Hope 2017 is better!

It has a been a sad time in the fading weeks of 2016. So many famous people have passed away in recent weeks I’ve been almost too scared to read the news. Great icons of stage and screen have been passing with frightening regularity, and serves as a timely reminder of just how fragile we human beings actually are.

I was stunned to hear of Rick Parfitt’s passing. I saw Status Quo just over a year ago in Glasgow’s new concert venue The Hydro. They played a great set despite their advancing years and seemed destined to go on forever. The ‘Quo’ are a bedrock of British rock music spanning decades. They were actually formed a year before I was born in 1967! To hear of the passing of Parfitt is sad and his family must be devastated like any family who loses someone so near Christmas.

I just enjoyed Carrie Fisher joking away on the television a week ago, only to hear this complex, funny and talented lady had taken a heart attack, and ultimately did not recover after her flight home from the UK. Now I hear her also famous mum, Debbie Reynolds has died just days after-probably from a broken heart. No matter how much money or fame one has, or doesn’t have- the pain from loss can be unbearable.

Singer George Michael, whose kindness and generosity for others is starting to become known, (hidden for so long from us on his orders), actresses Liz Smith, Zsa Zsa Gabor & quite a few others have shuffled of their mortal coils. It would be easy to feel hopeless and despondent-as many people do in these circumstances. The promises of life and status mean nothing whether you were a king, president or just plain old you and me!

The one-time persecutor of Christians- a man called Paul later commented about his faith, the risks to his life and the lives of others with these words…

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 (NLT)

The one sure thing we have is our faith in the Love of God that Paul so beautifully described in these verses. I don’t know the personal convictions of any of these celebrities-some may have believed in God and some may not have-but I am convinced we should all strive towards understanding what really matters in life. We must frame our existence in a perspective based upon eternal values that are firmly rooted in God’s love for us.

It was a sad way to end 2016. We will all be hoping for a much better new year in 2017. One way to help make that happen would be to re-frame our lives in God’s Love. it is eternal, it is unbreakable and it is certain. Aim for something that is really important-much more important than obtaining lots of money or perceived status- then we can really begin to value what our lives mean. I’m praying for a much better 2017, with God’s love I’m starting in the right place.


The end of a difficult year

No one would argue 2016 was a great year. There has been so much uncertainty politically in the U.K. and elsewhere in the world that so many are so unsure of their future. There have been terrible conflicts especially in Syria and as I write that particular conflict appears to be coming to an end.

The UK is heading for the so-called #brexit, despite the fact that Scots voted by an enormous majority to remain in Europe, so leading to further constitutional difficulties with the rest of the UK.

Donald Trump ‘trumped’ the pundits and won the electoral college vote to become the President-Elect, and in the UK Jeremy Corbyn also surprised many who were trying to derail his leadership, by winning a handsome majority in what resembled a replay of Julius Caesar being stabbed in the back by his own team.

The one thing that isn’t affected by the crazy events of the world is the love of God. In a fast moving, dynamic world that follows trends, trends that are ditched in a moment, the love of God is a constant. People of faith everywhere hold to this constant in their lives for there is nothing else that matches that assurance in the Rock of Ages.

With further constitutional uncertainty now a fact due to the #brexit vote, the debate will further weaken and split the devolved nations of the UK, certainly those who voted to remain but find themselves being pulled from the EU regardless.

What kind of President will Donald Trump make? Only time will tell. I have a feeling that the difference wont be that noticeable. Despite the shrieks of horror the US President is carefully checked by the US constitution which was carefully designed to limit the power of the executive. I for one hope he intends to make money rather than war. Maybe a businessman will turn around the fortunes of America’s less fortunate and succeed where Obama failed?

I predict a rough passage for the UK leaving the EU. It wont be pretty that’s for sure. Things are falling apart and article 50 hasn’t yet been invoked. The country is already seeing the ill-effects of this decision. I’m almost certain the lies and half-truths that were trotted out against the EU combined to sway the voters of England & Wales to react wrongly against the EU; rather than the politicians at Westminster who have let the country run down to such a state they had no prospects of a decent future.

It would be easy to become despondent but God always has a plan for us. The events of the coming years are shaping up to remind us more and more of the need for the Love of God, the one constant that can be guaranteed always and everywhere in our lives.

Thank God…always.

Falsely Accused

Inspiration In Words

deuteronomy 20 4

  • Has anyone accused you of committing an act for which you had no guilt?

  • Has anyone falsely witnessed against you?

  • Have you been a victim of a lie?

 If you have,

  •  Did you defend yourself?
  • Did you get angry?

  • Did you retaliate?

  • Did you ask God to forgive them?

  • Did you pray for God to intervene and fix the situation?

  • Did you let God have control?

Hopefully, you asked God to forgive them, intervene and fix the situation, and allowed him to have control.

I have been in that situation, and at different times in my life, I have done all of the above. However, when I allowed God to have control, the situation was fixed by him. Why? Because I prayed to him to handle it, I waited for him to take care of it, and I saw the results. They may have not been immediate, but they were…

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Why I won’t ever be a ten pin bowling champion!

In sport, consistency is everything. You can have a good eye, good technique, competitive nature, ability to control your nerves and everything else besides; but without consistency it’s “Houston, we have a problem!”

I, like many people, have this problem. My first love, Snooker, highlighted this defect perfectly. Occasionally able to make breaks in snooker of around 30-40, the consistency issue would rear it’s ugly head, and the next time I stood at the table I’d either miss easy shots completely or commit some sort of foul!

I like Golf, but without basic consistency I wouldn’t advise it. I like Badminton. I fare a little better in Badminton on consistency but general fitness is a big problem. Squash-I’m not even going to go there! Table-Tennis? Much better but the old inconsistency creeps back in.

This takes me to Ten Pin Bowling. This sport was rekindled in Scotland 25-30 years ago and has been popular at times with many Alleys opening up, while many have shut in the last 10 years. An American speciality that was warmly welcomed. The thing about TPB is that it looks really easy! Ten pins begging to be demolished by a big bowling ball down a narrow alley-what could be easier? You just couldn’t fail to miss could you?

Last night I played with friends. It had been a long time since I last played but I counted that as an advantage considering how bad I was previously! I thought I’d start with a clean slate, no emotional baggage from the last time. A clear mind, a new focus and hopefully some consistency!

I started off well. At some point or another I got a ‘strike’. I won the game narrowly against my friend Russell who is more ‘consistent’ than I. It was a fluke helped by a jammy final ‘strike’. Second game was different story. Russell’s consistency and better technique soon advanced his score and I along with my ever failing consistency soon lagged behind! He demolished me! Final Score was Russell 147; Stuart 70 or 80 something.

I had a good time. Both families did. I think the point is not to take oneself too seriously, remember it’s just a game and I’ll never be a champion Ten Pin Bowler! New Year’s resolution? Get some consistency! Please Lord!