seen and experienced too many instances of Christians not talking or listening to each other and this normally leads to trouble in the church. This can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to listen to others and we effectively silence them by our behaviour. This is especially true when people are suffering and we don’t want to hear their sorrowful language or sad story. There is a mistaken belief by some in the church that Christians should “always look on the bright side of life” as the Monty Python song goes. There is no more destructive or crushing thing to say to a Christian who is suffering than to tell them to “be positive”. Sometimes we don’t talk to other Christians because we are afraid of how they will react. This is usually with good reason but sometimes it is irrational.

I could give many examples of why we don’t talk or listen to each other but no matter what they are they are fundamentally born out of sin. When we talk to each other in the church we must do so in love and humility. There is no other acceptable way; all other ways are ultimately destructive. And when we listen to each other we must do so in love and without judgement or prejudice. Unless we do this we will not truly hear what the other person is saying. So, I urge all Christians to keep talking and listening to each other in love for the sake of the unity and effectiveness of the church.

The Rich and the Poor

21st September 2015

In recent weeks I have been looking more closely at the world around me and becoming profoundly aware of how rich we are. By the world I mean the part that I live in and by rich I mean wealth. I live in the affluent West as it is called. And I have been comparing the world that I live in to other parts of the world where there is widespread poverty. In my part of the world we spend vast amounts of money on cars, houses, holidays, clothes, leisure, makeup, interior decorating, fine foods and gadgets. But in other parts of the world people count themselves fortunate if they have an old bicycle to get around on or a pair of shoes to wear. In those parts of the world people eat whatever they can and often go hungry and they walk for miles just to get some water.

I am ashamed that in my part of the world we indulge ourselves so much when there are such great numbers of people in other parts of the world in great need. I am also appalled that in my own country the wealth is so unevenly distributed with most of the wealth in the hands of a small fraction of the population. In my opinion one of the greatest sins of mankind is the way those who have share so little with those who have not.

From the beginning of the bible to the end we are told time after time that God wants those who have to give to those who have not. As Christians we are meant to travel light and not cling to our possessions. In the book of Acts we are told this about the early church: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had…..There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need”. It seems to me that far too often we Christians in the West have strayed a long way from this wonderful vision of how the church should be.

So, the next time you are thinking about buying those expensive clothes or jewellery or that huge state of the art TV or the latest model of car or anything else for that matter, think again. Do you really need it? What would Jesus do?

The Gift of Cakes

3rd August 2015

There is a woman at my home church who is a very gifted baker and last week she made some delicious cakes for a meeting. When I tasted her cakes I felt very blessed and it seemed to me that her cake making was a gift; what I like to think of as the ‘gift of cakes’. This reminded me of the time when I was part of young Christian group in Yorkshire. At the time there were only a limited number of us who were able to drive and it was said of us that we had the ‘gift of wheels’.

Now the idea of saying that some Christians have such things as the ‘gift of cakes’ or the ‘gift of wheels’ might seem like a bit of fun. But there is a serious point. The bible makes it clear that God hands out various gifts to us to use for the benefit of others. Now these gifts can come in many forms but there is one set of gifts which I tend not to see in action very often and they tend not to be encouraged in some fellowships. I’m referring to the so called ‘Gifts of the Holy Spirit’ that Paul tells us about in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

These spiritual gifts should play a significant part in the life of all church fellowships but all too often they don’t. It saddens me greatly to see these gifts neglected or ignored. They are great manifestations of the love and power of Jesus towards his beloved church. It is little wonder that the church sometimes becomes powerless and ineffective when it neglects the gifts that Jesus wants to give. I hope that when you read this you will be encouraged to look again at these wonderful gifts and that you will prayerfully seek them for the glory of God.

Digital Communication

27th July 2015

If you go to the bottom of the home page on this website you will find a Facebook logo. And if you click on the logo you will find a link to the New Life Pastoral Ministry Facebook page.

Yesterday I had a conversation with some of my fellow believers after a Communion service and one of the topics was the use of the internet and social media. We were discussing the use of these modern day methods of communication by the church. And part of the discussion was about the dangers associated with them and it wasn’t clear from the discussion whether or not we should avoid them because of the risks.

Since that conversation I have been reflecting on this subject and I have concluded that the church should use these methods of communication despite the dangers. The church has to recognise that the internet and social media have become very significant in the lives of people in the West these days. Because such huge numbers of people, especially young people, are using them, the church must learn to use these tools to share the gospel with people.

The internet and social media are no substitute for face to face communications and face to face communications must take priority. However, there is a place for digital communication if used wisely. And that is the key to the correct use of them; wisdom. I believe that, for the church, the use of the internet and social media are not ends in themselves; they are a stepping stones that should lead to people meeting face to face with the church. And that’s how they should be used.

Father Heart

8th July 2015

Last night I watched by teenage daughter make her first public piano performance on a grand piano in front of a large audience. She played Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi. Beforehand she was very nervous so I prayed that it would go well and it did. When she finished playing she got a huge round of applause and after the show people kept coming up to her and congratulating her. As I took her home she told me that the applause and congratulations had greatly encouraged her in her quest to follow a musical career. She said that if it had gone badly it would have had the opposite effect. But it hadn’t, and now she’s got the confidence to go on performing.

As a father I also found the whole experience immensely encouraging. In fact, seeing her hard work blossom like that was exhilarating. Last night was one of the best experiences of my life. As a father, nothing gives me greater fulfilment than to see my children grow.  I’ve always seen my role as providing the right environment in which my children can grow. I’ve tried to give them the freedom and opportunity to discover the talents that God has given them and provide them with the means of developing their talents. And last night was one of a number of experiences in which I have seen that father heart bear fruit.

As Christians, we too have a father and like any good father he delights in seeing us grow. He provides us with security, assurance, resources and gifts. He calls us, directs us and nurtures us. He teaches us to walk on the right path and his heart bursts with joy as he sees the fruits of his work grow and mature in our lives. Praise God.

Suffering

12th May 2015

It’s been 3 months since I last wrote a blog and there’s a good reason for this; I’ve been seriously ill since then. Over the past five years or so I’ve had a series of problems with my heart resulting in two operations and lots of time spent in hospital. And this time a new problem has developed which has not yet been resolved. For the past 3 months I’ve been in a lot of pain and I’ve been very poorly. At the moment I find it difficult just to get through each day.

I’ve found this very hard to bear because it comes on top of other forms of suffering in recent years. In fact, if follows decades of suffering and hardship. The effects of this latest period of illness have been to put my life on hold and to bring me down. When you’re very poorly it is very hard to think of anything else but the suffering you are experiencing. You become self-absorbed and self-pitying and you spiral into a darkness which is hard to get out of.

When this happens, those around you don’t always know what to do and sometimes they make matters worse. For instance, many years ago I had the painful experience of not finishing my training at seminary and for a year afterwards I struggled to cope with this apparent setback. And in the midst of this difficult time I received a well-meaning letter from someone who wrote, “When the going gets tough the tough get going”. Such clichéd responses to someone’s suffering are completely wrong. During that same period my own Christian community did something else that was wrong; they turned their backs on me, blaming me for my suffering. In their eyes I was a failure and not good enough for them. Another wrong response that I’ve experienced in the past and in my latest period of suffering is to tell me that I’m not the only one who’s suffering. The intention is well meaning but it’s still the wrong response to someone’s suffering.

So how should Christians respond to a brother who is suffering? Well, it’s quite simple really; you walk alongside them, listening to them, sharing their pain and speaking scripture into their lives. You exercise great patience and you shine the Word of God into their darkness and in time they will be healed and they will emerge from the darkness. Never reject, abandon or ignore someone who is suffering and never rebuke or get angry or frustrated with them.

I remember the first time that someone responded in the right way to a period of suffering I was experiencing a long time ago. I was a young man at seminary and it wasn’t going well. I never found acceptance there and I experienced rejection after rejection. At one time this got to me and I experienced a period depression. When this happened a friend came to my room one evening and spent hours with me reading scripture and reminded me of God’s perspective on the situation. It worked and I got up and carried on in faith. In fact he was doing just what Jesus did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. However, when we do speak scripture into the life of someone who is suffering it has to be the right scripture. It has to be the right scripture for that moment in time and this needs to be revealed by the Holy Spirit.

This is what has happened to me this time. I am able to write this blog today because the right scriptures have been spoken into my life and I’ve been lifted out of the darkness. On this occasion it happened when I listened to Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones teach about the eternal decrees of God. This subject was not new to me but this timely reminder was just what I needed.

No Strings Attached

16th February 2015

In David Wilkerson’s book, The Cross And The Switch Blade, a former female New York gang member (a Deb) said to David Wilkerson after she had been saved, “Christ’s love is a love with no strings attached”. The young woman who said this was called Elaine and her description of divine love was so accurate. God’s love is unconditional and sacrificial, it’s constant and it’s at the core of his very nature.

Human beings by their own effort can never truly match this kind of love. A human being can only love like this if God gives them the ability to do so because this kind of love can only comes from God. The fact is that human love always comes with strings attached one way or another and that’s why so many human relationships fail. If we’re honest with ourselves, when we love we always expect something in return.

In one of his songs, John Lennon said that “All we need is love” and he was right but if he was thinking about human love then it won’t work. The love that we need is God’s love; love that has no strings attached. And if we take that kind of love and love God and our neighbours with it, then we have something immensely powerful.

Les Miserables

25 January 2015

In 2013 I went to the cinema to watch Les Miserables which is a film adaptation of the stage musical which is based on the classic French novel of the same name. And I’ve just seen it again at the suggestion of my daughters. The first time I saw it I thought it was the best film I had ever seen and on second viewing my opinion has not changed.

One of the main themes covered in Les Miserables is that of grace versus law and for that reason I would encourage everyone to watch the film. And even, if you don’t watch the film I would encourage every Christian to study the conflict between grace and the law.

At my home church we’re studying Paul’s letter to the Galatians and one of the main issues covered in the letter is grace and the law. In his day Paul found himself in a battle with the legalists for whom grace was not enough. And that battle remains today in the church. Most evangelical Christians would accept that we are saved by the grace of God alone yet so many still fall into the trap of legalism. J. Sidlow Baxter put it so well when he said of the Galatians, “they were erring from that absolutely distinctive doctrine of the one true Gospel, that the eternal salvation of the soul is altogether of Divine grace in Christ, apart from religious observances and human merit-works of every kind”. And speaking about our present day, he observed that, “Protestantism has become leavened in great degree with the evil leaven of legalism. Law is mixed with grace again. The fatal error is rife, that merit-works and religious observances are part of the Christian message”. I urge all believers today to stand firm and resist those who would rob us of the grace of God and ‘bewitch’ us into accepting a lesser gospel. Grace, grace, grace and nothing but grace.

Persecution

11 January 2015

I was watching a film recently called ‘Murder In The First’. It’s about a young lawyer defending an inmate of a notorious prison in which he murdered another inmate. There were some parts of the film that I wasn’t happy with but the part that struck a chord with me was the way the young lawyer came under attack as he tried to do good.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”. And indeed Jesus was persecuted so we should expect to be persecuted also.

When I say that we should expect to be persecuted I’m not talking about the kind of suffering that we all experience such as physical pain or mental anguish. I’m talking about attacks that come when we do good. Throughout my Christian life I have always found that, as something good is about to happen or I’m in the midst of doing something good, or something I’m involved in is bearing fruit, I come under attack. By ‘doing good’, I mean doing God’s work. These attacks come in many forms and they are designed to distract me or put me off or take me away from the good that is happening. During one period in my life I came under sustained attacks from one source for over twenty years!

Sadly when I was a young Christian I succumbed to these attacks all too easily and the good that I was involved in was destroyed. Now I take them in my stride because I know to expect them as part of doing good and because I recognise them for what they are and deal with them accordingly. And how do I deal with them? I turn to the truth of scripture just as Jesus did. Remember the armour we have (Ephesians 6:10-18) and that the devil is just a roaring lion. He can roar but he can’t devour us. Stand firm and keep doing what God has told you to do no matter what attacks you come under.

Being Frank

31 December 2014

If only there were more Franks in this world.

Yesterday I went to the funeral of Frank, a friend of mine. It was a really good northern working man’s funeral and I felt completely at home there. It was the best funeral I’ve ever been to.

It was a good opportunity to think about Frank and hear stories from others who had known him. Frank had been married to his wonderful wife Pam for 52 years. That in itself was a great testimony to the kind of man Frank was. Frank will not appear in any history books, he won’t be in the news, and nobody will erect a statue of him or put a plaque on a wall. But Frank truly was salt to the earth and light to the world just as Jesus said we should be.

The world tends to look up to famous people of great intellect, people who have invented or discover things and people who have changed the way society thinks or behaves. But I would rather honour Frank than a thousand famous people. It’s Christians like Frank who make a real difference to this world.

I common thought that ordinary people, myself included, have is about what difference we can make to this world. Well, individually it might not seem that we can do much. But together we can do a great deal. The collective effort of Christians like Frank being salt to the earth and light to the world makes a huge difference.

What the world needs is not famous people but more people like Frank.

Remembrance

24 December 2014

Because it’s the 100th anniversary of the First Word War, there’s been a lot of activity this year through which we have been encouraged to remember that war. And one of the phrases associated with Remembrance Sunday is “lest we forget”.

But remembrance activity is not limited to wars. In December each year we are encouraged to remember the birth of Jesus who came into our world to rescue us. In fact remembrance is an important part of Christianity.

In the bible, God’s people are often encouraged to remember events or things that were said in the past to help with the present. Just as we all remember each December how God intervened in our world by sending Jesus, each one of us should take the time to remember those times when God has intervened in our own personal lives. As I remember those times in my life when God has healed me, spoken to me or moved me I am encouraged in my faith and I look to the future with a sure hope. If He’s done it before, He’ll do it again.

So I would encourage you also to remember what He has done for you and rejoice in His goodness and mercy.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit

15 October 2014

All four of the Gospels tell us about the 'Baptism with the Holy Spirit' and it was one of the last things that Jesus spoke about before he ascended into heaven. This shows how important it was to the Apostles and to Jesus. So why, in my experience, is it so rarely spoken of in the church?

I've been a Christian for a very long time and I have never heard anyone preach about it apart from Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones. Even then I didn't hear it directly from the doctor; it was a tape recording.

I would argue that it is one of the most important subjects for Christians to understand today, especially in the West. If more people in the church understood what it is, how it happens and what it's for, then the church would become far more effective and powerful.

I preached about it some time ago and I'm sure I've still got the notes somewhere. So keep an eye on the Teachings page of my website and hopefully I can put something on the page soon. In the meantime, I pray that this matter will come as a revelation to you.

Why were we born?

10 October 2014

I recently went to the cinema to watch a film called 'The Equalizer' and at the beginning of the film there is a quote from Mark Twain as follows:

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why".

According to the bible we were born to know the Lord. However, when I became a Christian, as well as getting to know the Lord, I also wanted to know what he wanted me to do with my life. I knew I had been born so that I could know the Lord but I wanted to know what he wanted me to do with that knowledge. It wasn't long before a I had the answer and I've been doing it ever since. Why were you born?