‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them (Romans 1:18, 19).’

‘Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)?’

The amazing thing is that God saves His *people ‘through faith’ and not by works (Ephesian 2:8, 9), but at the same time faith without works is dead. The apostle James pointed out that, ‘…. …. faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:17, 18).’

In doing good works as a result of faith, the Christian carries out God’s will: ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).’

By obeying God’s Word, we act in line with His will, but this is only possible for those who have been born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). God gives those who are called (Romans 8:30) by Him the ‘gift’ of faith (Ephesians 2:8), without which it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

To be found guilty of disobedience one has to be judged by a legal authority. In the context of the above, the legal authority is God Himself! In fact, He is the Sovereign King of the Universe, since He made everything (John 1:1-3) according to His will and for His pleasure (Ephesians 1:5). So you might ask, “Why does He make everybody accountable to Him?” and “How can people be culpable if they don’t know of Him or of His Word?”

Quite clearly, each and everyone of us is accountable (cf. Romans 3:19) for our words and actions – even our **thoughts! Do they please or displease God? Are they in line with His will? There will be no escape for any of us from the time of judgment when we shall be judged by God for the way in which we have lived (Jude 15).

The redeemed will be judged at the judgement seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and all others at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

At that time on the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) we shall not be able to plead ignorance of God’s testimony, because He testifies of Himself in different ways: 1) Through His creation, 2) Through His Son, 3) Through His Word and 4) Through our conscience.

He does not leave us in ignorance, but gives us these means to ‘grope’ (Acts 17:26-30) for Him and to ‘find’ Him (Luke 11:10).

The Testimony of Creation

Paul the Apostle makes the case that everybody knows that there is a God, because He reveals Himself through His creation: ‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans1:20).’

The things God has made have His fingerprints all over them, as is evident when you examine them. When you look at the night sky, you can be left in doubt that an intelligent Being created the moon, the stars and the planets (Psalm 19:1, 2). They haven’t got there by accident, and they weren’t made from nothing.. 

When you look at the oceans and peer into their depths and observe all the wonderful creatures of the deep, you can be in no doubt that a God who has life made them and gave them ***life (John 1:3, 4). When you see mountains, volcanoes, deserts, forests, rivers and streams, you cannot deny that they were made by a Super Being.

You may not want to admit it, because if you do, you will have to be honest with yourself. Then you will have to admit that He made you, and if that is the case, you cannot shy away from asking why?

Having had these truths revealed to you, you have no alternative than to seek God for an answer. To encourage you He says in His Word, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7, 8).’  

The Testimony of Jesus and His Word

For you to have no doubt in your mind why He made you, God the Father sent His Son Jesus to bring you face to face with Him. Furthermore He inspired the writers of the ****Bible and put it into their hearts what they should write (2 Timothy 3:16) – specifically, but not uniquely, for you to hear and to understand(Matthew 13:23) in order that you may come to Him in repentance and faith (Acts 20:21).

The central and integral theme of God’s Word is Jesus Christ, the Saviour who saves His people from Hell. He saves through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8). Paul wrote: ‘But they have not all obeyed the gospel, For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:16, 17).’  With faith comes obedience to Jesus (Romans 1:5; 16:26; John 14:23; 17:6).

Were it not for the Bible we would not know of Jesus who is One with His Father (cf. John 17:11). The Bible explains that Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of those who would believe in Him (John 3:16). He would rise from the dead, and ascend to His Father (cf. John 20:17) in heaven where He would reign in power at His right hand (Acts 2:33) until He comes again to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5). But please note, Jesus came not to condemn, but to save (Jon 3:17) sinners (Luke 19:10).

The Testimony of Our Conscience

In addition to the revelation of the Son of God and His Word, and His revelation of Himself in the things created, God equips each one of us with a conscience, so that we know what is right and what is wrong, what is just and unjust, and what is good and what is bad. We all have this knowledge (Romans 2:14-16), and yet our natural tendency is to choose wrong rather than right, because the ‘intent and the thoughts of’ our hearts are evil (cf. Genesis 6:5), and we are tainted with the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12-14).

Those who deliberately choose evil, sin against God. They rebelliously oppose the King of the universe, and they are deserving of death (Romans 1:32).’

None of us can be excused (Romans 2:1) from not obeying Him. None of us can plead ignorance (1 Corinthians 15:34; Hebrews 5:2).

‘Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things (Romans 2:1),’  ‘And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practising such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God (v. 3).

*The Redemption of God’s People

**Inner Thoughts


****Bible Versions

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Inner Thoughts

‘But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4).’

‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).’

One of the purposes of preaching is for people to ‘hear’ the word of God; for without hearing the Word no one can come to faith in Him: ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).’

Another reason for a preacher to preach is to challenge his hearers regarding their conduct, and for them to examine their motivations and affections. Do they obey God? Do they actively seek to do His will?

Crucial in all of this is ‘knowing’ His will, because without knowing His will, how can they attempt to live in accordance with it (Luke 11:2)?

For this purpose God has given us His Word, the Bible. By studying it we can get to know His will and how to live in light of it. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’” Our sustenance comes from inwardly digesting the Word of God (cf. John 6:51). We must know the Bible so that we can *know God and His will.

God is **omniscient, and as such there is nothing He does not know about us. He knows what we do, and our every thought.

The writer of Proverbs states: ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7a).’

In view of these truths our inner thoughts ought to be pure (15:26) for us to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:14, 15) in accordance with God’s will, but how many of us can claim we only have pure thoughts? None, of course, because although we’ve been saved through faith by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8), we have not yet been perfected. We still sin, and yet we have been enlivened by the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can do good to ***please God (Colossians 1:10), because He has given us spiritual life in His Son, and thus we are able to please Him.

The question that many ask is why do we have impure thoughts? Are they sown by the serpent (cf. Genesis 3:4)? And if they are, do we allow them to germinate – indeed, encourage them to grow?

James wrote: ‘Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (James 1:12, 13).’

So as Christians we have to constantly be on our guard against sinful thoughts. We know the Commandments of God, and yet Jesus warns, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28).” 

Jesus warns of the consequences of unforgiven sin (v. 30), i.e., sin that has not been repented of on the part of the sinner (1 John 1:9).

Here’s the paradox: The child of God, born of the Spirit, does not always repent of his sins, and yet he is promised life (1 John 2:25) and an inheritance (Acts 26:18). Because God forgives his sins and forgets them (Psalm 103:12), that does no give him a licence to continue sinning. On the contrary, his desire should be to be more faithful and obedient. He should be ‘even more diligent to make’ his ‘calling sure’ by adding to ‘faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (cf. 2 Peter 1:5-7).’


We cannot lose our salvation on account of our inner thoughts, although some may have been grievously sinful (Ephesians 4:30). However, God is merciful (Exodus 34:6) loving and forgiving, and His salvation through Jesus is sure. Our salvation is of faith and it is God’s gift:

‘Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Romans 4:16).’

*Knowing Jesus [God]

**The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

***Pleasing God

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‘“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like; He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock (Luke 6:46-48).”’

The World’s Understanding of Lordship

Lordship is a dirty word these days, at least for the masses, as judged by *Twitterers and populist left-wingers and socialist politicians. Get rid of the House of Lords they insist. Why do we have this ancient archive with its many nobles? Aren’t they an anachronism in 2020? Don’t they hark back to feudal times; the Dark Ages, when serfs were forced to serve local barons? Didn’t **William the Conqueror set all this into motion? Didn’t he establish the jurisdiction of Lords of the Manor? And didn’t their offspring become the landed gentry, who inherited large swathes of land and controlled what happened within their jurisdiction?

We live in different times, don’t we?

Let us put this question to the test.

Is there an ‘upstairs downstairs’ syndrome today? Surely, present day lords are not like their counterparts of olden times who considered they were a class above the common people, their butlers, maids-in-waiting, cooks, cleaners, gardeners – even their wives, who were by law their chattels?

For some in today’s climate of universal enfranchisement and equal rights, the concept of lordship is repulsive, abominable and demeaning.

But today a wife’s husband is no longer her lord (cf. 1 Peter 3:5, 6). Her earnings are hers; her possessions are hers, and she is free to do what she wants with them. In the event of a divorce she could be entitled up to half the value of the home property; whereas in Victorian times she would have been entitled to nothing – not even access to their children, or her children from a previous marriage.

To achieve this present state of imperfect equal rights, in ***times past people have cried out, “We want our freedom. We demand our freedom. Lords shall no longer rule over us. Democracy is our right.”

Inwardly, muttering to themselves, they expressed their feelings and declared that servitude under the domain of lords was menial and debasing. It injured their self-esteem, and it denied their right of self-determination. It was obnoxious. No one should be given the throne of lordship, and yet it was the prerogative of the privileged, i.e., those who held power, those who went to posh schools and those who rubbed shoulders with the elite.

Even today higher members of the establishment, i.e., the Queen, the Prime Minister, and the House of Lords Appointments Commission, confer lordships, and together they support one another in maintaining the status quo, especially in light of recent allegations of cronyism.

Is this the mindset of the House of Lords, where on ceremonial occasions their lordships express solidarity by parading together in their scarlet robes of splendour and authority? One wonders if they esteem themselves far above the citizens they are supposed to represent, protect and honour. Inwardly do they believe they are wise counsellors to the elected body of MPs, truly acting on behalf of the people?

Where would we be without them?  

The Lordship of Jesus

The above is the antithesis of the lordship of Jesus. He said to His disciples, ‘“The Kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:25-27).”’

Jesus turned the world’s view of lordship upside down. He promised His disciples ‘a kingdom’, where they would ‘eat and drink at’ His table (vv. 29, 30). They would receive rewards for serving Him. He was their Lord, and it was a privilege and a gift of great honour to serve Him (cf. John 12:26).

The Supreme Lord Jesus came as One who served (Mark 10:45) and He treated His disciples as if they were His lords. John tells us that He ‘rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded (John 13:4, 5).’ 

What lord today does that?

True lords serve their subjects in humility, and with respect, tenderness and love.

Jesus said to His disciples, ’“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).”’

Jesus truly was Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and He came as God’s sacrificial Servant (v. 7) to die on a tree (1 Peter 2:24). The perfect Lamb of God, our Lord of creation reigns now, seated at the right hand of God the Father. At the appointed time He will come again, and all shall ****bow the knee before Him. The Lord of creation will judge the earth and truly exercise His lordship.

Finally,’The elders who are among you I exhort ….. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).’

*Abolish The House of Lords at Twitter

#AbolishTheHouseOfLords [Copy and paste this link] 

**William the Conqueror and the Feudal System

***Peasants’ Revolt

****Bowing the Knee

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Knowing Jesus

‘For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:1-5).’

How is it possible to ‘know’ Jesus who was and is the Son of God?

I’m inspired to contemplate this subject of ‘Knowing Jesus’ because of hearing a *sermon presented by Roger Ninnis on the nature of Paul’s Prayers.

Paul, of course, was the Apostle who said he had seen Jesus and he was as ‘one born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:8).’ He was referring to his encounter with Jesus while on his way to Damascus with the purpose of persecuting Christians (Acts 9:1-9). It was then he was born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8).

After his conversion Paul said he was ‘the least of the apostles’ and he wasn’t worthy to be called an apostle because he had ‘persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9).’

He had come to know Jesus personally because of His encounter with Him, but more so because of the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Him (Ephesians 3:5). The Holy Spirit opened up the Old Testament Scriptures to reveal to Paul that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9:20).

For him it wasn’t just a matter of knowing about Jesus, but of having a dialogue (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and a **relationship with Him (Acts 9:15). Jesus became his Lord (Philippians 3:7-11) and Master, and he wanted the whole world to know and experience the riches of being in Christ (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:27). In order to preach the gospel Paul made himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1). He dedicated his life to serving Him to the extent that he was prepared to die for Him (Philippians 1:21) and he very nearly did (Acts 14:19, 20) while on his missionary journeys. Tradition has it that he was beheaded in Rome on account of his faith, probably with other martyrs during Nero’s persecution of Christians.

The Revelation of Jesus

So, here’s the way in which we can get to know Jesus. We cannot do it unless He reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit. On receiving new spiritual life through the Spirit (John 3:3-8), our eyes are opened, and spiritually we see Jesus. This is a bit like the physical opening of Paul’s eyes (Acts 9:18) after he had been blinded by the bright light that shone around him as he approached Damascus. Miraculously God opened Paul’s eyes and he received his sight. He was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ and immediately he was baptised, and after some days with the disciples at Damascus he ‘preached the Christ in the synagogues that He is the Son of God (vv.17-20).’

Jesus came to the earth to reveal Himself (John 7:28, 29) and to bring His gospel of salvation through faith and repentance (Mark 1:15). He came to call a people into His kingdom (Luke 22:28-30; John 18:36) of everlasting life (John 3:16). His gospel was not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-18). It was for all [sorts of] people (John 3:16). This was the mystery that had been revealed to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-7).

Jesus made it ***transparently clear to him. Indeed, Jesus came to reveal His very nature – the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah (John 1:41), the Saviour of the Jews and of the Gentiles. Paul became His bondservant (Romans 1:1), and as such through the enabling of the Holy Spirit he suffered and upheld the name of Jesus ‘“before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15).”’

Our Relationship with Jesus

Prior to receiving the Holy Spirit, we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), and unless God opens our eyes to understand the word (Matthew 13:23) we cannot [spiritually] see Jesus. This miracle of seeing can only come about through the power of Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Through Him we have life (John 6:63).

Having been born of the Spirit, our immediate desire is to follow Jesus and to serve Him (John 12:26). He becomes our Lord and Saviour. This marks the beginning of our relationship with Him. None of this comes about through, or on account of any merit in us. It is all of God (2 Corinthians 5:18), and by His grace (Ephesians 2:8).

Having been transformed into ‘a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) of the Spirit we no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ (vv. 12-18). In and through Him we are ministering spirits of reconciliation (v. 18) for bringing people to God (Matthew 28:19, 20). This is the prime purpose of our relationship with Him. This is how we know Jesus. He works through us and we are His hands, feet and eyes. We are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), i.e., those who speak and act on His behalf. We represent Him. God through Christ ‘has committed us to the word of reconciliation (v. 19).’

We hear His word and we are His Sheep. Jesus said, ‘“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are One (John 10:27-30).’

Nothing is more precious than having a living relationship with Jesus and with His people. Through Him we offer up ‘spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5).’ He has made us to be: ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people,’ that we ‘may proclaim the praises of Him who’ has ‘called us out of darkness into His marvellous light (v. 9).’

This is how we know Jesus. We praise His name.

*Paul’s Prayers

**God/Man Relationships

***An Easter Meditation – The Transparency of Jesus

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Pleasing God

‘For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8).’

I’ll state the obvious: Only those born of the Holy Spirit will want to please God, because Scripture states that only those who are born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) are able to please God (Romans 8:5-8). If you are not born again of the Spirit you are not at all interested in the real and only true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Most likely the person you will want to please is yourself. However, I personally know people who do not believe in God, and yet they have an altruistic spirit. They are really interested in the welfare of their relatives, friends and neighbours, and will go out of their way to help and please them. They want to please people, not God.

This brings me to consider the differences between the pleasers of men and the pleasers of God. What motivates them and what is at the core of their hearts?

Paul the Apostle made it abundantly clear that he preached the gospel to please God, not men. In his letter to the Galatians he told them: ‘But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. …… For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:8-10).’

Paul’s motivation came from his desire to please God by preaching the gospel.

When writing to the Thessalonians he reiterated his desire to please God: ‘But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4).’

This matter of pleasing God came from Paul’s heart. He, Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1) laboured and toiled night and day so as not to be a burden (2: 9) to the Thessalonians as they expounded and shared the gospel of their salvation.

The writer of Hebrews had this to say about pleasing God: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).’ He exhorted them: ‘Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (13:15, 16).’

God is pleased with His people who are ‘fruitful in every good work (Colossians 1:10),because they walk in holiness, pleasing Him.They cannot at the same time walk as those who do not know Him (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7).

Pleasing people is admirable, but God didn’t send His Son to please men; rather He sent His Son so that they may please Him. He wants them to love Him and to please Him by living holy lives to His glory. He wants them to love and to worship Him (Mark 12:29, 30).

He loves (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9, 10) people who please Him (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Amazingly He also loves the unlovable, even those who may reject Him, e.g., the Gentiles spoken of in verse 5. He loves them to the extent ‘that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).’

The crux of the matter is that only God’s people (1 Peter 2:9, 10) love Him and want to please Him and are capable of pleasing Him. They have this great privilege of being able to please Him. They give Him pleasure. How amazing and wonderful is that! God created us for His pleasure and for ours.

‘I have set the LORD always before me;

Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will rest in hope.

For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presences is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:8-11).’ 

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Thought Crimes

‘Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).’

Fictional Life – Nineteen Eighty-Four

I remember reading George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ dystopian novel when I was an art student in 1951. As far as I can recollect, the setting was in the State of Oceania, where the populace was monitored and surveyed by Thinkpol, who were the Thought Police. They operated under the instructions and authority of the Inner Party, above whom was the totalitarian leader, Big Brother. Together they attempted to control the middle-class Outer Party, and the working-class Prols by indoctrinating them with mindthink. [My euphemism]. Their officials had power to arrest transgressors under the charge of crimethink. [Orwell’s euphemism].

Intelligent individuals who strayed beyond what was permissible could expect to be placed on a programme of re-education. They had to learn to think within the constraints of the official language, which was Newspeak. If they failed to conform, they would be killed and cremated, and their ashes disposed of. They would become non-persons whose history was totally expunged. Their records were destroyed and their relatives, friends and acquaintances were not permitted to speak, or even think of them. Violation of these prohibitions could mean, they too would suffer the same fate.


My memory of Orwell’s novel goes back 69 years, so please forgive me if some of the details are incorrect, but I think I have the gist of it. I must get around to reading it again.

Real Life – China

Well, the above is fiction, but what is portrayed within the covers of Orwell’s book is taking place in China today!

It is a country whose populace are surveyed and monitored more than any other. The authorities use CCTV, face recognition technology, mobile phone tracking, Internet snooping and information gathering by the *secret police and informers. They monitor subject’s movements, contacts, conversations, and social behaviours. Those who do not support governmental policies can disappear without trace. 

Freedom to worship without restrictions for Muslims and Christians is not possible, as the following excerpt from a **recent online BBC News publication confirms:

In 2017, President Xi Jinping issued a directive that “religions in China must be Chinese in orientation” and “adapt themselves to socialist society”. The directive led to a fresh crackdown on religious practice that particularly affected the Uighurs.

Xinjiang is now covered by a pervasive network of surveillance, including police, checkpoints, and cameras that scan everything from number plates to individual faces.

The Chinese government says the measures are necessary to combat separatist violence in the region, but it is accused of exaggerating the threat in order to justify repression of the Uighurs. Many prominent members of the ethnic minority have been imprisoned or sought asylum abroad after being accused of terrorism.

There is abundant evidence that China is engaged in a re-education programme for the **Uighur people who are mainly Muslim, along with a ***birth control policy to suppress their population.

Worldly Thoughts

Both of the above depictions: Fictional Life – Nineteen Eighty-Four and Real-Life China, illustrate how those in power can attempt to impose upon the ‘proletariat’ certain modes of thinking. It’s interesting to note that in the revolutionary People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Tse-tung required all ‘comrades’ to carry with them his ‘The Little Red Book’. This publication was small enough to fit into a pocket, and it was a compilation of quotations from writings and speeches made by Mao. Basically it was a tool of indoctrination for inculcating Marxist thinking.

Karl Marx, the German philosopher, is famous for penning these words: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” From this comes the paraphrase: “Religion is the opium of the People.” 

Marx besmirches followers of religions, claiming they are like sick or injured people who cling to an illusion that if they adhere to their beliefs, all will be well in the end. Their religions prevent them from understanding class structures and oppression that is brought about through the practice of capitalism. Hence religions do not help promote his revolutionary socialism for overturning capitalism and replacing it with Marxism.

Religious and different societal communities require their members to be sympathetic to thought concepts that are supportive of their modus operandi. For example, religious followers’ modes of thought centre on their god or gods. In democracies the focus is upon the rule of law, freedom of speech and human rights. In communistic regimes allegiance to the state and its leaders is paramount. In a dictatorship the prime rule is obedience to the dictator.

Christian Thoughts

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).’

‘For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12, 13).’            

I am familiar with Christian thinking, because I am a follower of Christ. My thoughts are focussed on Him and His people who live for Him and His glory. My faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), which is the ****Bible. 

Unlike Mao’s Little Red Book, the Bible is not a book of indoctrination. It is a book of spiritual edification, written under the inspiration and authorship of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). In it God reveals His sovereignty and His power in creating and sustaining the world. He tells of His predestined plan of salvation for all who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. His followers are given spiritual life through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8). With this supernatural life they are able to understand His Word. Their thoughts are aligned with God’s, and they are given the ‘mind of Christ’:

‘Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “Who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).’

No one can judge us and find us guilty of ‘thought crimes’, because Jesus justifies us by His grace (Romans 3:24), and ‘we have the mind of Christ.’  He is the Judge who will judge us (14:10).

*Ministry of State Security (China)

**Xinjiang re-education camps

***China forcing birth control on Uighurs to suppress population, report says

***The Uighurs and the Chinese state: A long history of discord

****Bible Versions

****The Unchanging Word of God

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Rambling On

‘Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided (Genesis 22:13, 14).”

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of days trying to work out what I should write for this blog. Perhaps my quandary has come about because I’ve been preoccupied doing the daily chores (cf. Luke 10:38-41) and because of having to sort out a few unexpected problems that have come my way.

Some days there are things that have to be addressed without delay, because if they aren’t, they can have ramifications which bring problems requiring more attention and possibly the expenditure of money as well as energy. This morning, for example, I was in the middle of having a shower, when, without warning, the electric pump that pressurises the water stopped. This left me standing under a trickle of cold water with which to rinse off the remaining soapsuds.

I could easily cope with this, and in fact I could manage without ever taking a shower. However, my wife loves having them, and it’s very convenient for her, especially when it comes to shampooing her hair. Like me, she could manage without showering, but as I am her husband and the one who loves her, I found myself with the task of getting the shower sorted. 

Fortunately by repeatedly turning the shower handle on and off, and at the same time submersing the flexible shower head into water, I managed to get it working. Needless to say, this was not done without a prayer beforehand and the giving of thanks afterwards, but I can only guess as to when the pump will fail again.

Yes, I appreciate my good fortunate in having a bathroom that is equipped with a shower and a bidet, and I’m always appreciative of God who feeds me and my wife and who gives us a roof over our heads. He provides us with all we need (Genesis 22:13, 14; Matthew 6:33).

The evil one is a work

Despite God’s wonderful provision and loving care, I sometimes ‘feel’ as if I’m of little use to anyone, but I am also aware that such thoughts come from the devil. He is always out to deceive (Revelation 12:9) and to bring people down. He tries to make them dwell on their feelings and failings, rather than on the grace (Ephesians 2:8) and love of Jesus (1 John 4:19). He always wants to dishearten us – especially Christians, and he does all he can to make us depressed.

If we take our eyes off Jesus (Matthew 14:28-30), we can easily get bogged down with worldly thoughts and worldly ways.

We hear the news on radio and we see it on TV, and the great majority of it is soul-destroying. Sometimes even the good stories are sad, such as those of children who have had to suffer greatly on account of heath issues, but with fortitude they overcame their life-threatening illnesses. Even if they didn’t survive, before dying they profited others by raising funds for health charities, and after death by allowing their organs to be donated to children who would not otherwise survive.

Pervasive Covid 19 Situation

So this pervasive, almost overwhelming situation continues, and we can’t ignore the daily death toll on account of Covid 19. We can’t escape the demands that are placed upon us. We must wear face masks in public places, and we must keep to social distancing. We must adhere to restrictions wherever we go – that’s if we have the confidence to leave our homes, and this fear of contracting the virus is justifiably real for elderly folk who are more likely to die as a result.

A lot has changed, and the future will never be the same. The ‘new normal’ will inevitably be different. We pray for an effective vaccine that will help make the future approximate more to the past; and as we pray, we try to cast aside the frustrating news that the Russians may have hacked into the IT systems of UK pharmaceutical researchers to steal information for producing a vaccine. We desperately need a vaccine, but we want it to be done ethically and well, for the good of ALL people throughout the world – and not for monetary gain. This is an emergency that goes beyond money-making and international politics.

Hope for Tomorrow

‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15, 16).’

These times of unrest, inequity and division are extremely unsettling. To make matters worse, political and ideological forces are at work. There are fundamental differences between the major nations of the world. Each has its own agenda. Even the EU is in disarray, since it is divided on policies and the forthcoming budget. The UK will leave the EU on 31st January 2021, and there will be the imposition of trading tariffs, border controls, and a points-based immigration system. On top of all of this we are experiencing major economic gloom on account of a recession that will perhaps be greater than any that has been in the past.

Yes, I’m a Christian, but like all lovers and followers of Jesus, we have to live in the world, while not being worldly (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Our focus must always be on Jesus; for He is our all (Colossians 3:11). We live in Him and for Him. He is our life (Philippians 1:21), and there is no other. We must shine His light for the world see. We must look to Him for strength, patience and grace to do His will. We must be united with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as soon as we have opportunity to meet together for praising and worshipping our God, we must do it – even if we have to wear face masks and we are not permitted to sing.

The virus cannot stop us loving Jesus and one another, and for us there is always a sure *hope for tomorrow.

Jesus said, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this (John 11:25, 26)?”

*Our Hope

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Autonomy and Satisfaction

‘The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil (Proverbs 19:23).’

Are we ever satisfied? Yes, in a lot of instances our desires, our wants, and our needs are satisfied.

Looking back over my life I praise the Lord, because many of my hopes and ambitions were fulfilled. In the autumn of my life I still have hopes and ambitions, and I look forward to times when they may be satisfied, but the greatest satisfaction will be in seeing my Lord in all of His glory when He comes again (Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:2).


When I was a young man my greatest desire was to establish autonomy so that I could be self-sufficient for making my way in life. I wanted a steady job which would provide me with a reliable income. I also wanted to satisfy my insatiable lust for adventure. Even from a very young age I was always on the lookout for new and exciting adventures.

My aim wasn’t so much to gain satisfaction from fulfilling them, but in the doing of them. Success, of course, was an added bonus.

Some of my adventures required of me almost more than I could give, such as when sailing singlehanded a small boat in the North Sea from Grimsby and bound for West Mersea. Having been without proper sleep for two nights, I was utterly exhausted, and a gale from the southwest was imminent. The only haven of escape was Great Yarmouth, and by the time I arrived off the entrance, conditions were chaotic, but God was with me. The engine started, and with difficulty, on account of the currents and waves, I motored the yacht into the harbour. There the harbour master gave me a temporary berth alongside an old barge. Still dressed in my soggy oilskins, I thankfully lay on my bunk, and immediately fell asleep, and I didn’t wake until twelve hours later.

That morning the yacht was a complete shambles. On opening my eyes I saw a torn and very damp chart on the cabin floor, and I was startled to find that upon it there was a bloodstained, partial imprint of my right foot! There was more blood on the floor. It was then that I examined my foot and discovered a nasty gash on the big toe. As I cleaned and dressed it I remembered the stabbing pain I had experienced when striking my toe against the gear lever in the cockpit. In the frenzy of sailing, my shoe had fallen off. Then, after entering the cabin, I must have stepped on the chart which had dislodged itself from the chart table.

When I look back on that adventure, the doing of it brought me huge satisfaction, as did many of my *sailing adventures.

True Autonomy

It wasn’t until much later, and after loads more adventures, that I discovered God had been looking after me all the time. He kept me safe and brought me through them all. The autonomy I thought I had wasn’t the case; for in truth, I depended upon Him for everything. As time has progressed I’ve learnt that any autonomy I have is in His Son, and this comes with the responsibility of doing His will.

The Autonomous One is God Himself who satisfies all our needs (Matthew 6:32) and blesses us with His abundant love (1 Timothy 1:14). He gives us eternal life (1 John 5:11) and the sure **hope of a glorious inheritance in Him.

Our greatest and most satisfying adventure is yet to come when Jesus returns, and ‘we shall be changed (1 Corinthian 15:52).’

‘As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness (Psalms 17:15).’

*Bill’s Log – Cruising Logs


**Our Hope

Other Related Texts

‘The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever (Psalm 22:26).’

‘How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light (Psalm 36:7-9).’

‘Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips (Psalm 63:3-5).’

‘Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple (Psalm 65:4).’

‘The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil (Proverbs 19:23).’

‘Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20).’

‘All things are full of labour; man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:8).’

‘There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labours, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” This also is vanity and a grave misfortune (Ecclesiastes 4:8).’

‘He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity (Ecclesiastes 5:10).’

‘All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet his soul is not satisfied (Ecclesiastes 6:7).’

‘He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11).’

‘I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD (Jeremiah 31:14).’

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Bowing the Knee

“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength, to Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who incensed against Him. In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory (Isaiah 45:22-25).’”

A Dreadful Situation

*George Floyd on the fateful day of 25th May, 2020, died while under arrest in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. For eight minutes and forty eight seconds he lay handcuffed on the road as one officer, Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, and others restrained him. During the first six minutes of restraint he repeatedly pleaded wth Chauvin to remove his knee as he couldn’t breathe. Then he became motionless and unresponsive, but Chauvin unrelentingly knelt upon his neck while other officers failed to intervene. Paramedics could not revive him. He had breathed his last.

The Response – A Call for Justice

There was a public outrage from the local community calling for justice, and there followed a world-wide protest championed by the Black Lives Matter movement, with people chanting the slogan, “I can’t breathe.”

A Dreadful Situation, Approximately 2000 Years Ago

‘When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified (Matthew 27:29-31).’

‘Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”

And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last (Mark 15:35-37).’

‘And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).’

The Response – A Call for People to be Filled with the Love of Christ

‘For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19).’

The Final Situation and the Final Response – All Shall ‘Bow the Knee’

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt to your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:10-12).’

Derek Chauvin will bow the knee and give an account of himself, along with all of us and George Floyd.

*George Floyd: What happened in the final moments of his life

Noblesse – Bow the knee | Videoclip SperantaTV

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From Chaos to Order

‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:12, 13).’

These are times of great confusion causing us to pray for release from the chaos around us, and for peace and order. There are so many things going on in the world, and we can’t make sense of them all – at least, that’s how I perceive life today.

Taking advantage of the disruption brought about by the Coronavirus there are ‘hosts’ of wicked ‘principalities’ and ‘powers’ at work that threaten world democracies, stable governments, law and order, peaceable living and precious freedoms – even freedom to worship, not just for Christians, but for those of other faiths and religions.

There are many factions at work seeking to divide, disrupt and destroy for their own aims. There are demands for social justice, the rewriting of history, compensations, apologies, the pulling down of statues and one big issue, that of slavery and the inhumanity of it. The “Black Lives Matter” movement highlights injustices of the past and of the present, and seeks to change things for a better and fairer future.

How should Christians respond to the obvious injustices that are being suffered by millions on account of the colour of their skin? Well, as usual, by acting in accordance with God’s Word, the Bible. We all need to examine our hearts (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5) to question if sin lurks within us on account of any prejudices we may have; for there should be none.

Current Public Debate

The current public debate has moved us to introspection, and begs the question what should be done? Christians are not immune from this introspection, because they too have had to examine the *church’s past involvement in the slave trade. However, Christians such as William Wilberforce and the Quakers George Fox and Benjamin Lay, in their various ways, helped to bring an end to slavery as it was practised in their day.

This debate has forced church leaders to question their practices; even to consider removing **paintings, stained glass windows and sculptures of Jesus from places of worship, because He has been represented as a white person.

Within this debate I was shocked on hearing of two Christians disputing as to the skin colour of Jesus; one claimed He was white and the other that He was black. His physical ancestry can be traced back through Heli (Luke 3:23) [who was the father of Mary, not Joseph – see Matthew Henry, p. 221, 11.2], to Abraham (v 34), whose skin colour could well have been an olive brown. Who knows? But the pigmentation of His skin is totally irrelevant; for had it been relevant Jesus would have made it known.

All people are formed in God’s image (Genesis 1:26, 27) and He makes no distinction between them on account of their appearance, but He does distinguish between those who love Him and those who do not, i.e., those who are born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) and those who are dead in their trespasses and sin. (Ephesians 2:1).

The Christian Response 

As Christians our principal response to the confusion we find around us should be to share the love of Jesus with all whom we meet and to tell the world of His salvation from sin and death. Our desire should be to proclaim His peace which the world cannot give (John 14:27), and it must be done in the truth of His Word (Ephesians 4:15;  2 John 1:1) and with gentleness (2 Corinthians 10:1). That precludes us from accepting and supporting certain strategic policies of the Black Lives Matter movement. We may support some of them, but we cannot go along with any that are at odds with God’s Word. Take for example the following objectives set out on the BLM website under the heading, ‘What We Believe’. 

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable,” and “We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”

A Christian believes the nuclear family is God ordained, and it was established at the time of His creation of the world, when He created Adam and Eve as the progenitors of mankind. The BLM wish to foster a queer-affirming network and to free themselves from heteronormative thinking, whereas the Bible clearly states that God created Adam to be a male and his wife a female (Genesis1:27: 3:20; 4:25). That is God’s created order (5:2). There’s no confusion. Admittedly, if followers of the BLM want to think the way they do, that is their prerogative. It is not a Christian’s aim to impose their understanding upon anyone.

When it comes to fostering ‘a queer-affirming network’ my online dictionary defines the slang meaning of ‘queer’ as ‘relating to a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary.’

The Bible has a few things to say on the topic, as I’ve previously explained in an ***article of mine. Here’s an excerpt from it:

Paul … pulled no punches in his condemnation of lesbianism and homosexuality (Romans 1:26, 27), pointing out that what these people did was ‘contrary to nature’. He said, ’the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (v 18)’.

But let me add, there is no condemnation for those who believe in God’s Son (Romans 8:1). Therefore all who repent of their sins (Mark 1:15), and turn to God and trust His Son, will be saved to eternal life (John 3:16).

Unity and Peace

So whether believers are black, brown, white or whatever, we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). It is in this oneness with Christ we find, order, unity, peace, freedom and justice. There is in Him no chaos, and it is to Him we should look and focus our attention upon (Matthew 6:33). Neither should we worry about tomorrow:

‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (v 34).’

And remember, that in Jesus, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:28).’

*The Church: Enslaver or Liberator?

**2-D and 3-D Representation of Our Lord

***The Christian and Gender Orientation

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