Saturday, August 27, 2016

TRUTH



Truth
‘Tell the truth and shame the devil’: an adage all ought to live by. Hugh Latimer said it was a common saying in his day in 1555, and William Shakespeare immortalised it in Henry IV in 1597. Shakespeare also wrote, ‘Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.’ Of the devil and lies? Jesus says that the devil ‘is the father of lies’ John 8:44b. Thus, as Satan opposes Christ, so a lie opposes truth. Contradiction is the habitat of lies. This is where the head devil and his cohorts live.
When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate (or was it the other way round?!) He said, ‘“Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” retorted Pilate” John 18:37b-38a. Jesus says that God’s Word, i.e., the Bible, is truth (John 17:17) and that He, Himself, is the Truth (John 14:6). After His resurrection Jesus berated a couple of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. He said to them, ‘“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself’ Luke 12:25-27. And, to those opposing Him He said, ‘“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”’ John 8:44. Thus, Christ Jesus is the Truth, as is the Bible that reveals Him as such.
Enter Postmodernism, i.e., the devil’s latest strategy in his war on truth! Postmodernism can be hard to define, but at its base it is a rejection of absolutes, including God and His Word. Postmodernism is happy with contradiction, such as its dogmatic mantra: ‘There is no such thing as absolute truth!’ To which Christianity responds by asking Postmodernism, ‘How can this be true since this is an absolute statement?’ Thus, ‘In war, truth is the first casualty. Aeschylus, Greek tragic dramatist (525-456 BC). Which war? The war being waged by the devil (and those he has blinded) against God and His Anointed (i.e., Christ), (see e.g., Psalm 2:1-3 & 2 Corinthians 4:4).
The war was begun by Satan who subsequently deceived Eve who in turn offered her husband, Adam, the forbidden fruit which he willfully ate. Thus, Adam consciously joined the devil in rebellion against God. How did the serpent manage to pull it off? By asking a very pointed question, ‘Did God really say?’ Genesis 3:1. Questioning God and His Word, Adam and Eve set themselves up as the arbiters of truth, not God. Like Postmodernism, they rejected absolute truth and made it relative, i.e., relative to themselves. Regardless of contradiction, one person’s truth is as good as any another’s – as far as it agrees with the Postmodernist narrative of no-absolutes! However, Jesus makes an absolute statement by saying, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ John 14:6. As does His Apostle Paul, ‘Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ Acts 4:12. The truth is that, ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil’ 1 John 3:8. Thus, the Truth will shame the devil!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

JEFF'S STORY: Fugitive to Freedom

(Now available as an eBook:

https://www.amazon.com/JEFFS-STORY-Neil-Cullan-McKinlay-ebook/dp/B01J7M72FC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469734422&sr=1-1&keywords=Jeff%27s+Story%3A+Fugitive+To+Freedom#navbar



Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Jeff was now forced to live on the streets for weeks. He began sleeping in old vehicles and living off food scraps. Sometimes it’s difficult to reconcile Bible verses with some of the tragedy of things that take place in the world. However, the following verse rings true when viewed in its proper context,

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread.[1]

The Lord knows His own and He provides for them. He gets us through – somehow. Sometimes it’s only when we have crossed over on dry ground and have reached the other side that we can turn just in time to see the sea engulf our troubled past along with the bloodthirsty enemies that pursue us. Thus the hand of God gives us a reassuring wave.

Jeff had to negotiate the sinking sands of life in a nation at war with itself. Implosion! Says Jeff,

At the age of nine or ten years the Rebels were recruiting and I was living on the street at that time. I had nowhere to go and I had no food to eat. I was so tempted to join the Rebel Forces because I saw a lot of my age group and also friends of mine on the Rebel’s side.

            We can only say that the hand of God stayed Jeff. A roof over your head, food to eat, friends and an AK47 to shoot people with! Who could resist?

            And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.[2]

Just like those kids in the couple of movies we mentioned earlier (i.e., Machinegun Preacher and Blood Diamond), the Rebels would drive around with dilated-pupiled kids on the backs of pick-up trucks armed to their baby teeth with guns and supplied with reality-distorting drugs. Jeff witnessed the damage done, the brutality, the carnage. He saw man’s inhumanity to man,

I saw dead bodies lying all over the place, on the street, on the beaches and on the sideway of the road. I also saw Rebels arguing about the sex of a pregnant woman’s baby and I watched them murder her just to check the sex of the baby! How evil can man be? As a kid seeing all those things at that time has made me numb to any situation because I have seen enough. Sometimes I feel like the world we are living in has no more good in it, because the evil is more than the good.

            The depth of human depravity is a bottomless pit full of scorpions and venomous serpents! Evil curiosity killed the woman, that poor pregnant and helpless woman. Torturous! Murderous! Atrocious! Diabolical! And it would seem that a babe in its mother’s womb is only as safe as the restraint of evil in the world. Lord, help us!

Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.[3]

However, Jesus says to those who belong to Him, i.e., He says to all of God’s children,

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.[4]

At this time Jefferson’s natural dad started searching the streets for his son.

[1] Psalm 37:25 KJV.
[2] Matthew 6:13 KJV
[3] Romans 4:15-18 KJV.
[4] John 16:33b KJV.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Future


The Future

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future…’ (Gaither), so goes the chorus of an assuring hymn. Jesus “holds the future” because God is the God of time, past, present and future. The Triune God pushes time forward as He keeps it ticking as He drags it behind Him. The resurrected and ascended Jesus awaits the arrival of the final destination of all things (including you, me and death): ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive …Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death’ 1 Corinthians 15:22;24-26 NIV. No matter how long dead you are, you’ll be made alive in the future!


It’s not hard to see that the Christian has a far different take on the future than everyone else. For the Christian the future is all about the resurrected Jesus putting death to death on the Last Day and then living with His resurrected people forever on the resurrected (i.e., renewed) earth. We see then why Christianity lives or dies by Christ’s resurrection. That’s why the Apostle says, ‘If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile…’ 1 Corinthians 15:17a. For the Christian living in the present the future is tied to an event in the past. Without the physical resurrection of Jesus the Christian has no future. But again, as the Apostle says, ‘But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep’ 1 Corinthians 15:20.

The Christian would much rather look into God’s Word than gaze into a crystal ball. Therein God says, ‘I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure”’ Isaiah 46:9b-10. Jesus holds the future, not the fortune-teller. And He says, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble’ Matthew 6:34. Therefore, whether it’s the near future or the far future it all belongs to Jesus.

There are three main views (each with variants within) that Christians hold regarding what the Bible says about the future: Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism. (The word ‘millennium’ means a thousand, as in a thousand years. See e.g., Revelation 20.) The first view holds that things on earth will progressively grow worse before Jesus physically returns to set up a thousand year ministry, a “Millennial Reign.’ The second holds that Jesus will come back only after there has been a thousand year (or an extensive) period of peace of earth. And the third view is that things will carry on pretty much in the same dismal state until Jesus’s Second Coming. The first and the last views are pessimistic about the present and the near future. However, all three are optimistic about the distant future.

Why the different schools of thought? You may as well ask: Why the different Christian Denominations?! However, every Christians is agreed that, ‘Jesus shall reign where’er the sun, doth his successive journeys run; His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more.’ Isaac Watts (1674-1748). 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Behind the Scenes


BEHIND THE SCENES

“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’” Genesis 16:13.

Introduction

In the following I want to take you behind the scenes. You’ve no doubt seen one of those programs on the TV, “The Making of Jaws”, “The Making of Jurassic Park” or “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit” etc., that kind of thing. You know, the ones where they take you behind the scenes. They show you things like how they got the giant shark to open its mouth. Or how they got the tyrannosaurus to eat the car. Or how they got Jabba the Hut to walk and talk. Or the Incredible Hulk to grab the flying helicopter, Superman to fly etc.

When we watch a movie, we see the finished product. But who would doubt that many things have gone on behind scenes to produce what you see? Movies are all about “make-believe”. Sometimes they succeed in making the unbelievable believable! Actors perform amidst mechanical sharks and computer generated dinosaurs and such like on “green-screen”. And there’s a Director calling the shots off-screen. However, in the finished product the strings have disappeared. The papier-mâché, the rubber and the silicone and the CGI looks real as we sit and watch the story unfold in the movie.

Though not set out in perfect chronological order, the Bible is the unfolding of a story. You can start at the beginning and see the unfolding of a story as you read through to the end. The story is the history of redemption. The Bible records the unfolding of God’s Plan of Salvation. It begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth and its fall in the fall of man. And it ends with the redeemed heavens and earth in the redemption of man. The Bible is the finished product it is not to be added to or taken away from. It records and unfolds the story of redemption. It is a true story. It is not make-believe.

In the following I want to alert you to some of those things that went on behind the scenes in the making of the greatest story ever told. I want to, as it were, make the invisible visible. We’re only going to look at a short clip, a snippet, of the story. However, it should be enough to illustrate something of what went into the making of the history of redemption.

The general gist of what we’re looking at is: Always stay in the spotlight of God’s Word.

In the Shadows

In Genesis 16:11 the Angel of the Lord says to Hagar, “Behold, you are with child.” So, first off, we need to figure out how this happened. How come Hagar is pregnant? And before you ask me aside to tell me about the birds and the bees, remember that our subject is “Behind the Scenes.”

There is a seed in Hagar’s womb. Who sowed it? How did it get there? We know that Sarai, who couldn’t bear children, gave her servant Hagar to Abram. We know that Sarai had come up with a well-thought-out plan. We know that Abram agreed to this well-thought-out plan. Hence the child in Hagar’s womb. But where did Sarai’s idea come from? Did she get the idea from the Lord? Had the Lord written it into the script or was Sarai improvising? Was she doing a bit of ad-lib here? She was making this all up as she went along, wasn’t she? It was never God’s intention to use Sarai’s servant Hagar to produce the Redeemer. So Sarai must have got this idea from somewhere else. Where?

Apparently there was a custom in those days, according to historians. If your wife couldn’t produce you an heir, then, as custom would have it, you were free to use a surrogate. Needless to say, this ancient custom was a pagan practice that goes against the revealed will of God of one man and one woman in marriage. So, was it a pagan custom that was sitting in the director’s chair, directing Sarai to act this way? No! I think there was something more than just an idea skulking around in the shadows. It seems to me, that it was Satan himself who was skulking around in the shadows. However, I don’t think he was walking around with one of those director’s mega-phones in his hand. I don’t think he was yelling out his directions to the stage-players. He’s much more subtle than that. He’s the one who whispers sweet nothings in your ear. Sometimes he’s the subtle initiator of those things about which we say afterwards, “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!” Usually we’re never that sure where the idea came in the first place! Was it Fred? Was it Freda? Was it me? Or did it just seem to happen?

I’ve been to committee meetings attached to church where they record the names of who moved and who seconded what. This seems like good practice. So it was moved by Sarai and the motion was seconded by Abram that Abram and Sarai use Hagar as a surrogate mother. But we can see what went on behind the scenes. Sarai might have moved the motion, Abram might have seconded it. But where did the idea come from? It didn’t come from the Director, God. The idea came from the pseudo-director, Satan, didn’t it?

Even if Sarai got the idea from pagan practice, the idea still came from Satan. Scripture says Satan is the father of lies, John 8:44. The trouble with the Devil is that he dresses up his lies so that they look like truth. It’s a bit like the street organist who used to dress up the little monkey in human clothes.

So then, although Sarai, Abram and Hagar are each responsible for their own actions, Hagar is “with child” on account of the Devil working behind the scenes. It was the Devil who sowed the seed of thought that sprouted in Sarai’s heart. The Devil, not Abram, was the father of the lie planted in Hagar’s womb.

Do you know about the Scottish cuckoo? The Scottish cuckoo lays an egg in another bird’s nest! It keeps an eye on its prospective candidate’s nest. Then in an unguarded moment it swoops in and lays an egg, yes, just one egg. Then the host birds are run ragged trying to raise this other bird’s offspring! In a very real sense this is what the Devil was trying to do here. He was planting a counterfeit, a cheap imitation, a substitute for the real thing.

God had promised Abram that his Seed would be a blessing to the whole world. This seed in Hagar’s womb was no blessing. He was to be a wild-man, a wild donkey of a man! His hand was to be against every man and every man’s hand against him. This seed in Hagar’s womb was a false promise. He was a lie – the Devil’s lie. The serpent, through Sarai, Abram and Hagar, had given birth to an offspring. And the scary thing about it is that it all seemed like a good idea at the time.

You’ve heard it said that the Devil is in the detail. Well, I’d like to put it to you that he’s even more subtle than that. At least you’ll see him hiding in the detail if you would just take the time to read it. All you have to do is read the small print. However, the Devil hides in the shadows. He always remains behind the scenes. Listen to what the Lord teaches if you don’t believe me, “Everyone practicing evil hates the light & does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” John 3:20.

The Devil doesn’t like the spotlight – certainly not the spotlight of God’s Word. He’s happy to direct from behind the scenes. And if he ever does step out of the shadows, he always wears a disguise. And his disguise is usually more than a pair of sun glasses like Clark Kent when he’s not being Superman. Satan is an angel of darkness who poses as an angel of light. He’s the enemy who comes along and sows the tares among the wheat and goes his way. Watch him because he’s a planter of thoughts, of things that seem like a good idea at the time. And he likes to see Christians forget their lines and resort to improvisation and ad-lib. Therefore, we must keep going back and keep on reading the fine print of the Bible. Keep on trying to memorize your lines. Always stay in the spotlight of Scripture. As the Psalmist says, “You Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You” and, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”

Knowing the Word of God is the only way we can be safe from his suggestions. That’s how Christ handled the Devil in the wilderness, wasn’t it? The Devil lurks around in the shadows. But what about the Lord? He works in the light.

In the Light

In the passage before us, the invisible has become visible. The Angel of the Lord has manifested Himself before Hagar. He has materialized Himself in human form, perhaps, though we can’t be certain. I don’t think there would be too many arguments against the belief that the Angel of the Lord is the Lord Himself. Hagar seems to think this is the Lord Himself, Genesis 16:13, “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’” The Angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar in the first person, where He says in Genesis 16:10, “I [ie, I, the Angel of the Lord] will multiply your descendants exceedingly” etc. So, Hagar herself actually believes she has seen the Lord Himself. And I wouldn’t try to convince Hagar otherwise!

The movie director Alfred Hitchcock would usually make a cameo appearance in his movies. You’ll see him get on a bus or walk out of a shop, or something. He makes just the briefest of appearances, i.e., a cameo. Well, here in this passage the One who usually directs from behind the scenes has made a cameo appearance, if you will. The Lord Himself has come out in the open. The Lord is consistent with His own teaching. For He says in John 3:21, “He who does the truth comes to the light, that His deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” So the real Director has come onto the set!

We see that he is compassionate because He has heard Hagar’s affliction. And we see that He is all-seeing. He saw Hagar in the wilderness. However, more than that, He can see into the future. He knows where the story is going. He knows the end from the beginning. He’s making sure Hagar learns her lines before He sends her to report back to Abram and Sarai. And what is Hagar to tell them when she gets there? Well first off she’s going to tell them that God heard her affliction. And she’ll tell them that the Lord is going to multiply her descendants exceedingly, “So that they shall not be counted for multitude.” That must have been a great comfort for Hagar to know that. But just so that there’s no mistaking that this seed is not the promised seed, it’s revealed to her in Genesis 16:12, “He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” So we see clearly in these words that Ishmael is not the promised seed.

There’s no mention of him being a blessing. In fact he’s to be the opposite. But let’s not miss what’s going on here. The Lord has just sprung another of Satan’s evil plans. Satan had planned to mislead Abram and Sarai in letting the promise appear to have been fulfilled by substituting another seed, that of a slave. However, who should show up on the scene and make, as it were, a “cameo” appearance? None other than the Promised One Himself – the Lord! That is, the One who would, in the fullness of time, become the Great Redeemer. He steps out from the Old Testament shadows, from behind the scenes, just long enough to direct Hagar.

Notice His compassion. He says to her, “Call your son ‘Ishmael’ because the Lord has heard you affliction.” “Ishmael” means “God hears.” So every time Hagar would call on the boy for lunch, for tea, “Ishamel! Ishmael!” everyone in the whole street would be reminded that “God hears.”

So, God hears, He hears affliction, even the affliction of the slave. But where does all of this fit into the story, the story of redemption? Well, before we fast-forward ahead let’s rewind the tape a little. You’ll remember the bit where in Genesis 15 where the Lord made a covenant with Abram. Remember the dead animals and the smoking oven and the burning torch? Well, the Lord had said to Abram in Genesis 15:13, “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will AFFLICT them four hundred years.” This is of course a future reference to Israel’s enslavement in Egypt. Let’s begin to fast forward. Do you know how the descendants of Abram ended up in Egypt? Abram had a great grandson whose name was Joseph. You know about Joseph and his coat of many colours. You know that his brothers wanted rid of him so they sold him to some travellers. Listen to this verse of Scripture, “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from THE ISHMAELITES who had taken him down there.” Genesis 39:1. Joseph’s brothers sold him into the hands of the “Ishamelites!” The “Ishmaelites,” the descendants of Ishmael, sold Joseph, Abram’s grandson, to the Egyptians.

And you know that Jacob and the whole of Israel came to live in Egypt with Joseph. But in the process of time what happened? Joseph died. “[And] there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Exodus 1:8. And Egypt set taskmasters over Israel “to afflict them with their burdens.”

Let me cut the long story short: Ex. 2:23-24, “Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out...So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham.” “God heard their groaning...” “Ishmael” “God hears” – affliction, even the affliction of the slave! And you know the rest of the story. “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to [Moses] in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.” Exodus 3:2. The Angel of the LORD in the burning bush is another Old Testament cameo appearance of the Lord.

So the moral of the story is that God hears. He’s not a God who hides Himself in the shadows. He doesn’t do things in a corner. He’s the God who does His deeds so that they may be clearly seen. He’s the God who hears your affliction. He hears you when you cry out to Him in times of trouble. How do we know? Well we know how the story ends, don’t we? As the Scripture says, “But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” Hebrews 9:26b. He sets slaves free.

Christ on the cross of Calvary was the greatest deed ever done! Not to mention His resurrection from the tomb. The blessing is ours! And none of this was done in the shadows, but in the light. Satan might have tried to fob off Abraham with a counterfeit, a substitute promise – a false christ. He was even raising up false christs in Christ’s day. And, depending how you read Matthew 24:24 he’ll be doing it until the real Christ appears. However, take comfort in the fact that, though Christ, the real Christ, is at the moment behind the scenes. He hears your affliction. The Ishmaelites might be persecuting the covenant children of Abraham in the Sudan, Indonesia, and elsewhere, but God hears our affliction. He will appear. As Scripture says, “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” Hebrews 9:28. When will this appearing be? No one knows the day or the hour. Therefore make sure that everything that you do is done in the light.

Stay in the light and don’t spend time in the shadows, for you know who skulks around there. And he wants to sow some thoughts in your head thoughts that seem like a good idea at the time. But listen only to the direction of the Lord who still directs from behind the scenes.

Conclusion

Now, when you think of it, your life and mine is but a “cameo appearance”, isn’t it?
We get to walk onto the world stage mumble a few lines and then we’re gone. Most of us don’t even get mentioned in the credits. That’s reserved for kings and queens, and famous people. But this doesn’t mean that what you and I say or do is not important. For we know that God is recording every idle word that we speak.

I’m not totally sure what Judgment Day will be like exactly. But in today’s terms, it seems to me that we will get to watch a movie in which we are the stars! It will be a “This is your life!” (or, this WAS your life) I don’t know about you, but I’ll be embarrassed all to pieces if I get to see a movie of my whole life It’ll be, “Why did I do that?” And, why did I say that?” Could you imagine how embarrassed you will be if everyone gets to watch the story of your life? It’s then that I’ll be truly thankful more than ever that I have Jesus Christ as Saviour! For my acting on the world’s stage has been anything but perfect, everything but perfect.

Yes even after God, by His grace, set me free from my bondage to sin I haven’t served Him perfectly. But thanks be to God that He won’t be looking at your imperfect life or mine on Judgment Day. Rather God will be looking at the perfect life Jesus Christ lived in our stead on Judgment Day. Therefore, shouldn’t those of us who belong to Christ be striving to be obedient to Him out of love and gratitude for His grace? Therefore, always strive to be on your best behavior even when in the super market, when driving your car, even when filling out your Income Tax Return. In a word, no matter what we are thinking, saying, or doing we should strive to always stay in the spotlight of God’s Word.

Habbie To Jeely-Eater: A Biography


Habbie To Jeely-Eater: A Biography –
“In retrospect, I realise my life has been built on three pillars: Family, Friends and Faith.” So says the indefatigable Rev Ian H Miller in the final chapter of his book which essentially deals with this threefold cord.

The three main takeaways from this book are laughter, tears and contemplation. Ian is a master storyteller.

Laughter? Ian can spot humour at fifty paces even at funerals! He relates a funny story about a bird at the crematorium at Cardross depositing “a little message on the undertaker’s formal funeral wear.” He says, “All I could see was this splurge of white. I lost it.”

Tears? Again funerals! Speaking of the local cemetery Ian paints the following vividly sombre picture, “On a number of occasions, I have stood on the windswept hill above the Valley intoning the words of committal as we lay to rest a loved one whose life had been forfeited to the river.”

Contemplation? “We tend to look for God in the spectacular and miss him in the ordinary.”

Ian is a Christian minister. To minister is to serve. Ian has served the Vale folk, i.e, the Jeely-Eaters, well!

On a more personal note: My father died in November 2005: “The Rev. Ian Miller had another funeral to attend to, but he allowed us to use his Bonhill Parish Church on the River Leven where I conducted the funeral service.”[1] After the service we accompanied dad’s coffin across the hill to the Crematorium at Cardross where Ian was graciously (and patiently) waiting to conduct the brief committal. We arrived much later than originally planned. As I approached him I was cringing with embarrassment at what he might say about my organisational tardiness. (We had arrived not long before the service that was scheduled to follow ours.) Ian, a master of the humorous rebuke, looked at me and said, “Red Card, McKinlay! Red Card!” No point in arguing with such a well-respected referee as Rev. Ian H Miller.

I think the whole of the Vale has been touched and indeed influenced for the better by this man. This (exiled) “Jeely-Eater” says thankyou Ian! And thanks also for the great read!


[1] Neil Cullan McKinlay, From Mason To Minister: Through the Lattice, Nordskog Publishing, California, 2011, p. 147. – See http://nordskogpublishing.com/product/from-mason-to-minister-through-the-lattice/
 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Life After Death?


In the so called Apostles’ Creed we state that we believe in the resurrection of the body.

Indeed, Christianity hinges on Christ’s bodily resurrection (1 Cor. 15:17).

If Christ survived death then so will all who belong to Him.

I believe our study and interpretation of the Bible is science and is therefore scientific.

In other words hermeneutics is science.

I lifted the following from the Internet: “According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is ‘knowledge attained through study or practice,’ or ‘knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.’”

To talk about physical resurrection (as it is relayed in the Bible) is to be “concerned with the physical world.”

My personal “scientific” study began as a young teenager up at my doo-hut [ie, homing pigeon loft] next to the Tullichewan Castle.

We used to hold séances there, a.k.a. “spirit in the glass.”

We would put Vaseline or butter on the glass to make sure no one was pushing it. We tried but we couldn’t physically move the glass like this.

The glass used to whirr around the board spelling things.

One time it spun around on its own and then flew off and hit the wall!

Blind forces cannot spell out names.

For me, this meant there was another dimension or an invisible world in which rational thought existed.

It seems to me that this is scientific, i.e., a logical conclusion “through study and practice” i.e., from the facts of what was taking place in the physical world (i.e., an inverted glass spelling out sentences on a board (at times with no one laying a finger on it).

I thought I was communicating with people who were physically dead, (because that was what the “glass” was telling us).

However, according to the Bible I was probably dabbling with demons (which were perhaps pretending to be people who had died).

Either way, it opened up for me the real possibility (to me) that a supreme but invisible mind actually existed.

I gradually became more open to the idea that the God of the Bible might actually exist.

It all seemed logical to me: Physical human beings communicate by the spoken or written or word.

Here was something invisible (to me) communicating by the written word.

The Bible claims to be (the invisible) God communicating by the written word.

However, it wasn’t inverted whisky glasses that God moved, but something more sophisticated, viz., men:  “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Pet. 1:21 KJV.

After years of “study and practice” you’ll be pleased to know that I now trust the Bible over Ouija boards! 

I believe what Jesus, the resurrected One, tells me in His written Word (from cover to cover).

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

GOING HOME


GOING HOME

Grass, long grass, spear grass,

Prickly seeds pierce my feet,

My legs, my buttocks.

Ticks, mosquitos, spiders and snakes,

Five-inch “toe-biter” insect,

A giant water bug with pincers!

And a Queensland bird-eating spider.

Sleeping-bag entered slowly!

Moonlit nights, shooting stars,

Southern Cross, crick in neck.

Misty mornings, clenched-fist sun

Then extending fingers, feeling their way

through gumtrees lining the gates of dawn.

Sunday morning bush-worship-service,

God honoured, His Word read,

Proclaimed and applied,

His congregation blessed. Amen!

Packed pack is on my back,

Face set for home,

About to decamp when “ratatatat”,

Enemy with bad-timing and poor manners,

Departure delayed, but dust settles,

Soon I’m off and running!

Nine hours travelling by bus,

Air-con broken, thirty degrees outside,

Steamed-up windows! Is the heater on?

At last, civilization, elation,

McDonalds and a coffee? Yes please!

Back on bus, Kindle reading, day-dreaming,

Sugarcane on the left, cattle on the right,

Hot bitumen underneath,

Gumtrees flashing by,

Hills rolling away into the distance,

Pastel clouds on sky-blue sky,

Sun sparkling on a river

As we speed across a bridge,

A lonely kingfisher stares

Into the clear water from a log.

Well irrigated orchard, all lush and green,

Mangoes, oranges, then fields of pineapples.

A crow pecks at some roadkill,

As cars, caravans and trucks

Flash into then out of view.

Going home, wife, daughters

Grandchildren, comfy chair,

Shower, Guinness, clean sheets.